A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
I always used to love the idea that you could take a year out of your life in your twenties to go and ‘find yourself’. Invariably you’d only really find yourself feeling dirty on the Koh San Road, feeling more hungover that you’ve ever felt in your life, and feeling complete distain for any future employer because they were unwilling to make every subsequent year a 365-day holiday.
I never went and found myself, myself. I’ve never found myself with the time to find myself before. But I’m finding myself finding myself now and I am, myself, finding it difficult to find myself without a map.
I haven’t needed one before because I’ve been so damn fortunate to have such a good life. Amazing things have come to me without straying far from the path I was already happily treading. I chose a career, stuck with it and it served me well. I met a beautiful girl completely by accident without even making an effort. A pregnancy test I’ll never forget turned blue on Valentine’s Day 2010 and a wonderful little human being slowly made his way into the world on October 17th that same year. The most incredible wedding day came ten months later.
And after all that I still didn’t need to find myself because I’d already found myself to be lucky, happy, fulfilled and planning things that anyone else in a similar position might. A bigger family – a girl if my wife’s determination were to prove enough to determine the sex – and a house on the right side of the tracks.
But now I find myself off track and I’ve no idea where I’m heading. People who have experienced similar loss tell me, “That was your old life and, like it or not, you have a new one now”.
Well I don’t like it much so far, but I have come to realise that when a child loses one parent too soon, it’s a crime to let the other one go missing as well.
So what’s the new one going to look like?
If someone were able to give you a new life, under less tragic circumstances, what would you do?
Would you carry on as before?
Would you live for today and screw tomorrow?
Would you stay in the same home?
Would you live in the same town?
Would you keep all your old things?
Would you question everything?
Would you try to find yourself?
Or would you wonder if you are already there but just more confused and displaced than you’ve ever been in your life?