It's strange because until now, I never realized how many widows and widowers there were in the world. All the time- having gone through what I'm going through now, and still breathing.
It remind me a lot of miscarriage. It's not something people talk of at all, but if you have one and tell someone, chances are high they'll share they had one, or two as well.
On the eve of Dan's death, I left the apartment where there were lots of people- my parents, friends- it's a blur, and wen to tell the concierge in our building what had happened. I'd always found myself telling him all sorts of things before, so why not this.
"Hey Julie- how you doin?" he said with a NY accent though he's Assyrian. I told him the news while crying and in my strange state that first day just went on and on, "I just can't believe it you know, I just can't understand it."
He told me his first wife died when he was 29 and his infant son about 6 months later. He told me to take care of myself and be strong for Audrey.
There's another woman that lives in our building who Audrey and I would always see walking a big white fluffy dog. A few months ago, the dog died and I tried to comfort her in her grief with pitiful words. She and her husband have since bought a new white dog- same breed (which one I have no idea- it's really big and really fluffy and really white)- a puppy. So a couple of days after Dan's death- I saw her as I sat outside on a bench in front of our building. She asked how Audrey was (who was with me), and I told her, "Not good. My husband just suddenly passed away." She sat down, "Oh you poor thing." She told me her first husband had died when she was 31. She said she'd just laid in bed crying and didn't know how I would do it with Audrey. She also said when her father died later, she was sleeping with her mom in bed right after it happened, and her mother shot up in the bed and looked at her and said, "How did you ever do this? You were so young. How did you ever do this?"
The day of Dan's funeral, another widow- a friend of my parents whom I've also known for many years, handed me a card. "Don't open it today. Read it tomorrow," she said firmly and slowly.
I heeded her instructions and it was one of my first activities the next day when I woke up, wondering what to do on my 6 year wedding anniversary. It read:
"Dan's death is a loss for many people, close relatives, family, and friends. They all feel the pain of the loss but after today their lives will resume. Yours is changed forever. This is what no one gets, or feels or can understand.
For the next few months, just go with your heart. You do what feels right for you and little Audrey.
Call me and I will help you in any way I can."