Friday, October 21, 2016

Counting days

In the first months after Kevin's death, I counted days. 7 days. 10. 50. 100. I graduated to counting weeks, then months. And now I am counting years. It's a bit over two-and-a-half years. It's unbelievable and yet it is.

I've read articles about how those who have lost someone they adore shouldn't count days or note anniversaries, that it's just scraping the scab off and not allowing the wound to heal. I have mixed feelings about this.
  1. I don't know that the wound will ever heal. I feel as though I am now someone so radically different, that I've become one of those trees that was struck by lightening but somehow managed to not die. It may have wanted to die. I did. But it eventually sent out another green shoot and now is essentially a different tree than it was before the strike. It had to learn to grow around the wound, cradling the damaged part and incorporating it because to lose it would mean losing the place where the new growth emerged. 
  2. I don't want to deny the important dates. His birthday. Our anniversary. Even the date of his death, which was the hardest and holiest day I have lived through. How would I want to forget any of it? Admittedly, some of those days are hard, but not all of them. On the last anniversary of his death my new love and I went for a walk. We found fossils. We talked about Kevin and remembered him. I cried and was comforted. It was a gift of a day where we celebrated the small things that go into making a life. Remembering is one of those things that we cannot escape, so I would rather embrace and incorporate it.
  3. For some it may be very important to not remember the specifics, but I don't know how not to. Every part of the year is in some way associated with Kevin and also associated with his illness. By October 2013 we knew something was wrong but didn't know what. No one thought cancer. So I remember the good days and the bad. I remember my birthday party and how happy he was to be with me. I remember his smile as I blew out the candles on the cake. And I remember how he barely ate any cake because his stomach hurt. I cannot remember the good without sometimes also remembering the hard. It's just how I am. It may be how most of us are. 
We all mourn in our own way. There is no set of rules. I don't need to count days anymore but I still feel his loss on the 28th of every month. I toast him every Friday. And that's okay. Other widowed people I know, those who lost their partners a long time ago, have told me that you never stop missing them but it becomes easy to remember the good times and not just the hard. I already have noticed this. I think of Kevin and smile far more often than I cry now.

I bear my new growth with astonishment and wonder. I cradle my scarred places tenderly and cherish the love that created the wound. I wouldn't choose differently; I would rather keep him alive in memory and word, even if it sometimes hurts. I am a different person now, forged by love and loss and being too stubborn to stop living.

And in case you were wondering, it's 937 days. 

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

16 comments:

  1. Oh dear Laura, we think and feel so much alike. I count days. It's been nearly nine months since the death of my husband. I'm not a crier, but I've cried every one of those 268 days. I'm not a talker either, but friends who "sit with me on the mourning bench" listen as I talk and talk.
    Today would have been our 32nd anniversary. Hurts like hell. I live in a gray world. I've lost my sparkle. I'm not where I smile at memories rather than cry.
    Your words have been among the most relevant that I've experienced on this journey. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (((hugs))) I'm glad you are letting yourself grieve and so sorry that you have to.
      Happy anniversary. I know it hurts like hell. Deep breaths.
      And thank you.

      Delete
  2. I hate the word widow... I want to be his wife forever and I will continue to be married. I'm 37 and my husband passed away 2 days after my birthday on Oct 9, 2016 @ 6:11pm. Stage 4 Cancer mets to liver diagnosed on Aug 22 2013... He was 43. I have not cried much (expect for that day)... Its like if I allowed myself to cry now I'm afraid I won't be able to stop. I find myself looking at the calendar in our room where I would keep track of all the appointments, meds and procedures thinking "Wow just two weeks!!!" It feels like its been an eternity already and I wonder how am I supposed to live the rest of my life when it only has been TWO WEEKS!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (((hugs))) I'm so sorry for your loss. The early days are terrible, be gentle with yourself. I don't know if it would be helpful, but I've been writing about grief and loss since my husband died. The earlier posts might have resonance for you. Posts from March 2014 on here: http://truestorieshonestlies.blogspot.com/search/label/grief

      Delete
  3. Here is what I wrote at two weeks
    http://truestorieshonestlies.blogspot.com/2014/04/two-weeks.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Six months ago today at 7:02am I awoke to find my world shattering. Out of the blue, my husband David was dying. I screamed and yelled and begged him not to leave me as I frantically attempted CPR. It was in vain and his life, and mine, was over. The clock on the wall ticks off the last minutes of his life again every morning. I hate waking up close to 7am. I try to be up and out of bed, busy, before 7. I stay busy and avoid the clock until at least 9am. That way I am not watching the clock thinking it is 7:10. That is when the 911 operator told me what time it was when she was asking who she could call to come be with me. It is 7:15am, that is when the EMS arrived. It is 8:08am. That is when he was pronouced dead. I will never live through another Thursday without remembering. I will never live through another 21st without remembering. I count this in minutes, hours, days, weeks and months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you. For me it's 6:35pm on Fridays. ((hugs))

      Delete
  5. I stopped counting the days around month 4 - simply because I did not feel it was healthy for me to do. I count the months instead, will be 29 the end of this month on the 29th. Whether I choice to mark the important dates or not, my body does, my body remembers and on the special days, such as his birthday on the 17th of this month, my body recalls and knows. There is no right or wrong, only what is helpful for you. But it does help to read what works for others. That does help.

    ReplyDelete
  6. There is no right or wrong way, we all do the best we can. It's amazing to me how the body knows. Thank you for saying that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. There is no right or wrong way, we all do the best we can. It's amazing to me how the body knows. Thank you for saying that.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I lost my husband on 7-1-15 to suicide. We were only married about 9 months. He was 25. Our 2 year anniversary was the 18th of this month. We were happy and looking forward to starting a family. At first I felt like it was my fault that I could've been a better wife but I didn't know how to be a wife as this was my first marriage. I love and miss him more and more everyday. We just didn't have enough time together.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's been 4 years and 3 months since I lost my Robert in his sleep, our bodies touching, as always. Lifting one leaden foot in front of the other, dragging my entrails behind me for years after, through the silence, the winter. Now, a little more than 4 years later, I feel alive again. I made it. Finally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I have had that sense of evisceration, too. And that sense of astonishment that I am still here.

      Delete
  10. I too quit counting the days since 9:20 that Saturday morning,May 7th 2016.My wife,Diane,was dying of Cancer but Fortunately,she had a heart attack or a stroke in her sleep and passed without the experiencing the final stages of Cancer.She had always told me she prayed that if GOD couldn't Cure her she wished he would just take her.I guess he heard her.

    ReplyDelete

True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.truestorieshonestlies.blogspot.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.laurapacker.com.
Related Posts with Thumbnails