After Death Shockers~

I guess one of the most shocking aspects following Chuck’s death was the necessity to let go of relationships that had always seemed strong and secure.  Or, if not strong and secure, at least managed. Family relationships, right?


It was brought home to me that a relationship that I’d thought was okay, and fairly honest, was toxic to me and, yes, existed only because of him.  That was hard and I felt guilty for letting go, knowing how it would hurt Chuck to know such a thing had happened.  I had so much guilt about it for so long…

But words became swords and the impact almost hospitalized me, which shocked me again, because I always considered myself stronger than I was at that moment that saw me on the floor, in the midst of my first anxiety attack.  And, Jesus, the hugeness of the attack terrified me.


A few years later I had to let go of my best friend of almost 50 years.  She took my shared confidences regarding the other relationship, and tried to make the slander even bigger, maligning a man who’d considered her a friend, who’d helped her so much in the past, accusing me, separately, of dragging my husband’s name…I’m not sure…in the mud?  She was never clear on that.

Whatevs, right?

Fortunately, by the time the ugliness of her heart was revealed, I was a much stronger woman and not only was not affected in the least by her words, but was able to respond appropriately, and then end the friendship and realize it had been limping along for some time.  I was surprised at how emotionally easy the ending was, on my part.

It’s odd, isn’t it, what people do and say after a death? 

We need to take the words and actions of people like that and make the choice to hold them close or we can, as my mom sagely advised in my early years, consider the source.

Ugly hearts with ill intentions.

In the years since, the people in my life fill my life with love, not envy, not ugliness.

Early on, I was so vulnerable.  Every part of me was on the floor, in a fetal position, keening the death of the man who was everything in my life.

These 4 years and 3 months on, my heart is still shattered, I’m still keening inside, but I’m standing with determination, knowing in every part of me...every damn part of me...that Chuck left so much Love behind for me that it will carry me through whatever years I have to still live.  He was the man I knew, not the man they spoke about with their darkened hearts.

That I have to live without him…that I only have the memory of his Love for me, and mine for him…it isn’t enough, it will never be enough, but, at the same time, because I’m still alive and yes, I curse that fact… it has to be enough, and I know that what I had of Love, what I knew of Love, is more than most people get in a lifetime.

And the other side of that coin is what my heart carries, along with the Love.

Longing and more longing and a tangible skin ache.

I miss him so…

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  • Lydia Calderon
    commented 2017-08-09 20:11:06 -0700
    My husband, Dan, hated drama. That is why he took longer to tell his family that he had pancreatic cancer. He knew what would happen that some would make it about them and create more havoc for us. He told me that I needed to be strong for my daughter and to surround myself with positive, genuine people. Dan passed on Thanksgiving of 2016 and by Christmas Day, there was an issue that arose with his nephew’s wife. She and I had words privately about something that had been brewing for a while. After our discussion and a few heated words were spewed, we ended with a handshake and a hug and said we would put this behind us and I said I had hoped that one day she would learn to love my daughter. Dan’s nephew is my daughters, Godfather. Needless to say, when I excused myself and said I was going home because I was not feeling well, said my good byes and left, she told people a whole different story. Nothing was ever asked of me of said to me about that evening. No one else had heard what truly transpired between us so my husbands family only knows her side. 7 months later I confront Dan’s sister who comes over to take all of the photos off of the photos board she made for my husband. I asked her why she never asked and understood that she took the side of her daughter in law to save face. I asked why she talked about me behind my back instead of picking up the phone and asking me directly. Didn’t our 26-year relationship matter. didn’t she know me better than that? I told her I didn’t need drama in my life and had to honor my husband by dusting myself off and focusing on our daughter who is a senior this year in high school. She said she didn’t like confrontation. They would rather sweep it all under the rug and just trip over the large lump under that rug. A few days later I said something not nice to her and she ran to her husband who sent me the nastiest email. He told me that I had drawn a line in the sand and Good bye for the future. His email lets me know how they felt and where I stood with them. I take accountability for my actions, but I am not sorry for being honest. I know my husband knows the truth, and I am now following the advice of my counselor and sister and staying away from them and focusing on me, my health and my daughter. I will continue to have a relationship with his other siblings but I feel that a lot will change. I am not their blood, and it was said to me. Blood is thicker than water. I will continue to honor my husband, stay away from the drama, and focus on our daughters senior year. It’s very unfortunate that Dan’s death has torn us apart and I know he would be disappointed in the entire situation but I must remain strong, and get through each day for Dan, myself and our daughter. Their behavior has been a total shock, I miss discussing this situation with Dan, and just want to hear if he feels I am doing the right thing. He was the calm in our relationship, he was my go to person. I miss his wisdom and guidance.
  • Joseph Kearney
    commented 2017-08-02 05:37:41 -0700
    I also try to remove all drama from my life. Who actually has time for it. The one thing about losing a loved one makes you realize there are so many things that seem less important. In my case, I’m a huge sports fan. Football season was my time of year and I looked forward to it and she enhanced it by throwing something on the crock pot, making some finger food or making a great dinner to celebrate victory or comfort food for the agony of defeat. It just doesn’t seem as important anymore nor do I care who wins or loses. I will carry on with my tradition but with much less enthusiasm than before.
    It definitely is painful to be here. We are the ones they left behind, not by their choosing though. I know she loved me, its the last thing she said to me and the last thing I said to her. I feel her presence at times around me. I have dreams of her where we hold hands, hug and kiss ( I never had physical dreams like that before with anyone) You say said that Chuck left you enough love to pull you through for the rest of your years, I’m still a young 52 years old and I know I will love her for the rest of my days and I can only hope that she is the one greeting me in my next phase and by the sounds of how you describe your relationship with Chuck that I have no doubt that he will the one greeting you in yours.