‘I didn’t buy this ticket. But the train of life keeps moving.’: Young widow shares grief journey after loss of husband

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Disclaimer: This story contains expressions of grief which may be triggering for some. 

“Yesterday, I spent a lot of the day staring out our living room window. Once again, a hauntingly familiar view. It was out this window I’d watch for his car to come down the street, admire the first snowfall. The window I’d stare out and picture Vienna playing on the tiny front lawn, chalk in the driveway. The window I’d deliriously look out during the 2 a.m. feeding to enjoy the quiet peace of the street lamp and sleepy houses.   

Yesterday, it rained. My staring didn’t extend much beyond the soaked glass. I watched each raindrop as it hit and unhurriedly rolled down, slowing at some points, blending with others, but always hitting the bottom and washing away. Like each drop was a memory, a part of the view, and no matter how hard it tried, it couldn’t stay, couldn’t last forever. And so, per usual, it made me think. 

You know, when you’re riding backward on the train, and for a split second the view out your window is clear and focused? The colors are vibrant, sounds loud, and often familiar. You don’t have to rely on your memory. It’s all there in front of you. But then, just as quickly as it came, it becomes a blur of colors and waves. The details are vague, distorted, and your memory starts to become tested. And after only mere minutes, it’s no longer clear; it’s not even a blur. It’s simply gone. The scene that was so close, a moment ago at your fingertips, is now replaced with a haze of colors and sounds you’ve never experienced before. 

view out train window, scenery passing by
Courtesy of Meghan Abate

This feels a lot like loss, like my current grief. Before, my train was stopped, the picture was strong, the colors distinct, and it sounded unclouded. All of it was in my reach. I was in control. I may not have known my destination, but my home station was solid and all my passengers were seated next to me for the ride.  

Until one day, in an instant, my train jerked forward at 180 miles an hour and I couldn’t stop it; I couldn’t get off. I didn’t buy this ticket, this one way, and now a round-trip ticket is never an option again. The train keeps moving forward while my eyes burn, my head spins, and my heart aches as they desperately look for the view that was. The seats around me are filled with family and friends, and for that I’m forever thankful. But the seat right next to me, it’s empty. My person, my passenger, is gone

Most days, I’m sitting still in my seat, the energy to move not there. But no matter how much I sit still, the train of life keeps moving. The scene out my window keeps passing and I can’t stop it. Every day, I’m sitting backwards on a moving train.”

husband and wife take selfie together in bed
Courtesy of Meghan Abate

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Meghan Abate. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read Meghan’s backstory:

‘We have your husband.’ A pit formed in my stomach. Looking back, my heart hadn’t really begun to break yet.’: Widow shares ‘the pits and peaks of grief’ after losing husband

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‘These days, my face couldn’t be more fake.’: Young widow shares pain of hiding grief, forcing fake smile

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