Today Matt and I would have been married 11 years. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about things like this so they always hit me pretty hard when I realize a day before what is about to happen. This revelation was not as sharp as I feared, not as cutting, it didn’t cut me off at the knees as I expected it would have when I first thought about it months and months and months ago. I still miss the hell out of him, I miss my best friend but the memories, the feelings are easier to handle and easier to express. I talk about him freely these days without losing my shit.

It’s no secret that I went through some serious shit when Matt died suddenly of a rare form of testicular cancer. People close to me probably thought they knew everything because I talk so often (about anything and everything) and there were a lot of phone calls where I called people overwhelmed, crying, or just this side of screaming. Everyone probably had a good idea what was going on but I doubt anyone really did. Though I am very open about my shit the worst of the worst I kept buried deep in a journal I’d never let anyone see.

I had serious rage issues. Not just anger at the change or the loss but complete blinding rage even toward some of the people I love the most. I had fantasies of driving my car into a ditch at high speed (not to hurt myself but to destroy something completely), I thought about packing everything that mattered to me and disappearing someplace new and not telling anyone (I thought very seriously about this), I thought about burning down my house that I was desperately trying to move out after selling 3/4 of what I owned (by myself), and I thought quite frequently about punching random strangers in the face for minor offenses. Thankfully I have mad self control skills and never did any of these things and they have all moved into the past.

These experiences have changed who I am and changed my view on life forever. Before I was a woman of little patience and a low tolerance for bullshit. Now it is almost non-existent though in different ways.

I am more willing to walk away from toxic situations, relationships, and people. I am not the Bob Villa of your life, I will not fix your problems if you have no investment in them yourself. We all have those people we hang on to because of shared experiences. We find ourselves pulled into drama because of morbid curiosity. Lately I’ve been accused of zoning out when people try to talk to me, it’s halfway true, I hear what people are saying I just don’t pay attention to the whining. If you involved yourself willingly in drama I will not pay attention to you whining about it, I just can’t, I don’t have the mental capacity or emotional reserves for it.

I don’t give advice anymore but I do listen more deeply. I am a fixer by nature, chances are I have some ideas on what you should be doing. How annoying is that? Sometimes I used to keep it to myself, sometimes not. I’m sure it was totally frustrating for people. Now I have nothing to offer except to know that you are heard. I have no advise on relationships, on families, on work, on anything. I realized that people will do whatever they will do no matter what you advise them of, all you can offer is your non-judgement and your friendship. This also makes it easier on yourself because you are not taking someone else’s problems (even if you love them to death) on your own shoulders.

I let a lot of shit go. My Father In Law used to pound this into my head (sometimes not so kindly) and it’s one of the best things he ever could have done for me. I am kind of an uptight person, I’m really easy to get wound up but not as much these days. Matt’s death put a lot of shit into perspective, it showed me what was really important (people), and what wasn’t (mostly their bullshit). Even when someone says something really jerky (and if you’ve followed me through my journey into widowhood you know that people are awesome at that) I let my brain take a break and let it go. Even when I’m really worked up and have bitched about something for a bit I will stop and mentally ask myself “will I remember this in 5 years?” chances are I won’t because I don’t remember what bothers me 10 minutes after it’s happened. Do you know how much time this opens up in your life when you refuse to dwell? It’s amazing. Things still bother me, I’m no zen master, I still lose my shit like any good Finnish woman (in spectacular and explosive form liberally peppered with the word “fuck”), but then I’m done. It’s really fucking liberating to just shrug your shoulders and let it go.

I’m more selfish. Pick your jaws up off the floor people, yes, this only child said she is MORE selfish. I am and I’m not ashamed of it. You know who laughs at this? People who aren’t married. People who haven’t worked for family businesses. People who haven’t given everything to everyone else and then asked for more. People get taught at a very young age that it’s the worst of the worst to be selfish but it’s not, it’s detrimental to constantly live for someone else, you lose yourself. Since it’s just me and my dogs I do what I want to do. If I want to get drunk on Wednesday (something I never would have considered doing a year ago) I will, if I want to break my own self imposed curfew and stay out late I’m going to, if I want to spend all weekend holed up in my apartment watching Star Trek then I’m going to and I don’t care what anyone is going to say about it. I do what I want, when I want and though I always try to be a kind person I’m not going to spend my time thinking about what other people want of me.

Mostly I feel like the sun has finally started to rise on my world again and that I have the first real glimpses of happiness again.

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