This morning around 8 am, it marked 5 years since Kevin took his last breathe on this earth.
The past month, maybe two, I’ve been riding this intense wave of grief that I refused to believe was grief. I just figured I was moody, hormonal, annoyed from a health issue, or something, anything, other than in grief. As usual, the buildup to the 5th anniversary was much, much worse than the actual day. I woke up at 8 am, and I felt calm; not sad, choked up, or fearful.
The most difficult part of grief, for me these days, is that my grief gets put out onto other people. I’ve been blogging less and less, I no longer attend therapy, and so therefore, I’m not finding a safe and healthy outlet to release these feelings. Then they find themselves released on the people I care about in unflattering forms.
Over the past week, I’ve realized that sheltering my grief has never worked for me. I do best when I just let the fears spill from my fingertips through writing. It has always been my best form of processing, and that has not changed. If I refuse to write about it, then the grief will find its way out in other ways.
I’ve hesitated to share over the past year because of fear of what others think. I have pushed so hard in my life to never worry about that very thing, yet the thought of someone thinking that I love my current husband any less because I mourn my late husband, really, really bothers me. I don’t want to be judged.
But, judgement happens. I do it, we all do, it’s part of our human nature. For me to share anything less than an honest account of my grief process only hinders the progress of others who are grieving; of myself who is grieving, even after 5 years.
I knew grief still existed after 10 years, even 20 or 30. I saw it in my Grandmother’s eyes in the months after Kevin died as she worried about how I was holding up. She had never remarried and I know that grief must have taken a deep toll in her life. Not one of us can judge anyone for taking however long they need to grieve. That’s a lesson I am still learning and working to accept. We all have varying backgrounds that have brought us to widowhood and as I’ve learned being involved in the widowed community, those backgrounds completely alter how we process the loss of our spouse.
Even as we move forward the best as we know how, when we find an incredible person to share our life with yet again, I now know a few more things: Just because I’ve moved on does not mean I do not still grieve. It is possible to find someone in life that you love deeply a second time around.
5 years – I honestly never thought about on that day in 2008 when I walked back in the room and saw Kevin slip from this earth. I could not even imagine a minute without him, let alone 5 years. Yet here I am, thriving. Yesterday, over 100 people helped commit their livelihood to me and my memoir project so that I can bring “Ebb from the Shoreline” to life. I am still processing that and am so very grateful to each of you who invested in me.
It’s a place I never wanted to be, but here I am, and I am happy and enjoying and loving this life too. I doubt I could have said that at 6 months, or even a year. At that point, I wasn’t yet ready to enjoy the life after Kevin. Now, I feel as if that life happened to someone else. As I described writing the book to another writer friend, I explained that it’s been an out of body experience. I feel as if that life happened to someone else, someone I don’t recognize as well anymore. It was nice to hear that he understood and didn’t judge me for feeling that way. I am so very different, yet the core of me is shining through in some areas that I’ve missed for a long while. The core of hope where there shouldn’t be hope.
I look forward to reconnecting with each of you more as I blog more often while I begin the final re-write of the memoir and need to process all that I’m reading and writing. Thank you for staying with me these 5 years.