Longer stretches…

It seems I have less and less to say of late. That could be a good thing, or it could be a bad thing. I think good. I’ve definitely come to grips with this new life. That isn’t to say that I don’t miss Kim and that I don’t have occasional tears over her – that is definitely not the case. But I think I have adjusted to it. I no longer fear it. And I’m sort of looking forward to what the future may bring.

I’ve been working alone since Jillian graduated high school. Initially, it was kind of sad – I had gotten used to the sounds of her remote learning classes and walking over to help her with her French and her Pre-Calc homework. But, in a short time: I got used to it being quiet. She still comes down and does things on the first floor, but it is usually later in the morning.

Up until a couple of weekends ago, Jeanette, Jillian, and Vanessa would have been off to pageants, and Kenny would go to work. Normally, I would get up, get ready for the day, and then go off to my mom’s for a visit – escaping the empty house. A couple of weekends ago, though, something went wrong at work, and I had to fix it and ended up spending the day home alone. It didn’t kill me. And I discovered that I was actually quite comfortable with it.

I’ve adjusted; I continue to adjust.

As I wrote to a brother in the Widowers Support Network: Strength will come. Your emotions will be hardened in the forge of grief. Crying is part of that forging. That seems to be the case. Maybe I’m emerging from the deeper parts of the furnace.

We shall overcome

When Kim was being lowered into the ground, a friend of ours grabbed me by the shoulders and said two words: “Be strong.”

At first, I was a bit offended by this – how could he, someone who is not experiencing what was tearing me apart; someone whose wife was alive and well, give me that advice? But he was right. I may not have been strong then, but it was precisely what I would need to work to become: strong.

Overcoming grief is like overcoming any other handicap. It takes mettle. It takes will. It takes effort. It is like weight lifting: you start out, and you can only lift a little bit and only a few times. As you work against it, as you practice it, you lift more and more, and more and more times. You build strength. You become strong. If you give up, you never build that strength – and it is strength that you will need.

You do not leave grief behind. It is always going to be a part of you. How big a part – whether a background issue, or a destructive force – is up to you, and your willingness to work to overcome its grip on you.

As anyone with a physical handicap can tell you: it’s hard work, but eventually, they learn to live with the handicap; live despite the handicap – but you have to be committed to that effort. Don’t give in. Don’t let bad days set the tone for your destruction. Keep at it, and you will overcome…