A year ago yesterday, the world lost Stephen Hawking; I remember waking up and hearing the news, and how it felt as if my world had shifted under my feet. A year ago today, my world shattered.
My wife died unexpectedly on March 15, 2018, sometime around 4:18am (unofficially) at the age of 33. I made phone calls, cried, screamed, hated the world, hated her. I was angry beyond belief. I (not to mention her parents, son, friends, and other family) had been robbed of the woman I loved, and wanted nothing more than to leave this world so I wouldn't have to live without her.
I spent the first week in a complete fog. I had no idea what day it was, no idea where I was or who was with me. I couldn't sleep in my bed, because that's where we slept. I couldn't sit on parts of the couch because that's where she sat. For that first week, I slept in my step-sons bed, but never really slept because I kept thinking I was hearing her.
Grief is a funny thing. Even a year later, it doesn't feel real. It feels like a weird dream, like I'm simply floating along and she'll be there when I wake up. I honestly don't like dreaming, because often she's there, and when I do wake up, I have to remember again that she's gone.
While it doesn't feel real, sometimes, it feels like it's always been this way. I've noticed that about this, about my job, about my house, etc. While I certainly remember a time before, it feels like so long ago as to be "forever." It's only been a year, and yet sometimes it feels that she's always been gone, that I simply dreamed the last three years of my life with her.
The Kübler-Ross model of grief (which basically says that there are 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) is often shown as a linear progression, implying that you start with Denial ("No, she can't be gone") and progressing through to Acceptance ("She's gone, and there's nothing I can do about it"). The problem is that there's absolutely nothing linear about the process of dealing with grief. While the stages themselves are fairly accurate, their progression is not. It's much more akin to a two year-old scribbling with a crayon. Some days, I've Accepted that she's gone and that there's nothing I can do (or could have done) to change the outcome. And then some days I shift right back in to Anger and want to tell her how idiotic she was for putting me (and so many others) in this position.
I've heard examples about swimming through the waves of grief. My therapist likes to compare it to an oscillating fan, because sometimes the grief is pointed away from you, and sometimes the fan turns and points directly in your face. I've also heard of the ball and the box. All of these are really good examples. Grief never goes away. The pain never hurts any less.
I often get concerned when the amount of time between a wave/fan/button press gets to be too long - because in my head I start to think that I'm feeling okay and I'm not sure if I should be feeling okay. It's unsettling to think that I'm okay with everything that has happened and where I am in my life.
We unofficially started dating in February of 2015. We were married April 30, 2016, and she left us March 15, 2018. She was my best friend from before we were together. She was my best friend the entire time we were together. She was the person I wanted to spend every waking and sleeping moment with (call it co-dependent if you want, I'm not bothered by it). She was the one I told everything to, and wish I still could. I miss her every single moment of every single day.
I luh you, Melissa Ann Solsberry. All da time. All da much.