I remember the 21st night of September. I remember because September 21st, 2002 is the anniversary of my wedding to my late husband. It’s days like today that make me think anniversaries suck.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about the loss of my husband to stomach cancer. The irony is I started writing on the blog as a means of therapy to reconcile the loss. I would write about my emotions and experience and pull out a positive tidbit for readers. Only, those bits and pieces of positivity were really for me. And you know what? They helped.
They helped me to find the strength to take steps forward. I sold our family business. I opened myself to love. I accepted a wedding proposal. I sold “our” house and moved to a new home with my fiance and two boys.
In those steps forward, I slowly stopped writing about my healing process. I didn’t want my children and fiance to feel bogged down by the weight of my sadness in printed words. But, mainly I didn’t want my identity to be that of a widow. I didn’t want to see myself only as someone who had experienced a loss.
I stopped writing about my healing process, but it didn’t end. I was/am still someone who experienced a loss. Just like when any wound heals, there is a lifelong scar.
And that scar can manifest in so many different ways.
One might start to drink a little more to dull the sadness and stray thoughts.
Rose-colored glasses don’t exist; instead, they are replaced with a bitter and jaded view.
The anger about losing someone is always turning inside one’s gut. Rage comes more easily; simple daily problems ignite that bubbling fire and misdirected anger launches without a countdown.
Let’s be blunt, it fucking sucks.
If I don’t want to see myself as a widow, I certainly don’t want that scar tissue to take over my core self either.
And so the healing continues.
I’ve learned having that extra drink doesn’t dull the pain, it only exaggerates the sadness and fuels that angry fire.
While I might never wear rose-colored glasses again, I know that I can control my perception of life. I have to find the positive and use that to adjust my view and chip away at the scar tissue.
I’m healthy. I have two great boys. I have met someone to love and with whom I can share life. I make time to exercise. I enjoy the company of my friends. I’m lucky to have ever known Garry. My life has to progress with a positive outlook, otherwise, not only will I be miserable, but my children might adopt those same negative sentiments. I am still a widow, but I am so much more.
There’s that old serenity prayer about acceptance. I know the primary purpose is for addiction. But, I’ve found it helps with managing the emotions after suffering a loss.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
When I get caught in a tailspin of how something so horrible could happen to our family, I remind myself I cannot change it. What I can change is how I handle the loss and how I live my life going forward. It’s that simple and that hard. But, I am up for the challenge.
September 21st is such a beautiful day for so many reasons! It’s the day I entered my first marriage, which gave me two loving boys. This year, as it often is, it’s the last day of summer. I adore the change of seasons; it keeps life fresh and new.
Tomorrow fall rolls onto our calendars, and I’m looking forward to all of the fun memories I’ll make with my fiance and boys. And when I start to feel guilty about that, I remind myself how happy Garry would be to see us enjoying our lives. I’ll remind myself how we deserve to be happy.
As we leave the summer of 2018 behind, life continues. It always does. The only option is to make the best of it and be the best me. There’s my positive tidbit, and you know what, it helped.
The artwork featured artwork is “Revel Painting” by Julie Spencer. You can purchase it HERE.