I've thought of her a lot lately as I find myself thinking, "OK, D, you can come home now." After 7 months, my heart and spirit are still jolted by the realization that he will not be back. How long will it take for the finality of death to become totally real?
I have realized that the single thing I miss the most is companionship. Just having someone there to hear your story when you come home makes it matter oh-so-much more. Even when the cancer left D sleeping the majority of hours in a day, I still knew that he was in the house. And that was comforting.
Something I realize anew is that a spouse gives boundaries. Living as a couple meant there was an expected schedule to be kept for sleeping, eating, cleaning and certain obligations. Alone? No one knows when or if you even choose to fulfill those obligations.
I'm sure we've all had those times when we moan about not being able to do something because of the kids, or the husband, or the hundreds of other things we put before our own needs. Lately, I feel like I am standing naked in a field: I have no obligations now, and those things are still not getting done. The weight is not falling off; the gym does not have my shadow crossing its threshold. I now have no one to pin my lack of progress on in certain areas except... myself.
I know an elderly gentleman who recently lost his spouse of 62 years. He said that he had no idea of many of the things she used to do for him...until he had to do them himself. He had never been in charge of the mail: his wife had handed him what little mail he needed to see. The sheer volume of "junk" mail has come as a total shock to him, and he has no idea how to handle it. He leaves it to pile up on his kitchen table, and only has a small area left cleared for his meals.
We all just have to find the new normal. Looking ahead; moving on.
"You will make known to me the path of life.
In Your presence is fullness of joy.
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." (Psalm 16:11)