Today is 239 days since I lost my soulmate, my best friend, my children’s dad, my grandchildren’s Poppy, Bobby’s brother, and to be honest a true friend to everyone he met. Rick was a vibrant personality, he was the guy who lit up the room. His sense of humor was probably one of my favorite qualities, although he would often use it to lighten heavy situations and I would get annoyed. We had a certain language developed over 46 years of marriage, often using certain “eye contact” or as the children called it the “eyebrow”. It was a language developed over 51 years of being friends and sharing the ups and downs of this crazy world we live in.
This year was an unexpected turn for us as a couple and for my family. Many have mentioned all the “firsts” I would go through, but honestly I’ve been doing that for ten years now. This life I am leading is not like the other. I know all the obvious things and expect the grief bursts on holidays and special occasions, but what I didn’t expect was the feelings of helplessness and loneliness. Oh I knew it would be different, but it is more than different, it is painful. Life goes on for everyone else, but for you, life came to a standstill. It is as if you are standing outside a snow globe looking in. You place your arms around it in order to get the very best view, as close as you can get, pressing your face against the glass. Inside there are houses, decorated with wreaths and lights, children playing, families putting up the tree, and snow falling. It is a peaceful scene. It used to be your family doing all those things, it used to be you putting up all the decorations. Now, you are the outsider. You are looking in and there is a glass partition between you and the scene before you. That glass is your grief.
Going through the motions and getting to the other side becomes your goal. Merely surviving it all is you really wish for. The other goal becomes hiding it, as best you can, from the rest of the world. Grabbing that mask as you walk out the door, smiling as you greet people, lending a hand when you can be of help, that becomes your everyday life. Now there are times you can be yourself, expressing what you really feel and allowing your emotions to show, but they are few and far between. Even with those closest to you, you are cautious, trying not to burden them with your problems. It is like a delicate dance, sometimes steps are slow and methodical and seem to go with the flow of the music, but sometimes they are deliberate and awkward and you feel like the rhythm is off. You scramble to regain your composure and gently return to stepping carefully, trying to return to the order of the dance.
All of these things take energy and time and above all, patience. You need patience with yourself and patience with others. No one understands your pain and you can’t understand theirs. Even if a situation is similar, you can’t understand. You can only understand how you felt in your situation and know it to be difficult. Empathy can be a wonderful gift at this time of year and it costs nothing. The greatest gift you can give a grieving person is a memory because memories we can keep forever. As time goes on, we are so fearful of forgetting.
Many who read this blog are doing so because, they too, have a broken heart. It helps to have companions on the journey, not to fix it, but to just be there. So today, after you read this can you leave a memory for me about someone you love and miss everyday. It can be a word or a sentence or anything you would like to share. That will help me continue my journey through the maze knowing we are not alone and hopefully help you too.
Hope is to walk toward the light, not shielding your eyes, but maybe temporarily wearing sunglasses. That allows you to continue forward at your own pace in your own time.