December 28, 2020

Nearly Six Months a Widower


It's been some time since I've been able to sit down and write. Honestly, I've had no appetite for it, but here I am.

The weeks and months have rolled through the Autumn to the Winter, and into the festive season. It's not quite so festive this year for anyone, the virus has made sure of that. I've been kept phenomenally busy at work, which has worked in my favour - I don't like referring to work as a "distraction", rather, an "engagement"; but truthfully, I'm probably fooling myself. In reality, the intensity of my work is probably proportional to the intensity of the sadness that it's trying to conceal.

I've been told a few times that I seem "OK", relatively speaking. At least outwardly. Conversations with friends and colleagues no longer seem to have the undertones of awkwardness or sombreness. People seem to feel more at ease around me, which I think is good. Occasionally, people absentmindedly joke about death, or strokes; not in a mean way, but in the same ignorant way that I might have done before my wife died of the latter. I think sometimes they catch themselves - I see sudden minute, but sharp expressions as they realise. Others continue with the theme, unaware of the dagger that's twisting into my gut. Truthfully, sometimes, when I seem OK, I am. But sometimes when I seem OK, I'm not. My smile in that moment might be a stoic facade behind which the fires of my grief are raging, and the flames of that inferno might be a hundred foot tall.

Sometimes, I feel really angry. Sometimes, it's because people say that "next year will be better" as though the passing of time from one year to the next offers a clean break from the horrors of the year prior. I'm angry because I grieve for something that will never recover with the advent of a vaccine or a healing economy. But I know that it's not my place to be angry about this. The whole world has learned to grieve this year. Many grieve for the loss of their freedom, their jobs, others for their lack of contact with loved ones. I do too. All of this is real, and horrible. Others also grieve for something worse, and I'm truly sorry to those people. I know what it's like.

I think that the shock has subsided enough now that loneliness has started to take hold. Previously, I was sufficiently numb, such that the quietness in our house wasn't so obvious. Now, it's starting to feel everso-slightly more desolate. I suppose constant cycles of lockdowns don't help; any lights at the end of the tunnel in the form of visits to friends in faraway places have been repeatedly quelled. Perhaps I am doomed to suffer through my grief in quiet isolation. However, I also question whether or not this is such a bad thing. I find myself in a constant state of contradiction, where I want to be surrounded by people so that I might be distracted from the fact that Kim is no longer here, but I also want to be away from people so that I can sit quietly and dream of times when she was.

I wonder if or when I'll start to move any of Kim's belongings. I don't know where they're supposed to go. I'm not sure if they're supposed to go anywhere. Everything she left is where she left it, most likely collecting dust on shelves or in wardrobes or in the corner of the spare room. Sometimes I try and clean things up, but I'm nervous to do this too because it's a further deviation from the house that Kim was alive in. I think I'm getting closer, though. My practical mind is starting to prevail in the fight with my grief. These rooms and spaces need to become usable again, "soon". Not yet, though.

A friend recently asked me what I was going to do next. It's a difficult question and one that I simply do not have the answer for right now. If plans had progressed along their intended path, Kim would be five months pregnant by now. Instead, I am that far into my new role as a widower. I suppose I'll continue with what I know; eat, sleep, train, work, repeat. Maybe when this virus goes away I'll be able to go and see friends again, too - I suspect I'll be very ready for that. Beyond that, though, I'd say that your guess is as good as mine.

Powered by Hugo & Kiss.