I was widowed 40 days ago.
My fiancé went to work on a Thursday morning, and less than two hours later, he was killed by an idiot who pulled out in front of him.
Since that fateful Thursday, it seems as though everyone around me has been pushing me to move out of the home we shared and move on. People from all walks of life have come out of the woodwork to offer to help me move, which feels like a nagging, added pressure rather than a comforting gesture. In fact, it has actually made the grieving process much more painful.
You see, when you envision your life on a certain trajectory and that is all taken away in a split second, it changes you. As I walk through my apartment, it has been carefully preserved as a time capsule of the day I found out he was gone.
Now, before you get the wrong idea, yes, my dishes are done, my bathroom is clean, and I tidy up around his things. Around our old life. Everything of his has been left as it was on that day. Several pairs of his beloved Brooks sneakers in various stages of deterioration line the entrance of our apartment; his weekly vitamin organizer is still left next to our bed with Friday and Saturday’s doses still awaiting his return. The clothes he would wear for Friday are neatly folded on our drying rack and it is as if time has stood still. Now, I know it isn’t healthy to live in this time capsule long term, but it feels so comforting to get a peek into our life before he left.
This was a life we shared together. The food we bought together is still tucked away in our cabinets waiting for a delicious meal to be made. In these walls are where we shared our deepest, darkest secrets late at night in the dark comfort of our bed. It’s where we made plans for the future: starting a homestead in New Mexico and eventually a family. This place is where we would playfully bicker about each other’s version of clean and decompress from a long day. Knowing that no matter what happened that day, we were there to greet each other with love.
That’s why the thought of packing this all up and moving hurts so much. It means that old life is gone and that I have to move on, which I know at some point I need to do. Just not today. For now, I am enjoying relishing in the memory of our life—even though I don’t necessarily fit into it anymore.
As I stand today, almost six weeks into this new version of myself, it’s hard to really fit in anywhere. I feel as though I am in some sort of life purgatory. Which I think is totally healthy, normal, and quite honestly, okay at this stage of the grieving process. I know I will move on when I am ready.
I can’t help but wonder what the rush is about. Why are we so quick to brush grief under the rug, and why do we feel the need to push others to do the same?
From my experience, it seems as though everyone else has moved on and they expect you to toe the line and do the same. But this hurry up and grieve attitude just doesn’t work. It’s not helpful and no wonder why we all feel so damn uncomfortable with our emotions. There is a reason why it’s called a “grieving process” because it is just that. A process. It’s not linear and there really should be no expected time frame to move on from this. Because quite honestly, we never really move on from grief. We just learn to live and grow around it.
The hole that was created within me that day will never go away. I may have moments where the sting hurts a little less, but it’s never gone. I don’t think it ever will be.
We, as a society, need to really do better at holding space for sadness in our culture. We have become so wrapped up in “good vibes only” and emphasizing only the good. That’s bullsh*t woke-ism. We need the darkness. We need to honor people’s processes. And goddamn do we need to do better when it comes to having conversations about death. We need to be okay with feeling uncomfortable. Sobonfu Some, the wife of Dagara elder, Malidoma Some, believes that “when we cry, we allow life back into our body and our spirit,” which I happen to wholeheartedly agree with.
Truly sitting with my grief and feeling all of the emotions that come with it is the only way I will ever be able to truly grow around my sadness.
Right now, the best thing I can do is sit in my time capsule apartment and grieve the life I shared with my love.
So please, stop pressuring me to move on and move out. Right now, I need this.
How to take care of our grieving hearts: