Things I Miss And Think About

Since the loss of my spouse in late 2018, there are things about him and our life together that I miss.  Some of them have come back up after hearing about several deaths this week — including the helicopter crash on Sunday when 9 people were killed — as well as the mother of a family friend.

Last night we watched a very short part of an interview with the widower of one of the women on board that helicopter.  Her name was Christina Mauser and his is Matt Mauser.  He was interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN about having to give the news to his three kids that their mother wasn’t coming home.

Anderson mentioned that he was 10 years old when his father died.  He said he never will forget when his mother came in and told him that he had died.  Mr. Mauser then shared about how hard it was to tell his kids.  And that they were still calling for their mother.

Anderson Cooper also mentioned that his mother said that with grief you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  And, that there is no timeline to grief.  That is so true since the pain of any loss lasts for quite a while.  Actually, I would say that it never goes away, but that you just figure out ways of dealing with it as best you can

As Ian and I briefly watched this, we both had tears come into our eyes.  We hugged each other and I mentioned that you can imagine how they must be feeling since that happened to you.  He nodded his head as I was still hugging him.  We then wiped the tears and changed to a favorite show and started to laugh. That helped us.

Mr. Mauser said it was the little things that he missed the most.  I can so relate to that and that hit me since that is what I also feel.  After years with a spouse or partner, their sudden loss is shocking, jarring, and surreal.  The first few days I didn’t know what to do with myself and often couldn’t form the words to answer a question.

This morning I heard on the news that Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa, is having a hard time talking without crying.  I have to say that I totally understand.  The loss of a spouse so suddenly pains you in ways you never expected, much less also losing one of your children.  My heart goes out to her and the rest of her family.

I don’t think I will ever forget receiving the news that my husband had died.  When we arrived at the hospital, we were taken to a side room of the emergency department.  I should have known something was wrong since they didn’t take us to see him.  Then after a few minutes, a doctor and a nurse came into the room and told us that they had done all they could but couldn’t bring him back.

What the?!  We were all shocked.  I then went to see my love.  He looked like he was sleeping but he wasn’t.  I touched his hand and it was cold.  It was always warm when I held it.  So that was a shock and made me realize that he was in fact gone, no matter how much I was screaming inside that he can’t be gone.

I then went back to check on Ian and my parents who were with us.  My mind was on our son and how he was taking the news.  I was with him for a little bit and then went back to see my love one more time.  I was with him for a while, asked for his wedding band, and spent more time with him and looked at him.  And I touched his arm and hand.

I didn’t stay long.  We then left the hospital to go have breakfast since it was early morning.  I tried to eat but didn’t have much success.  And, I felt guilty and still do at times for not spending more time with my love.  At the time, all I could think about was our son.  I felt bad that I was placing him before my spouse.  And yet, I felt I had to since our son needed me, as I needed him.

There are a lot of things about my love that I remember, think about, and miss.  I wanted decades more with him and am sad that we didn’t get them.  Some of them are:

  • I still remember what he was wearing on the day that I met him at my church.  That church is where we got married and where we held his memorial service.
  • I miss his deep voice and laugh.
  • I miss the smell of his cologne after he got dressed and ready to go.
  • I miss the shows that we watched together and talked about.  To this day, I still can’t watch one of them.
  • I miss the smell of coffee that he prepared each night in the coffee maker.  He had a routine of that.
  • I miss how he was usually the life of the party and loved to make people laugh.
  • I miss his silly jokes.
  • I miss our Saturday morning talks in bed when our son would then join us.  These included lots of laughs and sometimes breakfast in bed.
  • I miss the hours he spent on a project.  Once he started, he would not stop until finished.  So, I would often help him, if I could.
  • I miss his mastery of numbers and taking care of our finances so well.  I am doing my best and trying to remember what he and my dad taught me.
  • I edited his dissertation and that was an amazing thing to be a part of.
  • I miss how great he was with the students that he worked with.  He put them at ease and helped them know they could do well with testings.
  • I miss our trips together and the fun adventures we had, first as a couple, and then a family of three.

Trying to adjust to this loss is still something we are dealing with.  We are doing better than we had been but still struggle at times.  I feel for all of these families and many others who lose loved ones each day.  I feel for the grief that they are dealing with and the pain that they are in.

My prayer is that we can appreciate each other, tell our loved ones that we do love them, and be there for one another during both the sad and happy times.  Also, I pray that we can support those who are in pain from a loss, that we can be there for them, and that we can love them.

Making The Most of The Dash

Last night, my son found a box of old photos and a poem I shared with my family in honor of the death of my grandmother.  She passed away 5 years ago.  It brought back all kinds of memories from Ian as a baby, and Kirk and me prior to his birth.  I smiled through tears as I looked over all of the treasures and family photos.

That poem was The Dash by Linda Ellis and I am going to share it today.  But first a few thoughts on my grandma.  Over the last year, I have been thinking a lot about her.  You see, her husband also died at a young age and unexpectedly, similar to my husband’s death.  I never knew her husband (my grandpa) but loved hearing stories about him and what a great man he was.

I wish I could ask Grandma questions about how she dealt with being a widow, what advice she’d give me, and how it was moving forward.  Growing up, we heard things from her and had brief discussions but it never totally registered what she went through.  I have a new appreciation for this woman who was very strong, sometimes to the point of being rude.  She made the most of her dash and taught us how to do the same.

So for those of us touched by a loved one’s death, I hope this poem will be encouraging.  It has been for me and I am so glad that I have found it again.  I hope that we can remember what is important in life and be thankful for that time we did have with our loved ones.  I also hope that we make sure to cherish those who are still in our lives.

The Dash — Linda Ellis —-

“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.  He referred to the dates on her tombstone, from the beginning… to the end.

“He noted that first came the date of her birth. And spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

“For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth.  And, now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

“For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house…the cash.  What matters is how we live and love, and how we spend our dash.

“So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?  For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. 

“If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel. 

“And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. 

“If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a while. 

“So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?” 

Let’s make the most of our dash, treat each other with kindness, and always love.