Ashes won’t choke the fire I have

Today officially marks the one year of the beginning of this journey. George passed on November 25th, 2013 and on December 7th was his funeral and the day I received his ashes. There was this little grief engine inside of me in between those dates to keep me going. On December 8th, I was allowed to vanish into widow solitude. My parents stayed the night with me a year ago, and we went out to breakfast, but after breakfast I remember they had to return to Connecticut whereas I had to learn how to stand up again on my own that Sunday.

I remember after they left I just went home and cried. I think I watch Schindler’s List that day… I can’t remember. Honestly I could look back at my blog post from that day. I began this widow blog around then. I am so grateful that I started documenting this journey when I did because so much of the last year is foggy. I feel like it happened to another person and not to me. Almost like it was a dream, but when I woke up from it everything was different, including me.

This year, all of it, from all parts dealing with his immediate death felt like it went by so agonizingly slow. It’s been just a little over a year, but it feels like decades. I look at pictures of us together, when we would travel to Ohio or just poodle around NYC, and that life looks like it happened with someone else. It doesn’t feel like me. I see him and I still love him so much, but I look at her and think that’s not me. Pictures capture moments and memories, something to be cherished for years. And I cherish every minute I had with George, yet those times are scalding. I wince when I see them. Kind of like you know not to rest your hand a stove after you’re done cooking, and those pictures are like a furnace to my brain. I’ve noticed that some other wids have been having similar sentiments as well, and I’m not sure if that’s just where I’m at in this journey. Perhaps it’s a “let it go” aftermath. I’m always unsure if I’ve truly let go, because what does that really mean anyway?

This past Saturday I ran another half marathon, but this time with my best friend from college who’s endured a significant loss as well. A parent died unexpectedly. When George passed, we talked extensively about the grieving process and how badly we just want to call them to talk. This was her first half marathon and my second. But afterwards we were just so happy to have done it and to have done it together, especially with how crappy the weather was–35 degrees with freezing rain.  But we went to lunch and we both work in athletics at the Division III level and she asked now knowing the structure of different schools, divisions and athletic programs, if I could do it all over again, would I go to CCSU? I didn’t hesitate in my response. I said I wouldn’t change a thing because without it I would have never met George. With how painful this year has been, I do sometimes wonder how different things would be if I never met him. But when it’s all said and done, he was the best thing that has ever happened to me. A love that runs so deep that even in passing he inspires me to be better every day. That’s a once in a lifetime kind of love. I adore him with every beat of my heart.

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.


About J.

Fitness professional, fitness & nutrition writer, widowed at 28. Writing about getting through grief through self-care, physical activity, and the ​constant feeling of being uncomfortable.
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4 Responses to Ashes won’t choke the fire I have

  1. sarahtrank says:

    Your posts have been so encouraging to me. December 2nd was 5 months for me, and I feel in some ways I’m starting to settle more into the ‘doing this alone’ part of life now. You are an encouragement to me, that you are doing it and making it through. Thank you for sharing your process with people you don’t know. I appreciate it 🙂

    • J. says:

      Thank you! At some point you do realize how independent you are and it’s a really satisfying feeling. Especially when your life is so intertwined with someone else and then all of a sudden it unravels and becomes frayed. But when those moment of a-ha come along, it is a great feeling. It does become easier to manage and when it does, focus on what is it or what you have done to further enrich your life, grab it and keep doing it. It pays off as more of these a-ha moments occur.

  2. I’m proud of you. I’m told the first year is the hardest, and you not only survived it but are still intact, even though it may not feel that way sometimes. And I know the feeling of “How can this possibly be my life? This isn’t what we had planned at all.” You are still that person but just a person who has a much deeper understanding and appreciation for life because you’ve witnessed first hand how fragile it can be.

    • J. says:

      I do have a deeper understanding of how delicate life is, but I made it my purpose to not be who I was. My husband was my hobby, balance and heart beat. Without him I didn’t know who I was. But while having him in my life, I grew tremendously as a person and in his passing I vowed I will continue to grow. And I have and will contiue to. But the most valuable lesson Ive learned in this first year is I must love myself. As I was stepping forward in the grieving process that’s exactly what I started to do: love who I am and see what I can do. The first year is hard because it’s a transition to a new life. Year two is a mystery, but it’s a challenge I feel confident I can handle. I saw you’re almost approaching the latter half of the first year. Just make Jason proud in everything you do. A thriving wife makes for a happy life.

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