I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately about my life.
The other day a very strange thought crossed my mind.
I remembered the reality of my life in the months before my husband died. I remembered the stress, the unkind words, the overwhelming waves of fear and pain and sadness. I remembered never knowing what each day might bring. Which Josh would I wake up to? What terrible news were we going to receive? How much of my day was going to be spent doing things that I didn’t want to do?
And then I thought, “How on Earth did I survive that?”
I still have no idea.
And then I remembered my life since my husband died. The grief waves reminiscent of a time in Hawaii where I kept getting hit with wave after wave and couldn’t sit up – I honestly feared for my life. The pain so strong that I begged some Higher Power to not wake up. The memories disappearing slowly, one by one. The “anything that can go wrong inevitably did” reality that was my life.
And then I thought, “How on Earth am I surviving this?”
And I have no answer.
The outsiders, they call us strong.
But the insiders, the ones that belong to “the club”, we don’t know what to call ourselves. We just do what we have to. We’ve never been given the choice as to whether or not this was the life we wanted.
It amazes me, consistently, to look back and see all that I have overcome. All that I have endured. All that my widowed friends have faced and triumphed over.
And still, I have no idea how we do it.
I didn’t ask to be in a relationship with substance abuse. I didn’t ask to marry mental illness. I didn’t volunteer to live the majority of my life as a widow (hopefully I have more than 30 years left, anyway).
None of us did.
And yet here we are, waking up each day. Putting one foot in front of the other. Accomplishing small but overwhelming tasks. Completing amazing and impressive feats. Navigating the sewer system we were dumped into.
We are immensely proud of what we have survived. And we deserve to be. We are our best and biggest support systems.
But every day, I still look around and I think, “How did I do that?”