During this journey, I have heard so many times that I’ve lost half of myself or my other half, so of course it’s hard to pick up the pieces.
But it’s more than half I lost.
When you are in a loving and supportive relationship, it becomes part of the fabric of who you are. Even when you’re going about your business each day and your partner isn’t with you, everything you are is based partly on them and that relationship.
You are who you are because you are loved unconditionally. You are who you are because you know you have a safe and content life that you built with your partner. You are who you are – confident, secure, happy, outgoing – because in part, you feel safe being those things. Because your partner always has your back. But don’t call me lucky.
The other aspect of being completely and unexpectedly alone, is the WORK. Yes, lots of people and even lots of my friends are single and live alone. What’s the big deal? Well, I live alone in a life built for two. That’s the difference. EVERYTHING we built and planned over 15 years was based on two. Michael and I had a big life together. By big life, I mean lots of responsibilities and work that was divided between us to make our lives manageable. We were always busy with the rescue, the house, and/or the dogs. Now, all of those things fall to me.
The home we bought, we bought for two (half acre fenced yard that requires constant upkeep, for example). The dogs we adopted; we adopted for two (four dogs in one house, all needing love and attention and exercise, for example). The life we made; a life for two (two vehicles now down from four; home projects; even small things like taking out the trash or cleaning the house). So, unlike those I know who live alone and are single, I’m also alone but keeping up with this life for two.
I’ve considered selling the house, but I’m on a self-imposed year of no decisions. I’m not making any big life decisions for at least a year. I struggle with the idea of selling, because this home is obviously my strongest tie to Michael and who we were. All the memories and life we have shared here make this a safe place for me. It’s the place I feel most comfortable. I love this house. And the more I do with it, the more I love it.
It’s going to be a long year. I’m impulsive and now I don’t have Michael to balance me. So it’s good I’m putting this timeline on myself.
So now, now that more than half of me is gone – WAY more than half – I’m trying to figure out who I am anymore. For so long, a huge part of my identity has been a wife or a rescue director. Now I’m neither. And holy shit – it’s disorienting and scary. And still, at least once a day, it hits me. He’s gone. Not coming home from work. Not coming in the door ever again. He ceases to exist anymore, and that fact still kicks my ass at least once a day but usually far more often. The person I chose to complete me, is gone. Forever.