This is a Really Real Widow post.
One benefit to writing these and posting them on Facebook is that as the memories come up I can see how far I’ve come. I can remember the past and see where I am compared to then. I can see what lessons I didn’t learn in the moment.
I remember, when Parker first died, people told me it would get easier. I couldn’t believe them. They told me I’d stop noticing the anniversaries and that eventually I’d even forget what day she died.
I couldn’t believe them.
I wasn’t ready.
It felt too raw.
It’s three and a half years later. I no longer notice each 8th of the month, even though I haven’t forgotten what day she died. I just had to count back to see how long it’s been, I’m no longer counting the months as they go by.
My birthday was a huge grief trigger, even last year. I am getting older and she is not. I’m older then her and that wasn’t supposed to happen.
This year, I remembered Parker on my birthday (I remember her almost every day). I noted that I was, yet again, adding another year over her. I had those pangs of grief.
But they were just there. I was just the grief that’s woven into the fabric of me.
The pain didn’t define the day.
I didn’t spend part of the day in bed crying.
It is fully integrated into this new normal.
I just couldn’t believe it when people told me this early on. I didn’t believe it would get easier. She was so big in her life, and I expected that it would stay that way in her death.
But, most of the time, I’m comfortably widowed. It is a part of who I am but it no longer defines my existence.
I have a friend who was very recently widowed. I would never begin to tell her what path her grief will take. Every journey is different. I will sit with her in her agony, as it is now.
I still remember those early days.
Through Facebook memories I still read about those early days.
I see my pain coming through my words.
The despair. The hope. The need to maintain connection. The realization that life as I knew it would be entirely different without her.
It does get easier.
I just read something that said grief doesn’t get smaller, we get bigger.
The Parker shaped hole in my heart is much easier to live around. The edges have smoothed and I don’t trip over them so often. My heart is much larger, giving me room to avoid that hole.
Birthdays can be about me.
Birthdays can be about life.
Birthdays can be about the present.
About the moment I am living in.
The life I am living.
Grief gets easier.
But I will always miss her.