It's been over four years since Jeff died.
I found myself reflecting on a post by one of my favorite widow bloggers. Here is her full post. What I connect most to are these words of hers:
I find myself reflecting on the last eight years. What lessons have these years taught me? Among other things, this:
I learned how to grieve. Well, I know I'm still learning, but I learned early on that grief is a relentless teacher that never really takes a break, only changes, but can apparate back to it's original form and back again in the same moment. I learned to give myself grace about timelines and linear "progress" and anything else that felt like expectation. I learned to give grace to others; too, even if they had expectations for my grieving that I could not meet. Some of the support I got was tremendous (saints, I tell you!). But, it's also amazing to me how few of the people in my current "inner circle" even knew me eight years ago. It's hard for me sometimes that they never even knew Sawan, this man that changed me so fully and completely by his presence and then by his absence.
I feel like my fellow widow blogger is in my head. I live these same thoughts and feelings. It is surreal to me that people in my life now know me "pre" Jeff, "during" Jeff, and "post" Jeff. I place people in these categories every day. Some of them overlap of course. I have friends who know me through all of these stages, and some of my "pre" and "during" friends are no longer my friends for one reason or another. I also have some very close friends now that never knew me "during" Jeff. They only know me "post" Jeff. I find myself spending time with these people and wishing they had the chance to meet him; I think about how much Jeff would like them or they would like Jeff.
It's interesting and also sad how death marks time and relationships this way for me.
Another part of her post dealt with her attitude toward life:
I learned that life isn't going to look like I thought it would. It isn't even going to look like I thought it would once I realized I had to re-think life. I'm still learning to get over that and just live. I'm learning to live like this is my one wild and precious life, and I won't squander it by merely surviving.
Even though I have been living without Jeff for half the amount of time she's been living without her husband, I still connect so well with her words. I have definitely learned some of the same lessons she has learned and I'm sure I have much more to learn regarding those lessons. Of course I have many more lessons to learn as well. I can't even imagine what I will have learned and how I will feel in four more years. I know I've learned not to predict!
What is clear to me when I reflect back is that it's obvious that a theme resonates repeatedly with some of us widows; we need to truly live this one life we have and not take it for granted or waste it. Our husbands deserve that.