Young grief is so rare and unique. A completely foreign matter to me until just recently. It’s not something you’re prepared to deal with at the fragile age of twenty-one. When God decides it’s time to call your loved one home, he doesn’t have one of his angles drop off a grief for dummies book for you to read and set up a step by step plan to jump-start your healing. How nice that would be… All you get from God is a “Hope this doesn’t ruin our relationship, trust the process”. Which in the moment only makes you angrier at him. You stumble back and forth after your curve ball, trying to catch your breath not sure which way is up or down or what just happened.
Unfortunately, there is nothing out there that you will find that will tell you how to do this. Trust me I know; I’ve searched high and low. All I’ve managed to uncover is women in their late 50’s talking about how their lives feel empty after their husband of thirty plus years was taken from them. Now, I’m not trying to lessen their loss, if there is one thing that I’ve learned is that loss is loss and grief is grief. However, that doesn’t mean that’s the path your walking right now. Your path is completely individual to you, especially if you’re under the age of thirty-five. It is so unique that it puts you into a category of the one percent. Yes, that’s what I said. Of the seven hundred thousand women who are widowed yearly, you are placed into the tiny group of women you never wanted to become a part of.
When I listen to a woman who was married for thirty years complain about their husband being taken from them too soon, I feel robbed. How was it fair we only had four years together? I would give anything for thirty years with the man I loved more than anything else in this entire world. I was married for four months before I lost my person. I was still wrapped up in the hopes of the best is yet to come. This is not my best, this is my worst. If you were to have asked me what my worst-case scenario would have been, I wouldn’t have even thought about going to death. We were young, healthy and so incredibly happy, death was the last thing on our minds as that’s where it should have been. I don’t know what exactly my best was supposed to be with Dakota, and I’ll never get to learn that now. But what I did get to learn is that I am so incredibly strong. So much stronger than I could have possibly imagined. You’ll soon learn that too. Some days I am still no more than a blubbering mess seeing Kota in everything I touch or look at, and that’s okay. I’ve come to love those days just as much as the good ones. I love seeing Dakota everywhere I look, and it’s okay for me to struggle. It’s more than okay, it’s expected of you. You just lost the love of your life and you’re reeling, both physically and mentally and there will be days your body will be sure to tell you it needs time to heal.
I found myself cringing at the sight of other woman’s wedding rings, almost enough to send me completely over the edge. So much so I avoided my friends who were in happy relationships or marriages. Around them the knot in my stomach that I thought was on vacation would return with a vengeance, grabbing at my insides of my body and trying to drag them out through my throat. I’m not sure what sets me off, it’s not like mine doesn’t still decorate my left hand. But every time I look at their wedding rings, I’m jealous, they are a symbol of love and devotion, of a physical connection. Something I don’t get to cherish and celebrate anymore. While the ring on my finger still stands for devotion it means something so completely different now. It stands for my devotion to Dakota while he was here with us. A promise that he will never be forgotten, that his legacy will live on even after I take my last breath. My ring reminds me there is a reason for me to keep fighting, to wake up every morning and live my life, because my person didn’t get to live theirs. I know if there was one wish Dakota would have for me as I wade my way through this new life, is that I was happy. What a blessing that is for me to carry on my new journey. A promise to celebrate a wonderful life that was ended far to soon.
Oh, how I wish there was a guide book on grief. We all walk along trying to figure it out, and it takes some of us quite a while to find any peace. And I agree that certain grief is more unusual and a bit harder to wrap our minds around it. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
Kelsey, you are an amazing young lady of which is standing tall and Dakota strong. I am so very proud of you for joining this foundation as I know you will certainly make a difference. Love you always…. your Momma Cathy Woodard
Kelsey, this is so beautiful! You are a gifted writer. Many hearts will be comforted by what you share!
Thank you Carrie, trying to figure out the new path God has set ahead of me. I’m sure Kota is making sure it’s nothing but the best.