The Widow We Do Now? podcast continues to be an important source of support, solace, and inspiration. Last week’s episode featuring Constance Dahlbäck was particularly affecting, both for her reflections on life with her late partner, and on the life she’s living now.
The podcast has a companion private Facebook group, the “Widow Wives Club,” that has proved similarly helpful: having a space to blargh into, a space that’s safe, non-judgemental, and filled with people who know the terrain, that’s saved my emotional hide more than once over the last year.
A few days ago I posted this in the group:
I’ve realized recently that the process of supporting Catherine through 6 years of living with, and ultimately dying from, cancer made me feel like I was 75 years old: all that time in hospitals and hospice, all that fragility, all that ever-closer end.
But I’m not 75 years old, I’m 55 years old. And getting a handle on that, and remembering how to do that, that’s a thing.
Does anybody else feel this way?
This was a thought that emerged in a session with my therapist last week, a new conception for a discontinuity-with-everyone-else I’d been feeling for a long time.
The reaction to the post warmed my heart: I thought perhaps this was something I was uniquely feeling, but from the many replies starting with “YES!!” and “Every waking hour” and “Absolutely!” it seems like I put words to something many who spent a long time supporting a partner with an incurable illness experienced.
I met Catherine when I was 25; to emerge from the DeLorean of grief at age 55, after having spent a long season feeling 75, well, who the hell am I anyway?
I guess figuring that out is what’s next.