A Year in the Life of a Pilot’s Widow

I want to start off by addressing that I don’t really know why I am writing this right now, other than the fact that I have something to say to anyone who has or will ever mourn a pilot. I’m going to keep this short, and I’m going to keep it concise…

Before I get into that, I want to talk about what it means to love a pilot. Not a person who flies. But a pilot. Someone who was born to take to the skies.

I have heard so many military spouses talk about how they simply pretend the jobs our husbands and boyfriends have are “normal.” They pretend that they are bankers or lawyers. I get that this is done to protect themselves, but ultimately, they aren’t bankers. They are pilots.

Their jobs are epic. They have legendary stories to tell.

If you love a pilot, you love someone who literally tames and rides dragons all day. And then comes home and does laundry. And eats dinner with you. And asks about your day.

If you love a pilot this means weekly if not daily conversations about the dangers of the job. The dangers of ejection. The possibility of severed limbs. Third degree burns. Broken backs. And death.

Not just one conversation, but many conversations.

If you love a pilot, you love someone who spends their whole life fighting gravity, and bending it. And to love a pilot means that one day, you very realistically may have to mourn that pilot, because even the greatest pilots can die doing what they love.

It’s the gig. To truly love a pilot is to be ready and willing and able to try your best to survive their death.

And when and if, one day, your pilot falls from the sky, we, their widows, are left to mourn heroes.

We are also left with a community who says they want to support your grief but also really hopes you stay quiet about it.

When you mourn a pilot, everyone mourns with you for a while. You get a lot of calls from people who didn’t know your pilot but want to express their condolences.

You also get messages from pilots you don’t know. Their wives in the next room. These pilots are panicked, they have so much fear of death, but their wife simply can’t understand and so they can’t talk to her. (Maybe because she is trying to convince herself that he has a normal job and he doesn’t want to upset her).

So these pilots talk to you. Because you’re already destroyed.

And though you are broken and grieving, these are your person’s brothers, so you stay up til all hours of the night trying to console broken men while you yourself are broken.

When you mourn a pilot, you know conversations are going on about you in the spouse groups. Are you still a spouse? Most think yes. But there’s always one or two who consider you less of a spouse, and after a few months of trying to figure out how to deal with their passive aggressive dismissals of your suggestions, you decide that maybe, ultimately, you may need to leave that group completely. And leave those friendships.

A lot of people tell you that they’re going to do really amazing things to honor your dead pilot. Getting necklaces made. Bracelets. They’re going to send them to you when the designs are finished…but the designs never get finished, and ultimately you just forget about it.

When you mourn a pilot, you listen to other spouses with living husbands complain about the amount of time their guy is flying. They don’t complain in group chats…they, for some reason, complain to you.

You get called by investigators over and over and over again. Every time, they need a little more information. A few more details for the report. And then the report of the accident comes out, and you read “pilot error,” listed across the top. And your soul screams. And you feel like your guy has died twice.

And on top of that, people keep saying over and over and over again, “I’m sure his last thoughts were of you,” and you want to scream at them, “do you even get it? Do you even understand what they do up there? He better not have been thinking of me, he better have been trying to get out of the god damn airplane so he could get back to me.”

When you mourn a pilot, you show up to their final funeral service, and you see people with their cell phones out.

You collapse by their coffin afterwards when everyone is trickling away and you sob. And you clutch the name tag hanging from the handle of the casket and you look at your dead pilot’s name. And you feel your heart shatter again.

And while that’s happening, someone walks up behind you and taps you on the shoulder and asks if you can move for a second…because they want a picture of the casket (it’s their first time at Arlington Cemetery after all, and they don’t know if they’ll ever be back).

So you move. And they get their picture.

And at the services, you run into one of the pilots who called you months earlier. And later on after the funeral, he calls you again when it is a little too late. He’s alone in his hotel room. He asks if you want to meet up. And you hang up the phone and delete his number. And you mourn your dead pilot even more because he was truly a good person. And you feel like you’ve been left to the wolves.

When you mourn a pilot you consider the idea that maybe you don’t want to live anymore. You make the mistake of telling one of the wives. And she takes the screenshots of those messages and shows them to other wives. And ultimately one of them finally calls you and goes, “I just think you should know she is saying these things about you,” and you stare blankly off into space and ask her, “did you stand up for me?” To which she responds, “well, it’s not really my place to do so, but I thought you should know.”

And so you think about it.

And you make a list of every single person from your pilot’s squadron, and you delete them from social media. And you write really angry posts about things they never let you say. And you’re talking for the first time, honestly, about how you feel. And you let it all out. You use your anger to scorch the Earth around you. And it feels good.

People start calling you and telling you you’re causing too much pain to others. And you laugh to yourself that anyone is trying to talk to you about what “too much pain,” is. And it feels good.

The fact that people can see, for the first time, how little they mean to you in the face of what you lost, feels good. It feels so good, because you finally, after almost a year, feel like people hear you.

And the first year ends. And you’re finally breathing again after spending so much time suffering a death by a thousand cuts.

And you take your first few steps into the second year of being a dead pilot’s widow.

And then another pilot dies. And you see his widow in the news articles and you hear the talks and lofty speeches about how the community is going to pull together to support her.

And you just hope it goes differently this time.

****

There are truly so many great and supportive people within the military communities, please know I acknowledge that.

This post is a culmination of things that happened to me and other widows after their losses. So obviously…there is some room for improvement.

My Ivory Tower of Grief

In the last few weeks, people all over the world have watched as the life they once knew, piece by piece, was stripped away from them.

People have woken up every day to a world filled more and more with shadows.  People have woken up to see the ever expansive landscape of their life become limited.  They’ve bit by bit had to let go of things that are outside of their control and retreat further and further inward.

Gone are the distractions.  Gone are the loud parties.  Gone are the empty moments that they tried to fill with empty people.

And many people have slowly come to realize that pretty soon, they were going to have nowhere else to go but the four walls of their homes, where ultimately, they would have to deal with that place not many of them ever cared to venture: the inner world of their own minds.

The inner caverns of our minds are where we find anxiety lurking and fears creeping up behind us.  Many of our inner worlds hold skeletons shattered by the hatchets we refused to bury.  Many of our inner worlds are ruled only by shrieking chaos.

My inner world used to terrify me.  So I kept it locked up and used every excuse I had not to venture within arms length of its door.

But after John died, that door was blown wide open.

And from it, the wreckage of every experience I’d ever had and every emotion I’d never dealt with came spewing out, and I had no choice but to look at the chaos around me and try to start fitting some pieces back together without knowing how any of it was supposed to look.

I spent the better part of the last year rebuilding my inner world.

Pulling splinters from bleeding hands and walking away in frustration more times than I can remember.  But continuing to build, and mold, and shape.

And it’s only in the last few weeks that I have been able to see what I’ve been building in the last year. It’s only recently that I can see that I was building a tower.

A majestic one.

One that sits high above the clouds like a castle from a fairy tale.  Somehow I seem to have built an ivory tower out of mangled and charred debris.

It’s almost as if this inner world was crafted by the hands of someone who loved me.  Deeply.  Someone who couldn’t help with the wreckage of my outer world, so did what he could with the wreckage of my own mind.

It’s almost as if I sit in a house built by the kind of love that only grief could unleash.

There are no shadows here.  There are no unlit corners.  There are no skeletons. Or daggers.  Or ghosts.

There is candlelight. There is magic and wonder and fairy houses. There are subtle hints of blue.  There are books.  And words. And there is love.

There is so much beauty in the ivory tower that John built for me out of the wreckage of my grief.  There is a place for me to sit high above the chaos of the world and just peer off into the clouds.

I’m reminded here that the wind can only carry the echoes of cries so far up.  I could ignore the world’s pain from here.  Easily.

But I won’t.

It’s from this ivory tower that I am able to take deep breaths of clean air.  And kiss the whispers of my loved ones every morning before wandering down to the ground and, placing my ear against the door for a second, begin to venture out to do what I know must be done… to minister to the pain of others.

The ivory tower that was built from my grief is only for rest.  And perspective.

It is for a bird’s eye view so I can find people who need me and walk to them. So that I can find people that desperately need magic.  And words.  And wonder.  And love.

This ivory tower was built for me so that I can find people in pain, kneel beside them, and whisper:  I know your world is burning. Mine was too.  

But look…look at that castle in the sky.  Look at what can be built from the ashes of a wrecked life.  

 

 

On God, Blind Faith, and Narrow Paths

It’s been no secret that, in the year since losing John, I’ve been going through somewhat of a profound spiritual experience.

Some people call it an “awakening,” but to me that term suggests that I’m “awake” while others are “asleep.”  And I think that comes across as pretty arrogant. So, for that reason, I prefer to say that I’m experiencing a “spiritual re-alignment.”

I do not think I was “asleep” in any sense of the word before John’s accident.  I think I was like many people who consider themselves atheist or agnostic.  I was fully invested in and engaged in my life.  And I was open to finding and experiencing what people referred to as “faith.”  I just never did.

Growing up, I had sat through sermons in church pews, temples, and gurudwaras waiting for some feeling or inclination that there was more to life than just what we saw around us.  It didn’t matter if I went to a youth group or yoga class, people sitting around and talking about God and universal connection sounded exactly like people just sitting around talking.  It was uninspiring at best.

Nothing ever moved me.  Nothing ever stuck.

So I relegated faith and belief to the same category as I did fairy tales: I felt that they were stories people told themselves to make the world less scary and lonely.

I eventually turned to a much more rational approach to the world…I turned to therapy and, eventually, to travel and this worked well for me.

I did really well in therapy because once I was presented with information that contradicted an existing belief or paradigm, I was open to adapting and changing the way I thought.  My therapists (and John) loved this about me, and through therapy, I honed my ability to experience, process, and adapt to new information.

Though I had therapy to help me process my experiences, I did not abandon religious or spiritual ideas all together.  But I also did not have a meaningful way to incorporate them into a life that already made sense on its own, so I used religion and spirituality in the same way we use filters on photos: as a way to artificially brighten or dim very real experiences.

That was the nature of my faith.

I’d had plenty of dark times in my life before, and “faith” never did anything for me.  It wasn’t like a flashlight that would turn on when times got dark, it was more a kaleidoscope.  A lens I could pick up and hold to my eye anytime I wanted to see the unreal and the abstract projected onto the real world.

And then I met John and found all the faith I ever needed in the form of another person, and I remember feeling blessed.  And I remember feeling happy.  I remember feeling good.

But then he died.

And everything started going dark.

And faith, the children’s toy that it had always been to me, I didn’t even bother reaching for it.  It was useless, and I knew it.

And the day John died I also knew something else…that if there was a God, he must have been silent my entire life for one reason:  because he does not waste his time on the wretched.  I knew that God must only speak to “the good.” People like John who had been lucky enough to be given real faith.

I knew that God must have thought it better for John to be dead than to be loving  someone like me. I knew that God must have killed John in order to “save” him.

If there was a God,  I didn’t hate him, but I knew he must have hated me.

And so I sat in the darkness of my life accepting that I was either truly alone, or detested by a God I didn’t know how to believe in.

And I imagine that’s when God, horrified by the highly dramatic conclusions I was coming to, decided to do what he does best…he decided to turn on a light.

And in the darkness I was in, it was all I saw.

It was a subtle light, like the flashing of an incoming call on a cellphone screen, but it was the only light I could see.  So I walked towards it and stumbled through what I now know were my first steps of blind faith.

I took the first steps of faith, not knowing where I was going or what I was doing. But every time I got to a light I could see that another one stretched out in front of me.  Some were as faint as an engine light on a car dashboard.  Others were haunting, like a T.V. that keeps turning itself on in a dark room.

The lights didn’t make sense.  They weren’t in a straight line, but…they were lights in the darkness, so I kept walking to them.

I was certain that every light I got to would be the last one I would see, but there was always another one.  And I had no idea who or what was turning them on.

Each step was a stumble through the darkness on a path that no one else but me could sense. And that was confusing, and terrifying, and so many times I was worried I’d succumbed to delusion because there was no way any of this could be real.

I struggled to come to terms with what was happening.

And as I struggled through the darkness, I struggled to understand how to even put into words what I was experiencing, so I decided to just use one word: God.  God apparently was happening to me.

Only my experience was so different when compared to anything I had ever associated with God before.

It was almost as if John’s death had broken me in such a way that, like a bent antenna, I could now pick up on a new frequency.  Some sort of “God Frequency.”

And in that darkness I found a new sense of sight, where I could sense order in events where I had only ever sensed chaos and disorder.  I could hear and sense so much more than I ever could before.  But in the darkness, I  still struggled to understand why I was being helped.  If God is real, why had he stayed so silent in my life? Why was he so silent in so many people’s lives? Why did he allow us to suffer?  Why?

I started to ask.  And I started to seek.  And I started to question.   And that’s when God asked me if I was ready for him to turn on more of the lights.

And I said, “yes.”

And so he did.

But these lights didn’t light up only the way forward, they illuminated the path behind me, so I looked.  I could see my past, and in it, I could see all the different times God had turned on a light that I simply couldn’t see because there were already so many other lights on.

I saw the highs of my life, and there was God, laughing with me.  I saw the mundane parts of my life, and there was God, gazing mindlessly off into space with me.  And I saw my lowest moments.  I saw the morning I found out that John was dead.  I saw myself in agony.  I saw myself clawing at my own skin.  And I saw God suffering with me.

In this new light, I saw God laughing, living, and suffering through me.

In this light I could see, stretching in front of me, a narrow path with a small gate…leading somewhere, and I understood for the first time why the path to God feels this isolating…it’s because my path is only for me.  No one else.

No one else will ever or has ever walked this exact path before, and no one else can walk it for me.   And it’s terrifying when you know walking the narrow path of your own faith makes you a lunatic to some and a heretic to others.

I guess this is why, “few are those who find it.”

But I’ve been walking it.  And I’ve been talking about it and trying to put this walk into words.  Telling people about the scenery I’ve encountered along the way.

And when this walk is too much, and I can’t get a feel for the next step, I stop.

And I turn my gaze upwards towards the skies John flew in, and I let myself feel lost and alone.  And I let myself cry because I want to be walking this path while holding his hand.

But then I keep walking down my narrow path. Some days I skip down it.  Some days I curse it.  But most days, I simply walk it led by faith and the knowing that love put me on it.

On this path, I have met the fearful.  Those who urge me to get on their path and abandon mine.  Those who use my experiences to validate their belief in a Heaven that will not have me and a Hell that will.   I have met people who, understandably, don’t believe I’m on a path because they don’t trust roads that don’t show up on a GPS.  And I have met people who, because of the heaviness of their own grief, have stopped walking altogether.

I have also met the faithful (of so many faiths), walking their own narrow paths.  Those who stop to minister to the pain of others by offering to be what John was to me: faith in human form.

I see everyone on their own different narrow path…and I also see God with all of them whether they see him there or not.  And he is turning on lights.  Hoping that our lives never get so dark that we are able to see them.

“Do not be dismayed, for your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

 

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I Didn’t Want a Life That Would Make, “A Great Book”

I cannot stress enough how much writing has served me in the months since John died.  Writing has allowed me to illuminate the saturated murkiness of deep grief in a way that continues to surprise, and at times, exhaust me.

Even though the aftermath of loss is where people typically find themselves with, “no words,”  I, for some reason, have been able to find many.

And so I’ve written them.

I’ve written about the love me and John had and continue to have.  I’ve written about what it felt like to have met him and why it mattered so much. I’ve transcribed the events that led up to the night he died trying to get out of his plane during a routine landing.  And I’ve written at length about how my life has unfolded since.

Writing has served to cauterize the deepest and most gruesome parts of this experience, as well as to illuminate the  incomprehensible moments of re-connection that I’ve been blessed with since the accident.  My writing has connected me to so many others whose journeys run parallel to mine, and I believe it will find its way to people who need it down the line.

My writing has helped me, and so I’ve continued to write.

My writing has also led to many of my closest friends and family earnestly telling me the one thing that almost everyone who faces a tragedy hears at some point:  That one day, I should write a book about all this.

(Believe me when I say that I take this as a compliment).

People have urged me to write a book about the life I had before John.  My relationship with him.  And the healing I’ve undergone since his death.  Almost every widow I know has been urged to do this.

Some do.  Some don’t.  But all our stories, untold or not, really would make for great reading.

I, speaking for myself, find the task deliriously daunting.

Maybe at some point in my life, I will be able to pluck out a single thread in this Gordian Knot of an experience, but until then I think what I want to say most is this:  that my life… this life that would make a great book…I truly wish I did not have it.

I wish it so very much.

I wish my relationship with John didn’t have to be described as “epic.”

I wish I didn’t learn first hand how death can open people’s hearts, only for them to realize that it’s too late for it to do anyone much good.

I didn’t want a life where I watched one of the kindest humans anyone has ever known die.  And I didn’t want a life where I learned that I could survive that kind of pain.

I most definitely did not want a life where some people think I’ve lost my mind because I can see John’s love manifested in dreams and cell phone glitches and balloons.

I did not want to be a seeker. I did not want  wisdom.  I did not want to be an example of strength.  I did not want any part of this life. 

No one would.

I wanted what almost everyone else I know wants…the norm.  I wanted a benign life, yet I was given this one.  And I know people want to read about it because I probably would too.

I suppose the easiest thing to read about are the difficult lives people lead.

But I don’t want a book about me and John because between the romance, obstacles, tragedy (and eventual magic) that our relationship carried with it, I feel we were really more the “fairy tale” type.  I don’t think many people could disagree.

I want our stories to be told in times where immediate comfort is needed, even if that means our names will eventually get lost to time.

I want people to hear about us so they fight for and forgive those they are lucky enough to love in this life.

And I hope, at some point, the story of the time John sent me quarters makes its way to a grieving person who needs to hear it.  I want people to hear about “some pilot” who shows up in kids dreams because he really wants to talk about planes.  I want people to look at red balloons and think, for just a second, that maybe there is more to this life than what meets the eye.

I want nothing more than for these stories to be shared and told…so I will keep writing.  I want nothing more than for people to find hope and re-connection after they lose someone, so I will keep writing.  I feel like it is what I was meant to do, so I will just keep writing.

But I also wish with all my heart that I was the one hearing and reading these stories, not the one writing them.

I don’t want to be living through the difficulties that make for easy reading, no matter how great the book would be.

You wouldn’t either.

 

A Few Words For The Newly Widowed

My newly widowed friend,

I write to you knowing how hollow words sound right about now.

I know “this” feels impossible.   Whatever “this” is, does not feel survivable.

“This” feels like dying.

Contrary to what you may think, there are words for what you’re feeling, but they aren’t the right ones.  They don’t fit.  Language falls short of what “this” is.

You can try to put some sentences together, but don’t be surprised if they come out jagged.  Truncated.  Cut off at the knees.  Disfigured.

Best you stick to simple words.  Words like anguish.  Shattered.  Dissolved.  Faded.

I know it feels like your brain has been dropped in acid.  And the circuitry that once ran clearly is now smoldering.  I know the air you’re breathing feels clotted.   It doesn’t seem to carry sound.  Or warmth.  Or light.

I know that breathing feels like choking down glass.

And while your brain is dissolving into itself, people are asking you impossible questions.  Questions like: what do you want to eat?  Are you thirsty?  Would you like to put a movie on?  …Are you okay? 

The questions are horrifying.

And I know that if you could figure out how to make your brain tell your mouth to open and then tell your lungs to breathe in and then contract while your vocal chords squeezed together…if you could figure out how to make your brain do that, you would start screaming.  But you can’t.

So you sit there. And shrug.  And nod.

You sit on a couch.  Feral. And do what you’re going to be doing for a long time: you mimic a human.

People are coming to see you.  They talk at you.  You don’t understand how they can’t see that they’re talking to a husk.  

You’re pretty sure this is how animals live:

Stimulus. Response. Stimulus. Response. Stimulus. Response. Sleep. Pain. Repeat.

People tell you that you, “sound great.”  That you, “look better than expected.”  And the air carries the sound their mouths are making.  And your ears take the message to your brain. And your brain is maybe making your body do and say things which makes people think you’re, “doing well.”  But you can’t really be sure.  

But I know you’re starting to be sure of something…

You realize that the “spirit” is very real.  And very different than the body.

I never believed in the “soul” until John died.  But if you’re like me…you can now, somehow, feel your soul twisting inside you.  Violently.

You can feel it hurling itself wildly against the cage of your pathetic, useless body.  You sense your spirit retching inside of you.  Convulsing.  Squirming. Begging to be let out…to go…to be free.

You feel it clawing. And whimpering.  You sense it trying to break through your bones and carve its way out of your flesh so that it can just…go.  You want to help it by cracking the shell of your body open, just a little bit.  Maybe you can just dig your fingers into the skin above your collar bones and rip off a bit of the casing your soul is stuck under.

But you don’t.  Because your brain reminds you that humans don’t peel themselves.  And right now…you’re mimicking a human.

My newly widowed friend,  I know that you’re thinking all these things and you’re feeling these things, and that people are smiling at you and telling you that, “you’re being really strong.”  And that they believe it.

This dumbfounds you.

The fact that people think that they’re talking to the real you astounds you.  That people think the real you showed up to work…that the real you is smiling in pictures and telling  stories at the funeral and going grocery shopping.

My newly widowed friend, I know the real you hasn’t done any of those things.  I know the real you is stuck inside a body.   A body that spends its time looking up things like the average life expectancy of a human… and then subtracting its age from the number… and then crying at the double digit number of years it statistically has left.

My newly widowed friend, I know the idea of living makes you sick.

And I know you’re probably reading these words from the floor of wherever your body lives.  The floor of a bedroom or bathroom. The floor next to a bed you didn’t leave for  four days; a bed that now smells a little like damp socks.

My newly widowed friend, I often wondered why I spent so much time sitting on floors right after John died…and now I think it was my body’s attempt to keep my spirit as grounded as possible.  As close to the Earth’s density as it could.

We sit on floors.  And we mimic being human.  We make the sounds we’re supposed to.  Our faces do human things.  And we eat human food.  And we mimic.  This is what newly widowed people do.

I know you’re probably reading this while you’re hunched over.  You’re probably alone now, so you don’t have to mimic as hard.  You can sit crooked.  Misaligned.  Your breathing can go back to being labored.

It’s just you and me now.  So I want to say some human words to you that I know you will not believe because you have no reason to.

But hear me out anyways, please:

My newly widowed friend, please know that right now, mimicking a human is your only choice.  All you can do is mimic.  And breathe.  And feed your body.  And drink water.  All while your spirit hemorrhages inside you.

My newly widowed friend, please…sit on as many floors as you need to.

And say all the things people say you shouldn’t.  And be angry at people who don’t deserve it.  And let text messages go unanswered.  And watch as people use your person’s coffin as their own personal soap box or stage.  And let your spirit wail.

Please sit down as long as you need to, and mimic the human you used to be and keep breathing.  Breathe those breaths.

Breathe glass.  Breathe pain.  Breathe unfairness.  Fuck life.  Fuck people.  Fuck “this.”  Fuck the world. Stimulus. Response. Pain. Repeat. Mimic. Human. Mimic. Fake. Pain. Pain. Pain. This. Pain. Just. Keeps. Coming. Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe…

Just keep breathing until one day…you actually take the first real breath you’ve taken in a long long time.

And you’ll know it.

Because the air around you will thin out.

And you’ll feel the sun.  And music will make you want to sing along.  And you’ll realize you’re actually breathing.  And you’ll smile.

Those days will come, and when they do (and you may not like this part) I need you to take the deepest breath of your new life, because I’m going to need you to get up.  And start moving through your life.

And I need you to pick up your pain, and I need you to take an even deeper breath because I need you to start talking.  Because you’ve got so many stories to tell.

You have to tell us stories about your person.

The world needs to know who they were.

How did you meet?  Tell us about the time they made you so angry you almost left them.  What’d their laugh sound like?  Did they take forever in grocery stores?  

Who. Was. Your. Person?  

I need you to talk about them.  I need you to take the deepest breaths of your life and tell their stories.

I need you to stand up and walk out the door and go out into the world because there is joy waiting to find you.  Real joy.  Real smiles.  New memories that are clamoring to be made and people who need you in them.  You need to tell bad jokes.  You need to make people laugh.  You need to be a part of so many other people’s stories.

There are people who need your voice to be a part of the soundtrack of their life, so once you’re breathing… start talking.  And start feeling.  And start connecting.

But to do that, you have to keep breathing those painful breaths.  And it hurts.  And it isn’t fair.  And, my God, I know some people are so uninteresting, but, my God, others are sure worth meeting.  And you need to meet them.

And I know you don’t feel like “you” anymore, and you don’t feel like you’re bringing much to the world around you, so I need you to hear this one thing above all else:

The good their love did for you cannot be undone by their death.

The world needed them, you needed them, but then they died.  And it isn’t fair.

But, my widowed friend, we still have you, and you are what no one else on this entire planet is:  The only end result the world has of their love.  What did it mean to be truly, deeply, romantically loved by your person?  Only you can tell us.

The world needs love stories.  Stories about epic love.  Tragic love.  Steady love.  Love-you-then-hate-you love.  Love that was almost right.  Love that was always right.  The world needs stories.

So, my newly widowed friend who is sitting on the floor, reading this from a smart phone that has dozens of un-read messages on it that say, “let me know if you need to talk.” Please, when you’re ready, if ever that time comes: get up, take a deep breath, stop mimicking… and start talking.

And above all else, my friend, when you’re ready: struggle, fight, clamor, try…and try…and try…to live.