“How are you? How are the kids?” Seems like you can’t get away from these everyday questions. The questions that seemed ordinary and mundane take on a whole new meaning when you become a widow. They are asked with pity, sympathy, and genuine caring. Something I have come to dread and be grateful for at the same time.
You become really good at pretending. But I often wonder what would happen if I told them how I really was. Not “fine”, “ok”, or even “good.” What if I told them that I am angry, sad, lonely, and still can’t F’in believe that Jim is gone. That the kids have good days and bad days. I am heartbroken all over again when they are sad and upset. And mad that I cannot protect them from feeling this way.
It has been just over two years since Jim died and I find that the only people really comfortable talking about Jim, are the kids and I. Don’t get me wrong- both our families talk about Jim but not with the openness that comes from a child’s perspective. People often look uncomfortable when we talk about him. Especially when the kids talk about him in the present tense. (It’s ok people-believe me, we fully understand that he is gone.)
A close friend who lost his dad at a young age gave me some advice that I have held close to heart. He said, “Never stop talking about Jim with the kids. Always say his name and tell stories and share memories with them.” I remember thinking, how could we not talk about him?!?! By talking about him, he still lives on within us. Some memories don’t bring tears, they bring smiles and laughter. That we love hearing other people say his name and share a story.
This journey of grief is lifelong. I have been told that repeatedly- and I believe it, only after experiencing such a devastating loss. There is no cure for grief, you don’t get over it. You learn how to take small steps forward and sometimes a few steps back. And then you look back and suddenly it has been six months, one year, two years, etc. and you realize that life has moved forward. You haven’t moved on but you are learning little by little how to navigate your grief journey. I read this quote the other day and it made me hopeful for my continued journey. “May every sunrise hold more promise, and every sunset hold more peace.” Wishing promise and peace to everyone who needs it.