A letter I wrote to family & friend but haven't had the nerve to share.
I know people are trying to do well meaning things when they suggest that I should get a dog, or a cat or some other creature to have around me. I know people are meaning well when they say sharing is helpful or that you will get over this eventually. I know people merely want to try to fix me. The problem is, I am not broken, I am sad, lonely, angry and tired. I am these things but I am still whole. While 2/3rds of my identity is now gone, I have lost the we and the her from what made me who I am, I am struggling forward. What I need is people who will listen but not offer ways to correct my pain, you can't. Even if you understood the exact pain I am going through, and believe me most of you don't, you can't correct my pain. That is something I have to work through, it is part of what is redefining me even this moment. When I come out from under it, I will be different in many ways but fundamentally I will still be the person that my wife helped to define. I am who I am today because of her, and ultimately I will not change from that. There is no magic pill that makes this disappear, there is no easy path to reunion. I must muscle through this until the end.
So many of our plans are now crumpled up on the floor, I had plans of going hiking the rest of the national parks that we had yet to visit. I had plans to maybe find one we really loved and becoming volunteers. I even had plans of opening a small bakery, perhaps attached to a B&B or something and enjoying ourselves making breads and pastries. None of these plans now seem at all enjoyable, they are all things that made sense as a we and little sense as a me. Again, no amount of duct tape or chewing gum is going to patch this hole in my world. I must start to consider what is next, and how do I intend to get there.
Along this new path, I will likely bend far, hopefully not too far. My intent is to not break, and at the moment I am not. My quiet depression is merely a sign that the person I had in my life was so important to me that I can not yet see a path out. I wake to an empty bed, I eat at an empty table, and I watch TV without the color commentary that had so defined my life. I no longer have someone to banter with, and so I banter with a ghost. She doesn't answer directly but in so many ways I know what she is saying, her voice is etched in my mind forever. I can see the look that she gave me when I bought things I was never supposed to buy mere days after her passing. On one level these were bought so I could hold the inner argument with my wife, and on another, they were bought to try to give me a little solace in an otherwise unrecognizable world.
And so again, I say I am not broken, you can not fix me. What is broke, the 'we' I once was a part of, the 'her' that was my wife, can't be repaired. Some day I may find I need a new companion in life, but that new we will never replace the old we. I will be eternally in love with my perfect mate, the one I no longer have. So if you want to help, listen to me, but don't try to repair. I am not telling you of my sadness with a hope that you can make it go away, I am sharing it to let the pain out a little bit, hoping that eventually it will lessen and I will be mostly whole again. Everything you see in me is a natural part of dealing with unwanted change, and me slowly picking up the tattered plans of my life from the floor as I start to put the puzzle pieces together again and lay new plans alone. I will need the help, but can't tolerate people telling me what will make it better, because honestly, I am not ready for it to be better, and I don't believe that you truly know.