Last week I shared about feeling like some new layers of my grief are beginning to thaw as we shifted the calendar into what is my 5th year on this journey. I was pretty teary the week before, but it wasn’t until this past week that the breakdown came. Quite honestly, I’m glad for it. It was such a release.
I don’t even know why it came when it did. Nothing particular triggered it. I think I was just exhausted. A combination of underlying emotions and residual holiday stress and unexpected school cancellations for Mike’s daughter… somewhere halfway through the week, as I was driving home from dropping her off to school, I just broke. I think it was a song that started things off… “The Sound of Silence” it was called. Suddenly, I am screaming and crying with all of my might with the music cranked as loud as it can go.Read more
It took me a very long time and a lot of patience, before I finally found the perfect grief-counselor for me. At the time, about 8 months after my husband's sudden death, I had already sifted through 4 counselors and therapists, one after another after another after another. Each one was either way too expensive, or they didnt "get me" at all, or they were too religious for me and told me that my husband collapsing and dying at age 46 was "God's will." You know what you can do with that? Fuck you. Okay, that makes no sense. But you get my point. I do not like being told that my husband having his life stolen and robbed from him, or that us having our present and our future ripped away - was part of some sort of pre-determined "plan." First of all, it's just rude to tell someone who is grieving - that it's okay because, well, he was meant to die at 46. Second of all, it's not true. It's complete bullshit. Or at least I think it is. If you believe in God's plan, well good for you, if that helps you. It doesn't help me at all, and I believe that people die because, well, people die. Humans die. It's just what happens. It's fucking awful and I will never get used to it - some humans get to live to be 93 years old, others must suffer through illnesses and bad health and pain, and others get hit by a truck at age 24. How on earth can any of that be a "plan?" Nope. That's just life.
Anyway, Im getting off-track. One of the counselors said that Don's death was pretty much meant to be, and that my grieving him and being sad about it wasn't "allowing him to be at peace" in Heaven or whatever. Well again, fuck you. My husband is dead and I hate to break it to you, but Im gonna be upset about it, probably forever. Don't see a day where I will exit out of a room triumphantly, exclaiming happily: "Welp!!! All done!!! Not sad anymore!!!" That's not how it works.Read more
After Mike died, the story of his stuff was an ongoing issue for a long time. His elder daughter and I cleared his closet a couple of months out because I had to make room for things being moved upstairs in preparation for renting out the downstairs. Then later that year, both girls spent several days with me dividing and clearing most of what was left. It was agonizing, but for me, it was harder living with all his things the way he left them day after day, like he was coming back any minute, when he was not. Then this past year I did another enormous clearing out in preparation for moving, and came across many more items either belonging to Mike, or which we accumulated together. The memories and tears just kept coming. I have finally whittled down what I want to keep of his, and ours, but it has taken this long, almost four years.Read more
The other day I received a text message from a friend of mine, who happens to have Cystic Fibrosis herself. This friend was there for Megan and I when Megan was going through her 6 month decline, and I can’t describe enough how she (and her husband) went above and beyond for us.
They would visit at the drop of a hat, when I just needed an hour away from the ICU, and Megan needed an hour away from my ugly mug. They would bring clandestine snacks for Megan when she had cravings, as she almost never had an appetite, but when she did, she needed broccoli and cheese soup (I can no longer stand the smell) or M&Ms RIGHT NOW.
I spoke with her every day during Megan’s hospitalization, giving her status updates, vital statistics, and news. She would get all the gory details, and, if I happened to be running late with the call, I would get a text not long after, asking how Megan was doing. She really did care whole-heartedly.Read more
It snowed this weekend in my part of the country. It snows every year here but it always shuts everything down. It's a good time though. You get stuck in the house until you are brave enough to take the kids out and play in the snow. You play board games and bake cakes. It's just a family time.Read more
The new has been off to a rough start for me. It's been that way ever since he died, but I think this new year has been heavier than last year even. I think it may very well be true what people say about year 5 being a hard milestone. That’s probably been part of what is going through me… as this will be the year I hit that milestone. I can already feel how this anniversary will be much harder than the last.
That might have something to do with the terrifying dream I had a few days ago…
I'm halfway through the 5 year mark since your death, sweet husband.
I have been to hell and back, and then back around again,
never really actually fully leaving.
Its not possible to leave the Hell.
Its just not possible.
Because the hell,
is that you died.
You are dead.
That will always be the Hell,
no matter what I do,
who Im with,
where I am,
That is the Hell,
and it is the nucleus and the center
of all things.Read more
I was sitting on the couch at my parents' house in Virginia this week thinking about Mike. Just wondering how things would be different for me now were he still alive. Imagining him sitting next to me, trying to recapture the feeling of being in the presence of his energy.
What do we do with left behind Love?
How do we take what was an active, living Love, in life,
And make it matter and make it count…
In the after?
After the death of that one, your person…
The one you slept with and loved with and talked with, who knew you better than anyone,
Whose death changed everything…Read more
It’s 2017. This is the 35th time that my body has traveled around the sun on this little rock called earth. In those 35 trips, I’ve been witness and participant to milestones of education and career, love and marriage, childbirth and parenting, sickness, and death. I’ve seen friendships both grow and wither. I’ve evolved from a curious child, to an outgoing teenager, then a determined Marine, followed by a devoted husband and father, on through to a caretaker, and then...a widower. I volunteered my twenties and early thirties to the life of a woman that I knew would not be with me to old age. We created a beautiful child that anyone would be proud to call their own.
Two years ago, on the first day of 2015, that life had abruptly come to an end. I was no longer a husband, but rather, a widower. My years of education and youthful curiosity were far behind me, a relic of my adolescence. I was beyond the pride that came with earning the title of Marine, for my country deemed me too old to serve by that point. My caretaking services, as sharpened and experienced as they were, were no longer needed in the advanced capacities they were capable of.Read more