I have never been under the delusion that my future is set in stone. I’ve lived life long enough to know that things change. The unexpected happens when you least expect it.
After building a life with my husband for 14 years, it was easy to get comfortable with the idea that we would grow old together. He’d be the senior citizen with the amazing head of perfectly coiffed silver locks that would still turn all the ladies heads, as he drove around some beach town in his convertible vet. I’d still be rocking tight black pants and ample cleavage well into my 80’s and flirting shamelessly with the bag boys at the grocery store. Because we were that couple.
It was easy to imagine the rest of our life together. And while I wasn’t always certain what the future held, I always knew that we held each other in it.
Now I look to the future and it’s blank. Not the kind of blank that fills you with the anticipation of unknown adventure to come, but one that is shapeless and empty. A long stretch of vast darkness.
I know that there is a future before me, just as I know the world is round and just past the horizon lies the promise of tomorrow. But my world is flat and all I can see is the edge and it’s hard to imagine anything beyond it.
To fill my days, I work furiously on my to-do list of tasks. Widow responsibilities that are small transitions into this new life after my husband, that keep me moving forward. Mundane tasks that are anything but and take me further away from the we we once were. My heart breaks a little with each one, but I attack them with intent and they fill me with purpose.
I fear for the day my to-do list is complete. What then? What comes after that?
Each day I wake up with the fresh realization that I am alone.
I have no one to share in the struggles of raising my two daughters. All the decisions regarding their futures rest solely on my shoulders. All the challenges of parenting two girls who will be teenagers before I could possibly be ready, will be all mine.
Can I handle that weight alone?
I have no one to share in the joys of raising my two daughters. There was only one other person in this universe who loved them as deeply and as unconditionally as I do and he’s gone. Who else will find the beauty in every thing they do and every accomplishment no matter how small?
Will I be enough for them?
My husband and I had so many dreams. Some were small, like getting two dogs and getting back to the gym. Some were grand like buying a new home and taking our girls to see the world. He was going to finally get serious about his writing. I was finally going to finish that book I’ve been working on and he would be the first pair of eyes to read my words.
The future is more fragile than I imagined and all those dreams have vanished into the wind. How do I begin to make new ones for myself or continue to chase the dreams we made without him?
I’m left taking tentative steps into a future I can’t picture, wondering what awaits me.
I am walking into the darkness and hoping there is a light.