Photographer: Alexandra Petruck
I recently met a woman who over a short conversation starting talking with me about downhill skiing. Something I know little about, even though I tried it for almost 20 years.
My husband Adam was passionate about it and it was poetry in motion to watch him go down a run.
I can say it now, "I am and never will be a downhill skier".
I blame the fact that I took it up as an adult, the fear of sliding down a vertical slope and my disdain for cold weather.
Adam would say to me, "I love it when we go skiing together".
The reality was that we would start at the top together and then he and the kids would take off and leave me to snowplough down alone.
I knew what to expect so I wasn't angry about it. They were having fun and it made him happy.
Back to the woman and our talk.
I shared with her that it wasn't my favourite sport. She told me that she was disappointed to not be able to go with her husband anymore.
"At least your husband doesn't have a torn meniscus" she blurted out. To which I calmly replied, "No, actually my husband is dead."
UGH! The stunned look on her face, as if Bigfoot just jumped in front of her.
As she cocked her chin inwards and furrowed her brow, she came back with, "Oh, but you're so chipper".
Huh. It wasn't the first time that I'd heard that one, during a casual chat, but it still surprised me.
Each widow or widower's journey is different and I don't think it's fair to judge how anyone grieves.
For the last four and a bit years, since Adam was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, I've been grieving. He passed away nine months ago.
My worst feeling comes everyday when I wake up and open my eyes.
There's a brief moment when I think that nothing has changed, but then I'm awakened to the reminder that he's not coming back. It's the same disappointment, every morning.
Adam and I had many conversations about what his wishes were for the kids and me after he was gone. He wanted us to cherish the great memories, move forward and be happy.
I took this to heart and am thankful that we had these talks. It's one of the reasons I can choose to be happy.
He gave me that boost of strength and desire to look at the road ahead with wonder and excitement. Not dread and abandonment.
He once said, "It's better to be grateful that we got to experience a great marriage and so many good times together." He was right.
The glass is always half full in my mind and it's a nicer way to go through life.
Janet Fanaki is the host of the RESILIENT PEOPLE podcast. She interviews EXTRAordinary people around the world who are admired for their resilience. They've bounced back from a major challenge in their lives and created something to help others be resilient too. She lives in Toronto with her two children and mini poodle. Learn more at www.resilientpeople.ca