The emails roll in from my groupies, who now live on what seems like the other end of the earth. Believe it or not, that time of year is rapidly approaching. Another year of survival and…more change. The aftershocks have lessoned but still come for me and my widow friends.
As if to reach out and hold each other’s hands, our email exchange is one of hope and acknowledgement. One at a time, each one describes to the others the latest struggles and successes. And although each are a little different, we understand each other.
Their emails have also stimulated much introspection.
I’ve reflected on just how much healing the boys and I have done. This, I think, is hard to truly appreciate without going back in time to see all the pain and struggles of years past. As I do this, I am amazed at the transformation. With that, I am also saddened.
This year, the thing that stands out most is how different a person I am now. Just after Tom died, I felt lost and insignificant. Outside the context of “wife” and “mother,” I was left wondering who the heck I was. I’d felt a lack of any identity whatsoever — except for “mom.” Thank God I had that, for the simple fact that I was needed by my children meant that I could not give up. And believe me, there were days when I truly felt resentful for being the one left behind. Giving up would have been so easy. Or so I thought.
Somewhere along the line, it became important for me to have a sense of self worth that stood alone, or was independent of everyone else. The search for Julie wasn’t easy but I think it’s been good. In many ways, I am still evolving. You could say that I’m a work-in-progress and, at this point, I kind of like the me I am becoming.