Family

I apologize for not blogging. Last week I became a widow.

funeral flag

Dear friends,

Please forgive me for not blogging. I’m sure you have questions. Sadly my husband of 14 years, Joseph, our family’s provider and protector died from a brain aneurysm last week. He was only 34 years old.

Let me be honest with you, I’m devastated, in shock and in some form of denial. When someone called me a widow I was heartbroken. How am I writing? Well writing for you brings me solace.

You see right before he died, everything seemed so normal. We dropped the kids off at school, I went food shopping and we did our normal routine. Within hours he was found unconscious and later declared brain-dead. I asked myself if I was there would he had survived. Why I didn’t see the signs? What could have I done differently? Unfortunately, there was nothing no one could’ve done. Even after knowing all that, I’m still questioning myself.

How am I dealing? It’s been rough. I can’t sleep at night. I force myself to eat and I cry almost every time I’m reminded that he’s gone. The irony is he’s all I want to talk about. It’s hard living in this house because everything in our bedroom is exactly where he left it before he died. I kept it that way. I can’t imagine moving his things. His bottle of water is on his end table. His gum is on his side of our dresser. He’d prepared his work clothes to be taken to the dry cleaners and they’re right where he left them. He was an old school military man raised by old school folks. You know how we military people are. Everything had to be freshly starched, lol.

His essence and presence are still in the house. I can still smell him.  Even though he’s never coming back, I still respect his space and l sleep on my side of the bed. Before he died he did the laundry. I almost on instinct put some of his clothes in his draws. Maybe I’m subconsciously expecting him to come home.

This week I am burying him. I don’t want to go to my husband’s funeral. I can’t deal with the tears, the pain, the realization of our unfulfilled plans and the looks of sympathy. His funeral will be the last time we will see and touch him.  When the honor guard hands me the flag that drapes his coffin and he’s buried is when I’ll may finally accept he’s not coming home.

After the funeral, when everyone is gone and I’m alone with my sons, I’m dreading his and my sons first birthdays without him. Then there are the holidays and our first wedding anniversary without him. I can’t help thinking about what could’ve been. Every year we had an annual family trip. This year, for some reason, he wanted to drive to Mount Rushmore. Y’all I don’t know why. You know me and you know I preferred the beach. I went along with it because I could see the excitement in his eyes. He planned the entire trip down to how much gas money we’d spend. That was the kind of man he is. I mean was.

My husband’s death has devastated to my sons. They cope in their own ways. My oldest is like me, reserved. He asks questions and then goes back to his space. My youngest is hurt, but needs to be around people who love us. We’re lucky. My husband has an amazing family and a group of friends and we have you who are helping us get through this trying time.

Why am I writing this. Well I want you to learn from our situation. Here is some advice you don’t have to take.

  • Please discuss your end of life plans with your partner. Do they want to stay on a machine or not? Do they want to be cremated, etc? This must be in writing, especially if you’re not married.
  • Ask for passwords from your spouse.
  • Make sure your important paperwork is located in one place. I was lucky my hubby was super organized. He put his DD214 (military discharge papers) in one place.
  • Learn about your spouse’s job benefits. Discuss ALL the options for your family.
  • Do not make any important financial decisions if you’re emotionally unable to. You’ll make costly mistakes.
  • Be aware of the medical costs. My husband was airlifted from one hospital to another and even with our health insurance, I’m sure our bill will be in the five figures.
  • If you live in the states, check out what benefits you are entitled to, to cover funeral and burial costs. Go to benefits.gov. My husband, like myself was a veteran so his burial costs are covered. I still have to pay for the funeral.
  • If you want to cry, cry. It makes you feel better.
  • Seek grief counseling. We are!! They will give you the tools to help you through a sudden death.
  • Finally, make sure you surround yourself with people who love you.

Thank you for  reading my rambling, your kind words, your donations and your prayers.  Eventually I will go back to doing what we do here because I need to. You guys keep me going. Again, thank you. The only limit you have is the one you have placed on yourself. Think and be limitless and don’t forget to live and love too.

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64 comments

  1. Tiffany Mason 8 May, 2016 at 15:59 Reply

    I am deeply sorry for the loss of you and your family. Your blog is amazing. I’ve been a subscriber for quite a while and your truly an inspiration to me with your great content and sense of humor. God bless you and your children.

  2. Duncan 8 May, 2016 at 16:04 Reply

    I’m glad you’re still writing – even through your grief. My deepest, best wishes to you and your two sons.

  3. Trishe 8 May, 2016 at 16:08 Reply

    No words can make a person who has lost someone feel ok, but I will say my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  4. MixedUpInVegas 8 May, 2016 at 16:14 Reply

    I was stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the terrible loss you and your family have suffered. Having been widowed myself 15 years ago, I can understand much of what you are feeling. Please take care of yourself, as your two sons will need you more than ever now. Bereavement counseling helped me a lot; I commend you for having the courage to seek it out.

    You have my email address. Feel free to reach out if you need to.
    Sincerely,
    Penny N.

  5. Donna 8 May, 2016 at 16:14 Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear about your family’s loss. May The Most High keep you & your sons during this time. Take Care.

    P.S. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

  6. Marva 8 May, 2016 at 16:17 Reply

    My heart goes out to you and your family at this difficult time. My thoughts are with you even though we have never met. Thank you for sharing what has happened. My deepest condolences.

  7. LaShawn Ballard 8 May, 2016 at 16:28 Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. It will be 2 years in June that I lost my fiance’. It’s a tough road and I fully understand what you are going through. The advice you gave is right on point and I hope that anyone going through this will take heed. I will include you in my prayers. Counseling and time helps and you will learn to get by. Try to think of all the great times instead of his absence. Prayers to you and your family.

  8. Reesee 8 May, 2016 at 16:29 Reply

    So, so sorry for your loss. Even while grieving, you’ve shared so much with us just now. We are all praying for you and your family. May God bless you all.

  9. Megan 8 May, 2016 at 16:44 Reply

    My deepest sympathies to you and your children. I know there is nothing I can say to comfort you, but PLEASE create a gofundme page and distribute the link. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. And thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  10. Rachel D. 8 May, 2016 at 16:48 Reply

    My deepest sympathies to you & your family. Praying for God’s peace and comfort in the days ahead.

  11. Dan 8 May, 2016 at 16:51 Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. Sending love and resilience. If you need resources, look into Karen Millsap. She is a widow mentor I saw on Feminista Jones’ Women’s Freedom Conference a few months ago. Again, so sorry for your loss. Take care.

  12. Angela EW 8 May, 2016 at 17:05 Reply

    I am so so sorry to hear. May this journey be one of peaceful reflection. My prayers are with you.

  13. Gina 8 May, 2016 at 17:25 Reply

    Shocking. I cannot imagine what you must be feeling. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  14. Jacque 8 May, 2016 at 17:37 Reply

    No. You being there would NOT have changed anything. Just know that. Aneurysms happen due to a gentically predetermined weaknesses in brain vessels. It is hard on those left behind…due to the sudden loss …….but for the deceased it is not. They become unconscious then they are gone. No prolonged pain and suffering. I hope that fact gives you some comfort because as I said it is hardest for those left behind. My prayers are with you and your family.
    I offer myself as someone to help you thru your grief. ..If you wish that. I have ushered many people on from this life…it has been my honor to do so.

  15. Don 8 May, 2016 at 18:04 Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. But cry on and grieve in your own way. I held my grief in when I lost my dad, who was also 34 when he died tragically in a house fire. I believe that my failure to grieve fostered a period of personal dysfunction. But, now, 50 years later, I know that God is still good and that God has a plan for you and the children. I shall continue my prayers on behalf of you and your family.

  16. Cjdimplez 8 May, 2016 at 18:21 Reply

    I’m sorry for your loss, you and your family are in my prayers. We all understand if you don’t post anything for a while. God bless you in your time of grief.

  17. Monica B 8 May, 2016 at 18:23 Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss . Thank you for continuing to blog and providing us with such great information . You are appreciated and you will remain in my prayers . Sending love your way !! ????

  18. Stacey bradbury 8 May, 2016 at 19:34 Reply

    Oh sis! Sorry for your loss. Devastating I am sure. The passing of time, along with surrounding yourself will close family and friends as well as doing what you love will help dull the pain . I will pray for continued strength for you and your boys! God Bless you all and may your husband Rest In Peace.

  19. Makayla 8 May, 2016 at 21:44 Reply

    I am sorry for your lost. My spouse recently retired from the military. I have been in the military community for over 20 years, as well I am a licensed counselor, who is qualified to provide grief counseling. I am happy to assist you pro bono. I do not specialize in children, yet I am certainly open to speak with adults. This is all one moment at a time, allow yourself the time to hurt, cry , scream , but place limits on it to avoid sinking in a black hole.

  20. us_n 8 May, 2016 at 22:50 Reply

    Wow. I’m just stunned and I’m really sorry for our loss. cheers that you can pass along useful insights and family & financial advice even while you grieve. That’s very kind of you. Very, very kind.

  21. Lenise 8 May, 2016 at 22:54 Reply

    My sincere condolences to you and your family. May the good Lord comfort your hearts during this difficult time.

  22. Jacque 8 May, 2016 at 22:56 Reply

    You have yet to complete the grieving process please allow yourself to do so…kill your pride and let others reach out and help…no matter how small the task. Accept help….food, babysitting etc…
    Accept love coming your way….

  23. Erikka 8 May, 2016 at 23:23 Reply

    I have been where you are. Please reach out to the American Widow Project! They literally saved my life. They serve widows whose spouse has served in the military, regardless of the cause of death. Americanwidowproject.org. Praying for you.

  24. Deborah Lynn 9 May, 2016 at 00:07 Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. A friend went through this relatively recently. Please go to grief groups if you can find one. She was not a joiner. I kind of pushed her to go. And it was one of the best things she did for herself.

    Be blessed

  25. Jen 9 May, 2016 at 01:23 Reply

    My partner died unexpectedly in an accident at work almost ten years ago. My heart aches for you right now. I remember that shock and the pain… You never forget and the pain never really goes away. But it will, in time, become easier to carry. Please care for yourself right now – be compassionate and gentle to yourself and remember: just take everything one breath at a time, keep your boys close to you, and don’t torture yourself about things that were beyond your control. <3

  26. Jill 9 May, 2016 at 05:49 Reply

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. There are no words for such loss, but I hope you can feel the energy of caring all around you coming from a community you created. Please continue to use your blog to share, if it helps, to receive as well as to give– you give so much through your feisty, thoughtful self…even in this first post, making sure we tend to business. Now, please take in the wishes from your virtual neighbors.. And let us know what kind of help we can offer. Wishing you and your kids even a few moments of ease…????????????

  27. Serenity 9 May, 2016 at 07:13 Reply

    I want to add my condolences to the list. I too, was a young widow. I was 32 when my 1st husband died. He was 36. I don’t want to diminish your feelings. But you will get through this. I thought I would crack up, but didn’t. I made it through and you will too.

    You’ll never get over it…. But you will get used to it.

  28. JoAnne 9 May, 2016 at 08:10 Reply

    So very sorry for your loss. I know, from experience, what you are going through. It’s something you never get over. You just learn to live through it. You and your family are in my prayers.

  29. Jackie 9 May, 2016 at 10:03 Reply

    I am heartbroken over your loss. I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through, but thank you for your selflessness and sharing your experience. I do need to talk to my spouse about this. May God keep you and your family during this difficult time.

  30. Tikeetha Thomas 9 May, 2016 at 11:48 Reply

    I’m truly sorry for your loss. I’m sitting here reading this with tears in my eyes. I know there are no words that can comfort you during this difficult time, but please know that I am praying for you and your family. God will keep you all during this devastating time. Prayers sis.

  31. Saundra Alfred 9 May, 2016 at 12:36 Reply

    My condolences to you and your sons. May y’all be comforted during your time of grief. Peace be with you.

  32. ASwirlGirl 9 May, 2016 at 12:43 Reply

    Bougie, I’m so very, very sorry for your loss. Words seem so inadequate! I’ve never met you in person, yet you’ve impacted my life with your blog and your Tweets. I’m sitting here with tears running down my face. My heart goes out to you and your sons. Please know that I’m praying for you and your family, and will continue to do so.

  33. Moniquecolous Garner-Weeks 9 May, 2016 at 13:05 Reply

    My condolences to you and your family during this period of immense transition for you. I want to personally thank you for being transparent and bringing awareness and light to a discussion that I have personally many times urged people to have. As a prior Armed Forces Service member that had to ensure updates to personal paperwork were done ( and the flack service members always wanted to give about updating the information to ensure their family was taken care of ) & as a triple brain aneurysm survivor this information and dialog is vital. I am always disheartened every single time I see a GoFund Me as it pertains to a persons death. We as a people really need to get our priorities in order; talks and arrangements such as this goes into FOUNDATIONAL family planning. If we can make every effort to plan the Best of things we owe it to ourselves and our family to weigh in, have a day and put things in order for our final event ( whenever that time may come). My heart is so heavy for you and at the same time I applaud you & your husband for knowing enough to lessen the overwhelming impact & puzzling details that come from these circumstances. I am thankful that you are finding some solace in sharing your story with the world. May the Creator grant you comfort and strength and healing. Continued blessings my Sistar ( virtual hugs )!

  34. Leola 9 May, 2016 at 13:25 Reply

    My goodness, my heart breaks for you. You and your boys are in my thoughts and prayers. I know the pain/numbness of the shock that comes with a sudden death and it’s so, so hard. I do thank you for sharing your experience and lessons learned. I hope knowing that your story will surely help someone else provides at least the tiniest bit of healing. You have certainly reminded me I need to make sure these things are in order. Big hugs to you. Take care.

  35. Lola 9 May, 2016 at 14:42 Reply

    What a shock. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family. Please, take care of yourself.

  36. Aja C. Holmes, Ph.D. 9 May, 2016 at 15:16 Reply

    No apologies! Please know that I am praying for you and your family! I don’t know what you are going through, but know I am praying for you during this time.

  37. Ann 9 May, 2016 at 22:26 Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my family’s thoughts this week. Take care.

  38. Juanita Cooke 12 May, 2016 at 09:55 Reply

    After reading this the first time, I had to stop and cry for you and your babies and then myself. I call events like this the unplanned – plan. meaning= God’s plans not man’s plan. It really is a hard pill to swallow after all this is your life. I am praying that you find a comfort zone in the healing process, really focus in on the great memories, conceal the last kiss and hug. I know from experience that a loss this great takes years before being accepted by the heart so I know your mind is wandering. I give you my condolences and a lending ear if you need to talk to a stranger 563-210-3512 my name is Juanita God bless this family so that they are not torn apart and see that they each find their own comfort zone at some level in Jesus name I pray Amen here is a hug from and friend.

  39. Kimberly Beer 12 May, 2016 at 14:52 Reply

    I am so, so sorry for your tragic loss. I also barely made it through reading it. I really am so sad for you and hope you can lean on those who will carry you through. Thank you for sharing. Sending all my best to you and your family.

    Sincerely,

    Kimberly in Washington, DC

  40. Claudia Portee 20 May, 2016 at 07:01 Reply

    I’m praying for you and your kids to stay strong while you grieve, there are better days ahead. I come from a military family and although I haven’t experienced your pain, I have had to spend years of my life praying that I wouldn’t get “that call” while my soldier was overseas. Your husband’s legacy will live on within you and your children forever. Hopefully it brings you joy when you notice his features and qualities in your children: That always brings a smile to my face.
    Just so you know, I find your blog quite liberating for my psyche, which sometimes starts to wonder if I’m the only sane person in the world. I guess it’s just nice to know that someone else is aware of the heinous racial disparities and hypocrisy occurring around us every day.
    My love goes out to you my beautiful sister

  41. Eji 24 May, 2016 at 12:02 Reply

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I can not even begin to imagine how you are feeling. I spend enough time on here on your FB page to feel like we are friends (silly, I know) and I will be praying for strength and comfort for you and for your family.

  42. Ellen Edwards 7 July, 2016 at 12:33 Reply

    May God bless you and your sons. My deepest condolences. You wrote so eloquently and am so touched by what I read. I can tell you are a strong women and will carry out a beautiful legacy in your husband’s honor.

  43. MsMellody 16 September, 2016 at 19:35 Reply

    My deepest most sincere condolences for you and your family. Please know that you are in my prayers. I have read your work over these past 2 years and have benefited greatly from them. May God bless you and give you peace and strength during this time.

  44. linda 7 October, 2016 at 18:45 Reply

    I am so sad for your loss. I pray for continued healing and comfort for you and your sons. You are a blessing to Black women and I ask for many, many blessings for you in return.

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