A Keeping It Real Post
This week I attended my first funeral since D’s. For those of you keeping track, it’s been over three years. I don’t remember much about his funeral. It was a week after he died. I remember stressing about the fact his ashes weren’t back from the crematorium in time, that it was at his brother’s pub, and that it was a packed house.
Other than that, it’s pretty fuzzy. In addition to drowning in the fog of new widowhood, I was heavily medicated, and I had a new drink in my hand every time I turned around. Even now, I’ll meet someone new and say, “Nice to meet you,” and they’ll reply, “I met you at Danny’s funeral.”
PRO-TIP: The widow won’t remember that and “Nice to meet you, too.” will suffice.
The Rearview Mirror
These days, I try not to spend too much time focused on the past. But, sometimes, it’s essential to acknowledge how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown. Like looking in the rearview mirror at the burning skyline of the bombed-out city you’re leaving in the dust, admiring one’s apocalyptic survival can be a good thing.
The Early Days
In the early days, I didn’t have it in me to go to funerals. One of the first to occur happened a few months after D died. I can remember sitting in my car, hyperventilating. I was giving myself a pep talk about how I needed to be there for the widow, that the deceased was a good man, my friend, and I should be there. Eventually, I crawled, sobbing, out of my car as I headed back into the house in defeat.
I felt worthless. Now I understand that the widow wouldn’t have noticed or remembered, one way or the other.
Somewhere in the Middle
Later, when I was feeling happy and healthy, funerals would rip open the scars I’d believed healed. I learned to avoid them as a form of self-care. Spending most of my time on the other side of the planet made that pretty easy and acceptable to all involved, especially me. I didn’t have to be the loser friend wussing out of yet another funeral if I wasn’t there. I empathized but still couldn’t get past my painful memories. Grieving with them meant re-grieving my loss.
Where I’m At Today
This time it was different. Or maybe it’s that I was different. I was able to be there and focus all my attention on the grieving family. Somewhere along the way, I’d healed enough that being there didn’t rip those old wounds open. It wasn’t about me at all. It was about holding space for the ones I love. I grieved with them for this man I’ve known for years but without re-grieving my loss.
If you’ve been following along, you know the last year has been huge. I’ve never felt happier or more grounded in my adult life. This tragic loss wasn’t the first time I’ve felt gratitude for everything I’ve learned along this journey. It was, however, the first time I felt a peaceful acceptance and gratitude for my loss. Never in a million years did I dream that could be possible. Like the last puzzle piece to slide into place, this feels like the end of my grief journey. Or at least this part of it.
Sending love and light to all of you today.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.