The Tsunami of July

We all have one. Well, those of us who are widowed people. And most likely, anyone who has lost someone they love dearly, to death. However, since I am a widowed person, I can only speak from the widowed lense, and I can tell you with 1000% accuracy, that we all have one. For me, it's July. 

We all have our month on the calendar. That month that used to just be a month, but that now, in this new version of life, is the month when our world changed forever and we no longer had that life we knew - the month they died. 

It's funny the amount of power that lies in numbers or days on a calendar. Okay, maybe not "Ha Ha" funny, but something to ponder when you're sitting around thinking about life's oddities. People who haven't been through this will try to convince you that it's all in your head, that you should just think happy thoughts or think positively, and don't let that month hold so much power over you. And while this is true to an extent, there is also a lot I cannot control about what the month of July does to my heart and soul. 

Today is July 1st. The world I knew ended on July 13th, 2011. In less than two weeks, that day will come around all over again, and will fall on a Wednesday, which is the day of the week he died. A few days ago, my body broke out in hives. Stress-induced hives all over my arms and legs. They look as horrifying as they feel. They are physical proof of what the stress and exhaustion of grief and death does to us, over and over again. I got these same hives a few months after my husband's sudden death. I remember the doctor asking me: "Anything particularly stressful going on in your life right now?" My robotic response: "Yeah. My husband just died." "Well, there ya go", he said. "That'll give ya hives. The stress makes them worse. The anxiety. Try to relax." Try to relax??? Was he joking??? My fucking husband was dead and Im supposed to relax??? Ive got news for that guy. I haven't been able to truly "relax" since July 13, 2011. At least, not in the same way that I used to. That word, like all other words in my world, now means something entirely different. 

For me, in the midst of year five of this life, July comes in like a tsunami.

It thrashes around me, over me, under me, and especially inside of me. The tidal waves just crash and crash, followed by a burning sensation in the pit of my soul. The flashbacks. The things I don't want to remember. The casket. The way he looked all puffed up and not like my husband, sitting in that death box. The well-wishers, saying insensitive things and not looking me in the eye. The phone call - the one that rang and rang and rang in the early hours of the morning, telling me that my very world was about to change forever. The 98 degree temperature and the awful humidity that seemed to be matching in tone with the cruelty of his being gone. The cab ride to the hospital that was 3 minutes but felt like 3 hours. The not knowing what I was going there for, or what I would be walking into. The animalistic sounds that came out of me when I heard the nurse say: "I''m so sorry. We did everything we could. He didn't make it." Running into the bathroom to throw up. Being left alone in a tiny room with my dead husband, and not having a clue what to say or do with him. Having that feeling like I was watching a movie, or like this wasn't really happening to me, and everything would be fine later on. Convincing myself that he was just taking another nap. He was fine, and I would see him tonight at home. Leaving that tiny hospital room. Leaving him there in that hospital, as I drove away with my friends to begin all the horrors that would follow. The trauma of hearing ambulance sirens afterwards, or seeing other men in EMS uniforms. The sick feeling I got upon realization that these ashes in my hand, are what is left of my husband. The endless sobbing. The numbness. The fear of dying. Wanting to die. Not wanting to live. Forgetting how to breathe. Not remembering how to exist. Living inside a tornado. Being made to suffocate in this version of life, and knowing that everything was forever different. 

We all have our months. 

I will feel however I feel this month, I will do my best to get through it, and I won't apoligize if I'm an absolute mess for awhile. I have every right. My world died five years ago, and it takes a hell of a long time to pick up all the pieces of that. Sometimes it takes forever. Or at least it feels that way, when you're churning inside the tsunami. 


Showing 11 reactions

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  • commented 2016-07-05 11:51:20 -0700
    Thank you everyone. All of your stories and emotion help so much – it is such a confirmation that none of us are alone, no matter how much we might feel like we are.
  • commented 2016-07-03 18:32:07 -0700
    July is my month, too. My hell started on 07/22/14, the ugliest day on the calendar
  • commented 2016-07-03 06:11:28 -0700
    February for me, when all those hearts and flowers appear in your face everywhere you go. Then there’s his birthday month, July, which is also the month his brother died a year ago, who was my main support. It goes on and on, including parents deaths, just about every month has a trigger day or two in it. At least I have you all to turn to, who get where I’m at. The grieving never ends, it changes over the years, but is always in the background, and sometimes the foreground, of our lives.
  • commented 2016-07-02 20:55:13 -0700
    Thanks for your post, Kelley. It’s right on as always. My tsunami is from mid March until June 13 – when Brian went into the hospital and never got out until his memorial. I call it the death march. It’s been 25 months now and even though the pain isn’t as sharp, I’m feeling so worn out from it all.
  • commented 2016-07-02 13:36:19 -0700
    My month is November. My world as I knew it came to a crashing halt on November 7, 2014. My husband went golfing at a company sponsored tournament, and never came home. My day was very similar to yours. I pray you will get through this month as peacefully and gracefully as possible. Thank you for this post!
  • commented 2016-07-02 12:07:19 -0700
    My heart is with you this month and what is leading up to that day. My month is September – but the end of July he went in the hospital never to come home again. This 5 year are Tsunami’s. Sending huge hugs and again you write what so many of us feel.
  • commented 2016-07-02 09:39:48 -0700
    This took me right back to my own traumatic day. My own phone call. My own animal screams. All the disbelief. Sometimes its still hard to feel like we have somehow lived this long through it all. Its so surreal.

    I’m thinking of you. sometimes I feel the months after Drew’s death are even harder because that misery stretched on and on. Something about being in the hot Texas summer has brought back a lot of the grief too this week for me, mini flashbacks. I’m on my way back to Ohio now, and so look forward to a phonecall soon to catch up with you. Beautiful post. <3 love you!!!
  • commented 2016-07-02 09:29:49 -0700
    True in every sense of the word. For me it extends from Arlene’s birthday in May, thru the three anniversaries in June (day she had the stroke, the day she passed and the day we met) till this Wednsday, the day we became “US”. It just sucks.
  • commented 2016-07-02 01:43:33 -0700
    Right on the money Kelly couldn’t have written it better thank you for your vulnerability and truth
  • commented 2016-07-01 18:03:55 -0700
    Kelley… You wrote what is so true and real… My month is May….
    And specifically my world as I knew it ended May 8, 2012.
    Just keep doing whatever you need to do.
  • commented 2016-07-01 10:38:36 -0700
    Very powerful Kelley. Thank you for sharing your story…..the one you never wanted to write. My world changed forever on March 8, 2016. I will never get over it…but I will like you keep trying to pick up the pieces….it may take forever!

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