Solitary Confinement

There’s tons of stories about what happens after the tide rolls out and widowhood settles in. How all the people who were so attentive and claimed to “be there for you” aren’t anymore, how the more time that passes the less people feel you should be mourning and how with each small widow victory, you must be hurting less. And to be honest, some of it is correct: there are days that go by that I don’t think about the fact that I am a widow at all . I go about my day as a part of my new life without wallowing in the sudden death of my husband. Days where I’m not constantly reminded that my life is still upside down and those are the days I consider a win.

However that being said, there is one constant that I have noticed in this whole widow thing that will turn any day dark and make any win dissipate into the oblivion like it never existed. That thing is loneliness. And of course EVERYONE assumes that loneliness comes with the widow territory, but it’s more paralyzing than I ever could have imagined.

After the girls are in bed, after the work is done, after the texts have ceased and all of your friends and family have joined their spouses in bed, the silence creeps in like a dense fog. It covers the floors of my entire house and the quiet of no one talking, no breaths coming from the other side of the bed or footsteps ascending up the stairs.. my God, the silence is deafening. The heaviness that loneliness brings to your chest is inexplicable, and i get it. Until you’ve walked a mile you can’t possibly get it, so more than likely you don’t know how miserable i really am. You may have been divorced or through awful break ups but the sudden onset of loneliness is more than unbearable at times.

So for me, I do things to distract from the loneliness; I binge watch tv to distract my mind, I surf the Internet to occupy my time, I swipe in various directions on dating apps to possibly quell the loneliness, (even if briefly) and I drink to numb the pain.

Upon speaking to other widows and counselors and the general public who all know someone whose been through what I am going through, everyone has advice and insight of how to handle what i am going to need to handle. But no one, not one person warned me about the isolation. And how the isolation brings jealousy and bitterness, and how the jealousy and bitterness bring distance. Because to be totally open, as much as the quiet and the loneliness hurt, no widow wants to sit in a room full of happy families and couples while feeling this way. What I’m really saying is that I don’t mind going out and being around people, but only if they are nearly or more miserable than me. Tell me about your failing marriages and your work problems. Tell me that your life as it is now was never what you wanted or expected it to be, tell me you’re sad and depressed and feeling just Fucking awful because hearing that gives me hope that I am not totally alone in my misery, and goddamnit, misery really does love company.

I’m sorry if this seems like I am being unappreciative of all of the love and kindness that people have shown me. I’m sorry that the bitterness in my heart has created a divide between us that makes me want to chew ground glass over the thought of having to endure third-wheeling it with you and the love of your life to any function or gathering. I’m sorry if my answers are too short or too long when we text, because sometimes I can’t stand anyone and one word responses are all i can handle and yet sometimes I’m clamoring so desperately for someone to talk to that a simple “hi” on your end leads to my dissertation on life and love as a widow and how all of it sucks. I’m sorry for trying to suck you in. I’m sorry for rejoicing in any of your misery and I’m sorry if I suck the joy out of good times. Please bear with me.

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