I'm really feeling quite normal these days. I don't think of myself first as a widow anymore, as someone coping with a loss. Instead, I label myself a sole parent, and someone who is coming out of the coping phase, moving out of active grieving. When meeting new people, I no longer have that uncontrollable urge to share my story. It's now a controllable urge! Perhaps I like to tell for the shock value or its ability to make me feel unique and special, but not as an excuse, not to let me off the hook for whatever awkwardness or transgression I feel I may have committed. I don't feel the desire to play the widow card much anymore.
And it used to be when friends asked how I was, I would answer something like "fine, given the circumstances." Obviously not good on an absolute scale, but relative to my situation, good enough. Now, at least today and this week, I don't feel the need to qualify it so much. On an absolute scale, right now, I'm actually doing OK, I think.
I remind myself of the ebbs and flows of grieving. I recall this time last year, through the late winter and spring, when I was feeling pretty good. The calm before the storm, it turned out, when from mid-summer through late fall I was in a pretty sad place. And so it may go this year, too, and that's OK. Two steps forward, one step back, and the lows don't go as deep or last as long, in general. 2010 will definitely be better than 2009, which was infinitely better than 2008.