A Stranger In My Own Life

My life.

Everything is familiar. But everything is strange.

I live in the same house. But it doesn’t feel like home. I have watched this show. But it now seems different. I’ve sat at my table a hundred times. But I now feel like a visitor. My bed is my own – with indentions fashioned from my own body. But it’s now cold and impersonal. I’ve sat in the quiet of my living room. But it’s never been so loud. I go run familiar errands, but someone else controls my body.

The plans for the future had been made. But now they’re shredded and blown away with the wind. I converse with the same people I’ve always known, but I don’t feel like the same person. I may do the same hobbies, but I can’t quite shake the unnerving feeling I am crossing over into what is no longer mine and it casts a pall over my enjoyment.

My life.

It’s all familiar. But nothing is the same.

The most puzzling emotion in widowhood is feeling like a stranger in your own life. The feeling of “home” is now a foreign concept. You can almost watch yourself going through the motions but feel utterly detached from it all.

Even the most routine things now bear an unrecognizable scent. Many things are the same. And, yet, nothing is. Like a transplant, thrust into an alternate reality.

It takes years to filter through all the residual change. It’s not just life that has changed. I, also, have changed.

There are facets of my life that remain the same, but no longer fit with the new me. There are facets of my life that remain and are able to blend with the “me” that I’m becoming.

There’s parts of who I am that fit with my old life, but no longer fit with my new. There are parts of me that still fit and are morphing to adjust to my new life.

There are so many nooks, so many crannies, so many details, so many pieces of who I am and what my life was that I have to sort through, give up, redefine and reforge. It’s a lot of work.

During this long, arduous adjustment, I am left feeling like an actress cast into the wrong show, arriving at the wrong set, confused with where I fit.

It’s not just a simple act of moving forward. Moving forward insinuates continuing. If only it were so simple as to just take another step on the path I was on. But that is impossible. Grief isn’t so simple. Widowhood isn’t moving forward. It’s actually starting over.

My life is no longer my life. I am no longer me. I cannot move forward because the future I had is no longer there. I actually must shift, dunk, crouch, retreat, crawl, go around, sidestep, jump over and many other verbs to find my new path before I can function in the simplistic “move forward” motion.

As an amputee must relearn some of life’s most simple acts, like tying a shoe or walking, so must a widow/er. Simple things like balancing the bank account, shopping at the grocery store, cooking, daily conversation, and other such things, all tilt on their axis. Social activities become a huge undertaking that take years to relearn because everything about us has changed or is changing.  Our purpose in life must be redefined. Goals are forced to change. House maintenance must become second nature where it wasn’t before. Hobbies are often cursed with too many heartstrings and we are left to forge new ones. Our self-identity was stolen and we must take the leftover pieces and trying to form a new picture.

Yet, one of the single-most important aspects of healing I’ve seen for myself is being willing to create that new life. Redefine. Remold. Relearn. As painful as it is to let go of the things that summarized “us”, it is necessary to begin letting go so the “me” could emerge. It is part of healing. It is part of forming a new existence.

There is nothing more confusing than feeling like a stranger in my own life. And so, healing necessitates the formation of “new.” A new that I can sink my roots into again.  A new I can accept with its new definitions, new goals, new capabilities. A new me.

So I can feel at home in my life once again.


4 thoughts on “A Stranger In My Own Life

  1. Debbie Johnson May 4, 2020 — 2:06 am

    Totally an amen to everything you said …. except that you word my thoughts into nuggets that make sense. Thank you !

    P.S. I don’t know about you, but I feel the Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated all these feelings ! It’s just one more thing to deal with.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very insightful for me. I am a widower, and have been struggling thru many of these “obstacles”….but had not thought about many of the perspectives you offer.
    Thanks for helping with this overwhelming challenge called moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s exactly how I feel! You are able to put into words what I struggle to explain even to myself. I look forward to your posts they somehow give comfort to read maybe I am going through “normal” life challenges please keep posting -you are the only one I really follow Thank You !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you. Again, you said it for me. It’s been 17 months. We were married 43 years. My faith is solid and there is no bitterness. His life was so filled with sickness that I would never wish him back. But I have no idea how to be me now. Every thought for 43 years was us. I knew who us was. Part of me wants to purge my life and start fresh. But part of me doesn’t want to erase him and make the kids feel like their home has changed. But it has….

    Liked by 1 person

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