I have two identical black cats now. Michi and Kikiboo. One, I’m not sure which, bounds across the kitchen and I think, how did I end up with two? But as a new widow, I have a motto: I’m a widow. So I can do whatever I want. I’ll open a bottle of wine at 3 pm. And buy myself some stylish new boots without looking at the price tag. And I can adopt as many cats as I want.
At 38, with a toddler and two lovely teenage stepdaughters, I didn’t expect to become a widow. And I feel more like an alien who just landed on this strange planet, than anything else. I also didn’t expect to lose my father to brain cancer, sit by his side as his body and mind withered away. Sit by his side as he shared his plans for a trip to Antarctica, among other other-worldly things, and hold his hand, baby Juniper strapped to my chest, as he left on that final expedition.
And I certainly didn’t expect the eerily similar decline of my husband, the love of my life, to cancer, seven months later, our baby daughter soundly asleep next to him, as he took his final breath and transitioned to his next life.
So on this strange new planet in this new life, the life after my father and after my husband, the life after my step daughters moved in with their mom leaving empty bedrooms and dressers full of clothes, I’ve been learning about grief. And it isn’t easy. Even an alien could tell you that.