On The Last 90 Days

It is amazing to think it has been three months / 90 days since my love passed away.  Each day since that happened  I have missed him so much. But, also each day, I try to remember our life together and our memories.

I carry on the best I can for myself and our son who I pray has a long life ahead of him. Some days are much harder than others. I had a very hard time getting settled for bed last night. As I have mentioned before, Monday’s are still the worst since that was the day of.

Not only am I wrestling with the loss, but I am also scared of something happening to me, or worrying about things that my love used to do that now fall to me, or having to be both parents for our son, or not being the friend or family member that I want to be to those who have reached out and helped us so much.

Our son and I do miss him. We also very much enjoy talking about him and laughing about our favorite stories and our family jokes. We also like looking at the photos.  Thankfully I took a ton of these throughout our life together. We cry and give each other  comfort.

Still the pain is real and raw.  After all, we had 20 years together. We were together or tried our best to talk every day. It didn’t always happen when he was on business trips, but we did try. We were privileged to have more than 7,300 days together.

As hard as it is right now, I wouldn’t trade that time with him for anything. The cost of true and real love is loss and pain when that love leaves. Those days enriched my life and blessed me in so many ways. I hope it did for him as well.

Last night, I listened to a voice mail from him that I didn’t remember that I had. It was only 14 seconds long but so very special. He had a lovely low voice and could have had a career on the radio or in voice over work. I miss that so very much.

I expected to grow old with him. I expected more time together. I expected one last conversation, but sadly that was not to be. For some reason that I still do not understand, the Lord had something else in mind. I don’t know when or if I ever will.

Right now, I am trying to focus on all the things that have to be taken care of in the aftermath of such a loss. I am figuring out my future, and the future for our son and myself. I have plenty to take care of since my love was the one did so much to help around the house. He was much neater than I was/am. He was the one who took care of the bills and repairs, and so much more.

So each day, I try to do something towards these goals and realize that I will get there. I do feel like I should be doing more but some days, I just want to cry and sit and think about my memories. So, I try to do that, then wipe the tears, and tackle the project, or read, or do some work, or help our son with homework, or watch a favorite program.

Just please do not tell me it is time to get over it. I am not ready since the pain of him no longer being here is still so fresh and raw. I still want to talk with him, feel a hug, share a kiss, laugh with him over a favorite movie, joke, or story. I still want to wake up next to him in the morning. I want to see him at his place on the couch or at the table.

I like to think that I didn’t take him for granted but I think that I did at times. One doesn’t expect a sudden loss like this. We expect instead that we will see each other the next time. We expect to take that vacation in a year and are excited about it. We expect to have a chance to say all that needs to be said.

Thankfully, we had a great few days with the three of us together before this happened.  We took pictures and we loved and laughed together. We didn’t have a knock down drag out fight, but instead had a disagreement that we then apologized for. That in itself is a huge blessing since I don’t have major guilt.

My hope and prayer is for all of us to cherish those we love, to tell one another how much we care and love them, to pray for our loved ones, and to realize that one day we will lose them. I pray that it isn’t devastating or debilitating for us. However, I have to say that there is some of that and it is part of the journey of grief and loss.

Whether we lose a spouse, a child, a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, a friend, a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, a co-worker, or other relation, it hurts and life is never the same. My prayer is that we savor and celebrate those relationships while we can. Let’s make the most of our time that we have together.

Let’s not hold grudges or hate inside. Let’s forgive instead. Let’s spend time together as much as we can. Let’s remember to say that we love that other person. Let’s also have those hard discussions on how to run the household and pay the bills and take care of each other.

Let’s discuss the end of life wishes that our loved ones have and that we have. And when we do suffer the loss, let’s remember our loved one fondly. Let’s keep them alive with photos, stories, and memories. Let’s be thankful for the time we had with them. And, let’s always, always love.

To those in our life who have reached out and helped, thank you. Thank you for being there when we have needed it the most. Thanks for your love and support. We love you so very much and truly appreciate you.

Our Hardest Weeks

Over the past few weeks, my son and I have been trying to deal with the passing of my husband. It was sudden and unexpected but just how he would have wanted it just not for at least 20 years or more. (picture from Power Point clip art)

Since I am a writer, I realized that I needed to take some time and write down my feelings in order to start dealing with them. In the first week, I was up in the middle of the night for several nights in a row. During that time, I have been thinking of what I wanted to say. So here goes.

These have been the hardest several weeks for me and for our son but they have not been hard for my loving and sweet husband. He is in glory and there is comfort in that. My family and friends have also been an amazing comfort. So many people have reached out and have come through for us and we really and truly appreciate that.

But for me it hurts like hell. Parts of the day I am okay since he traveled a lot. I don’t think it has all sunk in yet. Other parts when it hits me that he is never coming back as we knew him, I want to scream. And, in fact, one of my friends whose husband died two years ago told me to do so. She said to wail when you need to. So recently while in the shower I did. I will again.

A few friends have mentioned that they are amazed at my strength. I feel I have to be strong right now for our son. There are times when I am strong but there are also times when I am very weak and ready to fall apart. So, I am taking it one day at a time, and sometimes, one hour at a time and even minutes at a time. And I am crying in front of our son and he is too. We are in this together.

The first week, my brain was in a fog and it was hard to do the normal things. I kept making mistakes and forgetting things or staring at someone. That is the pain and grief and perhaps a coping mechanism. I have worked as an editor so it is odd to not see mistakes that I could always see. It is frustrating but you know what, I don’t care right now.

I have several friends who have also lost their husbands. They have reached out to me. A few of them had a sudden loss, others have dealt with a longer term situation. No matter how the loss happens, it hurts so much. Some have younger children and others have children who are grown adults. No matter the time in life, it is still very hard to lose your soul mate and life partner.

With all of the pain we are going through, we are clinging to our faith in Jesus. That is a great comfort, as are our family, friends, church, school, neighborhood, and community. Imagining Kirk walking the streets of Heaven and making new friends makes me smile with tears in my eyes. There are so many who I imagine he is chatting with. That helps on the worst days.

My husband and I had talked about our plans and what he wanted when he died. He took care of us and did all he could so we would be okay. I will do my best to honor his legacy. Still, I am bumbling through all of the paperwork and things that have to be taken care of and people who have to be notified.

We had a celebration of life that was attended by both family and friends. We all cried and laughed as we remembered my dear sweet love. The outpouring from our loved ones has been amazing and has helped sustain us and helped us carry on. They say it takes a village, and that seems to especially be true in times of great loss and grief.

My advice is to talk with your loved ones about all of this hard stuff, arrangements, words for an obituary, your finances, and names of your relatives. It is just so hard to do immediately after the loss. Be sure that you both know what the other wants, and how and where to find the important papers.

There is a song that Tim McGraw sings that says to live like you are dying. I don’t like those exact words but he is onto something. I have learned the hard way how important it is to savor each moment with our loved ones and not take them for granted. We do often do that and get stuck in our own little ruts. My husband and I did that as well.

We had a great life together but it was by no means perfect. We would argue and annoy each other and sometimes fight, but we would make up. We made a point to do that. I cannot tell you how much of a blessing that is to me right now. And, with it all was love. I know he loved us and he knew we loved him.

We met when we were both a bit older than many people who get married and we knew it was right from the start. We had a wonderful 20 years together and a sweet son. Still, I want more. The fact he wasn’t here for any of December hit me last night and hurt again. I feel that I should have done more for him at the end but did all that I could.

I don’t like thinking of him in the past tense. I remember how vibrant and full of life he was. He lived his life full of love and laughter and also worked hard. We had our inside jokes and traditions that I want to keep alive for our son. We had annoyances with one another as all couples do. We complemented each other with our skills and abilities and we supported each other. We also had such a rich and treasured history that I will cherish and tell our son about when the time is right.

There are many of us who are grieving. My husband was also a father, a brother, a son, an in-law, a nephew, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, and a teacher and friend to his students. The people who had these relationship with him are also grieving and in shock.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking of a song “I Can Only Imagine,” that brought me to tears before all of this happened. This summer, the three of us watched the movie of the same name. We all cried and hugged one another. What a memory. It is one I will cherish for a long time.

Amazingly, now my love is experiencing all of this. After I cry some ugly tears, I try to imagine what he did when he arrived in Heaven. I then smile and cry some more. My love, you are missed and loved.

I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me (most of the words)

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk, by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When you face is before me
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Surrounded by You glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
When I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I would do is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine
I can only imagine