}

Friday, December 13, 2019

Twelve weeks

Twelve weeks ago today my husband Nigel died. So much has happened since then, but I still have a very long way to go, as today reminded me. Actually, I’ve been aware of that for 12 weeks.

Today I had a few cries, which, of course, isn’t unusual: Half of me was ripped away, and that hasn’t even begun to heal. That’s why I talked about feeling “happy-ish” about the new house: I’m not happy, and I have no idea when I will be, or even if I will be (though I expect to be happier someday). This is where I still have the farthest to go.

In Nigel’s last couple weeks, we talked about everything we needed to say. He asked me at one point if I had any questions for him, and, knowing he knew from personal experience what I’d be facing, I asked him, “how long does it take, not before feeling better, but before it doesn’t hurt so fucking much?” He said that while it’s not linear (which I knew, of course), after three or four months there would more times when I wouldn’t feel sad all the time. Slowly, those times will become more often, he said, but even a long time afterward, emotions can strike back without warning. So far, that’s exactly how it’s played out. In fact, only a few short weeks ago I couldn’t have imagined ever describing myself even as “happy-ish”.

I think about that all the time, and that it means that even now, twelve weeks after he died, Nigel’s still giving me comfort and wisdom. He’d be glad I listened—and he’d probably make fun of me for supposedly never listening to him. That was one of his things.

While Nigel’s been in my thoughts most of the day today, I didn’t have an especially bad day (having a few cries in a day is my normal life, and it’s somewhat better than it’s been). I didn’t have a great day, but that was mainly because I’m just plain worn out from work, from grief, from trying so hard to find a path for myself alone.

I used the word “alone” to underscore an important point: While the family has been extremely supportive and helpful, and, as I said the other day, that would make Nigel very happy, everyone knows that, ultimately, this is a journey I must take alone because only I can find and make a life for myself. I don’t want to do that—I want my old life back—so even as I try to move forward, I’m still held back by not wanting to even have to do it—I want Nigel back. It’s up to me to work though that at my own pace.

And yet, I really am better today than I was twelve weeks ago, just as Nigel told me I would be. I really am “happy-ish” about moving to my new home (I found out today that it really might be possible to move up settlement after all, something that would be good for all sorts of reasons). And I’m happy that even though I don’t share life with Nigel any more, I still benefit from his wisdom, and his love.

Twelve weeks ago today my Nigel died. So much has happened since then, and I still have a very long way to go. I’ve been aware of that for the entire 12 weeks, especially today.

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