More than three years have passed since Ken died. I can finally say that I do feel better and that my life is somewhat less defined solely by what I have lost. For the first time in a long time, I have moments of complete happiness. Losing Ken has changed my perception of life forever. I now truly understand that even those things that feel "forever" like home and family and good friends and good health are actually temporary gifts that only provide us with an illusion of safety and security. I won't knock the illusion, but I don't believe in it anymore. Instead, I believe that it's incredibly important to know what you want and reach for it. And when you get it, love it now, because whatever "it" is, "it" will be fleeting. I've also learned not to be as afraid of losing anything. If I could lose Ken, and still come out OK, I can take anything. I'd rather not have had the lesson, I'd rather be afraid, but it is quite a gift that I accept anyway.
I wish that Ken could still be here because I know the world would be better with him in it than with him gone. When I think of my sister and brother and their families, all the Jacobsons, and all the great friends I have who have helped me through, I am incredibly grateful for their continued presence in my life. That won't be forever either.
I have learned so much from going through illness with Ken, and from the intense suffering caused by his death. But I know that ultimately I learned the most by being so close to him, by being in his orbit, for 15 years. I wish I could have been all that I am now with Ken. I wish he could have seen how I've grown to understand that almost nothing is worth worrying about, and that life is meant to be appreciated in every moment. I understand more now. I am more compassionate. I am less hard on myself and others. I worry about very little anymore. And damn it, now that the kids are older, I have had more time to take care of myself and I've become fit in a way that Ken never got to see. I know he would have appreciated it though! But I do wish I could have given him this better self that I have developed, ironically, through the suffering caused by his death.
There is never a day that goes by when I don't think about Ken, or at least try to think a little like Ken. He was the most evolved person I've ever had the privilege to love. Sometimes I used to think he was too perfect. And sometimes that pissed me off.
The worst consequence of his dying is that he left Natalie and Alec without his guidance for the rest of (most of) their lives..and worse yet, they are stuck just one parent...with me.
But lucky for me, in his perfection, when he left me behind, he truly left me nothing but good. Ken was a gift, he possessed incredible gifts of compassion and understanding. And I intend to pass that gift around. I won't do it as well, but I'll keep trying for as long as I'm lucky to live.
- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.