There is this vortex of grief that you don’t know you’re in until you somehow manage to break through and sneak a peak of the outside shell. Anything can set it off really. I knew that choosing to sleep in one of his old Jerseys the past 2 nights might stir something up. But I needed comfort. I sought it out. Comfort didn’t find me. Instead I was drawn to pictures of him. His lovely oceany eyes. His strong legs. The warmth in the creases in his face when he smiled. Shattered. The vortex was broken and once again I am a widow.
The three years no longer seem like 3 years until I try to remember all those traits I once loved about him. I can no longer remember much about them except what I see in the pictures. The pictures fail to capture the other things I used to love about him. The parts I can no longer recall. The parts that have faded in those 3 years that make yesterday when he was alive really seem like 3 years ago.
And so I release, I bawl. I feel the grief wash over me like he just left me, but not really. The grief this time is over the fact of how much my memory of him has faded. I cannot recollect the emotions he once gave to me when he was next to me. I cannot recollect his scent. Or even…his laugh. I die a bit thinking about that one in particular.
The vortex is a safe place where I like to forget that I am a widow, that grief is still a part of my life even though it’s not present every day. I have move forward and found happiness but every now and again I am reminded of what I lost and the pain that comes with that loss. And I break.
It has taken a while for me to break through, to break down. It’s been a while since I revisited this mourning place and each time there is an odd comfort in the swallows of its bitterness. Each time the recall is a bit smoother and I’m not as stuck in the moment as I was before. I just wish I could remember that laugh. Feel his spirit here. If I could have that memory forever, these waves might not drop me so hard.
Brenda — thank you for this post. I have been forgetting things about my late husband too, not remembering whether we did xyz together, or if that was after he died. Memories are starting to fade, and my grief is coming around again. I hadn’t really made a connection between the two — I attributed the increase to the holidays and birthdays that are around the corner, and to the fact that I’ve got a boyfriend now (which reinforces and confirms that the life I expected to have is truly over, and that my path is forever altered away from that which I thought I’d be walking). I realize now that part of my heaviness at the moment comes from the fact that my memories are starting to fade, and I know that will only continue to happen as time moves on.
Just try to remember that you don’t need to recall the exact sweater he wore on a given holiday, or to even recall the exact sound of his laugh, in order to know that you enjoyed your time together and to know that he was kind, funny, outgoing, [insert Kevin-ish adjective here], etc…
I don’t know if I was giving you advice there, or me, but in any event — thank you for sharing your journey. It’s helpful to me as a fellow widow. Even when it hurts, at least it helps me identify feelings and make sense of what this journey brings.