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February 29, 2020

What I Wish I could tell a New Widow in her Grief.

It has been three years.

I have no complaints from life. I have everything I need, and choices for everything I want. Three years ago, this time, each morning, I would think, “I woke up, I am still breathing, so I guess I have to live through the day.”

And that’s what I did for a whole year after Steph died. Just breathed. Breathed. Breathed. One breath at a time. One day at a time.

Today, I heard the news of a friend who lost her husband to sudden death. He was young, she is younger. They had a fairy-tale wedding and a beautiful life. And then it was all over.

In an instant, it took me back to when I was in the same exact situation, three years ago.

I wanted to hold her and hug her. She is in another country. I did not want to say, “I am sorry for your loss,” because those words mean nothing.

So, I was honest.

I wrote to her, “I am sorry, I have nothing to say at this moment that will make it all better. I wish I had.” I told her the only thing I knew to do, “Just breathe.”

There will be a time when she will blossom again, enriched with what he gave her while together and upon his leaving. I wish I could tell her this, but now is not the time. I would like to tell her this when she is ready, in her own time.

~

“I wish I could tell her.” {Poem}

I wish I could tell her that the constant pain in the chest will ease up eventually.

But then I would also have to tell her that it will come back, unexpectedly, as sharp as that first time, when his heart stopped beating.

I wish I could tell her she would be able to smile again, even laugh.

But then I would also have to tell her that it may feel hollow, it may feel like betrayal, it may take months or even years.

I wish I could tell her that joining a grief support group will help, that she will find strength in shared experiences.

But then I would also have to tell her that every day she will cry not just for her own pain, but for those who have also lost a husband, a wife, a lover, or a child. That she’ll probably cry more for them.

I wish I could tell her that he is in a better place, peaceful and serene.

But I also know that he did not want to go.

I wish I could tell her that things will get back to normal.

But the reality is that this will change her forever.

I wish I could tell her that she will be able to enjoy life and its bounties, once again.

But then I would also have to tell her that the joie de vivre may never come back.

It may, it may not. It may be soon. It may take years.

I still don’t know. I am still waiting.

I wish I could tell her that angels will appear in various forms, at each step of her journey, watching over her, taking care, at the exact moments she will need them, at every stage of her healing.

But there will also be people who will tell her after three months, “You’ve got to move on, snap out of it, this is life.”

For this, I will tell her, “Just shut those people out, they are not worthy to be in your life.”

I wish I could tell her that she will get kindness from unexpected places, from strangers, acquaintances, family, and friends alike.

But then I would also have to tell that finally, it is she alone who has to wake up to that empty pillow by her side, and it is she alone who knows where it hurts, how it hurts, how much it hurts, and that it hurts all the time.

I wish I could tell her that a time will come when her whole being is not consumed by the grief.

But then I would also have to tell her that there will be moments when it will hit her like a blitz, catch her unawares with the same intensity—at the whiff of a familiar smell, by a packet of crackers in a supermarket in the opposite part of the globe, when she’ll do that yoga posture that he complained he could never do.

I wish I could tell her that she will feel joy again.

But then I would also have to tell her that there will be times when she will just not “feel.”

I wish I could tell her that she will travel again to the most beautiful places, for there is still a lot to explore.

But then I would also have to tell her that she will sit there and wonder, what’s the big deal.

I wish I could tell her that one day she will be able to put her grief in a room and sit with it when she needs to, but that she will be able to walk out at will and close the door.

But then I would also have to tell her, that it will still be with her, for the rest of her life.

That room will take space in her next house, next city, another country, a little space even in the camping tent. It will always be there.

It will remind her constantly of the grief she’s endured, of the lover she lost, of the life that vaporised one fine day. But, it will also remind her of the love they had, of the passions they shared, of the journeys they took, of the silly moments that angered her at first and then became stories that he had to tell as an old man, but which she will have to now share, for he left too young.

I wish I could tell her that he would persist in every atom of her being.

But then I would also have to tell her that there will be times when she will wake up in a panic, that did he even exist or was it all a dream.

I wish I could tell her that his deep, shy voice will always ring in her ears, and he will talk to her from the heavens each time she calls out.

But then I would also have to tell her that there will be moments when she won’t be able to remember the sound of his voice.

I wish I could tell her that the journey of grief has stages and she will get through them, at her own pace.

But then I would also have to tell her that the process is not linear and definitely not unidirectional.

Just when she’ll think she has found a semblance of sanity, one fine day without warning, anger and sorrow will punch her in the gut.

I wish I could tell her that this too shall pass.

In a way, it will, but it will stay with her, in her joys and sorrow, and work and travel, in laughter and tears, in fun times and holidays.

It will stay. As it should. For he was a part of her life; that will never change.

I wish I could tell her, there will be a time when she will see a path and things to look forward to, but right now, it is the end of her life as she knew it to be.

So, I will not tell her. For right now, nothing will seem right.

So, I will not tell her. For nothing I say will make it better.

So, I will not tell her. For I do not walk in her shoes.

So, I will not tell her. For it is her journey and hers alone.

For now, I tell her, just breathe.

~

Relephant: Practicing Non-Attachment following the Death of a Loved One.

~

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