In three days it will be two months since my husband died. I turned 39 two days ago. I have four kids at home and a stepson who bolted now that he is 18 (who did NOT call me to wish me a happy birthday, I might add). I also have a neurotic dog, an overly skittish cat, and my husband’s tarantula that I now have to feed since he obviously can’t do it anymore. He and I are going to have words about that one day, you can mark that down.
My friends have been on me for years to write a blog- this comes mostly from my amazing Facebook statuses…apparently they like them. Several have mentioned it lately and tonight, a Saturday night, I am sitting at home, listening to the kids playing video games and thought “Why not?” So I created a new email address and started a blog….and promptly realized that I spelled my own new email address wrong. And I realized that while it really fucking bothers me to have a misspelled email address, I had already started this page and do I really want to create ANOTHER new email address and actually, it kind of sums up what life is like right now…so we are going to go with it. Not quite sure exactly where we are going with it, but we are going there.
39 years old and a fucking widow. I find myself saying “widow” a lot. Or “late” husband. (What the fuck is he late for? Dinner? Pretty sure he isn’t coming). I feel the need to tell everyone I meet that my husband recently died and I am not quite sure why- to warn them? “Girlfriend might have a psychotic break while you are chatting, so keep track of all the exits and escape routes!!!” Or to hear them tell me how great I appear to be handling everything? Or to excuse the dark circles under my eyes and the pajamas I am likely in? Or to explain why I started crying while discussing brackets during March Madness (hubby was a HUGE University of Kentucky fan which meant that I had to be one too). Maybe I am just trying it on, like a new dress, to see how it fits.
Actually, that is exactly it. Trying it on. Trying to figure out exactly who I am now. I’ve always been my own person, but that person was part of a team. Every decision was made as a team or with the other in mind, at least. Now? Just me. I mean, sure, there are the kids to consider and sometimes they get a vote, but mostly? I have ALL the power. Yay me.
So, in addition to missing my best friend and trying to be adult enough to attempt to make sense out of this for the kids and trying to do everything by myself that two people used to do, I have no idea who I am anymore. I know I like unicorns. And frogs. I like bad reality television and I like to use profanity. But my last year and a half was taken over by cancer and a colostomy. Liver drains and pain pumps. And the years before that were spent having babies and raising a mentally ill child. The kids were finally getting to the “can wipe their own asses” stage and the mentally ill child was no longer living at home, no longer a daily battle to be fought. It was finally going to be “our time”. It was going to be time for us to reconnect after a decade of HARD. And then came the cancer. Who I was before, no longer exists. The LIFE I had before, no longer exists. Now I have to figure out who the “new” me is going to be.
Do I want to be one of those super healthy people who doesn’t eat gluten and does hot yoga and runs and tracks my steps and *gasp* JUICES? Probably not. I mean, yes. Yes I want to be healthy. Have to for the kids- they don’t have any more spare parents laying around so they kind of need me to live a long time. But do I want that to define me? No. Also, I like Funyuns. A lot.
I don’t really have any hobbies- do I want to have hobbies? Or maybe just one hobby? Maybe I can be the overly crafty friend everyone has? Look out bitches, there’s a new quilter/jewelry maker/turning pallets into furniture/seasonal decoration making girl in town!! Or not.
Gardening? And canning?! I could make pickles and salsa and give them out to all my friends who will be envious of how productive I am with all these kids, during my time of grief. Except I kill all the plants. ALL the plants.
Do I want to be more social? Sure. That sounds good. But what kind of social? Can’t go out drinking all time- I just lost my DD and a DUI and mugshots would not be a good look for me. Plus? The kids. Most of them aren’t old enough to be left on their own, especially during non-daylight hours and there are too many of them to leave with the one who IS old enough to watch them, even during the night. The others will mutiny.
I’m really not sporty. Watching or doing.
I like museums. Sometimes.
I like music. But I don’t really like people. Especially in crowds. Good music usually has crowds.
And how social is social? Do I want to be full on, going out all the time, social? Or maybe just a little bit social- part time social.
Honestly, I like sitting at home in my jammies. I don’t like company because I have to entertain them. And most people don’t find watching The Real Housewives of every city in America while reading a book and checking Facebook every commercial break that entertaining. Go figure.
My mom would say (actually DOES say) that I am putting too much pressure on myself. That these things will work themselves out and I will figure it all out in time. And I am sure I will. But in the meantime, it is damn scary to not know who you are anymore. To not know how you fit in with your friends. It’s overwhelming learning how to do all the things- the mowing and hanging curtains and feeding fucking spiders. And it is lonely. A very strange kind of lonely where you ache to be held but know that there is no one alive that you want to hold you.
And so I WANT the grief to be over. I want to figure out who I am now. I want to want to be held by a living person, not a memory. I want to LIVE. I just had my last birthday of my thirties- next year, a new decade. Life has been passing me by like an out of control freight train for years and I was too busy to notice. In losing my husband, watching my children lose their father, “Life is short, make the most of it” has been branded onto my brain. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” keeps flashing in red neon lights behind my eyeballs whenever I close them. I’m no longer a young girl. I’m a fucking widow and I don’t have any time to lose…and so I am searching for rainbows and unicorns.
I’m looking to heal.