Blog Post

One year as a 25 year old widow

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September 4th, 2018 marked one year without the love of my life. Let me take a second to introduce you to Jacob Dante Boraggina, my soulmate since 7th grade. I remember he used to tell me, “I can’t wait to tell our kids the story of how we met – how shy you were when I told you I had a crush on you.” We actually met when I was in 4th grade and he was in 5th grade – we were both in a play together called “Toy’s Are People Too.” He also used to say, “I knew you were the girl of my dreams when I heard you deliver that one-liner.” You see, we were all toys in this play. Jacob was a jack-in-the-box and I was a bear. I had a flap that said “MADE IN CHINA” underneath my costume. Part of the play is that these toys seem to be having an existential crisis, they don’t know where they are from and I say, “I am from China, see it says so right on my belly!” He told me he was smitten from that day forward.

I call it the “luxury of ignorance” that I had before I lost my soulmate – our life was seemingly perfect. Did I think this would ever happen? No. Did I ever think I would be spending the year of 2018 in bed? No. Did I ever think this incredible human being who I made breakfast for just that morning would be snatched away from me that evening? No.

We were sizing our wedding rings, we were naming our unborn children, and we were setting up a life together. You leave your family and turn towards your chosen family – we had spent the last two Thanksgiving and Christmas’s alone and we were forming our own new traditions, together – as a family. We were robbed of all milestones – marriage, children, buying a house together, grandchildren. I never thought in a million years I would be left alone, without the one person who ever knew me – and in his own words, “you are the only person that I can truly be myself around. The only one that knows me inside and out, and loves me unconditionally.” Sometimes people say the only unconditional love that exists is within the confines of a parent/child relationship. For Jacob and I, that couldn’t be more opposite.

I loved and love everything about him – I would have never broken up with him and the thought would never even cross my mind in the 7-8 years we lived together. With each new day, I found something to love even more and there was a secret little surprise of his personality that would shine through. He was a poet, a writer, and a true artist. This is part of the reason why I released my book of poetry, My Groans Pour Out Like Water. Not only was it the only thing I could do after I lost him, but it was almost as if Jacob was flowing through me. I wanted to continue what he could not – trust me, if you like my book at all – Jacob was ten times better writer than myself, but it was the only thing I could do for the first 6-8 months. It was one of the most bizarre things in my life, I would wake up and write 20 poems – without any control. I never sat down and said “I am going to write a poem today” it just flowed through me for months and months. And my degree is in biology! But I have always felt like an artist deep down – never a scientist. This is why Jacob and I got along so well – we both had an artistic soul (his far greater than mine). In fact, my first major was in writing – but that is a story for another day.

This is one of the realizations I have had during this grief-hellhole-knee deep in shit river experience at 25 – creativity has been the only way to save myself (at least this has been the case for me). I have written over 500 poems, 30 songs, and a 75,000-word book (it probably isn’t any good) – but there is nothing that can heal more than creating. I don’t even like using the word “heal” because I lay in bed all day, more depressed than ever, going onto year two – but it gives me a reason to do something – anything. Jacob once told me, after I wrote a song about him, how proud he was of me. “I love you being creative”, he would say like a proud parent. Any achievement, he was there. And he truly was like a proud parent, that’s how pure our love was and is. When I would paint watercolor he would take the time to kiss me behind my neck and say, “I am so proud of you my sweetest girl.” He danced when I got home. “Finally! My Baby Girl is Home!” He did the dishes, took out the trash, made dinner – wrote me poems and brought me flowers. He even helped me close up my night shift (at midnight) after a hard day of his own school and work during college when I ran a local coffee shop. Here is the point: he found all kinds of ways, and was always in search of new ones, to express his love for me. I haven’t had it in me to write about my loss, but I am finding out there are very few resources for young widows. And most young widows are considered to be in their late 30s and early 40s. Everyone at 25? They are either dating, engaged, having babies, or enjoying life. I am like the walking dead, barely able to summon the strength to go to the bathroom. I have to set an alarm to brush my teeth. But this isn’t about me right now – this is about Jacob. His love was pure, and we had a beautiful life together that I miss every second of every day.

When you lose your spouse, you lose your routine. People go back to their lives, their work, their families but you are left with nothing. You are left with ghosts of a former life. You are left in despair, misery, and your one person is gone. Your whole existence is shattered. I didn’t get to have children with the love of my life, so I don’t have that to “hold onto” or “keep going for”. You are left with brown boxes with labels on them if you move (which I had to), t-shirts you sleep with at night before their scent ultimately leaves them. You are the only one that has to live this lonely horrible existence in this way. For me, not only is it lonely and isolating being a 25-year-old widow (now 26), but Jacob and I were each other’s lives, each other’s best friends (we didn’t need anyone else) so I don’t have any social support – not even one friend, really. But Here I am. A friend to you, and any young widow who needs one. Seriously, there is so little information about young widows out there, I almost had to start this blog out of necessity. I want to hear your story and I want my story to be heard. Because the truth is, I was the only one who knew him as an adult. I have to carry on our stories. I never want people to stop talking about Jacob, for the rest of my life, his love is in my soul. It rattles in my bones. I will continue to post about him, our trips, our life, and maybe how my two years in bed might change. And if it doesn’t? That’s fine too. Grief doesn’t follow a timeline.  Just know, you are not alone.

I am going to leave you with one of the first poems I ever wrote about my grief:

 

I LIE HERE

as water wears away stones,

I lie here.

as night swallows the day,

I lie here.

as our books,

once resting in the sweet air

gather dust

I lie here.

as your clothes lay gently in boxes,

mourning the loss of their master’s body

I lie here.

as wind gives the arms

of your favorite trees

direction,

I lie here.

as smoke layers above the sea,

I lie here.

as your ashes sit on our table,

I lie here.

 

I lie here

bathing in sorrow

forsaken,

and

unable

to swallow my fate.

I lie here

unable to build,

without strength to tear down.

I lie here

unable to keep

and

unable to throw away.

I lie here

not wishing I were dead

not wishing I were alive

but wishing I had never existed,

for then I would never know

the suffering

that settles

under the sun.

 

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