A Good Day in the Life of a Grieving Widower
By: Pierre Milot
Strangely enough, today is a good day, it's been so long since I've had one.
All bundled up in my red checkered construction shirt, and discreetly trespassing on my neighbour’s long country driveway, I'm taking my old dog Max out for his morning walk. Protected from the cool river wind by the bordering woods, I can feel the hot spring sun gently warming my face and shoulders, and can hear nothing else but the birds chirping, the familiar honking sound of the Canadian wild geese flying high in the clear blue sky happy to come back home, and the delightful crunching sound of gravel underneath my feet as I walk. With an uncertain smile I breathe in the fresh morning breeze, I feel good.
Strolling along, lost in thought, I marvel at our capacity to recover from what seems at times like the ''unrecoverable''. How can it be that today I can smile when only yesterday I was in the deepest of sorrows, with little hope for tomorrow. As I ponder on this, I reminisce, I think back on that dreadful November day, when, as I was holding my wife's cold dying hand and counting her last breaths, she left me in so much pain and loneliness. I remember that while I was putting on a brave front reassuring her that I would be OK, I was prompting her to go towards the ''light'' (as if she wasn't already there, for where else could such a kind and loving soul be, but in the arms of an angel).
Little did I know then that very soon I would be kneeling on the ground, bent over in gut-wrenching agony, sobbing like a child, and begging for her to come back. I would have done everything then, change my religion, give away all that I owned, even my life and soul to see and feel her, to be able to one last time delicately run my fingers through her soft silky hair, as I lovingly kiss her forehead while savouring her particular body scent that I've grown to love so much.
But, if the Divine in his infinite wisdom has granted us the gift of growth through sorrow and pain, he has also given us the necessary strength to overcome the same hardships. So, reaching inside the deepest confines of my being for that slippery strength, I managed to somehow make the pain more bearable, stand up and shakily face the day one more time.
Now, in an effort to heal my shattered life, I'm slowly learning to redefine my sense of self, my identity in this strange and scary new world without her, to think in terms of ''I'' instead of ''We'', while at the same time keep her memory alive in my heart.
I will make it, I will survive, I will somehow learn to be whole again but in a different way than before, and when the tough days comes back again, I will always have today, the comforting memory of this ''Good Day'' to fall back on.
Waking up from my reveries, I focus back on Max, my only daily companion these days, as he too, healing from his loss, enjoys the day. His inquisitive nose intrigued by the pungent odour of last fall's decaying leaves, he decides to investigate further and scratches the ground with an awkward paw to uncover the newly grown fresh tender grass shoots, a welcomed sign of the summer to come. The never ending circle of life.
Today is made of my yesterdays, and tomorrow is made of my today.
Pierre Milot, Ph.D.