I am now a grieving widow. A club I did not ask to belong to, but here I am. I have been told recently that keeping a journal of some kind could help me in my grief. Can’t even begin to tell you how many really nice journals I have purchased. Nor how many times I wrote the same thing over again in each them. My words are there, but I find it very hard to TRULY express them with ink. After a lot of thought I finally decided to put my blog to its intended use. I am not looking for likes or empathy. I just want to work through my heartbreak and right now this is how I have decided to do it.
It was 6 months ago this past Friday, on January 14th, when I woke up out of a deep sleep. It was just as my husband was in the door way heading to go to work. He was late that morning, which was rare for him on a Saturday. I jumped up immediately out of bed, gave him a big hug, kissed him, and told him I loved him. With a huge smile on his face and in that deep sexy voice that still gave me butterflies even after 19 years he said, ” I love you too baby!” It didn’t even cross my mind that it would be the last time. Never thought I would never see my beloved husband again.
Just that Tuesday we went to court to see if we would get custody of our grandchildren and I told him how much I admired and loved his big heart. It amazed me how this man I loved so much was willing to make whatever sacrifices he had to for our grandchildren and to foster more children. We had just discussed finally looking into buying our first house by the end of August. He had me looking into travel plans to Brazil’s Carnival for our honeymoon. We had a private ceremony a year and a half earlier and didn’t tell anyone. The plan was to get custody of the grandchildren and get a house before we went pubic.
The day before he died we talked about having family night that Saturday watching a movie and playing Monopoly. All of it shattered with just a phone call 2 hours after he told me loved me, spoke to the children and walked out the door.
I have found that being a widow or widower and dealing with the grief is different for each person, especially depending on how their spouse passed away. Their are those that had some type of closure because their spouse was sick and they knew their death was inevitable. Then there are those, like me, whose spouse died suddenly for whatever reason. These widows and widowers are left with, “Why” or “What if…?” questions and guilt constantly floating around in our heads. However, the pain they all feel is the same.
Words can’t even express to you how brokenhearted, numb, and confused I felt hearing the words, “He fell to the floor and wasn’t breathing,” or “I am so sorry. We tried everything we could, but we couldn’t revive him.” I had entered familiar, yet unknown territory. Familiar because I had to cremate both of my parents. Plus both of my parents were extremely sick so I was internally prepared for their outcome. Unknown because I had to now bury the one person who kept me strong through both. I had to now suddenly try and raise 6 children on my own. Just that quick, in a blink of an eye, I had to live the rest of my life without HIM.
It’s crazy how when you have never experienced losing a spouse you tend to say things to the grieving widow or widower that you honestly believe will give them some kind of comfort. Like:
- It was in God’s plan.
- He/She is in a better place.
- Just pray.
- You have to be strong for your children.
- You will get over it in time.
- Everything happens for a reason.
- I know exactly how you feel. I felt the same way when my sister/cousin/best friend/parent died.
And the list continues. Let me just tell you that each and every one of these are the last thing most widows or widowers wants to hear just after the passing of their spouse. I use to say them myself, but I had no clue until now how painful each of them were. For me, every time I hear these I just smile and cringe inside. I suddenly didn’t care about God’s plan because I thought his plan was for us to raise the children together. I thought that he brought this man into my life so that I could finally know what true happiness was. Now my husband and happiness is gone. To me he WAS in a better place…with ME. The pain I am feeling surpassed my parents passing by 10 times more.
Many don’t understand that after you have been officially informed that your spouse is gone and all the paperwork is taken care of to begin planning their funeral that you have to walk back in that same house the two of you shared. You still have to gather what little strength you have to look at that same bed you shared and lay in it knowing that they will never be next you EVER again. Those of us with children have to find someway to push back our own grief to comfort them.
Then there are the many phone calls, text messages and visits that quickly start surrounding you that puts you in a overwhelmed state. When the funeral is over and everyone has gone back to lives that haven’t changed except for losing the person they love just as much, you have to still deal with reality. Not a single thing has stopped because you lost your spouse. The bills, more paperwork, the grief of your child(ren) and school, and more all can take its toll. Your thought almost everyday is, “What am I suppose to do now?”
Over the past 6 months I continue to find myself STILL in disbelief. I am stuck in this life of denial and depression although I know my husband is gone. He isn’t coming back, but I still sit on my pouch every night in hopes that our red Ford Expedition will be coming down the parking lot with him in it. When I get home I pause before I walk through the door knowing he’s no longer there. Every morning I still find it hard to get out of bed, get everyone dressed and begin our day. I still look over next to me in hopes to see his face as if I was just in a horrible and very cruel nightmare. Every night I still refuse to sleep on his side of the bed.
I no longer cook because it was a passion my husband and I shared. Haven’t watched a single TV show or movie we loved together, including anything related to football. Every single morning and every single night I find myself telling a 3 year old that his papa died because he continues to ask me like clockwork. And do so without breaking down and crying hysterically. Every day at work I find myself crying in my cubicle silently and wiping away my tears before anyone sees me.
The day my husband died I feel as a half of me went with him. I am no longer the woman I was that morning. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the woman I see. People have told me over and over again they admire my strength and have no idea how I do what I do. They have no idea that every day I am going through the motions not because I want to, but because I have to. There are bills that I still have to pay and children I still have to take care of. I don’t feel strong at all. Don’t even feel like a survivor. All I know is that this new normal and widowhood completely sucks!
The visits, phone calls, and text messages have came to a bare minimum. I find myself wanting to talk…about him and my struggles, but have learned that in reality either people don’t care anymore or no longer want to hear it because they have their own grief. In a crowd of people I am so lonely and heartbroken. I still would give anything to have my husband back…even for just a short moment.
I am grateful that my last words to my husband were “I love you”. There are so many scenarios that could have changed that. I have chatted with many widows and widowers that their last words were in anger and they live with that guilt even many years later. Although we didn’t have a perfect life, we had a good life and I have no regrets. What I do have is the emptiness and missing all the unfinished plans we had together. I miss him and everything about him. I had a remarkable husband. My children and grandchildren had an awesome father and papa. He touched every heart he came in contact with.
I wish that after 6 months I could be honest and tell people I am ok, but I can’t. I am not ok. Really I am not. Even behind every smile and laugh, my every being just hurts. I try to take it one day at a time, but it’s so very hard. This man I am grieving for wasn’t just my husband. He was the man who wiped every tear from my eyes for 19 years. He was the man that would place his feet on mine at night when they were cold. Encouraged me when I thought of myself as a failure. Looked at me every single day as the most beautiful and sexiest woman he had ever seen even though I thought I was the ugliest. He loved me for the woman I was with all my faults. My husband was truly my very best friend.
Now I have to learn to really talk to people when he was the only one I truly talked to about everything. Learn how to trust people all over again when he was the only one I trusted unconditionally. I have to learn how to sleep alone again. How to be a person I don’t even recognize or know. I really and truly don’t know how. I just deeply miss my husband! Losing him has forever changed my life and changed me.