Although it seems like a lifetime ago, it was four years ago today that my world turned upside down. March 22, 2012. The day I came home from work and tried to wake up my Elaine to have dinner, only to discover that she wasn't asleep. The day everything in my life changed. The day my life went from stable, happy, full of love and joy and adventure to this dark journey into pain.
For about the first two years, the only constant in my life was change. Now, life is settling down. It's not the same, but it's better. I thought the constant nightmares had stopped, then they started up again. I still carry an air of sadness about me.
I have climbed mountains. I'm not making a metaphor, I have climbed mountains. People think that climbers are fearless, but that is far from the truth. Climbers feel fear. Anyone that can look down and see nothing but air for over 1,000 feet below them, knowing that the only thing keeping them from certain death is an 11 millimeter rope, and not feel fear has something wrong with them. Climbers know fear, they just don't let it stop them. In the same way, I carry an air of sadness, but it doesn't control me. I think only widows can understand how that sadness and joy can be in one heart at the same time. Life is once again good for me. There is hope. It would have been too easy for me to fall into self destructive behavior, and I chose not to go that route. Life is what we make out of it.
As this widow journey goes, I've had it easy. Or, I should say, less hard than others. I had no children at home. I had no crazy family trying to run my life. I did take a huge financial hit when Elaine died, but I did have a life insurance policy that, while it wasn't huge, was enough to get me back on my feet. So yes, I had it easier than others. It was still the worst thing I've ever been through, and I can't imagine anything worse. My heart breaks when I hear about other widows that lose houses or jobs due to widowhood, or suffer abuse at the hands of family or former friends.
When I first lost Elaine, I looked to those who had been through it for some guidance. Now I'm in the position of being the wise old man. I may be old, and I don't know about the wise part, but what I would say to those new to this miserable journey is that there is hope. The fact that you are on Widowed Village tells me that you are trying to rebuild your life. We have all gone from a life where we had someone to turn to when things got tough. Now, we have to figure it out for ourselves. Don't doubt yourself. If you can make it through widowhood, you can handle anything.