I just finished reading Confessions of a Mediocre Widow by Catherine Tidd, It was a great read, especially for a young widow and I loved that it was a memoir rather than an advice book. It made me feel a little less crazy, which was much needed, but it also got me thinking.
What I realize now at just over four months, is that I'm in the middle of an identity crisis. I'm not only trying to figure out who I am now as a single person...heck, just as a person. I spent so long as part of a couple that even figuring out what just I like to eat or what kind of furniture to buy is a little overwhelming. I think this sort of identity crisis is common to all of us here.
But I'm also in the middle of another sort of identity crisis. Because Phil and I weren't married when he died and only engaged, I'm having a hard time figuring out where I fit...everywhere. I don't really know how to interact with his family. I'm not sure what I am to them and what I want them to be to me. We weren't especially close before and now that Philip is gone, I have no idea. His mother drives me nuts and says and does things I find both insensitive and inappropriate. She loves to text me things like "You are his wife!" or on other days likes to have a grief competition with me. Or she asked me to bury his ashes in her family cemetery where he apparently played as a child. He wouldn't have wanted that and his headstone his in his dad's family's cemetery. She didn't know him at all. He was not especially close with her, but at the end he had made peace with both her and his brother.I want to be on good terms with them, but I also know that I want a future for myself and I'm not sure how or if I even should include them in that future. What I'm figuring out as I'm trying to find my place with them is that I have a lot of resentment towards them and towards the fact that we weren't married. They want to consider me family now, but they didn't treat me like family before...and they certainly did not treat him with the respect he deserved in life. I resent them because they didn't include me when planning the memorial service. I had no input, only one or two people even spoke to me during the service, and I got no chance to honor him and his life in the way I thought he deserved. I resent that they are dragging their feet with handling the estate.
Which brings me to another part of my identity crisis--all of the paperwork and financial stuff. I knew this man better than anyone, we were building a life together, but I couldn't arrange to have his body removed from the house and taken to the funeral home. I couldn't make any funeral plans. His place of employment wouldn't talk to me since we weren't legally married. I couldn't have access to the accounts he made me beneficiary of until someone in his family contacted the institutions first. I know he wanted it this way so that I wouldn't have to worry about the estate or paying any debts, which there was barely any. And I appreciate his way of taking care of me. But I guess I feel like if I could have taken care of some of these things, I could have taken care of everything in way that really honored him and his memory. I would have gotten all of these things done in a timely manner. I guess I could have kept taking care of him after death.
But the hardest part of us not having been married is I think that most people in my life don't really consider me a widow. I think they think because we didn't spend our whole lives together and because I have a new life about to start, that my grieving should be over or less intense. They don't understand my reactions to things or my occasional social anxiety. They want me to be fine and excited about my future. My mom even said to me, "I know your depressed, but you have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks." I'm not depressed. I'm exhausted. I'm lonely. I miss talking to the person I told everything too. And the more time that passes and the more things start to normalize, the worse my grief gets. I'm just now spending days in bed...I didn't do that two months ago. I know we weren't married, but I wish more people realized that I didn't lose a friend, or a parent, or a pet...I lost my whole life, my everything. It is going to be a long time before I'm over it even though people want me to be over it now.