To Those Who Want Me To Move On

You want me to “move on?” No matter how much you love me or think you have my best interests at heart, what makes you think you understand where I’m at? You believe that life is what we choose and we can make ourselves “better.” OK. Here’s the challenge.

You stand in front of a picture of the person with whom you spend your life. Look, intently, at that one-dimensional representation of your life partner. Because now that is all you’ve got. That and your memories (which others will try to tell you to suppress, forget, move away from).

Now imagine that you will never again hear his voice, feel his touch upon you, listen to his laugh, witness him experiencing joy or sadness, see him sitting in his favourite chair, go to the mall with him, celebrate holidays with him. Imagine attending weddings, christenings, funerals, and graduations without him. Try to grasp that he will never fulfill his dreams, that his life’s work and his love were snatched away in the cruelest possible manner and that you were haunted, day and night, by the way he died. Visualize what it might mean to you if you knew he could never smell your perfume (or you his musky, dusky scent) again, or smile over shared memories, or indulge in his favourite foods, or call you by his pet name, or make love to you. Not ever, ever again.

Now, in your mind’s eye, move through your day. Think of the many different tasks and chores he does to make your life turn over. Imagine doing yours and now his as well. While grieving his loss, emotionally, physically and intellectually exhausted. Imagine.

And picture yourself, while you’re at it, trying to figure out how to make the financial situation arising from his death not drive you into the poor house. And how not to let the emotional/sexual confusion of suddenly being “single” not drive you into the mad house or into some wildly inappropriate and potentially heart-breaking “relationship.” And just to round it all off, ask yourself, “What does any of this mean?”

Get it? Get any of it?

Oh. Good.

And when you’ve done all that, really done it with an open heart and mind, then tell me that it can be freeing to be widowed, that it’s a second-chance, and that moving on or forward is in any way true.

© July 3, 2003