Monday, October 14, 2013

Contrary to Popular Opinion

I've been struggling with some thoughts or experiences I've been having lately, and I think this is part of the reason I haven't been blogging as much (that, and planning a wedding takes a lot of time!).  The reality is that I'm no longer struggling with how to manage my grief, but how to life my life and move forward.  It's a different phase of widowhood, and in some ways, it's hard to acknowledge these experiences and feelings.

I've worried about how or whether to share everything.  I think about what other people will say or think - especially Brian's friends and relatives.  Still, I started writing as a way to not only process my emotions and experiences, but also to share my journey with others who are in my shoes, to let them know that what they are feeling is normal.  I feel like I'd be disingenuous if I didn't share some of these things that have been rolling around my head, things I've been afraid to write about for fear of being seen as a bad person or a less-than-admirable widow.  I've wrestled with these fears and with the thought that I want to be sensitive to others who grieve Brian's death, but I've decided that it's time to share more about my journey now, in the interest of full disclosure.  I know there are other widows and widowers who read this blog and who, like myself, are years out from their loss and who are navigating life and love in a different way than they were when the loss was fresh.  I have to keep reporting from the field for them as well as for myself, so here goes....

Sometimes I will go an entire day, or more, without thinking about Brian.  He is forever embedded in my soul and in that way, he is with me every moment of every day.  That being said, I don't necessarily miss him or talk to him every single day.  People tend to say things like, "Not a day goes by that I don't miss him and think about him."  That's not the case for me, and I'm sure there are a lot of people in my shoes who would agree.  Don't get me wrong -- I think about him a lot, and talk about him freely and frequently.  But it's more in the manner of telling stories about an old friend and recalling memories than it is me mourning his death or longing to see him again.  There is no joy or purpose in doing that, but telling stories keeps his memory alive and makes him a part of my life on an ongoing basis.  In my mind, that is a better way to treat his memory and a healthier thing for me to do.  It's also what he would have wanted.  When he died, I had to mourn the loss of what would not come to be, and one part of that was crying over the fact that we wouldn't grow old with his friends (Hart in particular), telling the same stories of our silly youthful antics that we had already told and re-told a hundred times.  I thought we'd all be old fogies together, telling those same tales.  I realize now that the stories will live on, but now it will be Hart and I telling them to Sheldon.

Another thing that I never thought would happen is that my memories of Brian are fading somewhat.  There have been a few times when I think about a memory of my past and I can't remember if it happened with Brian or with Sheldon, or whether Brian was still alive when a certain thing happened or if it was after he died.  For a long time, everything was starkly divided into two segments of my life:  before Brian died, and after.  Now, the line isn't as sharp.  The other day, Sheldon asked me if Brian had liked a particular food as we cooked dinner together.  I honestly wasn't sure.  I no longer have every preference, every memory, every quirk of his embedded into the surface of my brain and at the top of my mind.

It's weird to admit these things or acknowledge them, but they are part of the inevitable process of time moving forward, my brain getting more crowded, and the significance of the little details fading as the rest of my life unfolds.  I don't remember if he liked bell peppers because it really isn't that important.  I know I'll remember and cherish the most important things, but I'm finally able to see what is and isn't important.  I think when someone dies, you put them on a pedastal for a while and everything connected to them takes on more importance, more than it even did when they were alive -- that's why I struggled to throw away his pomade and toothbrush, when they were things that would have made their way to the trash can without a second thought when he was alive and they were all used up.  Now that the dust has settled a bit, things have fallen back into their natural order a bit more.

Whether I think of Brian consciously or not, whether I remember the small details or not, he is always in my heart and has irreversibly guided the course of my life, from the city I chose to live in to my selection of a new life partner.  I don't have to pretend to conform to certain expectations or ideals of what widowhood is to honor him, and I'm not going to anymore.  Brian valued truth, and it's time for me to share some of the less romantic realities of what my life is now.  This is part of my rebuilding.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I posted on here before but you might not remember - it was ages ago. I lost my boyfriend in a car accident over 6 years ago now. We weren't together as long as you and Brian were and we were only 18 and not planning to spend our whole lives together, but I loved him.

    I remember clearly the first day I didn't think about him. Well, I don't remember that day, but I remember the day after. I remember realising that I hadn't thought of Dave for a whole day and feeling incredibly guilty. Like it meant that I didn't care about him or I had forgotten him. It was really horrible. I felt like I was letting his parents down (weird, I know). Like I was forgetting him far sooner than anyone else.

    I can't say I learnt much from that. Or have some incredibly deep insight. I can't even express it as eloquently as you have done in this post. But I wanted to say thanks to you for writing it as it's made me feel marginally less bad.

    With best wishes,
    Blue Eyes xx