Thinking back to those first couple of years after losing Allen, I have a kind of out of body experience.
I look at myself with sorrow and pity, watching me vulnerably stumble and struggle through all of the various efforts I was making.
Now that almost three years have passed, it’s become easier to see all of the mistakes I was making in my effort to gain some healing. And they weren’t really mistakes, anyway; rather, they were efforts to navigate my way through terribly painful circumstances I had never before experienced.
One of the first mistakes (after this I am going to call them muddles, at least until I think of something more descriptive and widow-like sounding) was in thinking that if I met grief head-on I would make my through with less struggle. Wrong.
In those first months I accepted every invitation, no matter how difficult I thought it might be. Some of these awkward invites turned out to be dinner parties where everyone seemed to have a partner, passing me a pleasantry and then hoping I wouldn’t talk much, especially to tell my sad story.
There was an invite to join a couple of ladies for a 10k walk – then suddenly this weekly activity disappeared when one of them bravely told me the other didn’t really like walking in threesomes.
Then there was the time I attended a summer bbq party of all of my husband’s work friends – it became almost immediately obvious no one there really wanted to talk to me (so of course I drove home in tears, wondering why I had put myself in that situation to begin with).
I didn’t want to numb the pain; rather, I thought that if I took every challenging task on that I would feel closer to Allen, that I would somehow be able to work through the despair more quickly and perhaps be able to return to a somewhat regular life.
Wrong, so wrong.
The pain of losing Allen, whose relationship with me was described by one of my sisters as being “a country of two”, rendered me so incapable of getting on with my life that I sometimes couldn’t even recognize what I was going through. The despair, now that was the lowest of my emotional lows; it could hit me anytime and anyplace, just leaving me emotionally spent, my heart literally a hole that felt like it had fallen into the pit of my stomach.