I took a sleeping pill each night because I didn't want to have a hard time going to sleep. I didn't want to lay there and feel miserable. I'd just spent the day feeling miserable. I needed a break.
Silence. Life became so silent after Michael was gone. Gone were the days of listening to Michael laugh and talk on the phone with his friends, and the melodic sounds of him playing the guitar in the back bedroom. Gone also were the days and nights of the sound of the oxygen machine's compressor, and Michael's cough. The silence was so big. So overwhelming.
I read a lot. Read my Bible. Read everything I could about grief and Heaven. I went to church practically every time the doors were open. It was a refuge.
Each day was different. Some better. Some worse.
Then I got pregnant. After so much tragedy,
Through the pregnancy, and through Michaela's babyhood my grief has continued to diminish in its intensity. Nevertheless, being a young widow with a child is very hard, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. There are so many precious moments that are mine alone when they should be ours.
I've been struggling with loneliness. I've been lonely every day for four years, but it doesn't really get easier. I am not comfortable with my loneliness. Yes, there's the loneliness of a wife missing her husband, but it's even more than that.
I don't know if it's just me, or that I'm a widow (couples are notorious for avoiding widows), but I have absolutely no social life. None. As much as I love being with my daughter, I really miss adult conversation and companionship. Yesterday, a dear friend called and we got into a deep conversation about faith (we always do). Michaela was not impressed, and her behavior deteriorated the longer I stayed on the phone. I knew I needed to get off the phone, but I was so enjoying the intellectual stimulation that I was reluctant to do so. Until she pulled my hair. More than once. That did it.
Look, I know a lot of mothers of young children struggle with that sort of thing. But, more than likely, their husbands come home and they have some time to talk to him. That never happens here. I spend my weekdays with 31 children, and then I come home to my child. I haunt Facebook just so I can have some sort of adult interaction. Pitiful!
And I feel stuck at home. Michael and I used to go out of town frequently. That is much harder as a single mother with a small child for many reasons. I just want to get away. I know we'd be doing more if Michael were here. I know because we used to, and I know because that's what families do. We are not a family. We are family, but we are not a family. Get it? I have a daughter. I do not have a family. You cannot tell me otherwise.
I suppose other people who aren't widowed struggle with loneliness, and feeling like they aren't in the position to do the things they want to do. But for me, I associate these feelings and limitations to the changes I've experienced since becoming a widow. Since Michael hasn't been here.
The longer I've been a widow the more it seems like some others have forgotten this terrible loss in my life and the changes it has imposed upon me. I can think of several times in the recent past where I felt that an extra measure of thoughtfulness should have been extended to me, but wasn't. In those moments I feel that I am invisible, and that I have no voice. When I say something, I don't feel that I'm understood. So, I'm not saying anything anymore. I'll just avoid things when possible.
Four years (and two days) a widow.