As the days go by, I am trying desperately to make sense of this new life.
The widowed life.
It’s been almost 14 months and sometimes I still forget that he is gone. Not away for training, not at the fire department, really gone… the forever kind.
When I remember that I am a widow, my heart sinks. Every. Single. Time.
My whole life, I have defined myself by my identity. And every time I lost a certain identity, I went through a “crisis” phase. When I was no longer an athlete, when I was no longer a student, when I was no longer a single woman… and now, when I am no longer a married one.
Each of these tremendous and transitional moments in my life have changed me. None so much as the death of my husband, though.
Loss changes people. Trauma changes people. Widowhood has changed me.
As I dip my toe in the waters of my future, I am trying to figure out who it is that I am now. I am attempting to shed the labels, destroy the need to identify myself by what I do, and embrace WHO I am.
But I have no idea who I am.
I am stuck in limbo.
More often than not, when considering a scenario, I will automatically assume my response will be what it was pre-loss.
It never is.
I am not that person anymore.
I cannot go to the grocery store without mentally preparing myself first. I cannot drive past a fire station without wondering about the mental health of everyone inside. I cannot have a friendly conversation about my personal life without considering what I might be saying instead… if he were still here.
Who I once was is not who I am now.
I will never be that person again.
It’s time that I let go of that person. I need to bury her, leave her behind in all of the places that my husband now rests. When he died, so did she.
I am no longer the girl who will tolerate being made fun of. I am no longer the girl who will remain quiet just to keep the peace. I am no longer the girl who walked on eggshells so as not to increase stress in her significant other.
I am also no longer the girl who would wake up happy because she knew he would be getting off shift soon. I am no longer the girl who looked forward to having breakfast together and lazy weekends on the couch. I am no longer the girl who walked confidently through each day, knowing she had the unending love and support of the most important person in her life.
I am none of those things anymore. I lost them all. And some I hope to never find again.
I am rebuilding. I am growing stronger. I am learning to love myself alone and not because someone else loves me. I am setting boundaries. I am fighting invisible battles every day. I am putting back my pieces and handcrafting new ones.
I am blazing a brand new trail.
Like the Phoenix, I will rise from the ashes.
But first, I must cremate the person that I used to be.