I’ve been hit with writing blocks. Well, that isn’t exactly accurate. I write a lot of things in my head. All the time. There is a constant chatter-wheel of thoughts and stories and things I want to share zooming through my brain-space, especially when I am doing something routine and near-automatic. But, often in those instances I am not near a keyboard, notebook, or place where it is appropriate to be on my keyboard or writing in a notebook. I squash the thoughts away and sometimes they return, but more often they are forgotten to the place where all unrealized creativity goes. That hasn’t been the only reason for my blocks. I stopped engaging in the writing group because I felt overwhelmed by how many “better” writers there were. This spiraled into a bit of self-loathing about writing and wondering why anyone would want my voice, that of a fairly privileged white female, added to the masses. I’m not asking for an ego boost here, just being honest about why after a flurry of activity things died a little. But, to get better at writing you need to simply write, so here I am pulling my own proverbial teeth to try to get over this inspirational hump of sorts.
You, guys. I just have to say being a widow brings about something that might seem like it could be “exciting” but in reality it is terrifying, confusing, consuming, paralyzing. I guess you could say there is some element of excitement, but not in the “yay!” more in the ” think I can try this but I’m fucking scared” way.
There are too many options.
Loss is terrible for all parties involved, but the widow/widower’s reality suffers a very unique upheaval. There are countless posts, books, articles about the profound impact death has on the widow, especially the young widow. To break it down simply, your entire future plans are put into a dumpster, said dumpster is set on fire, and then a tank blows it up. In my case, we got married, we tried to start a family, we bought a house, and then Dan died. I am no longer married in the technical sense, I could potentially still have our kids, and I now live in a house that was supposed to be increasingly filled with people and not cats (though the cats are tempting…).
What do I do now?
The future I chose, the future I decided I wanted, is gone and I cannot have it back no matter how much I try to barter with the universe. I have to choose something else now. Not all choices have to be made with immediacy, but some have to be made sooner than others. I’m going to be 37, not 27, and that has a lot of heavy pressure. Do I trudge forward with what we banked and become a single parent? What if I wanted to get married again? Do I actually want to get married again? Do I even want to stay in Pennsylvania? Where would I go? What would I do? Who am I becoming? What parts of me that I was used to no longer serve this weird combination of new me and old me? What do I do for the holidays? Last year I traveled, but is that sustainable? Can I actually afford to keep the life that I currently have? Do I want the life I currently have? Am I just living the shell of the path Dan and I were walking?
How am I going to figure any of this out?
Each of these splits in the road have multiple splits of their own, and if you are the type to argue with yourself internally and imagine every scenario possible then you can imagine how many difficult nights I have had trying to fall asleep with all of this spinning at hyper-speed. “Maybe you should see a therapist, and meditate” you might say to me. I’ve already got the first half of that, and the second I am working on. But ultimately, all of these options, all of these choices have to be made by me and me alone. I cannot let anyone dictate the path, because if it is wrong that just opens the can of worms of resentment and I don’t want to have any of that heaped on the well-meaning people in my circles. It’s tough, it’s so gut-wrenchingly fucking tough. At times it seems the further out I get from when I lost Dan, the more confusing and unreal life becomes.
I can only hope through being open and curious, unapologetic and determined, leaning into what scares me a little, I can sift through the infinite options my life has ahead of me and figure out what the new path is. And maybe the “new path” is just taking a few steps, being okay only knowing what those few steps are. Being a little uncomfortable but accepting of the fact I may not know where the road bends and loops.
I really have no idea, but I’m trying, because a little over a year ago I said goodbye to my love, my husband, my future, and woke up alone.