A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
I was widowed on October 8, 2009. Until recently, I have been hesitant to share how my widowhood came to be with people who don't already know the answer to the question. I supposed I have feared judgment from others, and have even attempted to avoid their unwanted pity. For several years, I had gone through a journey that no one would choose to endure.
My partner of 13 years suffered from depression, which was at times incapacitating for both her and our family. I became so emotionally exhausted from my attempts to make her, and things, "better" somehow, not realizing that accomplishment of such a feat was not in my power. Still, I believed that if I was diligent, I could prevent any action she threatened, planned or attempted. "I" was successful three times, but when she decided it was time to leave, I was helpless to prevent what had all the while been outside of my control.
She decided in the wee hours of the morning, that life was no longer worth living; that the pain she felt in her soul was unbearable and had to end. To my horror, she used a method that I could not have predicted. Three times I had "rescued" her from overdoses and gotten her help in the nick of time...the most previous attempt a mere three weeks before she succeeded. But this time, I knew in my soul I was too late, even though it took my head a bit longer to accept that fact. Although her body was lifeless, I tried to revive her, all the while knowing that it was useless, but hoping at the same time that I was wrong. It was only minutes after police and paramedics arrived that I heard those cliche "Law and Order", "ER" words, "I'm sorry for your loss."
My loss? I thought. What the heck are they saying? And why aren't they trying harder? The world around me then felt surreal, and I have never felt so alone in the midst of a group of people. All I could think about was the fact that our five year old son was downstairs, and I had to tell him that his Mommy was dead. I had to tell her parents and family. I had to admit to everyone that I had failed them all, and although I had been the person in the best position to help, I had let them all down and had been unable to keep her safe.
Over the next several months, I felt anger. Anger that she had put me in the position to discover her body, and that our son had barely escaped exposure to the horrid scene. Anger that neither I, nor our son, had been sufficient enough reasons to give her pause that morning. Anger at being thrust into single parenting, especially under such conditions where I was an emotional wreck and could be of little assistance to anyone. Anger that for weeks I could not recall any of our good times, but rather, was constantly haunted with images of the death scene. Anger at the very anger than consumed me. I even dreamed of her one night, and when I realized halfway into our conversation that she had indeed died, I started to yell and scream and throw things at her.
The other "stages" of grief were sabotaged by the anger phase; except for the depression phase, which was a constant companion. Only recently have I been able to truly grieve the loss and conjure up other images of her in my mind's eye. For this I am grateful. Finally able to move forward, I feel ready to face life again. I have stopped judging myself and no longer fear judgment; I have stopped blaming myself and refuse to accept blame from elsewhere.
I recently moved to Arizona in an attempt to clear my head and set aside time to quiet the whirlwind of activity in my soul. That is the one thing this move has accomplished, and now I'm on my way back home to live...and I mean to LIVE. It's beyond time for my son and me to have happiness and contentment define our lives and our relationship.