Right after Bill died I had a lot of problems. Tons of them, millions of them, and all of them, each and every one directly related to his death. I was in the Hole. They ranged from a soul crushing paralyzing depression to the inability to open my garage door after a snow storm (of course I could not remove the snow) and power failure. I had an old car with a lot of problems. I had lost my job and my career of over 29 years was over. Most of my friends went on what I call the widow luncheon tour. They take you out to lunch once, maybe dinner. It is NEVER on a weekend. That is family time. Then they feel like they did their duty.
It was certainly clear to me that by his death my life had been intractably, irrevocably ruined. I would spend the rest of my miserable life like Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Although technically she was not a widow, there is no evidence that her fiancé who abandoned her did not eventually die. I pictured myself in my decaying mansion at the corner of doomed to hell and screwed, dressed in my yellowing wedding dress while my wedding cake turned to mold on the table. In fact, even though the movie showed her as an elderly woman, Dickens actually wrote her to be in her fifties. My AGE!!! It was the imagery I chose. I blamed it all on death. If he had not died not of this would have happened. I would not be forever in the Hole. Well, little by little I tried to solve each problem because I had to get out of the house sometime. He was never going to become any less dead.
I fixed the not being able to open the garage door by taking up weight training, which led to Pilate’s class which started getting me out of the house. I went into therapy, got a good medicating psychiatrist and eventually climbed out of the horrible depression. I found Supa Fresh widow, which lead to Camp Widow which lead to Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation so at least I had a community of widowed people who got it. Sometimes I even help other widows. I figured out how to manage my money, afford to live where I lived, got the name of lots of contractors, got a plow guy. I learned how to measure twice cut once, use a power drill, patch and tape sheet rock. When that got too much I sold the damn thing and moved to a condo.
I got a new car that had a 5 year take care of it program so I did not have to worry about that crap. I went back to college to at least try for a new career. I joined Meetup and actually made new friends. I had one area left. I wanted, I don’t know, if not love, at least some really good male friendship and companionship. I dated like it was my job. It was terrible, and then the guy where I bought my car asked me out and I found first friendship, companionship, passion and eventually love. It pays to buy a Volvo. I was 2 and half years into the take care of the car crap program when he asked me out.
So, what’s the problem? That life still gives you problems. When do I stop blaming them on Bills death and just realize that life is often very hard? When things go wrong, I get triggered into a cascade that flows like water downhill. I can fall into easily into that Hole where I just know that my life is crap because my husband died and it crap now, and will always be crap. It can be a bad place to be, the Hole. You know the Hole. It is scary, and hard to get out of. It is lonely and cold. I have adjusted to living Hole adjacent. It’s just so easy to be triggered and slip in. The Hole is always there to welcome me. The poor man who is dating me is really a very nice man. He has made my life better, but he cannot solve all my problems. He is merely mortal after all. I WANT him to solve all my problems and keep me out of the Hole, but frankly my husband never did that either. I get triggered; I start to think that if Bill had not died I would not have to deal with this guy. I am smart enough to not say this out loud by the way. We spend enough time apart so he does not have to deal with my cascade of crazy all time. I am very grateful for what he has brought me. I actually am a very good girlfriend and recommend dating a widow to all men. I just wonder if it will ever stop. Will I ever stop being a widow and just become a person.