First I want to thank the many people who are reading, liking, commenting, and sharing my blog. You have touched my life in a way I can’t explain. For those of you that say it has helped you, you have indeed been a blessing to me.
I want to share a story from this week which speaks a little to my last post. I was sitting in my office on Thursday and just didn’t want to be there. It wasn’t really work , I was just out of sorts. My thoughts were all over the place and I felt I wanted to escape. I decided to go get some iced tea and as I entered the lobby, I heard several people call my name. As I turned to face them, there was someone who used to cater with Rick. She gave me a giant hug, a real hug that lasted awhile and told me how sorry she was. I felt the tears well up and turned as she said “you remember my mom?” There stood someone I probably saw last in the 1970’s and she had made my wedding cookies 46 years ago. As I tried to maintain my composure I realized that her mom had been one of my mom’s best friends in the 60’s and 70’s. I stood, collecting myself as best I could, and a third person said, “we loved Rick.” I realized it was someone he knew from years catering for the hospitals. You see, this is my life, a memory at every turn. My day turned around at that moment and the loneliness seemed to wain.
It seems that what is most painful is also most comforting. Sitting on my screened porch tonight I realize that we are always struggling in grief. I try to do the normal everyday activities, but around every bend is a memory of what was. Around the next bend is what is gone, never to be again. In Grief Recovery Method it’s termed loss of hopes, dreams and expectations. Isn’t that really our struggle, holding on to the past and being afraid of the future. It’s like a game of tug of war that we play with life.
Losing a child is thought to be the most difficult and life changing event a parent can have. When your child dies, you lose a piece of yourself and no one and nothing can replace that missing piece. It’s as if there are two puzzles with the same cut, but different resulting pictures. If you put the piece from the other puzzle where the piece is missing, although it’s still complete, the picture is not at all the same. The picture is forever different as the future is forever different. My biggest fear when Lindsey died was getting better meant leaving her behind. How can I hold her close while trying to continue to live.? After much time and a lot of work, I realized the opposite is true. I’ve learned to carry her with me, however I need to, wherever I go.
The loss of a parent, at any age, is devastating. Our parents are our foundation. When you build a house, you start with a solid foundation and you trust it to weather any storm with you. With my mom, who was my best friend, I feel her presence within. My thoughts, my actions, even my refrigerator looks like my mom’s. She is so much a part of who I am as a person. That helps me tremendously because she was my role model, my rock, my sounding board, and my confidant. Sometimes I say things and think, those are mom’s words. It comforts me.
My most recent loss of Rick is a different feeling altogether. It is like the saying “my better half”. It’s as if half of you is missing. We took different roles in everyday life and the roles we took seemed natural. For instance, I did most of the financial stuff while he did most of the cooking. It worked for us. There were many things like this and now I am keenly aware of him not being here for the most minor things. The problem is, these things were our life and are now my life.
What is the most difficult part? Eating alone is definitely the most painful for me. Sitting with my IPad in the morning, waiting for him to emerge and complaining I never put water in the coffee pot, these are the moments I miss. I miss that he never put the recliners down and left his shoes all over the floor and his shirts hanging on the doorknobs. I miss his laugh and the way he could take over a room. I miss the way he looked at me right before I left for work and said “you look pretty.” I miss that we would be at the boat these weekends and eating ice cream at Stevie’s. I miss all of it and I miss him as I sit here alone. He was and will always be my world. His absence is apparent in every minute of every day.
How do you go into the future missing half of yourself. I don’t know that answer yet and it is the biggest challenge for me. I know how to navigate the grief this time, I’m familiar with the do’s and don’ts. I know to take my time and do things as I feel like I can handle them. I know not to make big decisions right away. I know to not let people rush me through my grief. I know that it’s going to take a lot of time. What I don’t know is this “what do I do in the meantime?” How do I find my way?
I’ve always been a private person about my faith, but I do rely on faith to get me through each and every day of my journey. I believe with all my heart that I will be reunited with my family someday and that gives me comfort. I believe in Heaven as a place of no pain and no worries. I believe it is colorful and full of animals. I believe it to be a peaceful place, contrasting to our current world. I believe I still have things to accomplish here, so I need to keep trying. I believe our loved ones are still beside us as we navigate the maze, gently leading us along, helping us up when we stumble and fall. I know the destination to be a place of hope and so as I play tug of war with the past and present, I will continue trying to find my way forward, taking it all in, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, and most of all…just missing.