If nothing else, 5 years down the road, I still have many questions and few answers. The amount and content of said questions only grows with time. Many of them are “what-ifs”, and still more are “what-woulds”.
“What if they hadn’t died?” is the first question for almost everyone. I can confidently say that it will never be answered definitively. In fact, in the world of multiple-choice answers, the number of choices has increased from A, B, and C, to the point that we’re way through the alphabet, and onto weird, made up characters.
In Megan’s case, seeing as she had a long-term illness, my second question was “what could I have done differently?”. It was the guilt setting in. Misplaced, mind you. There was literally nothing I, or anyone else could do that would have prevented a genetic, debilitating mutation from occurring, but my brain asked it constantly for months, nonetheless, and I felt it was somehow my fault.
I still ask question one almost daily, mostly in passing at this point. I’ve long since accepted that the second question is answered succinctly with a “nothing”, and largely moved on from asking it.
Every so often, however, the “what-ifs” creep back in. More and more frequently, the “what-woulds” are taking over.Read more
After our income fell drastically, we moved into a one-bedroom apartment at a great location; it’s only a 20 minute walk to Anisha’s school. However, it is not a big, character home like the ones her two best friends live in. Recently she said, “I wish we lived in a big house like my friends.” I can’t describe how hard the reduced income has been on me. For me it’s a lot harder than for my daughter because she doesn’t know any better since she doesn’t recall our previous home. I know I should not compare families. Various parent friends have told me, “Nothing good comes from comparing your family to other families. I know all of this, yet I still get frustrate when I see, or at least I think I see, other people enjoying easier lives.Read more
It is easy enough for most of us to identify with our own, “widowed” side of the story. We’re the ones left behind when our partner dies. We are all suddenly single parents, sole breadwinners, alone, scared, and confused. It doesn’t matter if we’ve had years to accept the impending death, or minutes.
But, what if we were on the other side of that coin? What if we knew we were the ones leaving others behind? If we knew that our children, partner, friends and family were going to have to be without us? What if we had to trust...REALLY trust that when we were gone, it would be horrible for our loved ones, but everything would be alright?
Even more risky, what if the riskiest thing we had to do was the one thing that kept us around longer?
This is what I’m thinking about this morning, after talking with an old friend yesterday.Read more
January is when Megan was first diagnosed with chronic organ transplant rejection. February is Shelby’s birthday. May is Mother’s Day, June is when she was admitted to the hospital, never to come home again, July is her birthday, August is our anniversary, September is when the next year of school starts for Shelby, October is my birthday, November is when she died, and December, is well, the “holidays”.
March and April though have no special “milestones”. I can’t really think of any specific memories or significant happenings that have or will occur as it relates to Megan and her death. I get to “coast” through these months, in a sense, fairly comfortable with believing that I shouldn’t have any “predetermined” triggers.Read more
For much of my life, I have been what can best be described as “grumpy”. I’ve tended to over-react and or see the worst in things, and myself. Something as simple as going to the grocery store brought out a part of me that only wanted to see the worst of humanity, followed by a reaction resembling anger, then followed by regret and shame at said reaction. It’s a vicious cycle that culminated in my general tendency to either want to be completely introverted, or to only seek out things that allow me to be alone, yet enjoy an activity.
I always find something to blame for these traits. Work is stressful, money is tight, bills are too high, it’s too cold for too long, I don’t have enough time in a day, or any other number of outside influencers gave me an “excuse” to just be angry or reactionary to the tiniest little stressors in life. More often than not, I placed the blame squarely on myself. I couldn’t handle work, I spent too much money or signed up for needless services. I’m too stupid to put a coat on and go outside, or I’m just plain lazy, and not using the time I DO have effectively.
In some ways, Megan’s health masked this. I was so laser focused on her well-being that I didn’t ever take the time to self-examine and really try to figure out why I am the way I am. Honestly, after her first transplant and subsequent relative good health, I didn’t know what to do with myself other than self-deprecate and become introverted. It caused issues. She finally had the ability to enjoy life, and I wanted only to sit in the house and “relax”.Read more
Why do you let my grief scare you?
Why can’t I just talk about Natasha how ever I want? She was MY wife, not yours!
Why can’t you just listen and try not to fix me? “You just need to focus on your daughter’s smile, and everything will be alright.”
Why do you give me an arbitrary timeline and act as if it is the word of some God? “So, how long has it been since your wife died?”
Why do you try to insist on measuring the severity of my grief by saying, “So, have you been dating?”
Why do you need to suggest that a man needs a woman to raise a girl, “Girls need a mother, it’s just good for them.”?
Wow, you really are an expert on grief! So have you ever lost a spouse, no? How about a parent, sibling, or good friend, no? I guess you haven’t had much experience with grief, yet you are so wise when it comes to my grief.
I know, I should relax, you are a good person and you are just trying to help, and, maybe I am being too sensitive.
All I ask, please let my grief be just the way it is.Read more
You may have noticed that last Tuesday, there was no post from me. In short, we had a major power outage at my work, starting the Sunday prior, and being the only IT person, it fell to me keep the business running.
I left home Sunday evening, towards the office, and I was there until 3 A.M. or so. Then home for a few hours, then back to the office. I got maybe 45 minutes of sleep between Sunday morning and Tuesday morning.
This kind of thing has been a part of my life for a few decades now. It just comes with my chosen career.
That doesn’t make it feel “OK” though.Read more
One of the most fundamental aspect of our species is that we are constantly comparing everything. Walking down the street, our brains are constantly comparing the faces of strangers to faces of people we know. Isn’t that? …no, she’s too tall to be her. Comparing helps us cross the street and be safe—we have an image of a safe crosswalk in our brains, and we compare what we see on the street with that image before our feet leave the curb. Most comparisons keep us safe and healthy, while others simply make life far more complicated than it has to be.Read more
There was always a bit of competition between Megan and I as to who could be the “favorite” parent. It was playful, obviously, but between the two of us, we were always trying to get the “better” birthday present for Shelby, or take her to the more memorable thing to do, or tell the funniest joke. Whomever could make Shelby laugh harder got to “win” that battle.
Megan won, more often than not. When Shelby was younger, it was Disney princesses and ice-capades. Pink everything and dance competitions. Every so often though, I would swoop in with something like fishing or a funny “dad” joke (to Shelby, at least), and I would get to win that day’s competition.
All of this was in good fun, and it only benefitted Shelby. She got to experience multiple events, types of hobbies, or memories that she wouldn’t have otherwise. It helped her form the interests she has today.
But, as I am sure you are aware, considering the fact that you are reading this on the Soaring Spirits website, Megan died a few years back.Read more
Today has been a good day so far. I love waking up and feeling passion for whatever is going to happen next in my life. Like my daughter saying, “I have a Valentine’s Day card for Dada! Here it is!” As I help my daughter get ready for school, I take a deep breath and remind myself of one simple truth; getting Anisha ready and walking her to school in the sun and snow IS what life is all about! I love that I truly appreciate simple things more, but I still miss so many things about Natasha, such as her food.Read more