Widowhood Is Not Funny

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Define Normal

Two months after I lost my husband, I kept thinking that soon I'd regain my natural optimism and ebullience for life. I'd feel that familiar contentment over small things, that enthusiasm for all accomplishments. But things were not normal and I wasn't at all sure I would recognize normal, assuming I ever encountered it again.

What really frightened me was the thought that I would never find me again. I had lost my soul mate and it felt like I'd lost myself too. I certainly didn't know that woman in the mirror-the one with the sad eyes and no smile. The woman who barely put one foot in front of the other, who dragged herself from one day to another, from one event to another. Sometimes I would get flashes of what I used to feel, but they never lasted.

I used to pride myself on embracing change. "Change is good," I used to say to my husband. But this was too much change, too sudden, too awful to handle. I wondered if I would feel differently in six months, or a year. But I worried that I'd never regain that optimism, that feeling that life is good and worth living again.

Depression set in, but life went on around me. There were bills to pay, decisions to make, problems to solve. When would my life be normal again? Define normal. Two years later, it still feels as if I'm living someone else's life, the nightmare continues. Sometimes change hurts, a lot.

There's a "new" normal.


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