Four months ago this week, we lost the man who I was privileged to call my husband. In some ways, it seems like it has been longer than that. In others, it has moved ahead quickly with a big hole in our lives. And most of all, our lives will never be the same.
Yesterday, I read a blog about grief. The author shared that his father died on a Saturday morning, so that day of the week would never again be the same for him. That is how it has been for me each Monday since Kirk’s passing. This author also mentioned that after such a loss, you see things in terms of before and after the event. I have found that to be true.
I can hold it together for much of the week, but each Monday morning, I tend to relive what happened, often in bits and pieces. The health crisis that he was in, calling 911, watching the police officers do CPR prior to the firemen and paramedics getting to our house and then taking over, and working on him until they took him in an ambulance to the hospital.
My parents then arrived at our house and Ian woke up. We all then went to the hospital hoping and praying that he would be okay. When we arrived, they put us in a side room which would have had me concerned if I wasn’t in such shock. A nurse, a doctor, and a family liaison then came in and told us that although his heart had restarted a few times, it didn’t stay pumping and that he had died.
We screamed and cried and were in deep shock. I couldn’t process this. How is it possible? How could this happen? He should have woken up and been okay. We just had laughed and talked the night before going to bed. We had just had a great and Happy Thanksgiving weekend with our family and friends. We had just been enjoying our life.
After receiving this shock, I went to see him. It looked like my love but didn’t feel like him. He was cold to the touch. That was such a bizarre feeling that I will never forget. He was always warm when I held his hand or received a hug. I knew physically that he was gone but my brain couldn’t begin to process it.
I then went back to check on our son to see how he was doing. Our pastor was there as well and that was a great comfort. The pastor went with me the second time I went to see Kirk and prayed for him and for us. I looked at him and willed him to wake up, I begged God to bring him back, but sadly, that was not to be. For some reason that I don’t yet understand, it was his time to go.
I asked the nurse for his wedding band and she took it off his hand. I have been wearing it every day since. This brings me some comfort to have a part of something that was precious to him — us and our marriage and our life together. That is so deeply precious to me as well.
After receiving the ring, I said goodbye and then went back to check on our son who was still in shock. My parents had started reaching out to our family and friends to give them the news. I was also still in shock. They suggested going to have breakfast so we left and I tried to eat. I couldn’t process answers to questions from my mom. I was numb and lost and so deeply sad. .
Now, I wish I had stayed longer with Kirk at the hospital, but all I could think of was to be with Ian and try to be strong for him and share in his grief and loss. I have asked Kirk to forgive me for leaving him when I did. I am finding comfort in knowing that he was already in Heaven and his body was simply a shell that I could say goodbye to.
We spent the rest of the day at our house. My brother and sister also arrived from out-of-town. It was so good to see them and share our memories. Later someone went to get food from a favorite restaurant. As we were together, I was able to eat. We talked, we cried, and we shared good times we had just had with Kirk. We grieved together and all tried to support Ian.
One of Kirk’s brothers and wife came over later to see us. Many of his family lives out-of-town and they were all there for the memorial service. Seeing them that Monday meant the world to me. We were all shocked and saddened to lose this man who meant so much to us. We didn’t really know what to say but it was helpful to just be together.
That evening, Ian’s best friend and his mother came to see us, had made us a meal, and loaned us some DVDs. It was great to see them and especially nice for Ian. Since then, we regularly see them, go to the park, have meals and watch movies together. And, the boys play together, talk and laugh, which means the world to me.
That week we were also visited by other friends, neighbors, church members, and the pastor who performed our wedding and gave us such a special message as we started our life together. We also received text messages, notes on Facebook, emails, and phone calls. These loved ones prayed with us and shared stories with us.
We are so very fortunate to have such a great support system to help us through this. People cooked us food or delivered it from our favorite restaurants. Others gave us gift cards, sympathy cards, and Christmas cards. Our friends and family have gone above and beyond for us and we are so very thankful for that.
I was married to Kirk for 20 years. Last week, we visited clients that he had worked with long before he met me. It was nice to share stories with them about him, to hear what he meant to them, and to cry together. It has rocked them as well as my family.
That week, I slept well at our hotel and that was great. It felt good to be busy and have some purpose. I have been floundering for a while. Still, there was time to share the grief and acknowledge that it is a part of our lives. We also prayed together and also were able to laugh. So life was going on as well as the grief.
All of us will be touched one day by the loss of a loved one. Sharing that with others makes that burden more bearable. When you have loved and lost, the grief does go on. But so does life, so we try to have good times and find the positive things that we can enjoy. At times, I feel guilty that we are moving forward, but I have to realize that is what Kirk would want for us. He always wanted the best for us and I cherish that.
One of the things Kirk would say with some laughter is that Heaven wasn’t ready for him and hell wouldn’t take him. That Monday in late November, Heaven was ready for him. Just we who loved him were not ready. As I said earlier in this piece, I still don’t know the reason but am trying to live with the new normal.
Our son has his entire life ahead of him so I want to share that with him and celebrate it. We remember and talk about his dad. I tell him stories of times with his dad throughout his young life. And we try to carry out the plans and ideas that he’d had for our family with some adjustments.
If you are grieving, I hope and pray that you have a support system, a faith, and the knowledge that you will be reunited with your loved one in the future. That is what I believe and it helps in the hardest of times. Blessings to you and yours.