So three months ago I buried my husband. I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m numb. I’m in a fog. I’m dazed. I’m confused. I’m lost. I’m just so damn lost. I’m sure I’ve got some sort of medical industry/cancer care taker induced PTSD. That’s a thing, right? The way he went out was unexpected, gnarly, fast, messy and brutal. Note to self, next time you hear someone is having a “battle with cancer” take those words very very literally. It’s an all day, every day fight and there is no rest, no time out, and no do-overs. The war is intense and the bloody carnage and devastation left in it’s wake is grizzly. There are no winners. We’ve lost. We’ve lost it all.
Some woman came up to me at the funeral and said “well….. we all saw this coming.” We did? Was I walking around in denial? Was I blind to the terrible reality? I knew he had cancer and I knew it was bad- but he was a fighter and we were fighting and we were going to give it every last shot we had. No lady, WE most certainly did not see this coming. And even if you were right- what are you hoping to gain right now in this very moment? Is your comment supposed to bring me some sort of relief or comfort that you saw this coming?
And what’s with people saying “there there dear. It’ll be okay. You’re so young, you’ll get remarried.” I swear- I want to punch people in the face. As if being alone is my problem. I don’t need a new husband-lady. I want the one I had. I want my family put back together.
Yesterday was my baby’s first birthday. It was all I could do to decorate the house and pick up balloons and a cake and try to keep some sort of semblance of normalcy for these three sweet little boys who never asked to be given the situation they’ve been put in.
There are parts of death that no one warns you about. I mean there is the normal death, and funeral, and trying to pick out and pay for a headstone, and trying to tie up all the loose ends that the death of a loved one leaves behind….these are things I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But what’s surprised me most and I wouldn’t have expected is all the continued losses. What do I mean by continued losses?
Your couple friends don’t want to hang out with you anymore because you are no longer a couple. People in your life that you thought cared, or ought to care kind of distance themselves and disappear. Do they just not know what to say, so they think just avoiding you is a better plan? Are they worried I’m going to put my baggage on them? Are they worried I’ll be a downer on their positive vibes? Are they somehow concerned that widowhood is somehow *gasp* contagious? It seems like the losses just keep coming. Haven’t we lost enough?
After the initial newness and fanfare wears off and the funeral is over everyone else just goes back to living their normal lives. And here we sit. Husband-less, fatherless and alone wondering how to pick up all the millions and millions of shattered pieces of what was our wonderful glorious life together.
The loneliness is also something no one warns you about. How you can be in a room full of people and feel completely and utterly alone? I can go to my son’s flag football game and stand on the sidelines watching all the football moms laughing and having a good time together and all the dads there cheering on their sons and I just want to crumble and fall into the ground and disappear. I feel invisible anyway.
The jerk-face neighbor kid wasn’t getting his way the other day so he turned to my son and said “I’m glad your dad is dead. I wish your mom was dead too”. Where am I supposed to go with this? How am I supposed to counteract that kind of cruelty towards my child who has already dealt with so much? Where is the lesson here? How can I make sure my sons are loving and compassionate towards others and never look to strike below the belt because things aren’t going their way? How can I protect my kids from more hurt and harm and damage? They are 7, 4 and 1. They are way too little to have to learn what the pain of burying a parent feels like and the inevitable gaping hole that’s been left by the absence of their father. He was their hero and their best friend. Now- they’re just stuck with me.
However- I don’t want this post to be all doom and gloom. Yes, losing your partner and best friend and father of your children is terrible. It is without a doubt the worst thing I have ever experienced thus far in my life. I would never wish this on another human being. It hurts so bad some days it’s hard to breathe. I find myself all too often sitting hunched over with the weight of the world on my shoulders and no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel of things getting better. I feel like I’ve lost everything. But, I haven’t lost my faith. I haven’t lost my relationship with God. I haven’t lost the hope in tomorrow being a little less awful than today. I haven’t lost my realization that these are the experiences that shape us into who we ultimately become. I’ve often thought to myself that I have three people to answer to right now with how I choose to deal with this. Number one is God. I want him to be proud of me for figuring out how to let this make me better instead of bitter. I want him to see that in spite of the challenges- I am trying the best I can to draw closer to Him and allow myself to be tethered to Him and carried by Him instead of angry at Him for what’s happened. I’m not angry, I’m just imperfect and hurt and lonely and wonder how to get through a difficult period. I answer to Him.
I answer to my children. I am all they have in this world and I am their safe place. I am their example, their leader, their protector and the person that will help write on the slate of who they are and what they become. I am their mother. I am their lifeline. I take that responsibility and incredible opportunity very seriously. This is my chance to leave the world better than I found it through them. My legacy will be and their father’s legacy will be- who they are and how they touch this world. Everything I am, and everything I do is for them.
The third person I answer to is my future self. What if…. just what if this is not the end, but the beginning? Whenever you’ve read some awesome story with some awesome heroine…the story is never easy. It’s never smooth sailing and it’s never without some serious trials and heartbreaks and tragedies. Without those things- it wouldn’t be a good story. I don’t want to look back one day and find myself embarrassed about how I dealt with things or what I chose to do with a tough situation. I want to look back and see that despite a period of darkness- I climbed out of the hole and made something great out of it. I know I’m too stuck in the middle of the hard middle part of the story right now to see the way this all ends- but I can guarantee you it’s going to be awesome.
I’m sad but not defeated. I’m lonely but not alone. I’m cracked but not totally broken. I’m determined. I’m grateful. I’m faithful and I’m just getting started.
All my love-