I no longer say “my wife died (5,6,7,etc) days ago”, now it’s “a few months ago”. And before too long it will be “last year” and then “several years”. When I first realized I was saying “a few months ago” it sounded cold & unfeeling to my ears, as if I didn’t care that much or that her death was somehow much less important now. But that’s not it at all. I think a few things happened that started to change my approach to mourning, and in turn, affected my telling of her passing and my outlook on life.
First, folks are just not interested in hearing the specifics of Bunny’s death; it’s easier to say “a few months” and it’s easier for folks to hear that. Although the actual # of days at first seemed VERY important to me, no one else cares for that type of specificity.
Second, no matter whatever else may be going on, one thing I can be positive about is Bunny isn’t coming back. No amount of praying, crying, begging or onerous date counting is going to change that. So why am I making myself crazy, tracking every single minute/hour/day that she isn’t here? What do I gain from that?
And last, Bunny would have hated me performing such a countdown (countup?) ritual. In my case, and I know not everyone has this situation, we knew this was going to happen. Maybe not to the specific day, but it was clear over the last year of her time with me that Bunny would die. She was never, ever going to get better. So what is the purpose of continuing the pain of day counting? Bunny would be furious with me for doing that.
I’ve allowed myself to come back to the world of the living, a place where people don’t care how many days Bunny has been gone. This is not to say that they have a callous disregard for her, it’s just that they don’t need to know it’s a certain amount of time. I’ve learned a lesson from them … I don’t need to dwell on that, either. Having a laser focus pointed at the past, just to be sure I’m exactly positive how long it’s been since my life went awry, serves no purpose for me, either.
Coming back to the world of living I’ve begun to see things differently. Now, nearly two years after Bunny’s health started that downward spiral and one year of waiting for her to die, I don’t face a dark cloud of looming death every day. While it at first felt selfish, I now realize that my being completely miserable because my wife died serves no purpose other than to feed that misery. I cannot fix what has happened, I cannot bring Bunny back.
So now, in the “few months” since my wife died I have emerged a newer, possibly better, person. I look at the good things that surround me instead of the darkness of my loss. I reflect on the huge number of positive impacts Bunny made in my life and I’m grateful for them, rather than regretting she is no longer able to contribute anything. I have developed a new friendship that is becoming more than just a friendship and I’m starting to smile far more often than I did for the past two years.
I know exactly how many days it has been since Bunny died, but I’m not dwelling on that any longer. And I don’t want to count that any more, unless someone can give me a good reason why I should.