I didn’t plan to become a widow at the age of 34. I had no idea it was coming. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I had gotten very comfortable in the equilibrium I worked so hard to achieve in my life. Things were going great. I was happy. Doing what I wanted to do. I had a supportive husband, three great kids (and we were talking about having a fourth)…things were just in place.
Until they weren’t.
My mind sometimes goes back to that morning. In fact, I find myself awake around 4AM on a regular basis, that fateful time when I got out of bed to find my husband taking his last breaths of air.
One night we were sitting outside together, enjoying a nice night, talking, enjoying each other’s company and wondering why we didn’t do this more often after the kids went to sleep, and the next morning, everything changed.
He was gone.
I had a quote on my to do list prior to losing my husband.
“Life is all about Plan B.”
I never dreamed how valuable those words would become in my life. It’s true. Plan A never happens the way you envision it. Stuff happens. Life happens.
The universe doesn’t owe us shit.
The only other option isn’t an option. I have to move forward. For my kids. For me. For other people watching us, wondering how we’ll pull through this, wondering if something like this might ever happen to them and what would they do.
After the kids go to sleep, when the house gets quiet, I find myself pausing by one of his pictures. I linger, looking at his youthful face, wondering if this is all a dream or a nightmare or just a bad joke. It can’t be real, I think, remembering our memories in the weeks before his death when everything seemed okay and normal and like we’d have the rest of our lives together.
Sometimes I let myself wallow. Most of the time I try to change the subject on my brain. Best not to let her get stuck in a pool of pity. But sometimes I let myself hang out there. It’s good to get it out.
And then I keep moving forward, because it’s the only thing I feel sure about. One step in front of the other. Slow steps. Big steps. Cautious. Scared. Optimistic. Happy. Angry. Sad. Lonely. Hopeful. It’s constantly changing. But the direction is always the same.