On March 24, 2010, my husband died. It will have been 5 years in a short time and I have desperately tried to come to grips with what being a widow means in terms of how to go on with my life alone. It is like trying to put back together the pieces of a shattered mirror, one that reflects what used to be. Those pieces will cut you and make you bleed if you aren't very careful, but you have to try to make the pieces fit, so that you can see yourself again.

My life has changed. I live in new city, one where there were no nightmare memories. I have a good job, doing something that I love. I have old friends, new friends, good friends. And of course, I have my family, that I love more that I can say.

My life has changed, but I have changed, too. I am not, nor will I ever be, the person I was before March 24th, 2010. I wish that those people I hold so dear could understand what this life is like but unless you have lived it, that is impossible. Others can think that they understand but no one can, really, because it is so very different for all of us. What I write about what I feel hoping that someday even I will understand.

Bitterness will eat you alive...

My greatest fear these days is that my Dave will be forgotten. He had no children, neither with his first wife or with me. He was adopted and so never knew his real family and since he was n ever remotely interested in them, he never looked into his biological family. His adopted father died a couple of years before he did. His "adopted" mother and sister are still around but neither of them ever actually knew all that much about Dave, although I know that they think to the contrary. It is amazing that you could know someone for 50 years and be almost completely clueless about that person.

Part of that, I guess, came from Dave not being willing to share his true self with them but part of it came from their not really wanting to know. He had the idea that as long as they perceived him to be a certain way there was no conflict between them and he was all about keeping conflict to a minimum. He followed his own path and he didn't believe they had the capacity to understand the reasons for it.  Not that they are not smart people, they were just not very accepting of anything the didn't fit into their neat little packaged life. Don't get me wrong. He would speak his mind without hesitation about anything but to create a situation where there was tension was just not his style.  He also thought that they might have been afraid of what they would find if they looked at him too deeply...that he was not the simple country boy they thought he was. There was always something just slightly strange about their whole family paradigm anyway and while I have no explanation for it, really, I guess lots of families are like that.  Mine isn't and so I guess I just don't understand it.  Pretending things don't exist or that they are a certain way rubbed against Dave's grain and he had no patience for it.

His ex-wife never had a clue about him...those are his words, not mine. I don't know the woman other than the few comments he made about her over the years and they were few and far between. I know their story and it wasn't a pretty one. When he said that marriage was over, nothing that was part of his life anymore and it didn't affect either of us anyway, I had no choice but to believe him.  And it is true that it didn't affect us, not him and me. I just wish that had been true for other people who ended up having such a negative impact on my life after he died. I believe now and will always believe that his mother let this woman fill her ears and head with so much bullshit over the years that it created an irreparable rift between us all.  Too bad Dave had no idea when he was alive and could have said something to change all that but I guess it is water under the bridge now.  It is astounding to me that you could take the word of someone who was a cheater and a liar over the actions and deeds of someone who lived right beside of you for years (that would be me).  Guess that shows just how strongly someone can be manipulated by another person.

Sad but true, that hardly anybody really knew Dave but me and a couple of close friends. He was so private that there were only a couple of people he really opened himself to as an adult. Even as a child, I don't think he was very open with many people. Being adopted made him have a different view on his place in the world and that view made him keep a lot of things close to the hip. Sometimes I wish more people had known him better, so that I could share with them and vice versa. I think I might not feel so alone but that isn't how it is, so I guess it is up to me to do all the remembering.

(Over time I was able to let these bitter feelings go but for a while I struggled every day with the taste they left behind. Although I am much closer to it that I have been in the last five years, I still struggle with forgiveness.)