Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Days Ago Life Almost Destroyed Me
Last year I went through some stuff. My first home got burglarized. When we moved, our second home got burglarized. If you’ve been through this, you know the feeling of vulnerability, being exposed and violated that comes with the crime. And if you have children, whew chile, it’s even worse because they’re scared. The great thing about this is you can reassure your children that things are replaceable, and you can buy things to make them feel safe.
I thought I had been through it all. I grew up in horrific conditions. I was homeless and lived knee-deep in physical abuse and domestic violence. Nothing and I mean nothing was more devastating for me than May 4th, 2016. Three hundred and sixty-five days ago was the day my husband died. It was the pain, not my pain, but my children’s pain that almost destroyed me.
Three hundred and sixty-five days ago, I watched cousins and good friends say goodbye to their big cousin and friend. I watched my nephew say goodbye his uncle. I watched a grandmother, aunts, and an uncle say goodbye to their oldest nephew and grandson. I watched a sister say goodbye to her only brother and a mother say goodbye to her only son. Three hundred and sixty-five days ago, I watched my sons say goodbye to their father. And if you know me, you’d know I’m a fixer. I’m a mom who is a fixer, and I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t save my husband’s life. I couldn’t protect my family. I felt vulnerable and exposed. I felt like a fraud and powerless.
You see our job as parents is to protect our children from all harm and danger. Our job is to fix the booboos, wipe away their tears and tell them it would be OK. But this time; I couldn’t. I couldn’t protect them from knowing their father would never say their name again. I couldn’t protect them from knowing the man who told them just a few days earlier, “I’m not raising boys, I’m raising men” wouldn’t be there for birthdays, graduations, first loves and first kisses. I couldn’t protect them from knowing he wouldn’t be there for marriages, his grandchildren and their anniversaries. I couldn’t tell them it would be OK because it wasn’t and never will. That was the worst moment of my life.
Three hundred and sixty-five days later I remember the exact moment a young doctor and a fellow widow welcomed me into the young widows club, and I went on autopilot. Three hundred and sixty-five days later if you’re wondering how I’m doing, I’m no longer on autopilot. I just began to feel like me again. There are moments I forget he isn’t coming home. Then there are moments I remember he isn’t coming back, and I cry. My twin sister, my little sister, my aunts and mom remind it’s OK. Three hundred and sixty-five days later I also discovered I have a tremendous support system full of family and friends. My beautiful friends and cousins gently and sometimes not so gently remind me to keep on living. I still love y’all even while I grit my teeth and despite my proclamations of hating humanity, chocolate and all things Boston. Three hundred and sixty-five days later I still see my sons in pain but I also see the moments when we talk about him, and I see his smile on their faces. Three hundred and sixty-five days ago I wondered how I was going to do this. Three hundred and sixty-five days later I wonder how the heck did I do this. Then I look at my sons who tell me I’m a great mom and remember why I’m doing this.
Thank you for your words of love, support, your patience and just being you in my time of need. I appreciate you, and I love you. Life is so short. Go out and enjoy it.
If you know someone who is grieving ask them,”what do you need?” Those simple four words mean the world to someone who has experienced a devastating loss. The person who’s grieving will try to push you away or tell you they’re OK. I’ve done it. Ignore them. They need you. Gently nudge them back and help them get through their new normal. Be a friend and just be there.
Remember, the only limit you have is the one you place on yourself. Do me a favor. No, promise me you’ll think and be limitless.
This post is dedicated to my husband, who gave me 16 incredible years and two wonderful sons. I couldn’t ask for more.
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