The Widow Fog
“Wow she’s doing so well.” “You’re so strong.” “I’m so proud of you for carrying on with your life, for you and your girls.” “Thank goodness you have those girls.”
I hear these statements and almost wonder why people are saying them to me. Did something happen to me? Why am I so strong? Who are they talking about? Do I have a twin I don’t know about?
I wonder those things because my brain keeps me living in a fog, a safe fog. A place of sanity where I am fully aware I am a widow. My husband died. Okay, I get that. But the safe place puts a filter over that so I feel like that just happened in a movie of my life. I remember all the details. I remember almost collapsing when the nurse told me he was dying and I sat down on a chair that seemed to appear out of nowhere. I remember holding his hand telling him thank you and how much I loved him as he passed away. I remember leaving the hospital in a daze as to what just happened. So I remember all these things in my head but it’s truly as if it was a movie and I just happened to be staring in it. It’s not reality. My husband isn’t really dead, is he?
So life goes on and I get the kids up each day and get them ready for school. I plan out what I’m going to eat for the day and when I’ll exercise and when I’ll write. I get the kids off the bus and we do homework and I try to stop the next world war that is sure to commence between my oldest two. Then the night comes and I go to bed wondering where the hell is he? Again, I am sane so I’m not wondering why is he not home from work yet or has he been in an accident. I just sit wondering where he is? Why is he not here? I stare at his pillow and imagine him there. The outline of his ear, the stubble on his face, the length of his lashes, the fullness of his lips, and I can’t grasp for the life of me why he’s not there in the flesh.
It’s a widow fog I walk through every day. Often people wonder how I manage to survive this. How am I not breaking down every day in the corner of my room just waiting for the men in white coats to take me away? Well because my brain wont let me. It keeps me in my widow fog, well aware that I am one but not aware of it enough to let it eat away at me so I can get through the day and I can put clothes on and get groceries and feed the kids.
But then it happens. Something happens and the fog clears up every now and then for a brief, maniacal, horrifying moment.
At the grocery store the clerk looked at my youngest daughter and admired her light blue eyes and dark hair. “Are you Portuguese?” she asked. Immediately my brain scrambled as the sentence started out of my mouth, “My husband…” how do I finish that sentence? “Is” “Was” so I stammer over my words and just get out, “my husband…Portuguese.”
Then its twenty minutes later and I’m in my bedroom realizing my youngest daughter, who gets her eye color from her father, has no father. I have no husband. I am a widow and that means my husband is dead. Marc is dead. I will never see Marc again. He will never hold my hand again, I will never kiss his lips again, I will never wake up to his face again, we will never make love again, we will never laugh together again, he will never see any of his daughters grow up, I will never hear his voice again. The fog is gone briefly and reality crashes down on me like a wrecking ball in my face and I am fully aware that my husband, the true love of my life, is dead and will never, ever be coming back. And I lose it. The deep heaving sobs that come from a place reserved for the most severe pain. I can’t breathe and I fear I’ll never stop. I panic that I’ll never be able to pull myself out of those moments of tears and dread and pain and I’m truly scared it will swallow me whole and I can see the men with the white coats coming for me.
Then the fog creeps in and I can’t see it as well. I gather myself together and let the fog get thicker and thicker protecting me from it. I know it’s there but it’s harder to see and now I can continue on again.
So I lead this weird double life. I will never fully understand how my husband is really gone from my life forever. But I will make it through another day. We all will.