Sometimes now it’s hard to write about these things. It’s hard to tolerate the feeling of exposure, and yet I need the camaraderie of working on these things together. We are all on our own journeys in life, but the readers who come here all the time are with me even as they are on their own journeys.

There are these senses of myself as maybe a personality these days. Little flashes.

When things were going back and forth about C being allowed to stay in Y-town to study next year, I felt this sense of strength inside me that seemed to be really closely connected to Russian language. I suppose with the girls, my little group of friends, I felt strong. Or I felt strength was a part of our identity. Or something.

Anyway, today I feel like a widow. I’m getting this somehow. I mean, it’s sinking in that it is or was a part of who I feel I am. Someone who experienced an entire stretch of a life cycle already and is now on the other side of it.

This is how it feels to me: that I had that sense of a partnership in life, that feeling of really being joined together with one person in facing life’s problems. And then the subsequent feeling of being alone as a contrast to it. I think it’s different than the grief of a divorce, because then there is all that thought of where did it go wrong and I guess it was never what I thought it was. It’s a different kind of feeling after you pass through that grief. It’s possible you might think later, “I’ll get it right this time.” With the death of a spouse, you might think a lot of things later, but that is not one of them.

Anyway, it gives me the feeling that I did that once, I had a partner in life, and now I’m in some other phase. I don’t need to try to recreate the old life or a new life with some of the same stuff in it, but I am interested to see what this phase brings. This partnerless one. I am interested to see what life might be like now.

The thing about this is how acceptance feels. Okay, this is me. It’s safe to be me. I’ve had a lot of that lately. It’s okay to have the load of grief that I have and to think of life in a different, more appreciative way now because of it. All of these things are fine.

There must have been a point when it really seemed impossible to live with all of these things as facts, and just as impossible to see them as facts that carry on into the present, that shaped my life and also shaped me. They could be denied perhaps, although that was a disaster, and they could perhaps be acknowledged if the “past could be placed in the past.” It took a long time to see that the past could be a part of the present, and that might be fine. It doesn’t make the abuse acceptable. It doesn’t mean it didn’t diminish my life in important ways.

But to hell with it. To hell with wishing for what might have been or should have been. There is certainly a place for that—it’s part of the grieving process. You have to do it. I did it. I probably will have to keep doing it from time to time.

It is what it is though. And it’s fine. I am fine.