I had to take care of the taxes this past week and went to the accountant on Friday for my follow-up appointment. I cried as we reviewed my options and at one point I referred to my husband having died. My accountant sternly replied that since that was five years ago, it was old news and I needed to get over it. He then went on to give me that old familiar line that there have been lots of women widowed and somehow they manage to move on and survive. Somewhere in there too was the comment that if I have to downsize and move into an apartment so be it, that is what I have to do and I need to face it.
I had a lot of reactions to this exchange. First, that these are all things I've heard before plenty of times in my widowhood. I don't think my accountant wanted to be mean and was trying to be helpful. For the first time, I tried not to react or think defensively and to sit with his perspective and perhaps even benefit from it. Yes, I do need to face reality and move on (not only from my first husband's death but also the end of my remarriage).
But despite these positives, the main reaction I had to this exchange was the feeling that as a widow, I'm not even allowed to have the death of my husband as an explanation to what I am feeling or dealing with in my life because it has occurred in the past. It seems like after that first year or two we've used up our grief allotment and can no longer use it to justify where we are in our lives. I felt like I was even having my grief taken away from me.
Granted, the immediate death event is over. But what still remains are all the complications that resulted from that death in the realm of financial, housing, job and parenting responsibilities. I think these are referred to as secondary losses. So even though my husband died five years ago I am still dealing with and trying to cope with things that do directly result from his death. I'm not sure I'm explaining this well and maybe people who aren't in this situation wouldn't understand it. I guess what I could do next time would be to explain things more specifically - "I'm dealing with the financial repercussions resulting from my husband not having enough life insurance to allow me to pay off the mortgage when he died." It has just always been easier to say, "I wouldn't be in this position if my husband hadn't died." And in the end, really, why can't I have that? I've had everything else taken from me.
Today I am grateful:
1. That the taxes are done (still have to mail them but at least I know the damage isn't as severe as I'd been dreading).
2. That the boys seem to be hanging in there emotionally and socially.
3. That I'm in a much different place than when the divorce was first filed - that I've accomplished a lot of introspection and made some spiritual progress.
4. That I feel a little more hopeful and positive despite the obstacles that still loom ahead in our lives.