Thursday, July 3, 2014

Alien Life






My life feels surreal.



A year and a half ago things were purring along with a familiar rhythm. My days were kind of predictable. I was married. I had a house. Things to do. People to take care of. Routines. I felt in control.

Ha, laughed the universe. 

Now I feel like an alien being..like I was transported to some other planet after Mike died.

A stranger in a strange land.

Some days, I just don't recognize my life. I go through the motions but there is always that weird little panic button flashing at the back of my mind. It's not in full alarm mode anymore, but it's still always there. I spend a lot of time trying to find normalcy in my head. Some new sense of familiarity in my life, my surroundings. New routines. It's not always easy. Mike made me feel safe. I always knew everything was going to be ok when he was around. But he's not around anymore.

Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

Now don't get me wrong. My friends and family who read this should know that yes - I am strong, I am healthy and doing good work on myself. And I am grateful for what I have. I think about that a lot. I'm grateful I had Mike in my life. I'm grateful for the support and love that I find around me now. And yes - I have a lot of beautiful friends and family that are familiar. But none of this is easy. It still all feels really, really weird a lot of the time. And kind of scary to face the world without him. Scary to make decisions without him. Scary that I have to make decisions whether I like it or not and I can't talk to him about any of it. So writing about this here has been downright therapeutic, because somehow knowing we're not the only ones with those feelings helps...maybe it helps us to feel less like aliens. Or maybe that we might all be on the same alien planet together, trying to survive. Planet Widow.

This past Saturday, Sarah's post here Fitting Two Worlds Together resonated deeply for me. It's weird to be becoming someone new, to be changing in ways we couldn't have predicted because our husbands are gone. It's hard to come to terms with the idea that their deaths irrevocably altered our realities. That the very individuals we are, our very essence, is being challenged and recreated because our life partners and best friends are not here with us.

I'm not Mike's wife anymore. That changed everything. We created a life together. That's what married people do. Now I have to create a new life without him. It's not only devastating and heartbreaking, but it feels bizarre. Surreal. Tilted at odd angles. Warped like those crazy mirrors at the amusement park.

Alien.

Who was I before? Who am I now? Mike changed me for sure. I learned things and grew and got older and wiser while married to him. But I'm still in midlife, and now the rest of the changes that happen will be without him around. Without his guidance, without his security, without his encouragement or support.

I'm learning my way around this alien landscape bit by bit. It's not something  I asked for but I don't have any choice. I guess I'll just take my protein pills and put my helmet on.

11 comments:

  1. Stephanie, Thank you so much for your post. You described exactly what I feel. I always felt so safe with my husband around. I am now trying to create a new life without him. Even though I think that I am doing well, it also feels so surreal. Love your writing.

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    1. Thank you Ruthie. I'm so sorry for your loss. The sharing here is so important. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. Stephanie, your post described how I feel as well. My husband was my hero, my protector; I knew that I was safe with him beside me. We complimented each other; we were two halves of a whole. I'm living half a life without him in it. Whatever the world threw at me, I could count on being held in his arms and protected. I'm now alone and lost. I feel like a child alone in the dark panicked and scared. Everyone reminds me that I'm such a strong woman. Being left as half of us is just so scary.

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  3. I know what you mean! I refer to it as the twilight zone. Everything seems altered, alien. Love your writing also.

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    1. Thank you. Yes Twilight Zone is well put.

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  4. Planet Widow, I like that phrase. I relate to all you mentioned here. It is also hard to figure out new goals, thoughts of the future, new dreams? Ha, just getting through each day. Thanks for sharing. ~~Gerri

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    1. Hi Gerri, so sorry for your loss. Yes it's hard enough to get through the days, right? And thank you for your comment.

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  5. I could have written this post last summer. If there is comfort in knowing that the alien feelings are classic in widowhood circles, that understanding is aimed in your direction from all of us who have walked in your shoes. The 'who am I without my other half' is such a hard answer to find. I'm still looking.....but the road I'm on looking for that answer isn't as bumpy as it was in the beginning.

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    1. Hi Jean, thanks for sharing this. It helps to know it gets a little easier. Blessings.

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  6. Hi Stephanie, totally relate to your post, even though we are strong and doing all the things we should, you're right, it does feel 'alien' to be doing these things alone. Feeling like you're going through the motions but not really getting anywhere. Hugs to you xx

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    1. Thanks Michela. I'm glad we can relate - not glad we all have the reason to, but grateful we have our band of sisters (and brothers). Much love and aloha. Hugs back.

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