People ask me how I’m doing. I don’t know whether I should tell the truth or not. Usually I make up some kind of mixture of truth and tact.
My husband, Andrew, died in July. This July. July 6th. He had a heart attack. He was only 55.
So as of today he’s been gone two months. I think I really thought he would never die. That sounds strange, I know. But now the totally unthinkable has happened, and I’m learning how to live without him. In a way he’s still here…..in us, in the love for our new house, in the stuff that he loved that sits around here…..
But mostly, we’re without.
Now it’s just my daughters and I.
I don’t mind when people ask how I am. I’m glad people reach out in any way at all. I’m not an extrovert. That was Andrew, the first to knock on a door and make a friend. For the most part I’m not comfortable knocking on doors or picking up the phone to ask for company.
So if you asked how I am, and I gave you the straight answer, I would say that I am having a hard time because this is not the experience I signed up for. I’m not pitying myself; I realize that no one receives the grand experiences of their wildest dreams. My husband had some grand experiences in all his travels but he also lived and loved the experience of every normal day….finding a penny on the sidewalk, finding out something new about another human…..
But even with that I KNOW that this new experience I’m living is not the adventure he would have wanted for me. He would not have wanted there to be no choice for me, this life without.
Still, this has to be my experience, even though I have no experience…..
He would want me to do this well. I owe it to him. All the love he gave, all the days he worked, all the early mornings he worried….I have to take what he gave and keep giving.
So that’s the challenge….to do well what I have never done, what I never intended to do.
I am not alone. I realize that everyone I pass by every day is probably fighting his or her own battle to meet challenges and succeed. I am not alone in that I have some wonderful people in my life. I know that their strength and knowledge will help me. I am not alone, too, because I have my daughters here with me.
It feels like mission impossible.
But…. Tomorrow will come, and I will do what I need to do. It is what I want to do. And I want to do it well.
If you are a friend reading this, thank you. Please ask how I am. Please tell me if you’re OK. If you are someone who has lost a spouse I hope you find the strength to do what you need to do. Whoever you are I hope you can “do today” with or without experience and do it well.