It occurs to me that a great deal has been written about survival of the first year but very little about what happens after that milestone has passed. Other people in my shoes but a little further down the grief trail have agreed that this is not a journey with an end or destination in sight. This is a road with curves and turns and bumps and no real end.
I have just returned from what a friend referred to as my “vision quest”–a week alone in beautiful Door County Wisconsin. For those not familiar with the geography: when you look at a map of Wisconsin, Door County is the “thumb” that sticks out in the upper right. It is–in my opinion–the Cape Cod of the Midwest–charming, quaint, picturesque. I planned this trip last August as I began to look ahead and wonder what/how I would be feeling when I reached that one-year anniversary. I looked at various locations across the country–places L and I had enjoyed together–and settled on this quiet bucolic setting filled with memories. I am happy to say I made the perfect choice.
The week held so many serendipitous surprises that I have created a separate page to describe this adventure. I have added this page (like a bookend) to the pages I wrote in December of 2011 when I first started this blog. But in the event you haven’t the time or inclination to read this journal of a journey, let me give you the gist of it: the thing I kept finding myself focused on as I explores haunts of the past and encountered new venues was that L and I had 42 incredible years together–years that were filled with adventure and love and laughter. We had our bad days–we had days when we each thought we had made the biggest mistake of our lives hooking up with the other one.
But I see now that those were detours and construction zones as we found our way down side roads and byways until we came together again breathless with the relief at still being together. In short, for 42+ years he loved me and I loved him. We were each other’s best friend and wisest counselor and the fruit of that love story will sustain me for whatever time I have left in this world. Yes, I will cry and I will rant at what I will declare is the unfairness of our fate–we all want more and more and more of something so right. But in my heart I know that what we shared is more than most people get. Yes, I am a widow and I shudder every time I even think that word much less speak it aloud or mark its check box on some form. But I am now and ever shall be a woman who was half of an incomparable love story–and for that I am truly blessed–and with that always in mind I begin year two.