It’s taken 22 months of ardent chin-scratching, but I think I may have finally worked out why widowhood is so uniquely isolating. (I’m a slow burner, ok? It took me three attempts to pass Maths at GCSE).
For everyone else, life, fundamentally, hasn’t changed. Once the initial shock wore off, their concerns reverted back to their kids, their households, their hatred of that bloke in Accounts.
And why wouldn’t they? Mark wasn’t part of their everyday. They didn’t wake up next to him, kiss him as he left the house in the morning, listen to his lengthy explanations of how things worked, bid him goodnight and then spend the time ’til dawn willing him to stop bloody snoring.
Neither did they have their hopes and dreams for the future entangled with His. We were planning to move to France. Have another child. Get a dog with big paws and a long muzzle. Finally eat at The Coachman in Snainton. (I have a suspicion He was planning that for Valentine’s Day actually – I found their menu in His backpack after He died. Gah! Three days too late!)
When He died, everyone who knew Him was devastated. But now they miss Him intermittently, and reflect on Him warmly at moments when He pops into their heads.
But my existence has been turned inside out. I have had to relocate, physically and mentally. I have had to realign. Rethink.
And all that whilst trying to take in the fact that the love of my life has gone forever and simultaneously raise our child. I am the only person who has had to do this in the aftermath of his death. (Do I get a nice badge?)
Little wonder then that the contents of my brain feel like that Plastic Island in the middle of the Pacific – a whirling vortex of uncertainty and half-consumed, useless shit.
23 thoughts on “EUREKA!”
Another thing that is so horrible is that you are going through the worst time of your life and the person who you’d normally turn to isn’t there. “A double whammy,” as a friend so succinctly put it. Love as always. xx
PS Feeling less angry than my last post. I do apologise for the foul language!
Never apologise for profanity, dear friend! Profanity is good! This is so true too – so many times recently I’ve been asking myself, ‘What would you say pet?’ ‘What should I do?’A double whammy indeed. Much love x
BTW, that pic of you and M always reminds me of that line from Ode to a Grecian Urn.
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—
Have just had a look at that poem – how wonderful that you should say that. Thank you, from one word-lover to another. X
I know exactly what you’re saying there. For us widows there’s a reminder every time we wake that something has changed. There is no heavy arm across me when I wake up on a morning. I’m sad that at the time it irritated me as I felt crushed. Now I just feel ‘crushed’ I went Xmas shopping today as the last 2 years we didn’t celebrate as Ian was too poorly so this year I said to the kids ‘we’ll do gifts!’ Bad idea. I walked round aimlessly in a daze and came home with a pair of slippers. I just kept lookin at shirts thinkin ‘Ian would like that’. At one point I almost bought one because it was so ‘Him’
I can feel that I may be opening my wine earlier today. Hugs xx
I have seen so many things this year I think Mark would have liked. It’s a double kick in the guts that he’s not here to buy for. Perhaps an online shop is the way to go – focussed and without the temptation to glance over at the men’s section…Big hugs. X
As always, you describe this shitty reality so well. I so miss G being part of my ‘everyday’. Love & hugs xx
Thanks Fi – as always you make me feel less of a freak and less alone! Love and hugs to you. X
Awww. Sorry sweetie. Hugs.
P.s. That plastic island of shit is headed my way, ain’t it? Just tell me! I can take it…when’s it gonna break land? Have you checked my blog in recent days? Maybe that’ll make ya laugh for a sec? I hope while I am over here in Cowboy Town that I will avoid that vortex of plastic island shit, whatever happens…
I have been checking out your blog, I get it direct to my inbox friend, and indeed, have ‘liked’ a couple of your recent posts from Vegas. You absolutely crack me up! And yes, take cover from Plastic Island! Yeehaa! X
Oh, good! Well, cowboy-man and myself got ourselves each a case of some viral crud…a cold or possibly flu…I think the former…we came home a day early. Guess you could say: It was too tough to STAY IN THE PINK?
Seems fitting. Not at the ‘Icky green’ phase, and God-willing, won’t get to that point, either. Thanks for keeping up with my silliness then…do you like my leather and bone Indian jacket? I had it custom made for myself several years ago and I get lots of compliments when I wear it…It’s my most prized piece of clothing, I think, haha. Told my cowboy to bury me in it…that and my birthday suit! Lmao! 😉
Wow you have EXACTLY described what I’ve been trying to explain to everyone I know (and even some I don’t know that well..) for MONTHS!! I lost my husband 18 months ago and I think what becomes horribly clear after a chunk of time has passed, is that life is still “usual” for everyone else. You are so right. People will think fondly and miss our lost ones, but they won’t have their ‘every day’ still upside down. Even his mother will have some kind of normality back, although I’m not doubting it must be awful to lose a son at any age. I. wonder if like me, normally when driving to work or walking somewhere your mind wanders and suddenly you are back there, re-living a horrible memory, or thinking of things he might have liked, or things he’s missing out on..and all of a sudden you are fighting back huge emotions and the tears. Which isn’t great when you have a day at work ahead of you. It’s crap isn’t it?
Hope you are taking comfort from knowing there are a few, not a lot, but a few..people out there feeling the same. I am.
Hello there Zoe, thanks so much for commenting and for offering solidarity from out there in the ether! Regarding the sudden influx of memories, yes I know exactly where you are coming from – sometimes I find myself literally paralysed by a thought, an image, a recollection, the sound of his voice. I have to almost wake myself up from it. And I do get immense comfort from the few out there who are suffering too – terrible isn’t it? But comforting, nonetheless. Thanks again. X
I lost my beautiful husband on 23 August, four months ago on Sunday, and miss him so much the pain is excruciating. I feel as if I am looking in on life, not a part of it, because my world ended on the day he passed away. The whole world just keeps on turning, but not mine – I no longer feel a part of it, I am just in limbo going through the motions of an everyday existance whilst gripped with an awful sadness, pain and loneliness that is indescribable.Sue
Hi Sue. Thank you for finding me, us, and for having the strength to comment. I read your post with sad recognition and much sorrow for your loss. The numbness, the sense of the world turning but not being part of it – all so familiar to me. And the pain, oh the pain! I would never have believed such pain were possible without an actual physical cause. The only way through, and this is sounds like a platitude but you know it’s not meant that way, the only way is to focus on the next hour, and getting through it. Thinking so much of you, and all of us out there trying to find our way through this. Lucie XX
Sorry, not related, but this columnist’s writing style reminded me of yours. Hope you find it funny http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-fake-sign-language-interpreter-at-mandelas-memorial-is-an-irresistible-metaphor-for-our-times-9003719.html
Hey Tom! I’ve done a couple of pieces for the Indy actually, so I take that as a compliment! Thank you, I did enjoy the piece. Thanks for reading. X
I am going to print that out numerous times (with your permission) and hand it to anyone who asks me how I am. I shall personally hand a copy to N’s brother at Christmas because, excuse me, I am the one really hurting…I am the one who needs to disappear into a huge fog of depression, not you. Yes, he was your brother but, hey, you guys saw each other three, four times a year. And the eczema all over my face at the moment, getting better thank goodness! Yes, it’s stress related (one year mark) but a friend was utterly amazed yesterday that I could be stressed. “But what running around do you do?” she said. Is it me…?
Permission absolutely granted! Thank you for understanding and for elucidating some of my thoughts too. And also no – it’s not just you! X
I think you have most definitely got inside my mind too. In the nicest possible sense, of course! Just back from a meeting at school, looks like the ramifications of the events of last year may be starting to catch up with our post-GCSE 16 year old son. Proof positive that it’s most definitely not a linear journey as others like to think… X
My husband lost his mother to a massive heart attack just a few days before Christmas. We are all very much in shock as she was an otherwise healthy, albeit 71-year-old, overweight, grandmother. But I realize the truth in your post as, once past the shock, life will go on for me, and even for my husband (her only son) and our kids, much as ever. They lived a couple of hours away from us, and we only saw them a few times a year. But for my father-in-law, what an avalanche! 50 years of waking up every day next to the same person, of worshiping the ground she walked on. His tears are gut-wrenching but mine are already dry. At least he is able to cook and clean for himself, so he’ll be all right on the physical side…but what an emotional odyssey to embark upon at 73.
How terribly sad. It makes me reflect on the difference too between older and younger widows – for we do face different issues, but none more or less difficult than the other. Hell of an odyssey to embark on at 73. I’m so sorry for the loss. Thanks though for sharing that. X
After 50 years the transition for my beau-père is very hard. But still, they had 50 years together! I realize that to have been cheated out of all those years is painful for you…so thanks for your reply and bon courage for the new year!