It will be exactly 18 months tomorrow, since he left.
18 months since the sky fell and my world was changed forever.
18 months of pain and healing.
18 months of feeling cared for and feeling so alone.
18 months of trying to figure out the new normal, new life, new beginnings, new me and hating a lot of it.
18 months of learning to sleep, live and be alone.
There are only a certain amount of people in the world who really understand how grieving the loss of a spouse to suicide is so different that any other grief. It isn't harder or easier, it is just different. A different kind of hell. It is hard to explain to someone else, even when that person is grieving themselves or has grieved before. I'm part of a unique club that I never wanted entry to, never expected to be a part of and want out of desperately. My membership began July 1, 2013 and sadly, I'll be in the club for the rest of my life.
Dates have always been significant for me. I used to love calendars. Boxes on the calendar meant birthdays, celebrations, appointments, vacations, days to look forward to and days to remember. They meant holidays, friends and precious spare time. Filling boxes on the calendar meant life was happening and I was engaged, living and excited about what was to come.
Then, the July 1, 2013 box changed everything.
It would be unfair to say that every day in the last 18 months has been black. Although there have been a lot black ones, especially in the beginning, there have been red, orange, blue, purple, yellow, green & plain white ones, too. It started with days filled with tears, hurts, horrible discoveries, wanting to die, sweat, anxiety, fear, loneliness and longing. Those days slowly changed into days where I feel I will never catch up and days where I feel like I'm on the top of the world. Days where I push myself hard physically and accomplish things I haven't in years and days where I don't accomplish anything and just stay in the sanctuary of my bedroom. From there days filled with unexpected lovely moments, sunshine, love, dance, friendship, laughter, care and adventure appeared. Those are my favorite, but don't always appreciate them as much as I should. Probably, because I get frustrated that it isn't like that more or even all the time.
I can see progress.. Things are better, even the days I fall apart and I become a weepy, ugly crying, desperate, hot mess. (Like today.) I still have hope. Or at least I try to. I no longer want to die. I want to move forward, get better. Live my life, have adventures and maybe even someday... Someday. So, I keep trying.
As the calendar moves forward, each little while brings a different challenge. There always seems to be some major thing I'm trying to get through. I look back at the last year and I have overcome a lot of them. Others, I have put in a box and let distraction wash over so I can avoid them. Those are the worst because they are always there. They block the road ahead and I can't move forward until I take them on. I'm just stuck, resulting in feeling like I'm just going in circles, lost & alone. (Again, like today.)
Specific dates are my current challenge. (Well, among others) I look at the calendar now, and the empty boxes terrify me because they represent the scary unknown. . They trigger anxiety attacks, fear and panic. They trigger loneliness and the knowledge that all I can do sometimes is go through the motions and just kill time. Wait for time to do it's thing, when all the hard work of healing can only go so far and things just need to sink in.
I can do every day. I've had 18 months of practice. Days, nights, weeks, months. Trying, every day.
It's the boxes where some annual date is marked that are the hardest. Those who have lost a loved one will tell you just how difficult those days are. I don't get to practice those as much. The anticipation of them is grueling. Days, sometimes weeks leading up to them are horrible, full of anxiety, fear, memories and thoughts I can't control or take hold of. Today is one of those days.
I have always loved doing nothing on this night and simply cuddling up with my partner, and reminiscing about the year past and dreaming about the coming year. Nothing fancy. Just the security of being with the man I loved was all I needed. That, and an amazing midnight kiss. During the times in my life that I was single on this day, it was always being surrounded by friends and bringing in the new year with abandon. Celebrating a new beginning.
Last year was awful. Just 6 months into this Suicide Widow Journey and I was far from OK. In fact, I was a fucking basket case. The shock was wearing off and I was melting down. Crying, shaking, unable to make coherent sentences unless they were shorter than 4 words. I had maxed out on the anti-anxiety meds and I was still out of control. Even sitting up was hard. I remember shrinking into a booth into a heap while trying eat a bowl of oatmeal at a local diner. The new year was coming and my life was a mess and I feared the same shit was on it's way for 2014. Not one aspect of my life was in order. And, I was alone. A close friend rescued me and actually spent the entire night with me. I cried, slept, cried, wailed, slept and cried more. I worried I was done for. Most of those first annual dates are excruciating.
The anticipation leading up to today was not fun. I cried, was anxious, was actually scared & whined to those closest to me. I so wanted this year to be different. This year I had hoped for 1 of 2 things. Either to celebrate with friends.. (Which didn't work out for a number of reasons) Or to just be with one special friend where there is no pretense, just 2 friends hanging out. That didn't work out either. No one is at fault.. It is just how things rolled out.
So, I'm alone.
This morning I felt like I'm in the same spot I was in last year. That not one aspect of my life is in order and I'm starting out the year a hot mess. Crying, lonely.. Feeling like I have just gone in circles... And, I'm alone.
But, as the day progressed and the sun went down...
I realized, I am ok.
Yes, there are tears... A lot of them...
Yes, it hurts... Badly... .
Yes, memories fill my head. Good ones and bad ones. Vivid ones and obscure ones. Happy ones and painful ones.
Yes, I hate being alone.
But... I am ok.
It is different from last year.
And, hopefully, it will be different next year. Maybe, I will be with those amazing friends or maybe, I will able just to be with that one friend, sitting on my porch, just hanging out... Or maybe...
If anything, I'm hoping for less tears, less fear, less pain... And not being alone.