I felt like a puddle of tears.
I felt like an automaton, going through the motions.
I felt like I was 'life-sitting,' keeping someone else’s life for them while they were away.
I felt alone,
Not words associated with strong, are they?
It took two tearful shouting matches to hook up the cable box.
It was a major – and long and tearful – fight to figure out all the computer things.
It was finding ways to do the things he always did, things I lacked knowledge (and sometimes physical strength) to do.
I was forced to face these things
lacking knowledge or basis to decide,
believing I was incapable.
But I did it. I did it by myself.
I found tools or methods to compensate for my weakness.
I googled everything to help decide how to proceed.
In the doing of the thing, I became capable.
So basically, I encountered a thing,
I was mad that no one was there to help me. That he wasn’t there.
I decided it had to be done.
I figured out how to do it.
And I did it.
That one thing. That one thing that I have never had to do before.
That one thing I shouldn’t have had to do now.
That one thing I had to do alone.
But I did it.
I did the one thing.
I yelled at it for its existence.
I shouted my victory over it.
I dried my own tears -
Until I encountered the next thing.
And I did it all over again.
One thing at a time.
Some things defeated me. Slayed me.
Reinforced that I was
I yelled. I shouted. I cried.
Then I called for help.
Help I used to have.
Help I should still have.
This is not strong.
And I survived.
Maybe it’s like watching an athlete accomplish impossible feats. But they didn’t get there overnight. They spent months – maybe years – training. Consistent, persistent, dedicated training.
Five more reps.
Ten more pounds.
Thirty more minutes.
One more protein shake.
It was the seemingly innocuous tiny decisions, steps, and habits, that slowly added up, allowing for the otherwise impossible.
Like Daniel-san ...
wash the car,
paint the fence,
wax on, wax off.
Over and over and over again. Ad nauseum.
See, those who thought I was strong had gone on with their lives. They lived their own monotony so they didn’t see mine. They saw me accomplishing something they believed they could not do; something that took strength they believed they did not have.
Perhaps it’s simply that others saw my situation - my grief - as an insurmountable mountain, something they believed was unsurvivable. That each step I took was a great feat in and of itself; tenuous, but hoped for.
Maybe they saw my grief mountain, and saw me as a mountain climber.
But a mountain climber is one whose intention is to climb a mountain.
They have a coach to prepare them.
They train, physically and mentally.
They research attire, equipment, provisions.
Their goal is to climb the mountain.
Their focus is to reach the top,
Then they will climb down and go home.
I am not a mountain climber.
I was not prepared for loss.
I was not equipped for grief.
My goal was to go back to, or at the very least to not move further away from, the life I knew.
My focus was the next step, the next breath; I couldn't even imagine a top.
There would be no climbing down for me; there was no home to go back to.
And I have no coach, only other sojourners who emerge from the fog, take my hand and encourage me onward, or just sit with me in the darkness and share our grief for a while. And I am grateful for fellow survivors.
I put one foot tenuously in front of the other. I call it survival.
Writing about widow life, grief, and general random ramblings.
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