There’s this spot in our backyard where you can watch the sun set over the horizon. This time of year, the whole sky turns this dusty pink hue, and if you sit very still, you can almost hear the sun breaking through the horizon as it sinks further and further until all that’s left are warm particles that float through the air, settling on the grass, providing nourishment for the next day’s tasks.

It was this spot where Mike and I would sit, and like a movie, watch this amazing scene unfold. Today as I did this, by myself, I listened to children playing and laughing, birds chirping, parents and couples chatting. I thought about all that has passed by, all that has transpired–sitting by myself, the craziness of what God had just handed me–the task of walking this road alone. If all were right with the world, in this moment, today–Easter, Mike and I would have been pushing a stroller through our quaint village neighborhood with our one-and-a-half year old daughter, holding hands and enjoying the holiday like everyone else (even in the middle of pandemic times).

Instead, I went for a walk today solo. Sun warm on my face, sunglasses on, I strolled along, watching dogs walking happily along with their owners. I faintly smiled as I passed by the park, a park in which Mike and I envisioned playing with our own child; children giggling as parents gathered, multi-tasking as they pushed their kids on the swings, chatting about the day’s events (at least that’s what I imagine as I observe). I saw a father playing catch with his son in the front yard, young new parents pushing their baby in a stroller, another couple letting their kids run ahead as they clutched the leash of their dog. I could smell grills being stoked, food being cooked, cars parked in clusters along the side of the road. An older couple passed me, smiled, and said “Happy Easter.” Oh yeah, it’s Easter.

For whatever reason, I’ve been asked to walk this path alone. To take a journey down a road not many will ever have to take. I can hear my weary heart–it’s tired, it’s torn. I keep trying to find reasoning, how we went from almost a family of three (and two dogs) to a person of one. The hurt, the pain, coming down like heavy rain.

When your spouse passes away, they are not the only thing you lose. Other things get lost as well. The losses feel like they pile up, and you just want to figure out where it is God wants you to land. You want to be able to feel the ground beneath you again; some form of familiarity, of something that feels like home, of safety. Instead, I’m on a road I don’t recognize, traveling it because I don’t have a choice.

My counselor says, “You’re still you–just without him. You were two whole people that became one, but you were two whole people. You each had whole identities before you joined. You are still a whole person, but now your anchor is missing.”

She hit the nail on the head. He was my anchor, the other half of my soul that I never fully understood until I met him. Everything made sense after that. This sort of vulnerability is just that–vulnerability. It’s an open sore that makes other things, other obstacles, other “problems” or issues harder to deal with. My person, my anchor is gone. The one I’d turn to for anything–for everything. I could conquer the world because he was holding my hand. His touch leaves a mark that can’t be washed away.

I’m vulnerable, raw, scared, lonely.

Now, is this what I want to be putting out there–no. But, I’m not the only one facing being a widow all too young. It’s a battle ground right now. We are fighting for purpose, meaning, direction, safety, being able to feel a rhythmic beating of our own hearts again. God has set me on this road. God may have set you on this road too. It’s a road less traveled, but it’s still a road–it’s got to lead somewhere. As long as we hold onto that, we will find our purpose–even if we are doing it alone.

Published by smtraphagen

SM Traphagen is a writer and novelist. Her works have appeared on Buffaloeats.org, Accounting Today Magazine, St. Reds Magazine, The Culture-ist Magazine, Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine, among others. With a fiction novel written, the hope is to expand the world of fiction in fun and creative ways. Her love of writing fiction and food have culminated in a website that blends the two, including Digestion Suggestion and Untold Shorties.

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