08th Nov2011

What it is really like to be a widow

by Dutchcloggie

With Jane’s death, I grieve the loss of so much more than someone I merely loved or was close to. I grieve instead the loss of the one I loved most deeply, cherished and felt the very closest to. The one I swore commitment to when we married. The one I shared the ultimate partnership with to live as one.

The one who embodied my true sense of home. The one who was my best friend and who was to be my companion for life. The one I confided in, depended on and trusted most. The one who really knew, understood and accepted me as I am. The one I felt safe and protected with. The one I shared private moments and intimate feelings with. The one I mated souls with.

But it is not just that this most precious person has been torn from my life, as unbearably heartbreaking as that alone is. With Jane’s death came other losses I am grieving for:

The loss of who I was when I was with her.
The loss of the couple I was once half of.
The loss of the life partnership we once formed.
The loss of the ‘wife’ role I once embraced.
The loss of the life I once lived.
The loss of the plans we once made.
The loss of the dreams we once shared.
The loss of the future I once envisioned.

Amidst all this, I am also suddenly confronted with many hardships I never expected to face at this point in my life. Additional challenges less apparent to others but all too real and terrifying to me. I must now find it within myself:

To create a new identity.
To redefine my role in life.
To establish a new connection to the world.
To build a new network of social relationships.
To discover a new sense of purpose.
To formulate a new set of goals.
To decide on a new direction for my future.

And I have to do this without dishonouring my former life, but while suppressing bittersweet memories of that life, so that they not hold me back. Memories of happier times mostly, but also those of Jane’s illness and death. I have to deal with the feelings of guilt and disloyalty as I attempt to forget and move forward, but with my heart still tied so tightly to the past.

And I have to do all these things at the lowest possible point of my life in the worst state imaginable. When I am the weakest, most vulnerable, most insecure, most isolated, most heartbroken and most emotionally exhausted I have ever been. Without that one person I am so used to relying on to help get me through life’s greatest challenges. The one who, just by being there, would have provided me emotional comfort and support to draw upon, as well as the strength and confidence I need to complete those tasks and so much more.

But now I face all this alone.

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