March 8, 2016

78 Days of a Widow’s Grief.

kaiti wallace article photo

Most commonly I hear, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”

Explaining the aftermath of losing your soulmate is near impossible. Raw emotions and thoughts are so regularly shut away from friends and family. How can anyone possibly understand the unspoken?

If you take only one thing from my experiences, let it be to really live in life and in love completely!

Appreciate all the small, beautiful moments in your relationships, take nothing for granted and truly live in every moment with the ones you love. Take strength to do this from the ones around you.

Love offers us courage and strength. Harness it and run with it. Use it to pursue moments in life that make you truly happy.

Too often we don’t realize the full beauty and potential in our relationships until they’re gone. Rarely in life will you be lucky enough to experience true, unconditional love and then most unluckily have that love taken away from you through death.

Can you imagine the below scene as your new reality? Try to picture it. How would you cope? How would you help a family member or friend if they were unlucky enough to go through it?

It was 78 days into this grief. I shall begin at the start of the day. Although this is my reality, I have written it so that you may imagine it as your own.

You wake alone in the bed you shared with your love. You cannot reach over to hold them, kiss them good morning or watch them while they are sleeping. They are no longer there and never will be again. Death is permanent. No more good morning smiles, touches or gestures of any kind. You wake up alone when previously you woke everyday with the love of your life.

Then you get up to shower. There are no more flirtatious, perverted comments from your partner as you walk naked to the shower. You can no longer feel them watching you with want or lust. There are no more cheeky glances or watching them brush their teeth while you wash your hair. No more fighting over hot water or sharing the shower together. No more intimate moments in the bathroom. No one to hand you a fresh towel. You are all alone. There is no more brushing your hair in the mirror and your love grabbing you from behind and kissing your neck. There is no more yelling out, “Hurry up, babe, we are going to be late!” or hearing “You look so beautiful when you first wake up.”

Then you get dressed alone with no one there to give you an honest opinion on how your outfit looks. Not that you care anymore as there is no one worth dressing up for but yourself. Their clothes hang stagnant in the wardrobe. You look at them wondering what they would be wearing today if they were here. You take a shirt in your hand and lean in wishing for their smell to still be there. Sometimes it is and you’re so grateful. Other times you can’t find it and you miss them even more. You put make up on for no one but yourself, so you can hide your tired eyes.

You want to let your friends think you’re doing okay. “Oh, you’re so strong,” they tell you. You agree with them but want to scream, “No I’m not!”

Like a scene from a movie, you can vividly remember the last morning you had with your love and the last words you spoke to each other. You wish for them to come back for the sixth time since you woke. You ache for them to come back.

So many simple things you now miss, like making them breakfast. You miss their mess. You miss their leaving dishes for you to clean up. You miss watching them play with the kids before work. You miss the house being full of noise, joy and laughter at 7:00 a.m.

You feel guilty that you are not the same fun, energetic mum you were before. You make promises to yourself you will play more with the kids but then you can’t think of anything but your love and you are overwhelmed with longing.

When you’re in the car, a song may come on that makes you cry or you might turn the radio off because it’s too hard to listen that day. You drive past places you went to all the time with your partner. The service station, fish and chip shops. Everything you do jogs memories. You wish again that your love would come back. You wish they were in the car with you, just as they had been when they were here.

There are no more conversations about work or chores around the house. No more talking about the future or plans for the weekend ahead.

You put on a front for your children, interacting with them in the car while you’re in a constant daze with thoughts of your partner running through your head. You look to the empty passenger seat beside you and picture the last time that they were in the car with you. You long for them. You hope that they are sitting next to you in spirit and you talk to them. You hope the next song that comes on the radio is a sign from them. You see people as you drive that look or dress similar to the way your partner did. For a second you think it’s them. When you’re alone in the car, alone with your thoughts, you cry. You talk to your loved one and ask them why this has happened. You never stop thinking of them for a single minute.

You go about your day with your love on your mind constantly, sometimes still checking your phone for messages or missed calls. You wish you could call them but you can’t. You look through photos and watch videos of them when you’re alone and try to escape this new reality. You wish it were a nightmare. You search for them in places, but they are not to be found.

You are consumed with grief every day. You call friends to visit so you can have some distraction from your thoughts and end up talking to them about your love for hours, trying to keep their memory alive, trying to feel close to them again.

Everything you do is a reminder of time shared with them, like walking through the grocery store or getting a coffee from a familiar place. You hold back tears because you’re in public. Sometimes though it’s too hard and so you put your sunglasses on. You try to smile, try to live, because you know that’s what they want. It’s not always fake smiles and fake happiness but they are never not on your mind. Sometimes you find peace remembering fun times with them and sharing those stories with others. Those are the good days.

The difficult days are the ones that you don’t get to share those memories with anyone. You know you’re all alone now and it’s scary. No one understands what you’re going through but you’re thankful to those who try and to those who don’t try to make little of your loss.

You try to do things that you did together but there is emptiness. It’s not the same and never will be. The void will never be filled. You do new things that you haven’t done before and find yourself sad because they are not around to share the moment with you.

You wonder if they would be happy, sad or angry by the choices you have made since they have been gone. You try to explain yourself to them and hope they can hear you and understand. You wish you could hear their voice.

In the weeks after your love dies, you realize that everyone else has their own lives, their own families and they move on. You, meanwhile are stuck, with all your future plans that are no longer possible. You know you must let go of those hopes and dreams and create new ones, but it’s a never ending battle.

You wish you could turn back time. You wish this wasn’t the end. You don’t understand why or how this could happen to you. No one can fix it, but you wish someone could. There is nothing anyone can do to ease the pain.

At night you dread going to sleep because you don’t want to go without them. When you do go to bed, usually very late, you hope that you may dream of your love. That you may see them, talk to them and touch them. Exhausted, you lie in an empty bed holding their shirt and scream into their pillow.

Your heart runs a million beats a minute and feels like it’s going to come out of your chest. With so much mental and physical pain, all you can do is cry. You make deals with God to see them again. You talk to them and beg them to come back. You tell them you don’t want to do this without them. You ask them for a sign they are near. You tell them they can’t leave you, but there is no coming back in the physical sense and it just hurts.

You long to feel their touch and have their arms wrapped around you once again. You think of the way they used to kiss your forehead and brush your hair as you fell asleep. You say “I love you.” You cry for them. You wake during the night several times and search for their shirt. It’s become like a child’s comforter to you and you cannot sleep without it. You look around the room for them or listen for footsteps but there’s nothing. You wake after just a few hours to do it all over again.

Existing to exist. Taking one day at a time as they roll so quickly into each other.

It’s been 78 days since I last laughed with him, kissed him, heard his voice, smiled at his smile, felt his heart beat, tasted his breath, felt at home in his arms and stared into his beautiful eyes. 78 days since I heard him say “I love you, my gorgeous girl.”

So what helps? Sit with me in silence and ask me questions about my love. Tell me stories about him. I love talking about him. Don’t feel awkward. It helps me in keeping his memory alive. It’s been 78 days of him constantly on my mind so when you talk about him I don’t feel as alone in my thoughts.

We, the ones left behind, live day to day holding strong in the face of others for our children, family and friends. Know that we will never get over it or move on. Don’t push us to do so because you will only push us away. We will never forget the love we shared with our partners or the futures that we had planned. We will forever keep them alive in our hearts. Each breath we take we are taking one for them.

Nothing could have prepared me for losing my soulmate. The one thing that I am most grateful for is that we really lived, we loved deeply and we shared every minute with each other intensely and passionately. I can take strength from the way we loved each other, allowing no regrets—only perfect memories.

With a heavy heart, love and sympathy.


 Joah Halifax Roshi on grief, mindfulness and a few other things:



Relephant Reads:

Sweet Letter to a Husband after his Death.

Making Peace One Year after my Father’s Death.

Author: Kaiti Wallace

Apprentice Editor: Pavita Singh/Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Author’s own

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