Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Married Without A Spouse

Okay, this blog will be a little different than other posts I have done. This is for Seth, but this is for everyone who is a widow, anyone that is interested in reading my writing, and this is for me. I have been alone for five nights now, without the help of my family or friends, and this is what I have learned... 

1. I have no idea how to relax! For 20 months I had one purpose, besides work and getting up in the morning, my purpose was to be supportive to Seth. That support came in all forms. When he was doing incredibly well, it was simply taking advantage of that time by creating wonderful experiences and memories with each other. When he started using a wheelchair, it was helping him to get into and out of the house, helping him to bathe and to get dressed, and helping him to get to and from work. For the last few weeks of his life it was helping him to do all of that plus managing his medications and so much more that I am sure he would rather I not share. For 20 months I always had something to do with or for Seth. Even when he did not require much physical assistance, I spent my hours praying for his health and worrying about his health. Now, two and a half months after he passed away, I finally have the opportunity to relax and I cannot for the life of me figure out how one does that. I couldn't wait for this day, when I would not be overwhelmed with my long to do list (which is still incredibly long by the way), and yet I am at a loss. How could this be? I must have relaxed in my life, even in the last 20 months. The difference, I learned, is that before I had Seth. Seth could calm me down and could make the most quiet, relaxing, non-significant moments seem so enjoyable. Without Seth, I have absolutely no idea how one relaxes. 

2. I have no idea who I am! For the last six years of my adult life I have lived with Seth and we were married for over two and a half of those years. If I was not at work, I was with Seth. This is not to say I never did anything without him, I most certainly did. Sometimes I would go out with my friends for dinner and drinks or I would go biking after work. He didn't come with me when I would get pedicures, and I got those a lot. But, if I was not doing one of those things, I was with Seth. We did everything together. We took drives with the dog. We loved going for coffee and out to breakfast together. We loved watching DVR and eating pizza on a Friday night.  We watched all of the same shows and rarely watched TV without each other, except maybe when he watched ESPN. When we took the dog on a walk, we did it together. Did I mention we did everything together? No wonder I don't know how to relax. I don't have any idea what I like to do for fun. I will never forget what I liked to do with Seth for fun. But I have never really thought about what I like to do by myself. I have never been alone as an adult. Without Seth, I have no idea who adult Meredith is. I think I need a hobby. I think? Maybe? How do I even know? This is something I never thought I would experience. I am 31 years old and yet so confused.  At a time when most people are finally figuring their lives out, I haven't got a clue.

3. I am still married! I call myself a widow, but I do not really identify with being one. When I think of a widow I think of elderly people. I think of people that truly got to share their life with their loved one. I think of people that had far more than three married years (or less). When I think of widows, I think of people that had children with their spouse, built a family with their loved one, and built a life with their soul mate. Seth and I were 31 when he died. We did not get the chance to start a family. We did not get the chance to own our single family home that we talked about. We did not get the chance to take our children on vacations. We did not get to travel the world together. We did not get to grow old together. I am not like those people, so I cannot be a widow. But what am I? I absolutely do not consider myself single. To be single would imply that I am "on the market." I am most certainly not on the market. I am still very much in love with Seth. Sometimes I am still in such disbelief that I truly think he will just walk through the door and give me a hug and kiss. He is still very much my husband and I am very much his wife. I know that he will not walk through the door, I get it. But that does not mean that I am ready to "move on," whatever that means. People actually ask me about dating. People say things like, "you are young so you still have so much more time." Do you really think I am sitting around worrying about if I will be single for the rest of my life? Who knows where life will take me, I don't even want to think about that. But as far as I am concerned, I am married to Seth. I am married, but I don't have a spouse.

I am surprised in myself because I am doing okay(ish) being alone at the house. I miss Seth and I cry. But I also find myself laughing when I think of our memories or funny things that he used to say. I even find myself mad at Seth because I am pretty sure he is in some way responsible for the broken storm door, the broken kitchen cabinet, and the plumbing leak at the kitchen sink. It is like he is testing me, just to be sure I can figure things out. Well Seth, I am figuring it out so please stop making everything in the house break! I cannot handle any additional stress at this time. Missing you is exhausting enough, and I miss you a lot! 

I have been alone at home for five nights and I have learned three things. I need to learn how to relax, I need to figure out my identity, and I am still very much married to Seth. As time goes on, I get the impression I will be learning a lot more. I expect that Seth will still teach me lessons, more in the future than ever before. The day Seth died was the very worst day of my life and I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions ever since. But there is one thing I know for sure. My wedding anniversary is June 29th and I will always celebrate my marriage to Seth. I will always be married to Seth, I just don't have a spouse.


  1. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words and feelings. As to how to relax maybe this will help. There is a song by Paul Alexander called "Light a Candle." Sit in a darkened room or with the lights down low and light one candle where to focus your thoughts and remember your life with Seth. Hope this will give you some relaxation.

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  3. Hello,
    I just lost my husband at a young age of 36 suddenly and very tragically on 6/23/2017. Point #2 I identify with exactly. Where do I go? What do I do? My life revolved around spending time with him. Everyday after work it was finding out what time he would be home, so I could know when to expect him and cook dinner with him, every weekend was finding something fun for us to do together. If there was a day he had to do something else, I spent the day doing my own thing but waiting till that moment he was home again. When my phone rang I was always excited if it was him calling. I was ALWAYS excited to see him. I always felt safe and secure knowing I could always hang out with him, or it wouldn't be long before I saw him. That giddiness of being with him NEVER wore off after 14 years living together and 4 years of marriage. I remember thinking that very thing shortly before he left too. How happy I was with, him. The irony does not escape me. I have not spent much of my adult life alone and I am absolutely frightened of it.

    I am very impressed that you were able to move back into your home alone afterwards. I have not stepped foot into our house since the day I got that phone call from the hospital and I ran out the front door. I have been staying with my sister in law, and that has been very nice because she was less then a year younger then him, they were almost twins. So it is comforting to be with her and I haven't had to be alone since, since I sleep at her house.

    I do not think I could ever could go back to the house alone. It would be too frighting, lonely and sad. I don't think I could bare it.
    I am actually going to go inside the house for the first time today. I need to pick up some supplies and I might box up his things, or at least have a family member do it. I am scared. To see his things where he left them. I am not sure how this is going to feel yet. I am feeling fairly numb right now. But I have to do this eventually.

    I still do not know where I am going to go long term. I don't think it is back to the house. I don't know what to do with my life, where to live, what to do, where to go. It is all so confusing and lost. How can I just keep the same routines that I had when he was here when everything is now broken? I don't want this. We had a perfect life. I don't want it to change but I have no choice now and I am deathly afraid of being alone.

    Maybe this was the reason it happened. That I need to learn these skills. That I needed to reinvent my life. I don't know. I don't want to. And I don't know if I have the strength to do it. But again I have no choice now. Maybe I just need to embrace it and run into the wind and try things I never would of done otherwise, like move to a new city alone. Maybe I'll crash and burn. Maybe I won't. At this point I have nothing to lose.

    The future is a black hole right now.

    At least I know I am not alone in this road. Other have traveled this journey also and survived and even thrived. It is possible.