What the FUCK! I find myself muttering this a lot. There are many reasons why this phrase comes to mind. Over the last 17 months it has become a natural part of my vocabulary. At first it was:
WTF is going on?
WTF just happened?
Then after the first few months it was:
WTF and I doing?
WTF am I supposed to be doing?
Then as I navigated through the first year without Jerry, I would find random moments when I would think or say, WTF has happened to me, to US! I didn’t really get answers when I uttered these words. I don’t think that I said it because I thought I would actually figure it out.
Lately this phrase has creeped back in after a short hiatus. I have been focused on too many things to question how I got here. But as a widow, or anyone going through grief, you know it comes in waves. I feel a fucking tsunami coming…..
When you’re a widow, there are so many things (I cant even begin to list) that people say to you to try and comfort you. Most of them annoy you, and piss you off even though you know it is coming from a place of love, or just a person who doesn’t know what to say and feels that they need to say something instead of nothing. Most don’t know that just grabbing me and giving me a hug, or telling me something funny about Jerry (if they knew him) is really all I need.
But here is something that is continuing to make me say WTF over and over lately. Maybe it is just because I am about to face another wave soon and I can feel it coming. Either way, I am annoyed by it so here goes…
When I am speaking to someone about my story, my journey, I tell it with passion, and no tears. I have come to the point where I have told it over and over again and I want people to hear it. I am strong yes, I have accomplished a multitude of things, and overcome many obstacles. When people ask me details of my story, I don’t leave out that it is hard to be this way. But yet…I still am having a WTF moment.
Lately, people have been saying to me “look at how much you have done, your story is so heartbreaking and sad, and yet look how you are smiling? Your dating again, your doing so much and doing so well!”
I know that these things are said out of love for me. But I think the next time someone says that I am going to reply with what they should hear, and not think WTF to myself. I am going to tell them:
I am ok because I choose to be, I am dating because I choose to, but when you paint that picture of my state of well being to me is unfair. My choices were to curl up in a ball and check out of life, OR be happy, create it for myself. But here is where your even more wrong….I am never ok. The horrible thoughts that go through my head all day long are exhausting, I am still haunted by horrible images of my husband lying dead in my arms, ALL THE TIME. I replay it over and over….and over in my head, I don’t sleep well and feel like I am constantly fighting a panic attack. I miss him so much that it aches and I can feel it. Some days I DO curl up and take a few hours to cry… but I am DOING all the things I CHOOSE to do because I choose to find a way to be happy. But I am no where near being ok.
I think my version of ok is having Jerry back and nothing else seems OK.
If you have someone in your life that has lost someone, hug them, share a memory. If you see them doing well, It is ok to acknowledge that, but also acknowledge the grief. Make a point to say, I know this is hard for you, and that all of this isn’t easy. Your doing great, but please know that I am here for when your not doing so great.
In the words of one of Jerrys favorites –
OMG. This is me too. WTF? Gary died in March 2018 just 2 months after being diagnosed with aggressive kidney cancer. What am I supposed to do now? People tell me how strong and brave I am. The only other choice was to curl up in a corner. We don’t have a choice. We have to keep going. I realized recently what a blessing those 2 months were. We got to talk about the past, and my future- what Gary wanted me to do about certain things. Thank you for this article!
My Jerry does 2 months after diagnosis of liver cancer in February of 2017. It was so fast and I lived in California away from all of any family. Unfortunately Jerry didn’t want to talk about what if’s and then his organs started failing and it was too late. I had to move my kids back across the country and do so much. I did not have a choice either. Hopefully someone will read this and think about how they speak to a grieving person. Hugs to you
Hello. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Same thing happened to me. Elizabeth got diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer and was sent home on hospice after four days. She passed only 4 weeks later on Dec. 17th. . She didn’t want to talk about what if’s or anything negative. When I broke down she told me I needed to be strong for her. So I did. Then she was gone so fast. If I could just have ten minutes again with her to talk to her and tell her a few things and ask what I should do now. I’m totally lost and devastated.
Thanks for sharing, can relate with unexpected sudden death from pancreatic cancer back in 2009. Every child milestone and happy event is overshadowed by their dad’s death. WTF! Should be with us. Need to enjoy all happy moments, deserve it and make your life happy, however YOU want to.
Yes we are the only ones that have to make a choice and I choose to go on. Xo