Yesterday I talked with a friend about something other than death, and the day before that, I laughed. It’s eleven days now since Shel died, and today I awoke with the sensation of having emerged from a numbing fog, feeling surprisingly like myself. I tended my little altar with his pictures and the beautiful flowers that people keep sending me and the candle that’s been lit since he died, but today I haven’t cried. Is this wrong?
I hadn’t cooked anything since that day, either, subsisting on odds and ends of leftovers, nuts, cheese, salami, just opening the fridge and finding something to put in my mouth without thought. Nothing had much taste, anyway. But today I read about scrambling eggs with the steam wand of an espresso machine, and although my first thought was that Shel would kill me for messing up his steam wand with eggy goop, it sounded good. I tried it, and found it surprisingly delicious. Then I rubbed a pork belly with some spices and stuck it in the fridge for a few days, in case I feel like cooking again. Am I coming back to life so soon?
I pored over hundreds of posts today on a site for widows, and most of them confessed to feeling hopelessly alone and robbed of all happiness two, three, even four years after their loss. And everything in me said “no way, that is not going to be me.” Am I delusional?
Many said that the second year of widowhood is harder than the first, since the first year you have to confront all of the anniversaries and holidays alone for the first time, whereas in the second year you come to the realization that your life is going to be like this forever. “But not mine,” I told myself. I embrace the idea of future happiness, and feel today that my life is mine for the making. Am I just riding for a fall?
Shel gave me 20 beautiful years full of love and adventure, and that’s gotten me hooked. I want 20 more. I can’t have them with Shel, but does that mean that I can’t have them at all? He taught me how to be loved, and I owe it to him not to waste that lesson. Today, fog-free, the future looks a little brighter, although completely unknown and unknowable.