I recognize that I have never experienced grieving the death of a spouse before. My wife Abby died 18 months ago, and I am finding my second year of grieving her death to be harder than the first.
I miss her more than ever.
Losing her wasn’t as hard as watching her lose the fight. I was there for her every day, but aside from loving her and advocating for her care, there wasn’t really anything I could do to make her well.
When I was 14, I read in The Book of Lists that the top two most stressful events in a human life were divorce, and the death of a spouse, but I had always questioned the validity of that assertion since I imagined the death of a child, especially a young child, would be the worst.
On the other hand, paindoctor.com gives an updated list, with a stress index number assigned to it…
- Death of a spouse or child: 100
- Divorce: 73
- Marital separation: 65
- Imprisonment: 63
- Death of a close family member: 63
- Personal injury or illness: 53
- Marriage: 50
- Dismissal from work: 47
- Marital reconciliation: 45
- Retirement: 45
I know other people who are currently grieving things like divorce or the death of a parent, but they haven’t expressed it to me in obvious terms. I can understand this. It can be hard to admit that something outside ourselves has taken something valuable from us – that feels weak and vulnerable.
And of course theres always room for self doubt.
Sad songs make me sad, but happy songs make me sad too, since so many of them were about us.
I talk to Abby sometimes. Usually it is just to say that I miss her.
What do I miss? I miss our debriefs at the end of every day. I miss her hand in mine as we slept. I miss the hope of another adventure down the road with her. I miss her laughter as we watched movies. I miss bringing her Braum’s vanilla milkshakes and Sonic burgers. I miss her “I love you” every day and every night. I miss saying “I love you” to her every day and every night. I miss the smell of her hair. I miss that she was proud of me and the things I accomplished. I miss her telling me every day that I looked great.
I miss you, Abby.