I feel as though I've turned a corner in my recover process and its a good feeling. I know there is still a long way to go before I feel "whole" again, but at least I've come to terms with some things that have been difficult to grapple with. Here are a few of the things that I think most women have to face when they lose their spouses either through death or infidelity, at least when you get to be my age, which means we are no longer young women with a bright future ahead:
1. Never again will a man look at me and see a beautiful, smiling bride, full of youth and promise, walking down the aisle to meet him. That memory will only be held by one person, and that person is gone now. It's as though my own youth went with him.
2. Never again will I feel the comfort of falling asleep at night with a hand on mine, a reassurance of the love I thought I knew.
3. Never again will I hear a familiar voice come in the door to greet me, knowing that person has come in the same door for a lifetime with the knowledge I'll be here waiting anxiously to see him.
4. Never again will I have company for those long stormy nights or snow days that last 36 hours. Or someone to venture out with in the early hours after a storm to clear debris or shovel a walk.
5. Never again will there be someone who shares my memories of a honeymoon in the tropics when love was wonderful and new and life was all ahead of us.
7. Never again will there be someone to share the memories of those amazing moments when you welcome a new miracle into your relationship, holding a newborn baby and studying that face together, making sure the chosen name fits and dreaming about the future with this new child.
8. Never again will someone remind me of the way I felt when I left the church 43 years ago thinking I was the luckiest person on the face of the earth.
9. Never again will I feel the reassurance of a relationship that's been through the wars and come out the other side.
10. Never again will I feel the comfort of another's long lasting love, thinking we'll grow old together and be there for each other throughout what will come in our final years on earth.
11. Never again will I look forward to leisurely mornings in bed on holidays and weekends, with a warm arm draped over me from behind, assuring me of someone's presence. Or of listening to the sound of breathing as someone sleeps peacefully across the bed, giving me the peace of knowing they're there.
12. Never again will I feel completely at ease with another human being because I've learned the hard way that no one can be trusted fully to always be there for me. My sense of trust is gone forever.
There are more things on this list, of course, but all are similar in nature. There is something very sad about losing a person you built your life around and expected your future to include. But I know that's not to be now. And I'm coming to terms with the loss. In some ways it would be easier to lose those things to death, because no one chooses death. Losing them to a choice is tough to take. But I am beginning to know there is life after the end of a relationship. Even a very long one - and one that I didn't chose to end.
It's just a different life. But it is life and its to be lived fully. Which is what I intend to do.