Raw Widowhood Feels Like Drowning

I’ve never drowned, but I can imagine the panic. The inundation. The fight as your body merely wants to do what is natural – breathe – and your brain reminds you that the natural is off limits. The burn in the chest. The enveloping darkness. The pound of every pulse reminding you that you are surrounded on all sides by what you can’t escape.

And that is raw widowhood. Every single reality check is your heart trying to comprehend what your brain is telling you is true. The finality of loss and the vapor of a life you can no longer grasp.

A thousand thoughts molesting you, taking away your innocence. A thousand reminders like acid on a cut.

An intricately cut diamond can shift in the light and can sparkle its glimmering magic. But raw grief is like a diamond with a thousand faces. And every shift of life brings to light yet another blinding, unwanted truth. No sparkle….just gravity, pulling you down with it, stealing your breath.

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Raw widowhood is being numb to everything but the pain. This fog of indifference envelopes you. The kids didn’t eat their vegetables? The plants didn’t get watered? Politics has more drama in the news? Who cares? Not you. You’re just trying to breathe in your own corner of the world. They say to forget about your toe hurting, smash a finger. Well, that is how you feel. The throb in your soul drowns out all other worries and cares.

Raw widowhood is dealing with firsts. Not just the big ones like anniversaries and birthdays, but the little ones. The first piece of mail addressed to him and you stare at that name. The first phone call asking for him that you have to give an answer and utter those infamous words. The first trip to the grocery store where your shopping list doesn’t need to include his things. The first family function where his absence is felt everywhere.

And these firsts can last for years….blinding you with their new facet of reality over and over again.

Raw widowhood is being full of illogical thoughts. What would he say if he were here? How would I respond if he walked in this room right now? How would he handle this if the roles were switched? And we torture ourselves with the impossible. We make ourselves miserable with these thoughts but can’t let go of them.

Raw widowhood is the word ‘never’ becoming a foul “four-letter” word because it taunts you with what will never be again. Once again, that shift of the grief diamond…. He will never sit in that chair again. He will never watch this show with me. He will never see our girls married. He will never… He will never… You begin to hate that word. And daily, the nevers pounce on you.

Raw widowhood is that paranoia of memories losing their vibrancy. Like trying to grasp the wind, you desperately try to clutch them. And panic sweeps in when the fade happens against your will.

Raw widowhood is the split-second moments when you forget. You reach for the phone to call them without thinking. You pull into the driveway and see their car and think about what you want to tell them. You call across the house. Then the void crashes darkness upon you once again, reiterating the loneliness.

Raw widowhood is every decision and responsibility swelling into a giant on steroids. What would have been simple before, now feels like a vacuum trying to swallow you whole. The fear and anxiety take root and paralyze you. Everything is scary.

Widowhood, in its baby form, is simply trying to grasp the concept that no matter how well you adjust in coming years, you will never be able to have this one person that shared your soul, shared their unique history with you, shared that specific intimate relationship with you, ever again. And trying to absorb that truth, drowns you deep in your very soul.

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