That is the length of time I have, until today, spent as a widow.
And life has been surprisingly good.
I have made several new friends and re-established old friendships, my family has supported me in every possible way, and I have become closer to my mother-in-law and my sisters-in-law over in England. There's been a lot of learning, thinking, crying and laughing.
I made experiences and opened doors and did things I have never done before.
Not all the thoughts I have been thinking in relation with Steve's death are flattering for me and the kind of character I possess, but I am not ashamed of anything I do or think; it is simply the way I am, and my way of dealing with this rather drastic change in my life.
This change has brought with it experiences that have made me stronger and, as odd as it may sound, happier in a way, more content.
Of course, I did not ask to have this experience and wouldn't wish on anybody to come home from work and find their partner dead on the floor in their living room without any forewarning, like signs of illness or a known heart condition.
But life and death do not ask, they just happen.
And so I deal with what is happening in my life, exerting influence when and how best I can to make these happenings acceptable for me, and accepting those things I can not change with as much nonchalance and grace and courage I can muster up.
Were I living in a different part of the world, or had this happened 50 years ago, there wouldn't be so many doors open to me and so many possibilities to choose from. A widow in her forties in, say, Afghanistan is pretty much subject to the kindness of her relatives who either feed her or not, unless she manages to find someone willing to marry her now simply in order to have her modest economical needs taken care of.
After Steve died on Nov. 5th 2009, totally out of the blue and only a few days after his 41st birthday, for a while I counted the passing of time in weeks. Two weeks that I'm a widow now, three, then suddenly it were eight, nine, ten weeks, and if I remember correctly, I stopped counting the weeks at around week 15 or so and switched to months.
Eventually, I know I will come to think in terms of years.
So, by the time it will be seven years, seven months and seven days, where and what will I be?
I have no idea, and actually I don't want to know - I rather like surprises, and the twists and turns my path in life can take.
Some things are for sure, though: a great number of people will have died by then, and an even greater number born. Several more species of plants and animals will have become extinct, while others will have managed to conquer new habitats. Governments will have changed and political and economical constellations will continue to alter. New technologies will keep being developed and old ones disappear from use. Our knowledge in so many fields will increase, whereas we still won't be able to answer some very fundamental questions or at least act according to what we know to be true.
The planet will keep its spinning race along its orbit, and what I will do or not, what I think and write and say, won't make any difference to anyone. That is, actually, a comforting thought, because it means freedom. At the price of loneliness, true, but still freedom.