The Worst Feeling
Everyone grieves differently. Some people get angry. Some get depressed. Some go totally bonkers. For me, hands down, it’s loneliness. Yes, I feel God’s presence and loving arms supporting me daily. That’s what has kept me sane and gotten me out of bed every day. Yes, I have amazing friends who call, text, email, and visit every single day. Literally not one day has passed without visitors. The company is wonderful and the appreciation runs deep. I KNOW I am loved. But the truth is that I was married to a man who eventually became my closest friend and we understood each other better than anyone.
We sent stupid, and sweet, texts all day and called each other often. It probably stemmed from the fact that the first four months of our relationship were long distance. No physical distractions – just our souls determining if we were compatible. After almost 10 years of marriage, it was normal to communicate all the time, even with really mundane details. If I did that to anyone else, it would come across as narcissistic and/or obsessive. During one of his stays in the hospital, he sent a text reminding me to pick up mulch at Home Depot. Exciting stuff, people. I never had to second guess myself before sending or saying something. Well, unless I had the occasional raging PMS, then all bets were off. (Bonus tip to the unmarried gentlemen out there: Us ladies are ALL a little crazy and hormonal. That’s why you pick one and spend the rest of your life trying to figure her out. And to the married gentlemen: go love your wife now knowing that you’re not the only one confused by the juxtaposition of emotions. You’re welcome.)
I checked Simon’s phone after he passed and saw a few drafted but unsent texts. The last one he wrote was to me. It said “I love you.” My heart is filled with gratitude that I got to be that man’s wife. It just wrecks me that I may never get that kind of love again in this lifetime. Even if my mom learned to text and tried her best to keep up with it, it wouldn’t be the same. Sorry, Mom. I know you would give it your best shot if I asked, too. But I refuse to dwell on the what-ifs. God’s timing and preparation has been so spot on during this journey, why would he stop now? A fellow young widow shared something helpful. She said I need to acknowledge that this is a journey that no one can take for me. It’s mine alone but I don’t have to BE alone. There are so many ready to support us and pray for us however needed.
The loneliness is physically tangible, too. Simon and I held hands or hugged or kissed every day that we were together since we had many days apart due to his work schedule. Obviously we did more than that as is evidence in Exhibits J, V, and M (our kids), but anyone who has been married for more than a few years will tell you sex is just one piece of the puzzle. Holding his cold hand after he passed was one of the worst feelings of loneliness, although there was peace because his pain was gone and he was in the presence of Jesus. But those hands – there was no warmth, no energy, no spirit anymore. I remember the first time he held my hand. I was driving my manual Saturn coupe, and he held my right hand while anticipating when I would shift gears. He was left handed. Our son and youngest daughter are lefties, too.
This is a picture from our first date when Simon visited California in October 2003. We took my little brother and his friend, B, to Steak Corral. Our final meal out together as a family, just two weeks before Simon died, was Steak Corral.
Ironically, B was my escort at my brother’s wedding last month that Simon was too ill to attend. I was just weeks from widowhood. Now I am on this journey that is mine alone, but I don’t have to be alone. And I am going equipped with many fond memories of love that can never be taken away from me.