Typically, the seven stages of grief are described as:
- Shock or Disbelief
- Acceptance and Hope
When someone first sent me these stages I thought it was a checklist of sorts that I could just move from one to the next and mark through them with a line as a crossed into the next stage. Sadly, grief doesn't work that way. It is ever changing and evolving. I have spent most of the last year in shock. I can accurately label that at this point. I still lie awake at night aching for his form and touch. I still stare toward the direction of the garage each night when it is time for him to walk through the door from work. I have had some denial and some anger.
As short tempered as I can be I have never once been angry with him. I'm not angry with God. I'm angry at the situation or at the person who cuts me off on the road. The co-worker complaining about their husband. My children, when they are acting like possessed beings.
I bargain. To be honest, I would still bargain to have him back. I would shorten my life to have some of his returned.
I suppose I have felt some guilt at one time or another but not over the diagnosis. This isn't something to feel guilty about. I didn't give him Mesothelioma. Sometimes, do I wish I were a better wife? Absolutely. Do I wish I wouldn't have picked a fight? Definitely. Laid off of him some? Sure. But those are part of being people and being married. And neither one of us were perfect.
Depression comes and goes. Its not a stable part of my life now but nights are lonely. The stress of carrying on. Of moving forward. The burdens of parenting. All done alone.
I have not reached acceptance. I know myself well and I may not get there. I'm realistic. I know he's gone but I do not accept it. I am not okay with that fact. I am just fortunate to be getting up each and everyday and learning to carry forward without him.
I struggle with who to tell what. It's not a secret that my husband died. That my children lost their father but I can't very well tell every person we meet that the boys' dad died. I don't want them treated differently, nor do I want them looked with sad eyes. I do want to protect my children and sometimes when they are being silly or difficult or angry I do want him cut a little slack. It's a hard choice. Who and how do you tell people your childrens’ dad, your spouse, is gone?
At a T-ball game today one of Daniel's coworkers came to help Lucas play and the coach came up and introduced himself. This was the first time a man had been there and he asked Lucas "Is this your dad?" It is an innocent question. I was out of ear shot on the sidelines with Reed, but Daniel's coworker came over and told me he responded "No, my dad is in heaven."
It's a proud moment because as a four-year-old he's extremely good at articulating his feelings but is also a sad moment because the loss that he feels as a four-year-old. Why should he be explaining things? Yes his dad should be there. Mesothelioma took that from him. From us. The other adult apologized. He didn’t need to. The news takes others’ breaths away to, which is why it is hard to determine who to tell and why. It has become so matter of fact for him. He does a better job at sharing the truth than I probably do. However when I reflect he is more than likely going to have a very blunt, to the point personality, as his dad and I both do and did.
In looking back over my posts from the last several months sometimes I find a negative connotation underlying them. Maybe some depressive tendencies. That is not the goal of this blog. The goal is to help you find some light in the darkness. I find it is easier to write when I am down and the Need to write is stronger when I am battling the grief. The realism is that the darkness does overwhelm most days, but there is also happiness. Happiness provided in the memories, thoughts and actions. Happiness in carrying on and moving forward. You must find whatever helps you get through each day.
I find mine through writing, through my children, through sunshine and music. I'm one of those people that after work, I climb in my car and immediately crank the radio as loud as I can get it. I buzz through the channels until I find a song that I know at least 50% of the words (on a good day). I roll the windows down and sing at the top my lungs until I arrived to pick up the boys.
"Hello. It's me. ... Hello from the other side. I think I've called a thousand times."
Today it was "Come on Eileen," a little 80's throwback and then the Doobie brothers.
Anything to help me holler and ease the stress and worries. Anything to help you release the suffocating stressors. Find your thing. Grab on and feel better. Look for the future. Look for blue skies and bright sunshiny days!
Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders when you suddenly become one instead of two. Your unit has been cut in half. Your world has been upended. Not only are you grieving and trying to figure out what has happened to your life, every piece of you is now different. Your financial situation is upturned, can you keep your house, your cars, did you have life insurance, health insurance? Who was paying bills? Do you have a job? Any income at all? Your emotional state is upturned. The worry, the fear, the grief, your children, your house, your job, your family. The overwhelming cacophony just becomes one big jumbled mass and the stress builds and builds. You are left alone to figure these things out. Sure people offer support and guidance but they really don't have a clue what you're going through. Their suggestions are hard to swallow. It is all meant with love, but you must wade through this muck yourself. Find other widows or find people who do know what you're going through and lean on them. You are now donning a cape. None of us asked for this. None of us wanted this but we are now Superwomen. My cape is purple. What color is yours?
I can't tell you how many times people have compared their divorce to my newfound widowhood. Why in any way, shape, or form they would think that this is similar I am not really sure. It leaves me dumbfounded. While I do agree that divorce is a loss, it is not the same thing in any way. I am not divorced so it's not something I can speak about but I am a widow and I do know that my spouse is gone. We didn't separate because we weren't getting along. We didn’t have irreconcilable differences. I can't call him if I get angry or drunk and have a weak moment. I can’t call him if I just need to hear his voice. He is gone, never to return. Gone. The finality stripped from me. Stripped from my children. So please think before you tell a widow that you understand what its like to lose your spouse. This is a different ballgame and we are not even on the same field.
Meet the Author (me)
Driven by a need to help others. I have known from a young age that this is what I wanted to do. This is my very real, somewhat sarcastic, look into my newfound widowhood. I hope this site will help you as much as it helps me.