Post 2 (Post 1)
One month after I turned 50 years old, my husband died without warning. We were on vacation in Mexico and what first appeared to be food poisoning, unexpectedly revealed itself to be cancer attacking his organs. Twenty-four hours after bringing him to the emergency room, he was dead.
At the time it seemed like the single most sucky thing that has ever happened to me. I adored him. He adored me. We were best friends, lovers, and each other’s biggest fans. To make it worse, he was the source of my profession. A medical doctor whose business I managed. There was no security in my life as two years previously we filed bankruptcy due to an economic crash in an area where we owned loads of property.
In a split second, I lost my best friend, lover, job provider, and had no money, no property, and a shit load of responsibilities. About as crappy as I ever thought my life could get.
This is where the sympathy for me needs to end. This is not about the fall and rise to greatness. I’m not taking you in a tale-spin of despair so that your heart is bleeding for me. There is no value in making you walk that path. I’m sure you get the picture. I was sad. I cried a lot. It sucked.
All of the books I found for a new widow were so dang depressing or they were prayer books. Neither of which felt good to me. I understand the power of prayer and I do highly believe in a beautiful higher power, but I had no idea how to direct my prayer. John wasn’t coming back, I didn’t have enough of an identity to know what I wanted, and I didn’t give a rip about creating peace and serenity.
I accepted what happened. I honored his death. I knew he was at peace. I didn’t feel that I needed to mourn John by wearing black or publicly grieving, in fact, he would have abhorred that. I was not stuck in an abyss of blame or guilt, but misery was not a familiar friend. Even in having a son with profound autism, I cared too much about my happiness to allow anything as an excuse to not look for beauty, joy, or humor in every situation.
But this one was tough. There didn’t seem to be any way around the grief that was chronic and lingering, and tomorrow didn’t look any more promising than today. The person who talked me through life’s pain and filled me with optimism was no longer by my side.
The only thing I could think of to pray for was laughter. I missed laughter. I didn’t want to grieve. I wanted to love my life again. I wanted to stop crying. I wanted others to stop looking at me like I was an abandoned kitten.
Although it’s true that I would like to help others feel the permission to create their own path of grieving, I stand by the brilliant advice of Elizabeth Gilbert, “Never write for someone else.” So I will admit, I am writing this for me: To review what I know to be true. To sort out the process. To laugh at myself. To serve as a diary to the most momentous time of my life. To take you on a path from grief to joy.