Fifty Days…February 15, 2021

Today was supposed to be the forty-year anniversary of the winter Sunday afternoon of February 15, 1981 when a handsome, blue-eyed man followed me around the local skating rink in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He was there with his nine-year-old son and I was there with my nine-year-old daughter. I was planning to drop her off for the birthday party and go home, but the other moms convinced me to stay and I agreed… if they would skate.

It had been years since I’d been on skates, but I bravely laced up and tentatively stepped onto the wooden floor. After slowly making it around once or twice among all the kids enjoying the birthday party, I began to have that “hair standing up on the back of my neck” feeling that I was being watched. When I turned to look behind me, he skated up close and introduced himself. We left the floor and moved over to the tables to talk. We shared about our past. We were both divorced and struggling to make sense out of the past mistakes that caused him to be single at 29, and me, 32.

Sept. 12, 2020 Sitting outside Cracker Barrel looking across the street at the skating rink where we met. We planned to go back today, sit at a table with a coke and reminisce about that life changing day.

There is so much to our story.  We all have a story, some happy, some unique, some unbelievable, some tragic, but we all have one. Almost forty years takes a long time to tell. 

Today is about being alone. It’s been fifty days since he’s held my hand, told me for the millionth time, “I just love you so much”, told me I’m gorgeous, like he did every single day of our lives together.

 It is a raw emotion, like an open wound that refuses to close. The following description of losing my spouse, lover, best friend and yes, my other half, the one who made me complete is everything I've felt for the past 50 days but couldn't put into words.

"Widowhood is more than missing your spouse's presence. It is adjusting to an alternate life. It is growing around a permanent amputation.

Widowhood is going to bed for the thousandth time, and still, the loneliness doesn't feel normal. The empty bed a constant reminder. The night no longer brings intimacy and comfort, but the loudness of silence and the void of connection.

Widowhood is walking around the same house you have lived in for years and it no longer feeling like home. Because "home" incorporated a person. And they're not there. Homesickness fills your heart and the knowledge that it will never return haunts you.

Widowhood is seeing all your dreams and plans you shared as a couple crumble around you. The painful process of searching for new dreams that include only you amount to climbing Mount Everest. And every small victory of creating new dreams for yourself includes a new shade of grief that their death propelled you to this path.

Widowhood is second guessing everything you thought you knew about yourself. Your life had molded together with another's and without them you have to relearn all your likes, hobbies, fears, goals. The renaissance of a new person makes you proud and heartbroken simultaneously.

Widowhood is being a stranger in your own life. The unnerving feeling of watching yourself from outside your body, going through the motions of what was your life, but being detached from all of it. You don't recognize yourself. Your previous life feels but a vapor long gone, like a mist of a dream you begin to wonder if it happened at all.

Widowhood is the irony of knowing if that one person was here to be your support, you would have the strength to grieve that one person. The thought twists and confuses you. If only they were here to hold you and talk to you, you'd have the tenacity to tackle this unwanted life. To tackle the arduous task of moving on without them.

Widowhood is missing the one person who could truly understand what is in your heart to share. The funny joke, the embarrassing incident, the fear compelling you or the frustration tempting you. To anyone else, you would have to explain, and that is too much effort, so you keep it to yourself. And the loneliness grows inside you.

Widowhood is struggling with identity. Who are you if not their spouse? What do you want to do if not the things you planned together? What brand do you want to buy if not the one you two shared for all those years? What is your purpose if the job of investing into your marriage is taken away? Who is my closest companion when my other half isn't here?

Widowhood is feeling restless because you lost your home, identity, partner, lover, friend, playmate, travel companion, co-parent, security, and life. And you are drifting with an unknown destination.

Widowhood is living in a constant state of missing the most intimate relationship. No hand to hold. No body next to you. No partner to share your burden.

Widowhood is being alone in a crowd of people. Feeling sad even while you're happy. Feeling guilty while you live. It is looking back while moving forward. It is being hungry but nothing sounding good. It is every special event turning bittersweet.

Yes. It is much more than simply missing their presence. It is becoming a new person, whether you want to or not. It is fighting every emotion mankind can feel at the very same moment and trying to function in life at the same time.

Widowhood is frailty.

Widowhood is strength.

Widowhood is darkness.

Widowhood is rebirth. life changing."

By: Alisha Bozarth




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