My life ended May 20, 2016. I know, dramatic. You might also disagree since I’m clearly here writing this. But my life as I knew it suddenly disappeared when Mike died. Gone. Finished. One minute I’m getting ready to leave for work, texting my husband (why hasn’t he responded yet?!), placing our packed bags at the door for the long weekend that we’ll leave for in a few hours and the next I’m lying on the floor uncontrollably shaking trying to remember how to breathe and resisting the need to faint or throw up.
It was surreal in the worst way possible. I spent a lot of time afterwards thinking “why me? why him? why us?” What did I do so incredibly wrong in my life to deserve this? Mike was a good person down to his core and he didn’t deserve to die. Why did this happen?
That thinking got me nowhere. There is no answer to it. The truth is, bad things happen all the time to all different people no matter how pure of a life they’re living. The bigger question becomes, “why NOT me?” What made me think that we were so special and would be untouched by tragedy? Why did I think we were entitled to grow old together? Who promised that? Was there a meeting where we sat down and figured out how old we’d be when we died because if there was, I missed it. Why would I be so lucky to live a charmed life while other people struggle with poverty, health issues, abuse or other horrendous problems? To us, we were two people crazy in love with each other and our lives together determined to be in this forever but in reality, we’re just 2 people in the world like everybody else. If something bad happens, why not to me?
Here’s the thing with that thinking though; there’s a silver lining. If “why not me?” can apply to the negatives in life then it can also be about the good. There’s the more random parts out of our control like, why not me to win the lottery? Ha! That would be nice! Then there’s the “why not me” that we have a little more control over and can work towards. Why not me to workout and have abs like the people I admire on Instagram? Why not me to learn and master a new skill I’ve always thought looked cool? We set our own limits and hold ourselves back. It can be scary to expose your vulnerability and take a risk with something new, but really, why not? If someone is going to do it then it might as well be you.
That brings me to why I am here. Being a widow in my twenties is an incredibly lonely and isolating experience. It’s hard to relate to people my age as they happily discuss new marriage, relationships, and pregnancy and are full of hope while my husband and all my plans are gone and I feel so utterly hopeless. I’ve been searching to connect with people, support, and resources for my new undesired situation. There’s a little bit here and there and I have made some connections but it’s not enough and what I have found is not near where I live. I’ve read the few books on young widowhood that I could find but I wish there was more.
Friends of friends contact me about someone they know who lost their partner and I try to find out what resources they used. I usually end up with a response of “not much” and I know they’re alone too. I hear of car accidents and tragedies all the time (maybe I’m more aware of it now) and it breaks my heart to think someone else might have to endure what I am. But where are these people and how are they coping? I wish more people would write about their experience so I could read it. Why haven’t more people done that? That led me to thinking…why not me? I want more writing from young widows, well, I am a young widow and I can be that writer. Why not? I can write about my experience and my thoughts. Why not me to step up and fill that gap? Sure, I make myself vulnerable by putting my thoughts out into the world but what do I have to lose? My husband? Nope, I already lost that. If not a single person reads my writing I’m still not failing because my writing will have helped myself. If one person reads it and gains something from it then even better.
So here’s the start of why not me? Because if it can be anyone then it can be me. This is me (Liv) after him.