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Memoirs of a Christopher

A raw and honest look into the life of a Young Widow(ish).

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Young Widow

Going Down the Rabbit Hole

Ruminating. My counsellor defined it as giving deep thought to something… Well, he was my counsellor until I saw him when he was ridiculously drunk at a beer and wine festival where he proceeded to follow me around and give me hugs all night. I chose not to see him after that… Too awkward.

Anyway… Ruminating. Obsessing. Mulling over. Apparently it’s not advantageous when it’s about something you cannot change.. Like your partner being killed when completing his day job.

I once read on someone’s Facebook status that I should ruminate about the things I want to make different in my life. The person giving this advice had just had a baby and gotten married. I wanted to punch her in the face.

I tend to ruminate a lot. What we could have done differently. If we had never met. If he hadn’t gone to work that day… But I also live this weird parallel universe life, where I imagine what could have been.

I imagine our baby Molly. Our house that we painstakingly renovated together, the constant debates over minute details and the trials and tribulations of having to live and work In a temporary construction zone. Hell, I’ve even imagined our proposal!

Just before he died Chris would spend 20 minutes a day with our puppy training her different tricks. The last trick he was developing, which he never had the time of fully teaching her, he would call out “Find mum” and make her race through the rooms until she found me and jumped on me, giving her a treat as a reward.

I lost myself down the rabbit hole imagining that perhaps he had been training her that trick so that one day he could attach a diamond ring to her collar, and there he would be behind her, on bended knee.

OK,  in reality he was probably just teaching her that trick because he thought it was funny that he could get a puppy to jump all over me at a moments notice, whether I was in the shower or on the toilet or otherwise! But still…

And therein lies the problem with ruminating.

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‘The Road Not Taken’

For as long as I can remember, I have been a planner. Chris even used to make fun of me and my constant lists, and my holidays’ itineraries I would prepare 6 months in advance. It probably stems from growing up with the unpredictability of a bipolar mother and it’s consequences… Like not knowing where our next meal was coming from or whether I was going to be screamed at that day. Planning gave me stability. It gave me a goal to aim for… And for the last 10 years that strategy has been working well for me. I graduated from high school. I went to uni. Got a good paying job. Travelled, and met a (fantastic) life partner. Money was building up for our first house… But no one could have planned for this.

So now I am totally lost.

Here are my options (If I were to continue to be my old organised self.)

OPTION A

I try to imagine how it would have been if I had never met Chris, what my plan would have been then. Perhaps I could just continue on that path? But it just doesn’t seem right… If I had never met Chris I would have returned from travelling and gone back to the city to continue teaching there, buying an investment property, wining and dining on the weekends, playing netball on Wednesdays and socialising with friends from high school and uni. I would have continued to do these things with my ultimate goal being to meet someone, granted I was going to have fun doing so… And if I didn’t? I would have been enjoying my journey along the way too much to even notice. Now, I want to meet someone, but I also DON’T want to meet someone. It’s more out of loneliness and comfort rather than wanting to meet a new partner. An investment property? I have no idea what I’m going to be doing in a week let alone throwing down a coupla 100k on something that will tie me there. As for my old friends? This plan would have worked fine 3 years ago having only been out of their lives for 2 years, it would have been like nothing had changed. Now I have been out of their lives for 5 and in that time I fell in love and lost my partner in the most tragic of circumstances. They didn’t even know him… They and I are very different people to who we were and I almost don’t even want to build that reconnection at the moment. Too much effort for my already broken soul. So at the moment OPTION A is out.

OPTION B

I continue working up here in the country with the friends who became like family and who knew Chris and I inside out. They watched as our love blossomed and became our first friends as a couple. They saw us develop our house into a home and grow our family with our puppy, Willow. We shared our dreams with them and they shared their dreams with us. We held their newborn children. They were there when I got the news. They cried with me and they held me. Now on the face of it, ‘Option B’ seems like a winner… But… It is here I feel lost. It is here where the accident happened. It is here I feel like I am keeping going just for the sake of keeping going. This place represents every hope we had… And everything that is now broken. Everything I see and do reminds me of him here. From the shops to where I walk my dog. Understandably my friends want to talk about Chris with me here, which most of the time is great… Except sometimes I wish my brain would stop constantly thinking about him. That hurt is always there, here.

OPTION C

I kind of fell into teaching and although I do enjoy it, I do wonder if this is something I would do for the rest of my life. In the past it didn’t worry me, as Chris and I were discussing having children in the near future and I believed my new ‘career’ would be staying at home and mothering them. We did say however, that being a stay at home (for me) probably wouldn’t be enough. Although undoubtedly it is the hardest job in the world, the constant monotony of certain aspects of it would probably drive me bonkers.. The idea was floated that I study midwifery part-time, off campus, while I had the kids (see what I mean by being a planner, it was all mapped out!!) Birth has always fascinated me and seeing as it was going to be a part of my near future I was incredibly inspired. I also took inspiration from Chris’ past bravery… After leaving school and qualifying as an Engineer at uni he landed a cushy job, but for him it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t a true passion. So he left his job and went back to school to qualify as a carpenter, a job that resulted in a pay cut. To his dying day he was using that skill to build furniture, a career he wanted to do in the future. I just loved that he had the balls to do that. Anyway, back to ‘Option C’. I go back to the city and study midwifery, using my teaching degree to teach casually. I will live with my dad and my mind will be occupied by full time study… This sounds good in theory, BUT midwifery earns a whole 20 grand less than what I currently do AND I will be losing all my benefits I’ve gained over the last 5 years of working as a teacher. I will be leaving my ‘family’ up here, and I will still have the same disconnect issues from my old friends as with ‘Option A’.

I guess the moral of the story is every option is now fucking scary. The world and future that once looked so bright and hopeful is now dark and full of unknowns.

I just hope I choose the right one…

The Difference Between a Young Widow(ish) and a Young Widow(er)

Chris and I had a whirlwind romance. It was no joke, like the plotline of a movie. One of his friends even suggested that we write a book about our story!! Chris was travelling around the world from England, and I was working in a small country town in Australia as a Teacher. He and his mate had ran out of money so they went their separate ways and began working as farmhands to get some extra cash. One night in my town there was a rodeo. Now, if you met Chris or I you would soon realise that we are both not your stereotypical rodeo attenders!! The likelihood of us both being there at that moment in time was so small… Anyway, we had a literal eyes lock across the room moment, he came up and spoke to me and as they say, ‘That was the end of the story!’ Except it wasn’t. We ended up chasing each other around the world, knowing that we were to be together forever… Which I guess brings me to why I am a Young Widow(ish) and not a Young Widow(er). Chris and I never married. We didn’t ever fully intend to either. Sure the idea was always at the back of our mind, but we were committed to each other. We loved each other. We travelled across the world for each other, and would do anything the other needed. We didn’t NEED a wedding, so made commitments in other ways, Chris giving up his life in England to come and join me here. The fact that he was a mad motocross fan and would spend thousands of dollars on motorbikes probably affected the choice as well.. “You can’t ride a wedding!” he’d always joke.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I’m writing this blog.. Even in the ‘Young Widow’ world, I don’t seem to fit. Young Widows range from 18 to 60 somethings, however the most vocal seem to be that middle aged group who have built their houses, had their children and their marriage for at least 20 years. When they’re talking about their children who are the same age as you, you tend to get a bit resentful and bitter that they were so lucky to have that time. I am not saying it is any less painful. It’s just so different. So damn hard to relate to! I live in a town where the median age is something ridiculous.. Like 7 years old or something. That’s because it’s a working town, where young men and their partners come to earn some serious cash and set up their families. Exactly what Chris and I were trying to do. Although marriage wasn’t really on the cards, children definitely were, with him even saying the week before he died, “I’m ready. I want one.” It was a topic we would discuss daily. We were saving up to buy a house, and if he was still here we would have done so by now. What I’m trying to say is, I’m surrounded by people who are having babies and getting married. 9 weddings so far just from my workplace alone this year. The babies have already started popping up from them. I guess I just feel so isolated. From my little bubble that I’m living in here, but also in the online bubble as well. I hope from doing this I will maybe find some people I can relate to.. Or even better perhaps someone will read this and be able to relate and get some relief themselves.

Early Mornings

The crisp air. The smell of the damp soil. The small things that remind me of him… The early morning flights returning to see him, filled with excitement and exhaustion. The trips we took together, all beginning in darkness with smiles of exasperation. The enthusiasm of a little boy bouncing off the walls ready for a day of racing motocross. The warm cuddles beneath the blankets before a long day at work. How do we keep going when just living our days hurt?

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