Life after the death of a loved one is hard, painful, full of ups and down, and waves of grief. Sorrow and happiness often go hand in hand. And tears flow, sometimes at the most unfortunate time and others at the time that they need to.
Some days you are just trying to survive and make it through as people often say. Sometimes you have wonderful memories where you smile and then other days it feels like all you want to do is cry. Surviving a death to me is learning to be okay with all of that.
It has almost been 11 months since my loving husband passed away. Some mornings, I wake up aching and missing him so very much. It seems so fresh on those days. And the pain is right back to the surface. On other days, I wake up happy and ready for the day. And others, I wake up not fully remembering what happened.
I cannot believe that it has almost been a year. I was in a fog for much of that time. It has only been recently that I am coming to terms with the fact that he is gone and not coming back. My mind is not playing as many tricks as it used to and the realization is settling in.
And you know what, that hurts. Having to live with the fact that a loved one is gone is so hard. It takes time for the healing and the acceptance. We have been learning to survive this loss and this pain. I think we will be continuing to do so for a while to come.
Over the summer, we celebrated Kirk’s birthday and that was so nice. Friends and family gathered together at a restaurant that he would have really liked. This fall, we celebrated Ian’s birthday without his dad for the first time. That was tough but a really good day despite the pain and loss.
Later this month, I will celebrate our wedding anniversary without him. That will be tough and I am already trying to plan to do something special to honor Kirk. The day we were married, we stopped at a Wendy’s near our house for dinner. For many years after that, we had food from that favorite fast food restaurant. It became a tradition that we enjoyed for many years. I may have to get lunch from there.
Then that evening, I will do something special with Ian in memory of his dad. I want to focus on the wonderful man that he was and how much fun we had with him. I do, however, expect many tears that day — both sad and happy.
Over these months, I have been learning how to plan for the days I know will be tough, take time to rest, remember, cry as needed, and to grieve when those feelings come. I have also been learning to give myself permission to feel as I need to before moving on to a project or item that must be done. I am also learning to be happy and appreciate the times I have with our son and our friends and our family.
In referencing grief, Vice President Joe Biden has said that eventually a smile will come before a tear when you remember someone who has died. I am not there quite yet but do have smiles now along with the tears and that feels like progress.
Over these months, I didn’t know how or if we would survive but we have. And, I am so very thankful for that. I continue to be shocked that he is gone and probably always will be. But I am also remembering more and more what a blessing he was in my life and how honored I was to be his wife and mother to his child.
Before Kirk died, when I would hear of a loved one’s death, I would be touched and sad but didn’t have any idea of the depth of the pain and how long the healing takes. I had lost loved ones of my own but no one as close as my spouse before his death. So, in the months since, I have tried to reach out to others dealing with losses and be there in support of them. I know that I fail at times on that, but I am trying.
All of us will deal with loss at some point. A quote says that loss is part of loving someone. I just hope and pray that we can remember to love those we care about while they are still here, tell them that we love them, and don’t take them for granted. And, may we fondly remember those we have lost.
And may we also remember to love one another and appreciate each other.