Someday, I will stop being the widow. Someday, I will be completely myself again.
It’s been more than a month since my husband died. Already, I want an end to the tears and to the sadness and to the numbness that plagues my heart.
Yesterday, my eldest son and I went to pick out a gravestone for his father. It was a sunny day–almost as beautiful as the day when we buried him. We took the train to Rotterdam and from Rotterdam we took the metro to the shop where we could pick out a stone.
The same tension pervaded us as in the days when we knew his father would no longer return to us. You know the smile that you force past your lips, the effort it takes to not break into tears in a public space. You hold yourself together by strength of will and don’t know how you manage to get to where you’re going. How is it that the world is still turning? How is it that life still goes on as is? How is it possible that I still walk the earth?
We sat there listening to the woman tell us about the different kinds of gravestones and all I could feel was a pervading numbness.
We ended picking the simplest stone. Shiny black granite to be embossed with silver letters and the shadow of a flying seagull.
Flight comes with a cost.
I think of the future that has opened up in front of me. How I must learn to navigate life as a mother alone.
My mother’s heart, I said to a friend. Is inclined towards my children.
More than anything, I want my children to be happy. I want to see them grow strong and secure regardless of this sorrow that has come to us.
My sons tell me that they want me to be happy too.
But sometimes, it’s too hard to be happy. Any little thing is enough to bring me to the edge of tears. If I take a walk and someone speaks to me–all it takes is a little kindness and I break apart. There are no words for grief. There is only the hollow cry of mourning.