Death changes you

07/21/2014 Entry

Death changes you.

Some changes are obvious and some are hidden, creeping out of their hiding places when you least expect. The big changes, they stick out like weeds in a perfect lawn. I have a new, more morbid understanding of life. I know that life is short, that any day can be the last time you see someone you love. They can be gone in an instant, whether it’s from disease or accident.

Death is something regular people, those who haven’t been touched directly by it, those who haven’t had their worlds shattered by it, don’t think about every day. I do. I know that every time I hug and kiss Will could be the last…he could die in a car accident that day, or drop dead from an aneurysm or heart attack. I have just as much chance to die in a car accident on the way to and from work or drop dead from an aneurysm or heart attack. That is not something people realize or think about every day. I do. It’s a hard new reality to live with. Sometimes I wish I could be the person I used to be before, the person who was carefree and who never thought about death. But I can’t. This is who I am now, Brandon’s death shaped this new person.

I’m now a more caring person, more empathetic. I don’t trust as easily as before. I don’t open up as much…some pains the world doesn’t need to see. I no longer plan ahead. I know that we don’t really have any control in life. I try to live one day at a time. There’s a deep sadness that I carry in my bones. My memory is shot to hell. I used to never have to write anything down, I’d just remember it. Now, I struggle to remember the simplest things. “Widow brain” is what they call it on the forums.

The above are all “big” changes; they make sense after experiencing a death of a loved one. But there’s other changes, changes that you never thought would happen. Because of Brandon’s death, I don’t read anymore. I can’t. I went from reading a book or more every week to reading nothing. I couldn’t drink tea for a long time after, but that love returned to me last winter. I hope reading does to. But seriously, who thinks that they’ll stop loving to read, something that’s been a part of them their entire life, after a death? I sure didn’t.

I really don’t know the point I’m trying to make by writing this. I’ve had a little to drink tonight and the words inside of me aren’t coming out as I want them to. Sometimes I have an idea, a picture in my mind, but translating it into words on paper is a challenge.

That’s another thing. I used to write, a lot. I was very creative. I made up characters and all sorts of stories starting from a very young age. When I was seven or eight, I used to pretend I was a journalist and would write about everything and anything. In the teenage years I started to create characters and varied story plots. When I started college I lost that part of myself. For years I didn’t write anything that wasn’t related to class.

Then Brandon died, and the next day I somehow tapped into that long ago buried well of words. Now, 17 months later, that well has dried up again. I don’t write like I used to. Where before it was effortless, I now have to force it. People keep telling me that I have talent; that I need to write a book, that my words can help others. They don’t understand that my talent is unreliable; unpredictable. I’m dry for days, weeks, then suddenly something creative spits out. I can’t write with any consistency.

Writing was my therapy, and now I feel like the words inside of me are constipated.

I want Will to come home…he’s been out of town. I don’t like being alone.

There. I said it.

I don’t like being alone.

But who does? I read somewhere that people, as a species, need to be around other people to be happy and content. Alone is not in our nature.

I look at my Mom and I can’t help but admire her. She’s spent most of her life alone, being disappointed by people. Yet she is so strong. I hope I can be like her.


2 thoughts on “Death changes you

  1. Kathy Birmingham

    Hi Val,
    I can’t pretend to know how you feel. Though some aspects of grieving are quite similar for most of us, being young and losing your husband, being married for only 5 short weeks, not having had enough time together to bring a part of him into this world, and the circumstances of his death- are all beyond what most people experience with the death of a spouse.

    I lost my love, my soulmate, after almost 45 years of marriage. He left behind a legacy of 3 beautiful, generous and considerate daughters, 3 wonderful sons-in-law, and 7 love – of – my – life grandchildren. Plus a broken soul, his wfe, who will never get over losing him and who has regrets that will haunt me forever.

    Thank you for baring your soul and for providing current and future widows with a kind of comraderie, an association that has many elements that we can relate to. Though I know you will always continue to keep your deceased husband in your thoughts and in your heart, I’m glad that you have found happiness and purpose with your current husband.

    Keep writing – we look forward to reading your blogs. I first became aware of you through Widow Net – another wonderful resource for widows/widowers.

    God Bless.
    Kathy B.


  2. Kathy,

    Thank you for your kind words. I’m terribly sorry to hear about your husband; I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have such a huge part of your life and soul just be gone. Although us widowed people have this big thing in common, the death of our beloved, each and every loss is devastatingly unique and terrible in its own ways. I am glad your husband lives on through your beautiful family – you must constantly see pieces of him in your daughters. I hope that brings you some comfort. His absence will always be felt but I hope you are able to find some moments of peace.

    You’re absolutely right about Widow Net, it’s a wonderful community. I’m so glad I stumbled onto them years ago. There is so much kindness, compassion, and understanding there…they helped me survive and not feel alone. I’m glad you’ve found them, too!

    Sending you warm hugs and thoughts,


Comments are closed.