When you’re a widow, the amount of emotions that can cycle through your entire body at any given time is unfathomable. I deal with so many conflicting emotions on a daily basis and it’s exhausting and overwhelming. In one given moment, I can feel so many different things. I am often joyful and melancholic at the same time. Or I tend get excitable but also terrified at the same time, as if excitement is somehow dangerous. I have the urge to keep pushing forward while also wanting nothing more than to collapse and quit. But I just keep chugging along, hoping for the best.
I have some parts of my life that I am so happy with at this point in time. And that in itself has been really hard to cope with. It’s really hard to accept happiness and joy into your life when you’re shattered. You don’t want to be happy in a world void of your person. Initially, happiness feels just plain wrong. It doesn’t resonate and it feels icky, like you’re cheating on your spouse or something. Or that you aren’t “grieving right” as if there’s a right or wrong way to grieve. Or this belief that you’re supposed to remain sad for a certain amount of time. But here’s the thing. No one is always sad, and no one is always happy. Happiness does find a way back into your life. I am currently learning how to accept that my life and my personality have changed in a lot of positive ways and this hasn’t had only a negative impact on me as a person.
It’s inevitable, though, if you think about it. You can’t stay stuck in one spot your whole life. Time and biology simply don’t allow that. We just keep moving forward with the rest of the world, and life/time has a way of helping you repair. Your brain eventually begins to process and accept what happened, you learn new coping skills, you adapt to your new normal. And eventually, the weight does begin to lift. I felt that I had a choice: to let this ruin me, or to take it in stride as best as I can and take what bits of good that I can forward with me.
I have already learned so much about life, humanity, and myself throughout this process and it’s only been about 13 months. I have learned to be more compassionate and I have learned how resilient I am. I made new friendships, started building a new life for myself that I found suitable, and I hoped that Matt was okay with it too, wherever he may be. Instincts have a way of helping you rebuild even if it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything.
It’s so hard to think that anything good can come out of the worst thing to ever happen to you. How can life be better in any way, after being thrown into such a deep, dark hole? Well, as you’re climbing out of that hole, you gain a lot of skill and strength. When you have been stuck in the darkness, you gain a new appreciation for the light. Life seems to have more meaning when you learn firsthand how fleeting life can really be. I chose to not let that fact be scary, but more of an opportunity to love and appreciate life in a way that I never had before so that I can feel good about what I have done, no matter when my time may come.
I remember feeling so inspired by Matt’s service because of how many people came, and how everyone had so many wonderful things to say about him, all following a similar pattern. I always drew inspiration from Matthew, but it was really nice to see that he had a positive impact on so many other people as well. I hope that I can have a similar impact on this earth as Matthew, preferably with more time (is that in poor taste? Oh well, he will understand).