We write about widowhood as we live it. Together we examine the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life as a widowed person. The views expressed here are those held by each individual author. We take no credit for their brillance; we just provide them with a forum for expressing their widowed journey in words that are uniquely their own.
I’m completely devastated this week. There was a horrible mixup while I was out of town last week and I discovered that a dress was accidentally thrown out. Not just a dress - but THE dress which I have been wearing in every weekly self portrait I have taken for the past 7 months (shown above). It was the main prop in this year-long series about living with loss. The irony here is not lost on me. I have just lost my most important prop in a project about losing my most important person. Gone without warning. Without my having any say in the matter. Just like my fiancé and our life together. It is all too familiar a story.
What. The. Hell.
Now the entire project must change. I cannot replace the dress - it was vintage and would be impossible to find again. I'll have to instead continue the project in a new direction. The way I've had to continue my life in a new direction. I really HATE how precisely this event mirrors losing him. It has triggered me in all sorts of ways about his death and about my having to live on.
It is especially devastating because I left my entire career behind when he died and I set out on this journey to live my dreams as an artist. I made some terrifying sacrifices and changes to my world in order to afford to work only on my art. For about a year and a half I just stumbled around lost. But then… This project unfolded. And suddenly a direction for my future unfolded a bit… some solid ground under my feet again. It has been the first thing to bring me hope about the future, and has helped me to be able to envision a future that excites me even at times. That dress felt like my island in a turbulent sea… and now, I feel like I have been knocked back into the ocean all over again.
I know somehow, this loss will come to mean something very deep. I know it will take things somewhere new… somewhere it would not have otherwise gone. Which is – I suppose – entirely appropriate for a series about death. This is what death does to our lives… it pulls the rug out from under us – forces us to re-evaluate everything. Pushes us to make changes and reminds us what’s important. Brings in new perspective and focus. Despite my realizing all of this deeper meaning – I still hate it. I still want desperately to have this dress back. And the love of my life back. And our future together back. And thus, it has been a long, rainy week of dramatic arm-failing, tears, and curse words. A lot of curse words. A lot of tears. A lot of reliving his death and my loss.
I will make this work somehow… just as I’ve continued to make this life work since he died. But I'm scared shitless at the moment. I feel small, and vulnerable, and incapable. And I want him here to lean on, because he always made me feel invincible. And he isn't here. And the agony of that truth has been almost too painful to even feel this week. I guess the only thing to do is just keep on showing up every day the best I can and trust that whatever this new direction will be will come. Seriously. I’m SO OVER loss.