Saturday, March 21, 2015

Wiping Away the Fears

For two years and nine months now... I have had one of those weird widow "things" that I have done. Or really that I haven't done. For all of these days, weeks, months, and years... I have not cleaned the bathroom mirror. Not once. The reason for this is simple, and anyone widowed will likely understand. When I shower every morning, I get out and look up at the fogged glass of that mirror... and across it are the faint streaks of a hand that once wiped it clean. A hand much bigger than mine.

For two years and nine months, I have been comforted by this... every time the mirror fogs up, there he appears again. For that moment, I can still believe that my fiancé is somehow right around the corner. I can believe that he is nearby even though I can't see him - just like his handprint on the mirror has been there all along, even when I can't see it. It has been a daily reminder to believe his love and his spirit still exist despite his body not being here anymore.

For two years and nine months, I felt right about leaving that mirror dirty. Covered in dust and little bits of toothpaste and soap down near the faucet. But then something shifted. A few weeks ago, when getting out of the shower and looking at it - the thought entered my mind for the very first time to CLEAN it. It came as naturally as could be. Just there, so nonchalantly. I didn't analyze it or force it to be there. Almost as if he was whispering to me, that it was time.

I stood and looked for long time, trying to decide if I would do it. Ultimately, on that day, I decided "not quite yet" and left it. For a few more weeks, each time I looked at it, I would think about it... "Not today". It was a gentle thought, and one I was able to hold without being upset. And then this past week, finally, after sitting with this idea long enough... I looked up and did the same thing I've done for the past month. As soon as I asked myself if I should do it, a sticker that said "broken hearts club" that I had taped to the mirror fell off. It's never fallen off before, and has been there for months. I decided, well, that was it then. He's telling me "just clean the damn mirror already!" And with that, I grabbed a clean rag and took a deep, thoughtful breath, and made a bold swipe across the mirror.

As I cleaned the fog and those final remnants of his touch off the mirror... I didn't see the erasing of him, but instead, I saw me. Instead of feeling like I was losing a piece of him, I felt like I was clearing away the things I had been clinging to and was able to see myself more clearly than I have in years. Without the dust. Without the dirt and grime. I marveled at the metaphor in front of me. How tightly I've been clinging to the tangible things that remind me of him these years. And how suddenly I am standing in this place... ready to begin to see myself more clearly. And ready to allow him to live in my heart.

It felt like a huge shift to feel unattached to that mirror finally - a release - because it means that I am beginning to trust that he is in me and with me always and I can never lose him again. He is no longer in that handprint on the mirror. He is everywhere, all the time. And as I'm beginning to trust more fully in that, the mirror became just a dirty mirror - without any power over me.

How bright everything looked once it was clean. How much brighter my own eyes looked as I watched my reflection looking back at me. I smiled, because now I have a clearer, brighter view of myself and I also have him - just as present as he has ever been. He didn't disappear like I feared. And with every one of these sorts of milestones of loosening my grip, I discover yet again that I can no more lose him from my life than the sky can lose its stars. It is just not possible, and not something I ever have to fear.


  1. Letting go piece by piece just takes time and ready to do so. I have kept things, but slowly physical pieces are no longer needed, just keep the memories instead.

    A long journey for all of us.

  2. Thanks for the great post. I thought my weird widow things were just me being freaky. My husband's half-done projects are still sitting out in his workroom waiting for him. I can't pack them up. Been thinking about figuring out what's going on and finishing them, but I'm not ready yet....

  3. wonderfully said. We never lose those we love so dearly, rather we must carry them with us. I loved this. It was perfect for how I have been feeling. Tracy

  4. Ithe was at two years and nine months for me too when I finally began to see some way forward.
    And with that the horrible death and sickness memories started to fade. And more and more good memories come back. I am at thirty seven months and BEGINNING To See A Separate me.

  5. A few days before I read your post I was in my husband's shop on our property and saw a wasp nest on the wall behind a painting he had hung on the wall. I was going to move the painting to get rid of the nest, but then I couldn't because he was the one that had put it up, and I just could not take it down. A couple of days later I did take it down, got rid of the wasp nest, and I was ok with taking down what he had put up. Your blog really touched me as I now know I don't have to cling tightly to the tangibles. As you said, I can never lose him again, and I don't have to fear that. I met you in Tampa in the regional breakout groups, and I appreciate your writing even more after meeting you. Sandi