Four Year-End Lists after the End of Our Life Together
Year One (2006):
I dream that Ken makes me take a rundown, shoddy, unsafe apartment off the highway. He is not going to live there with me. I feel that I have done something wrong and I don't quite understand.
Revise the Will.
Worrying about my children and everything else.
Can't read, can't listen to music, can't watch TV.
Year Two (2007):
I dream of a deep fissure running through the foundation of our house.
I imagine I can fix this by finding a man to (gasp!) replace you.
Go on every dating site that exists.
Actually believe I can quickly find a wonderful husband for me and loving father for my kids.
Return to therapy.
Feel overwhelming guilt that I don't have a job outside the home.
Avoid acknowledging that I have been royally screwed by fate.
Go to lunch constantly.
Enjoy the company of numerous wonderful women.
Year Three (2008)
I dream Ken and me go swimming together. I tell him not to go so fast. He gets out of the pool and walks away. I can't believe he is walking away from me like that. I just can't believe it.
Apply for and get a job; turn it down.
Realize that my work is getting my life back.
Devote myself to my own recovery.
Acknowledge that I need to avoid stress.
Get fit. Get strong. Physically.
Take my kids on a 2,000 mile road trip.
Begin to acknowledge the enormity of my loss.
Begin to feel the social isolation of widowhood.
Begin to feel the stirrings of peace.
Begin to feel the stirrings of hope.
Begin to respect my own strength in the face of this loss.
Year Four (2009)
I dream (or there is) a ghostly presence in my bedroom; a shimmering, lit, human form. There is a flash across my window, and it is gone.
I write about loss. I think about loss.
I immerse myself in experiencing the reality of grief.
I take up the spiritual practice of Kundalini yoga and love it.
Begin fixing structural issues in my house.
Get on the school board.
Fueled by hope, I begin a relationship with a man who doesn't have an ounce of Ken's integrity. Eventually, this is revealed and I finally get it: Ken is gone. My happy life with him is OVER.
Make the decision to travel with my kids to New Zealand next year.
Recognize that I was incredibly lucky to have found Ken.
Admit that I don't know what will happen next.
Coming up in 2010....
Topics to include: Loneliness! Exploring new possibilities! Simple gratitude for simple things!