As I quickly approach eleven months without my life partner, I am being faced with so many new realities.
When we met six years ago, I was fresh out of graduate school and full of hopes and dreams but no money to pursue any of them.
I wanted to take trips, have adventures and experience all of the things that life has to offer.
After meeting my husband, I thought, this is it! This is the time to get out there and do things. I had a travel buddy, a forever plus-one. And we did go on some adventures, we did attend events as part of an amazing duo, but we had so much more on the horizon. We had so many things waiting for us.
And then he died.
And now, here I am, 331 days post-loss and 18 days away from turning 30. And I am once again a party of one.
You don’t realize just how many things are designed with couples in mind until you are no longer a part of one.
Cruises are booked based on double-occupancy, the smallest table at a restaurant still has two chairs at it, wedding invitations often have the option for an “and guest”.
There are constant reminders of my newfound “oneness” everywhere. And the more that I heal and want to get out there and do things, the more I remember just how alone that I am.
Yes, I have friends that I go out and have a great time with. And yes, dating is a way to fill the extra seat at a two-person table. But when you have an idea in your head of what your life is going to be like, when as you say the words “I do” you solidify your plus-one for every event forever and ever, it can be pretty gruesome being slapped back into the reality of what is instead of the faraway land of what was.
I do not mind being alone. I find myself to be excellent company. But there are times when a friendly face and a good, old-fashioned conversation would be really nice.
I took myself out to a movie today. It was a good movie, I went early enough to get the matinee price and picked whatever seat I wanted (on the aisle, of course). But I was missing someone to comment on the previews with, someone to let me fall asleep on their shoulder but nudge me awake before I missed an important part, someone to say that movie sucked but I really enjoyed spending the time with you.
I’ve gone out to eat alone. I frequently go on walks through the forest preserves alone. I have no problem being by myself. I just desperately miss having someone that was forever forced to share life with me. (I’m joking..nobody is forced to do anything)
Going out with friends is great, until they all pair up and you find yourself making friends with small children and/or animals to seem less awkward and out of place. Being a third, fifth, seventh, etc. wheel is not all that fun. But it is better than nothing, sometimes.
I really want to get out there and start experiencing life again. And I’m starting to. I’m embracing my new status, hopefully with dignity and grace. I miss my husband, but the sad truth is that he is not coming back. And no matter how much I might try to convince myself otherwise, he would never want me to sit on the sidelines for the rest of my time here.
It’s time for me to get back out there.
Hello, my name is Emily and I am a party of one.