“All five horizons revolved around his soul, as the earth to the sun. Now the air I tasted and breathed has taken a turn…”
Recently, I’ve been looking in the mirror and not entirely recognizing the person looking back at me. Outwardly, her face is thinner and she looks older. Her eyes seem dull and there’s a lack of glow that would only be missed by the people who know her best. To acquaintances, I imagine I look about the same, but to myself, I look like a different person. I wonder if others have noticed. I worry about these changes and question what I should be doing to combat or reverse them. For months I have blogged about acceptance and my struggle to grab hold of my new life. A change has occurred in the sense that I now feel comfortable with my level of acceptance. To speak frankly, I know Ryan is dead. I choose to use this raw word because it best describes the finality of the situation. He’s not coming back to finish his job as my husband or to begin his role as Marley’s daddy. And this is where the changes begin.
On October 9, 2010 I was a wife, half of a relationship and part of an entity. On October 10 I fell into the wrenching role of grieving widow. For months I wore this title like the Jewish star of David, sewn onto the outside of everything I wore. My grief led the way as I meagerly followed behind. Today my role has shifted yet again. I am now a single mother, appearing independent, but craving the comforts of codependency. It took me 28 years to recognize the person I was and as Ryan’s wife, I was content with my understandings. Now, after only a few months as Marley’s single mother, I’m struggling to distinguish myself again. I’m watching each of my friends turn 30 and bask in the comfort of knowing who they are and what they want in life. Their transition made as simply as blowing out the candles on their birthday cakes. This thought makes me sad as the recent changes in my life took the chance of a simple and happy transition away from me.
My life has changed; a future once clearly mapped out is now a blank slate. There are a few islands floating in this sea of uncertainty however, such as my dream of having a complete family. I still see myself in the rambling old house, creaky floors and painted cupboards. I see children in pajamas and a husband, a father, making breakfast. I feel another person in my bed, hear our whispers and crave our laughter. I’ve accepted that this person cannot be Ryan, although I would be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally insert him into the fantasy. It’s unfair and tragic that I can now only dream of this life because not too long ago, I had everything I just described and I was incredibly content in the knowledge of my own happiness. This thought reminds me that I must be careful because a person could easily get lost in her past, overwhelmed and suffocated by her what ifs. Consequently, I know the only option for me is to move forward, look to the positive and find happiness where I can. It’s a struggle everyday to choose this thorny path because its direction is so uncertain and the many obstacles are bound to make traveling slow and difficult. Regardless of the challenges, I’ve made a conscious decision to move forward because standing still, or worse yet, walking backwards will bring me no closer to the future I desire, a future where I can begin to recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror.
I wonder what it will take to look into my eyes again. What do I need to fill the void that I feel inside my heart? Will I continue to grow stronger and feel happier? Will I get that crazy mixed up feeling of excitement back? That feeling I was so used to, but now can barely remember? Will life overflow with happiness again and if it will, when? When will this happen for me? What do I need to do? I realize these are questions only time can answer, but I can’t help but wish for a crystal ball, a sign, anything to reassure me that good things are coming, traveling with companionship, assurance and comfort. I’ve learned firsthand that times can heal wounds, but I wonder…can it also fill voids?