I couldn't fall asleep last night until 5am, which is late, even for little widow me. I stayed up going through all of the thousands of new emails (mostly junk) that have come to Ron's address over the last month, and reading some of his archived sent mail. I cried, missing the familiar tone of his writing. I tossed. I turned. I cried some more, for no apparent reason. I ate chocolate--long after I had brushed my teeth.
Because I've done my requisite widows' lit reading, I was not surprised that our journey in grieving and healing would be non-linear. We are coping well, and then we are not. We are feeling capable and hopeful, and then... so not. It's happened before on the anniversaries of Ron's passing that I've felt the sadness first, and then remembered the date.
This past month, the kids have delighted me with their resilience and strength--their ability to remember and celebrate their father, their compassion for others, and their instinct to live joyfully. On Ron's birthday, we toasted him with strawberry sprinkle donuts for breakfast, rode horses, and capped the day at the Pond. A good day.
I have been initiating efforts that seem to me like a measure of moving forward: sorting through Ron's drawers, giving away clothes, purging furniture, going to the office, and venturing out for fun without the kids. Most of the time it feels natural, but occasionally it feels like my own spin job.
What I miss most these days is emotional honesty. There was no need to edit with Ron. If something was on my mind, I could always share it with him. If I felt the desire to smooch him silly standing at the sink brushing his teeth, I would--shamelessly. If I was annoyed by something big or small, I'd get it off my chest. If I felt desperately needy, fearful, jealous, or sad, I could lay it bare to him and find comfort. There was no need to temper my emotions, good or bad, so emotional honesty was easy.
Living honestly as a widow is challenging. I'm constantly working to be the best version of myself around the kids, and--let's be clear--I'm not naturally that good. I'm stuffing emotions down my throat so I can pass for normal in public, and smiling when I check out at the grocery store. I temper my emotions for friends because they are so amazing and generous and the last time I sobbed about being lonely on the phone, one hopped in the car the next morning and drove four hours to visit, bless his heart. And when he left? I worked hard not to cry like a baby. Gestures of kindness and pleasure feel so deeply satisfying that I sometimes feel aware of suppressing my reaction because it just wouldn't be appropriate. Family friends took us on a wonderful boating adventure, and I was so moved to feel the wind on my face. If I had really let myself go, those few silent tears rolling down my cheek could have quickly evolved into the ugly cry. It's easier on a blog, but in real life, truly, you don't want honesty from me.
And I'm not on this roller coaster ride alone. I found dear little Mai hiding under the sheets this week, sobbing in the middle of the afternoon. Said she missed Ron. I did, too. We had a good cry and cuddle, and then moved on.
In case you think this post is all doom and despair, it is not: I've lost another 5 lbs. Unlike the caregivers' diet, the widows' diet is effective. It's like the heroin diet--no sleep and no food--but without the heroin, which makes it eminently more affordable on a widow's budget. I'm thinking of adding yoga once the kids start school.
Signing off with honesty made easy online: I love you. Thank you for reading. And caring.