I start now, right where I am.
My husband died 15 months and one week ago... he was 37, I was 34, our son was 4, and our daughter was 2 1/2.
Today I thought of something I first heard in high school. Somebody (I think it was the all-knowing all-powerful "THEY") said: teenage boys think about sex once every 10 seconds.
When my husband died, I thought about him, my sadness, his death, my loss, our fatherless children's loss, the whole rotten potato... pretty much constantly from the time I awoke until I fell asleep every day. In the beginning, I fell asleep only with the help of my anti-anxiety pill and an ambien to knock me out. Even as I slept I dreamed of death and loss - if my drug-aided sleep allowed me to dream at all!
So how is it now, 15 months later?
I think I've improved to the level of a teenage boy thinking about sex. I think about "IT" when I wake up, and most of the day every day. But there are moments when I'm deeply involved in a conversation, watching a movie, working on a project or listening to an interesting interview with Terri Gross or report on All Things Considered on NPR... and I find that I skip minutes (dare I say I may have gone an hour) without thinking about "IT."
When "IT" comes to my mind again, after a longer than usual (10 second) interval, sometimes the recurrence of my awareness of "IT" sends a jolt through me. It is THOSE thoughts that feel "out of the blue." Those are the thoughts that catch me off guard or are more likely to cause me to feel deeply pained. Those thoughts catch me by surprise, bring me to tears or slap me across the face when I am least prepared to be metaphorically slapped once again.