Since losing Luke I feel as if I have been bombarded by two kinds of sympathy. The first are those who reach out to say how sorry they are for my loss and how they can’t imagine what I must be going through. These are the people who typically offer vague help and then disappear as time goes on. Grief tourists.
The second kind of the person offers sympathy by checking in on you without pressure, offers helpful advice, talks about everyday life and doesn’t give you pity looks when you bring up your late husband. They share their memories and give love and laughter to an otherwise dark time.
Over the last three months I have had so much time to reflect on “how I am doing”. I must get asked this question a million times a day. The truth is that I have grieving for a lot longer than just the three months that Luke has been physically gone from this world. His cancer caused him to slowly disappear before my eyes and over the last year and while we always held out hope for a miracle, we both knew deep down that our time together was limited.
I have been numb inside for so long. Not because I don’t care or feel the pain from the loss of my husband, life, love, partner, my world. I feel that pain and loss every day. However, I know Luke. I know that more than anything he wanted me and his family and everyone he loved to be okay. He wanted us to be happy and to move forward. Luke hated the thought that we would be in pain and was never scared of leaving this world, but rather leaving us alone. He was the most selfless person I’ve ever known.
One of the hardest things for me to come to terms with since losing Luke has been losing my identity along with him. I spent the last seven years of my life as his girlfriend, fiancé, wife, and now who am I? I haven’t been able to admit to myself that I am now a widow. This is the first time I have been able to write that down. I still can’t admit it out loud but I’m taking baby steps to confront my reality.
As odd as it feels to say, I have truly been blessed by the wonderful people in my life. My family and Luke’s family have been nothing but supportive and loving. My friends/ neighbors across the hall are always there for me and are a constant reminder of what it means to be a good friend. Through social media I have connected with Rachel who was a fellow cancer caregiver and lost her husband to ALL back in 2013. Her love, kindness, friendship, and experience has truly helped me through this difficult time in ways I can’t even express.
So here I am on the eve of New Year’s Eve, wishing that my Lukey was here. Out of the 7 years that we had been together, there was only one NYE that we didn’t spend together and that was when he moved to Winnipeg on New Year’s Day. I always considered it to be our holiday. This first year without him not getting to kiss him at midnight is going to hurt. I know though that he will be with me here in spirit urging me to go on and take care of myself, enjoy some time with friends, and maybe watch some lord of the rings.
I am wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year. Stay safe out there in the midst of the pandemic. Wear a mask, sanitize, social distance, get your vaccine when you are able, and always, Always, ALWAYS think of others. That is the Lukey way and how I strive to live my life.