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  • Alexis Kemp

A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A WIDOW

I feel as though I’ve lived a long, brutal lifetime in the year since I lost my soul mate. At the same time, it baffles me to think of it happening an entire year ago. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was holding his hand and watching him cling to his last breaths like the very precious things they were? I still cry every day. Sometimes it’s just for a minute. Sometimes it’s for hours. Sometimes it’s while I’m yelling at him for leaving me even though he promised he never would. Sometimes it’s while I’m laughing at an amusing thing I remembered, then realizing I’ll never be able to make more of those memories. We had a lifetime ahead of us of jokes and travel and major decisions and mundane things and fights and holidays and grieving things that were not each other.


We had plans.


Those plans died with him this time last year. My future did too. Sure, I’ll make another one. But it’s not the one I want. It’s a future that will always hold an emptiness to it that I can’t fill. I will never feel my husband’s lips kissing me goodnight. I’ll never hear his laugh, or his sarcastically hilarious quips. I’ll never get to roll my eyes at him when he picks apart a show I’m watching to comment on the lighting of a particular scene that I’m trying to enjoy for completely different reasons. I’ll never get to hold his hand on the Magic Kingdom ferry.


I miss him so much.


Worse than missing the things that were, I miss the things that will never be. Important things, like getting to experience New Zealand and a million other places we’d planned to go at his side, and silly things, like wondering what he’d say about the last season of Game of Thrones. A show he loved so much and watched over and over again during chemo because it ‘made him feel better about his own situation’.


I’m taking on every distraction I can, the most recent being attempting to renovate the house. It’s a tricky task on your own, that’s for sure. But I still consult him on every decision. I still consider what he would have liked. I actually think he’s probably a little cross at me for bringing in so much mid-century modern furniture into the house NOW that he can’t enjoy it.

I think about all the things I have to do on my own now. I’m not deluded in thinking that I’m the first, only or last woman to have to navigate this life on her own, and I think I’m doing okay all things considered, but it’s so hard having 17 years of knowing what a true partnership was and then trying to figure out how to go on without that partner.


The Seth I met when I was 18 was energetic, passionate, kind and oh-so-clever and I fell in love with him at once. I always felt very lucky that he saw something in me that he wanted to keep. We grew up together through 17 of some of our most formative years. He was my best friend. He was the only person who knew everything about me. We weren’t perfect, but even through youthful idiocy, we knew we loved each other more than anything that tried to tear us apart. We always had each other’s backs and we were always on each other’s team, even if no one else was. I was Seth’s biggest fan, and he was mine.


I miss him and everything hurts.


I can’t even articulate all the ways I miss him. If he were here now he’d tell me to stop crying all over my keyboard and come watch Outlander. So, I guess I’ll do that. Somehow I’ll keep moving. We’ll see what another year does.

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