Did you know Facebook doesn’t let you change your relationship status to “Widowed” until your partner’s Facebook page has been memorialized? (Unless, presumably, your partner isn’t on Facebook, or isn’t linked as your spouse.) I mean, I kind of understand why, but dang…

I’m still struggling with that label. When Amy and I got married sixteen+ years ago, that was supposed to be it. I mean, we knew one of us would go before the other, but that wasn’t supposed to be until were were both winding down.

“Til death do us part.” In my mind, that always meant death from very old age. Looking at those words now, they feel like an expiration date on a relationship that was supposed to last forever.

Intellectually, I know I’m not married anymore. Emotionally? Not only am I still wearing my wedding ring, I added Amy’s wedding band too.

Wedding bands

I know there’s no rule on how long you’re “supposed” to wear your wedding ring after you lose your spouse. Some people take it off right away. Others move it to the right hand, or wear it on a chain. I’m just not ready, and I have no idea when or if that will change.

At group last night, we had an activity about the tasks of grieving, one of which — and I’m paraphrasing — is the emotional adjustment to a new and different relationship with the dead. Amy is still a part of my life. I see her in our kids, our belongings, our friends, the photos that pop up on my screensaver. I talk to her at least a little bit every day. I hear her in my memories.

The relationship now is with those memories. More than thirty years worth of memories, good and bad. But it’s not the same. That’s one of the many things I have to come to terms with.

Sixteen years ago, neither of us really knew how to be married. We both screwed up sometimes. We had to figure it out as we went. Some things we sorted out fairly quickly. Other parts took years. There are bits I don’t think we ever fully figured out. But by the end, I think we made a pretty good couple.

I barely remember what it was like to be single. I sure as hell don’t know how to be widowed. It’s one of the many things I know I need to learn going forward.

I know my life needs to go on, in whatever shape or form it takes. I know Amy would want my life to go on. I just never imagined it would have to be in a world without her.

Fortunately, I also know I don’t have to figure it all out today.