Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Aloneness

I miss my family.

I don't mean my parents, my sisters, my neice and nephews (although I do constantly miss them too). I mean MY family. The one I helped create. My husband, my partner, the children we would have had.

You miss having someone there, someone to talk to, someone to laugh with, someone to help clean those bathrooms and wash those dishes. You miss someone being there when you get home, someone to cook dinner with, share a movie and a bowl of popcorn (well, sort of sharing, if I grabbed the bowl when he went for a pee break). You miss having the financial support, worrying over the line of credit together, joking about someone at a party.

But that is not the aloneness.

The isolation.

The real aloneness is rooted far deeper than that.

It's the missing your other half. The other half of your thoughts, the other half of your team of two, the person pulling that yoke with you. Your family.

I have discovered that it is the bond between two people that becomes most important. We were never meant to walk this road alone. We were never meant to do it on our own. Two is always better than one. We were designed that way on purpose. To forge together.

I've found that people are most interested in and most affected by that part of the story. The love between the two of us - Craig and I. It is the part that touches them the most, inspires the most, the part they feel the most. They don't even have to have known Craig and I - and still it is the part of the story that resonates the deepest.

Because everyone wants that - that special bond of love with someone else. They look for it everywhere, they yearn for it in their hearts, even if they are never able to articulate it.

And that love, that bond, that symbol of marriage is what God designed us for. It represents His love for us and for his church. It is the most sacred, most precious thing we can find on this earth.

His love for us shines through that love. It is obvious and apparent to everyone we see or touch in our lives.

I just wish I had figured that out before.

But that is the great irony - in order to get it, to understand it fully and completely, you have to have it taken away.

And I had it all.

I had the most precious gift, the best kind of love - I was cherished, desired, protected. I was part of a team of two, part of the family I had always wanted. I was loved with abandon, put first, sacrificed for without a second thought.

Now it is gone.

I'll never have that back.

It is like living in the light for years and years and suddenly there is nothing but darkness. Much like when you flick off the lights before bed, the dark seems all the more darker for just having been in the light.

Hopefully my eyes will adjust.

So I can find my way back across the room to the light switch again.

Because this aloneness is the worst pain of all.

And I don't want to sit in the dark anymore.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Story

Had a friend do a great job explaining to me last week how it is our story that is so important in our lives. When we are gone, our story is the very last thing that remains. It tells the people left behind who we really are.

As some of you know, I am a writer at heart. Always have been. I have dozens of files of my computer with short stories, half-started chapters, and outlines. Whenever I had an evening alone (which was fairly often) I would sit and write.

I was skimming through some of these files the other day and happened upone a scene I had written a few months before Craig's accident. This was from a book I was trying to write - I had a couple chapters done but this particular scene really hit me:

I coax the stiff ruffles of fabric through my fingers, letting the crackle of it break the silence. I let go and the edge of the dress flutters to the floor. My hand slowly travels up the bodice reading each bead like Braille. The neckline is smooth and I let my hand come to rest where my heart kept it warm. Breathing in, I smell the sunny beach, the waves rolling their salty perfume across the dunes, the trace of lilies wrapped in leis around our necks. The agony of it cuts like a knife. I allow myself this moment to wallow, remembering each and every detail with the thirst of a parched throat I have long ignored. The twinkle in his eyes, that warmth meant only for me. Our little secrets. Laughter. How later in the hotel we would collapse into a fit of giggles over the quirky little priest having to stand uphill so as not to appear a small child in the photographs. The drunken tourist congregation, collecting on the beach like a motley crew of misfits. The raspy rendition of “Another One Bites The Dust” that we would recite, rolling with laughter, for six wonderful years to come. The story never failing to bring banana split grins to our faces and those of our friends. At once I am transported back in time and forget for just the briefest of moments what I am here for.

But like all moments of shimmering relief, my oasis evaporates and I am forcibly dragged back to the present. The choosing of a suit. Dark, formal, respectable. Something to be burried in. What would he want? None of this, I think. At 28, a Puma hoodie and jogging pants were his favourite. Comfort. Possibly covered in pizza stains. Our matching toques. The smitten mitten for holding hands on days too cold. I have no strength for this, I think. Nothing left. All last vestiges depleted from my withered body. I can feel the tears of self pity prick the back of my eyes and know it is time to extricate myself from the closet. I fumble blindly, pulling a maroon striped shirt, slacks, and his one suit jacket down with force, thrusting them onto the bed and scurrying to the kitchen for another peanut butter cookie.


This definitely won’t cut it.

I gaze at my cluttered bookstand, with mounds of novels, individually wrapped adventures, piled on top of one another, dangerously close to sliding from their mount and cascading onto the floor. I walk along it, trailing my fingers alone the spines of my favourites. Each one a mini escape. A treasure. All to myself. Spying my favourite red-checkered and worn copy, I slide it down and quickly flip to the page I am looking for. Deluxe Chocolate Cupcakes with Decadent Hazelnut Cream Icing. My own notes squirreled away in the margins. More brown sugar. Half the baking soda. Add peanut butter for more flavour. This should do the trick.

Within the hour my kitchen is a certified disaster. Bowls and batter spattering the counters like the remnants of some destructive tornado cutting a swath through the house. Only 3 of the dozen cupcakes remain, sitting idly on the countertop, a silent accusation of my inability to cope. Cope. They tell me this in therapy with Brenda Glasses. Well. Brenda Glass but surely one wouldn’t go out and seek the largest and ugliest 80s coke-bottle specs with a name like that and not invite the insult. You must learn to cope. All you need to do is cope. Sometimes the best you can hope for is to cope. Brenda’s favourite lines. This is coping, I think. Just not in the way she would approve. I can practically see her sniff and wrinkle her nose in disgust. Surely someone gifted with a body that small could look in the mirror from time to time and attempt to dress in this decade? And she is giving me advice on coping.



When I reread this passage, about her husband dying and trying to pick out the suit and trying on the wedding dress and the 'coping', it sent chills up my spine. Can't believe I was able to capture so much of how this feels before I had any idea.

So I'm using this as my starting point.

Maybe one day I'll finally have a finished book.

My story.

Craig's story.

Our story.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Coroner's Report

Today is the first day in three and a half months I did not receive anything in the mail related to Craig or his death.

Does this mean things will finally begin to ease up?

Or is this the calm AFTER the storm?

Because yesterday I received the coroner's report.

And what a storm that was.

I pulled it out of the mailbox, saw the Medical Examiner's Office in the return address, and, even though I knew months ago this was coming, thought, 'Now what bloody paperwork are they sending me?'

My heart literally stopped when I saw what it was. I sat in my car, shaking, trying to breathe, and sobbed.

Yes, I knew what it would contain. Yes, I knew it would be graphic. Yes, I knew it would be bad. But the DETAIL. The level of detail. That I was not prepared for. Lacerations, bruising, puncture wounds... on and on and on. Which bones were broken and where, which wounds were bleeding, even the exact size of the blue of his eyes. All accompanied with happy little diagrams in case the lingo was a little too over my head.

True, the imagination can always conjure up things far worse than fact. But in this case, I guess not. I feel ill. I couldn't sleep. Maybe I won't again. After seeing his body, I can now match up all the injuries to what I saw. This realization was like a sucker punch to the gut.

Please don't ask me why I read it.

The best I can explain is that I was not there.

I. Was. Not. There.

I need to see it. I need to know the details. I need the graphic images. Because otherwise, it stops being real. And not believing this is real is one dangerous road to go down.

I would give anything in the world to have been there.

To hold his hand.

However bad it would have been for me, I would have survived. I could live with those images and those memories. But this I cannot. Because I still have those images only coupled with the horrifying knowledge that he had to go through this alone. That he was broken and suffering and scared and I was not there. And for that, I can never forgive myself.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Morning

Well I finally found something worse than tossing and turning all night alone in a too-big bed.

It's waking up, rolling over, reaching out, and realizing the person you thought was there, is not.

Just empty air.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Best Part of Me

"What am I supposed to do when the best part of me was always you? What am supposed to say when I'm all choked up and you're ok? I'm falling to pieces."

Love this song. Love these lyrics. They echo so perfectly the hurt of being the one left behind.

Craig was the best part of me, the best part of my life.

He brought me from naive and selfish to loving and kind. Taught me about being a good wife and a good partner. What it meant to put someone else's happiness above your own. To really work for something. To suffer for something. To love in a way that went deeper than hurt.

No marriage or relationship is perfect and ours certainly had its share of problems. We fought, we argued. We took our turns hurting each other. Said unbreakable words. Things that seep into your mind and set up camp for years.

But we always fought for each other. In the end, we always came back to one another. Friends first.

I remember in the aftermath of one epic battle, after retreating to our separate corners of the house, slowly making our way back to one another on the couch. We just sat there staring at each other. Finally Craig spoke up with what would become a standard post-war line, "we're still friends, right?" And I couldn't help but laugh. I told him that was the thing about us. Whenever something great happens, you want to tell your best friend about it. Whenever you get into a fight with your boyfriend, you want to tell your best friend about it. Whenever you are hurting, you need to cry to your best friend. And he was my best friend. And whatever happened with us, I had to come back to him because he was my best friend and who else was I going to talk to about it? This friendship between us become the bond that always pulled us back to one another.

This friendship was one I valued above anything else. It made me who I am today. He truly was the best part of me. The part that was kind, that still knew how to laugh. He made me want to be a good woman - the woman he saw whenever he looked at me. And I know he felt the same way. How many times did he look at me and ask, "Why do you stay with me?" and my response was always the same, "Because I can see your heart better than anyone and I know who you really are, even if you don't."

But now he's gone. He's ok - fine, safe, happy. And I'm all alone and left behind to pick up the pieces.

And I don't know how to be that woman anymore. He was my anchor, my rock, my touch point. Without him here to tell me I'm a good woman, I just don't know that I am anymore.

I'm so quick to anger. The words that spill out of my mouth often make me cringe with regret. I hurt others. I'm not strong. I'm not courageous. I'm not kind. I can barely pick myself up off the floor and any vibrancy I once had has evaporated.

With the best part of me gone - the part Craig helped create - it feels like only the bad parts are left. The failures, the deficiencies, the defective bits.

Who I am hates who I have been.

I wish he was here to help me. I'm falling to pieces.

And I have no idea how to fix it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

Damn you, Father's Day.

I have many fathers in my life I am grateful for, that I love.

But I can't help but think... what would Craig have been like as a father? What kind of dad would he have been? We were so close to finding out - two more weeks and we'd have had the green light for babies.

Yes, I complain constantly about Jam Hands (code name for kids - doesn't matter if there is jam within a 10 mile radius, for some reason their hands are always sticky). But in truth, after fighting infertility for two and a half years and grappling constantly with the notion that I may never get to have one of my own, it has just become easier to feign indifference. So much easier to make fun of the little hooligans running around than to admit that every time I see a parent with their child it cuts me to the core.

The first time I saw Craig hold a baby was our neice Emma-Lee. We were babysitting her and she screamed her little face off for hours. Craig finally got up the nerve and, as carefully as humanly possible, picked her up out of her crib. She stopped crying within about 15 seconds. I was torn between two immense emotions: pride for Craig at seeing how naturally she was calmed by him and intense jealousy that my efforts for hours hadn't had nearly the same effect. Now when I think of this it just brings a tear to my eye. It was the last time he would ever hold a child. If only I had known. If only he had known.

I know many people would look at me and say, well, you are a young widow, you have years ahead of you, likely marriage, maybe babies. But in truth, there is a little piece of my hope that died the day Craig did. He WAS my husband and he WAS supposed to be the father of my children. I didn't just want babies, I wanted babies with him.

So I will go visit my dads this father's day, thank them for raising me and for raising Craig, for doing the amazing job they did.

And quietly, alone, I will also thank Craig for coming so very close to being a father - a wonderful dad to the children that existed only in our plans for the future.

Happy father's day, baby.

I miss you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


What is that weird feeling fluttering about in my chest...


Is that you?

Welcome back, my old friend. Welcome back.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3 Months Today

Today is the big 3 month mark.

And I have no idea what is wrong with me but I actually forgot until just a few minutes ago. Would dwell on this more but I think it was a simple case of waking up happy today, encouraged by a friend's words. So I'll just hang on to that little piece of happiness to help ride out today's storm.

No being sad today.

Instead, lets celebrate with some of Craig's emails, the ones I like the best:

A response to me when he first started working at TD and I first emailed him:

"Please stop flirting with me. I am married to a wonderful woman who is too good for me and I am trying to get an education. Thank you for banking with TD."
From a night when I had to work late:

"I miss us spending time together. WHEN OOOOH WHEN can I sea you again.(SEA because I love you the size of the ocean).(yes I know the ocean and sea are different)."
From just a random day:

"Hey Sally. Thanks for the hug this morning, it made the cold day a little warmer.
Yeah that was crap, but it's all I have to offer and you eat that $hit up! Love ya"
And of course, one that still kills me every time:

"Hey remember all the good times? You know when you were a kid (I mean as a child, not a small goat) and you could ride your bike all over the place. You were free to do what you want, when you wanted and no one could tell you anything.

Then you get older, and the Thugs of Capitalism steal your bike, and your bus tickets, and your shoes and leave you with nothing but anger and frustration held tightly in your hand, you just have to remind yourself:

'Hey, I think SwingTown is on in couple of Days', 'Man my wife has a great body', 'I'd still hit that!'

This has been another session of Inside a Man's Mind."

(sorry about that last one, mom. I just couldn't resist)

Smiles all around today.

Thank you, Craig, for still making me laugh.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Remember Easy

Today I miss the ease of my old life.

The way Craig was just there - dependable, stable, utterly reliable. I miss the ease of routine and the security that comes from years of familiarity.

I miss coming home to a house already tidied, my buddy in his favourite chair, exactly where I knew he'd be before I even walked in the door. The same grin on his face when I walk in, one foot resting on the opposite knee, hand casually playing with the hem of his jeans. His stance. The stance I know and recognize a mile away.

I miss not having to explain how I feel, why I'm upset, what is going through my mind. Because he just knew. The tilt of my chin, a subtle running of my hand through my hair, a quick dart of my eyes - he knew all these quirks off by heart and could read them like a book. It is so hard and takes so long to explain to everyone how I feel and what I need. I wish he was here now to know these things so I could take a break from explaining every thought and hurt, so someone could just know without me having to utter a single word.

I miss those happy days and quiet evenings. The comfort of years of togetherness, where no words are required and the silence is like a warm blanket. Content to just sit, content to just be.

I miss a decade of history that is now erased. Why does that tree on the side of the road bother me? He would understand. Why does that sign make me laugh? He would get it. Why do I turn up the stereo to this song? He would just know. How can I ever tell my story, 9 years worth, to someone else and make them understand? I don't think there is a way.

I miss my friend. My best friend. Who knew me inside and out, who got all my jokes, who understood my soul better than I did.

Where are you, friend?

Where are you?

Monday, June 14, 2010

When I Said...

Oh my darling.

When I said I didn't need you, I lied.

When I said 'til death parts us, I really meant, may death never part us.

When I said I had to work late, I really meant, I wish I was home with you.

When I said I always loved you more, I really just wanted to hear it was the other way around.

When I said I could live without you, I meant exist, not live.

When I said I'd love you forever, I had no idea forever would take you somewhere I couldn't reach you.

When I said I accepted you just as you are, I did. I just loved you too much to leave you that way.

When I said I would take a bullet for you, I really meant not only would I die for you, I would suffer for you for all time too.

When I said I was sorry, I really meant, I will never stop being sorry for even the smallest of hurts, including the ones you have long forgotten.

When I said I would be with you forever, I meant for all time, in a place deep within me, where I will keep you alive, protected, and safe.

When I begged you to stop nagging me, I did not know the sound of your voice would become the most painful and agonizing loss. Now I can only hear your whispers from afar, too quiet for even me to discern.

When I said I would be your friend forever, I had no idea that forever was only a matter of time. Now I am friends with a ghost and he does not laugh at my jokes, cannot soothe my hurts, and can never make me smile again.

When I said I wished it was me, I really meant I wish it was us, so we would never have to be apart.

There is no comfort without you, no love without you, no happiness alone.

Come back to me, my sweet, come back to me.

You said you would.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Little Victories

Today I am going to remember the woman I was before I was Craig's wife.

Today I am going to be proud of all the things I can still do.

Today I am making a list of my little accomplishments:

1. Yesterday I fastened a bracelet, one-handed, all by myself. First time ever. It took a mere ten minutes but, hey, who's counting? See? I don't need a man for everything.

2. I have taken the garbage out, on time, every Wednesday for the last three months. Not bad for someone who wouldn't even tie up the bag before. Stupid yucky garbage. That is why it's a boy's job.

3. I checked and adjusted the air pressure in my tires. True, Dad had to demonstrate, but I didn't even make them explode or anything when I did it myself. Take that!

4. I have paid the bills, more or less on time, for the last three months.

5. I have managed to avoid drinking any of the expired milk in the fridge, instead opting for a sniff test and a quick dump down the drain.

6. I have gassed up my own car. Several times. Even figuring out the pay at the pump all by myself. P.S. Pay at the Pump? Greatest invention of all time. Now I don't have to talk to any humans EVER.

7. I hung pictures all by myself. Well, with Craig's handy dandy stud finder. Sadly this device does not work on actual humans.

8. I went to Men's Walmart (a.k.a. Rona) all by myself and picked out lightbulbs that were even the right kind and everything.

9. I found Draino. I managed to use the Draino. I didn't even blind myself, corrode my hand, or melt my bathtub drain. Haza!

10. I get out of bed every day even though I really don't want to.

You see how capable I have become? I hope you are watching Craig. Well. Except for when I was in Rona. Sorry about the explosive profanity. I know you consider it a sacred place.

So today I am going to enjoy my little victories.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Words Craig Would Say

Be strong in the Lord. You always were. It’s what drew me to you when I first met you and it was always the thing that kept pulling me back. You are a woman of God first.

Ok, fine… you were right about the car. I grovel at your feet.

Never give up hope. I know you want to and I know you don’t think any of this is worth it, but it is. You’ll see. For now, just trust me.

I know you’re hurt and I know you’re mad. But for heaven’s sake, please stop taking it out on the lawn. I worked hard on that thing!

No more being afraid. God’s hand is on you and so is mine. I told you a thousand times you worry too much and now you know that worrying can’t stop anything. I want you to be happy but in order to do that you have to let go of that fear. It’s ok, I’m still here, you can let it go.

No, it didn’t hurt. It really was too quick.

Quit swearing so much. I thought it was cute but not everybody has the same appreciation for your potty mouth that I did.

Sorry about the filing system. I know you hate it when you can’t find stuff. On the plus side, now you can finally redo it and I won’t be mad!

Forgive and forget. Remember, Jesus said seventy times seven. And I’m sorry but it will probably take that many times for this.

Have mercy on the people I cared about. Remember, I was where they are once too. And you fought for me so please don’t stop fighting for them because I can’t anymore.

I always did love your hair like that.

Take your time and pray. God hasn’t forgotten you. I know you keep asking for that telephone to heaven and guess what - you already have it. He’s here to listen and He misses you too.

Stop going back to the accident site. I’m not there anymore. It’s just hurting you more. And you know how I hate to see you hurting.

Tell everyone to stop sitting in my damn chair. It took me forever to get the butt groove just right. Well, maybe you can sit in it. See how much I love you, Sal?

You changed my whole life and got me to where I am now. Stop beating yourself up about all the little things along the way. The one thing that mattered you never gave up on. And I’m glad.

Every time you forget, just read those letters. That’s why I wrote every single one of them for you.

Bet you are glad we got that dishwasher now, eh? Told you I was doing most of the housework.

I’m so proud of you. Keep making me proud.

Don’t forget why you are here. Don’t take your eyes off where you are headed or you will end up somewhere else. Stay focused.

I already know you’re going to do great things and that God has a plan for you. This is all just part of it. Hang on, there is more, and I promise this next part will be great.

I lied. I really do love your wailing. I mean singing. You don’t have to turn the radio up to drown it out anymore.

I’m so sorry about the letter. If I had known this would happen, I’d have thrown it out instead of just trying to hide it from you. Don’t let this undo everything else.

I’m sorry about the life insurance and the job and the shift work. I really tried my best. I wish I could have left you with something more and that I had more time with you while I was still there.

You know what I want you to do, I already told you. Stop letting everyone else pull you in a million different directions. You are my wife. And I trusted you with everything for a reason. So you need to start trusting you too.

Please start smiling again. I miss seeing your smile. The one that starts with your eyes.

That tattoo? YES. Do it! Ha! I told you you’d get inked for me one day…

I don’t know where your passport is either. So please quit yelling at me that it’s my fault. You’re scaring the neighbors.

Don’t worry about living a life of significance. You already have. You were significant to me.

I miss you. Wish you were here. This place is great. Even better than we thought. Like Maui on steroids. Can’t wait ‘til you get here.

When I said goodbye, what I really meant was ‘I love you’. But you already know that.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Today I just feel broken.

A defective human being. Return for refund where applicable.

That is all.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Love Letter For All Time

So Craig was a big writer of notes. He left them for me all the time, often folded up intricately like origami. He left them for me in my locker at school, in my purse, on the counter, the nightstand, and everywhere in between. Sometimes they were as simple as a "gone to the store, be back soon" and other times several pages in length discussing everything from God, to love, to life and death.

These notes and letters have been a huge source of comfort for me. I re-read them constantly. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they make me sigh with longing.

There is something about your best friend's words, written in their own childlike pen, that can cut you to the core and remind you of the person they really were.

I have been trying to carefully select letters and notes that I can share (yes, being the adoring husband he was, many are not safe for the eyes of children... ha ha). I wanted to start with one Craig wrote to me several years ago. Sometimes he dated them, sometimes not. This one was from before we were married, when he still used to drop me off at mom and dad's every night, walking me to the door, loitering until he got his kiss goodnight.

In typical Craig fashion he started this note with a hand-drawn comic strip featuring Craig the Superhero out to rescue his lovely lady in the world's most badass red Ford tempo. He then went on to talk about a book he was reading and some insight he pulled from it.

A couple pages later, he went on to say:

"Take for example me not telling you I started reading this book. For no apparent reason I had it in my head I wasn't going to tell you until I was done. Whether to surprise or impress you, I don't know."

"Then this occurred to me: what if I had a heart attack 2 pages from the end of the book? We never would have had the opportunity to explore and elaborate on the ideas I had because you never even knew I cracked the cover."

"Which brings me to my next point. I love you. Even when I don't tell you, I want you to know that I think about saying it. Sometimes when we are just about to hang up the phone or when I walk you to the door I want to tell you but I don't. The reason for that is I know you love me and you know I love you. It's not like you don't mean it, but if it's in the moment and spontaneous then it becomes more romantic."

"I'm scared one day I will go to work and die. Not scared I'll die, just that the last thing I told you was 'goodbye' and not 'I love you'. I always want you to remember that - how I'm thinking and feeling the need to tell you but realize you already know."

For those of you who don't already know, Craig and I had coffee every morning together. This was a tradition that started around 5 years ago and something we made a point of no matter what. He often worked shift work and so he would get up, exhausted or not, and sit with me for 15 - 20 minutes to have coffee and talk since it was often the only guaranteed time of the day we had together.

The morning of the accident Craig didn't have to start work until 9:30am. I had to leave by my usual 6:30am. For the first time in years, I put on the coffee (usually Craig's job) and tried to coax him out of bed with a steaming mug. For reasons unknown, he was just more interested in staying curled up in bed that day. He apologized and begged me to let him sleep just a few more minutes.

I was annoyed.

I hated starting my day off on the wrong foot.

No coffee with Craig = the wrong foot.

As I was leaving, my hand rested on the doorknob, and I yelled out a goodbye to him. Craig moaned a 'goodbye' from the room. I actually paused for a moment, considering shouting out an 'I love you' as well but thought I better just let him sleep.

True to Craig's note, he left for work and died.

True to Craig's note, his last words to me were 'goodbye' and not 'I love you'.

What I wouldn't give to go back in time and kiss him, pull him out of bed, and whisper that I loved him. What I wouldn't give to have him hug me, hold me, and tell me he loved me too.

The pain of this is almost too much. I have agonized over it again and again and again.

And then I found this note.

And got to hear him say it anyway.

And it's almost as good because I can re-read it over and over and over.

So Craiggie, I love you too, even if I didn't always say it.

And I know you loved me too.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Good Widow

A few days ago I entered a new phase of widowhood.

I was sitting in a cesspool of my own misery, sobbing to a friend on the phone, agnoizing over all the guilt that is eating me alive. Guilt over not being there for Craig at the accident, guilt over all the ways I could have been a better partner to him but wasn't, guilt over all the ways I was now failing as a widow.

My friend, clearly wiser than I in that moment, pointed out that these were all things outside of my control or standards that I was holding myself to that were ridiculously high.

This unspoken question hovered in the air: "Why are you trying so hard to be a 'good widow'?"

And it hit me.

Slowly, painfully my subconscious forced this realization to the forefront of my mind: I have been obsessed with being the best widow possible because maybe, if I'm good enough, he will come back.

That's how it works in life.

Work hard, study, write a good exam and voila! A+

Show up to work on time, do a good job, get along with your boss and tada! Promotion

Don't break the law, follow the rules, be kind to others... you will be rewarded.

And somehow, somewhere in the back of my mind I had fooled myself into thinking that if I was good enough - a gracious, understanding, forgiving widow, one who didn't fall to pieces in the middle of the grocery isle or make herself sick eating oreos on the floor of the kitchen - I could earn my way back to Craig. Or Craig back to me.

But I can't.

No amount of being good, no doing all the right things, no sacrificing to meet everyone else's expactions will bring him back.

It was at once sobering and freeing.

Sobering because he really won't be coming back to me. Not ever.

Freeing because now I can just be me. I don't have to meet anyone else's expectations for widowhood. I don't even have to meet mine.

So now I can just grieve.

And stop trying to be good.

And just be me.

Oreo cookies and grocery isle, here I come.

Charges and Court

Got a call from the sargeant last night. They have laid charges. Not criminal charges, just a couple traffic violations:


This guy could likely just get fined a few hundred dollars.

I guess that is what a person's life is worth.

I don't want anyone else to suffer and I didn't think I cared one way or the other, BUT it just seems so... minimal. People get speeding tickets for more than that.

And now off to court for me next month, reopening the wound, revisiting all the gory details. Death by a thousand cuts.

God grant me the strength to forgive. I am just not capable on my own.