Sunday, July 25, 2010

The things we continue to learn

It's been about 66 hours since he died.

I've had 8 hours of sleep. Not for lack of intention, but my body has a different plan right now. Apparently the plan is to run into the ground.

I still haven't grieved. I've stayed busy. I've dealt with the kids and the calls and the bills and the grief of others. Right now, that's ok.

My husband is still trying to be strong - but it's ok to not be...right now, he doesn't have to be. There isn't a guidebook for this. So, I'm listening and offering myself to him in whatever way he needs me. I'm giving suggestions when it seems appropriate. And, I'm trying to make sure he laughs from time to time.

Apparently the funeral home lady was well suited for her job...they laughed a lot while finalizing plans and somehow that made it all seem better. I worry for my sister in law, my nieces, my own children...lots of worry and not many answers.

He shouldn't be gone. This I know. He wasn't done here. Or, at least, we weren't done with him.

The stories were amazing that people told. They were amazing in their normalcy...a dad hiding in his daughter's closet for TWO HOURS just to wait until she really believed she'd never find hiim in hide and seek and then jumping out to scare her. A memory she still has years later. A man whose number one priority was his 3 women. He would do anything for them. So many people who said they felt adopted by him...taken in, welcomed. I made many calls and each one ended the same: a story of his life and sorrow that he was gone.

So many sympathy calls even here today - for my husband who has lost his only brother. But, I continue to see the shining rays in this. My husband and his brother had not been close for many years...until they were brought together by their father's death. We've now spent a few years becoming a closer family. They visited us here last year and we had a wonderful week...we email...and this was our first time out to see them. We've asked 'what are the odds?'

You couldn't even find a number to answer that.

We were there so that she didn't have to be there alone. We were there to see the strength and unity of people who draw so quickly around the one in pain that it's shocking to the system. We were there to renew faith in this world we live in. We were there to partake of the blessings of a tragedy. I learned so much.

Admitedly, I hid in what I termed "the closet" for a long time...I wanted to get things in order for her. I wanted there to be a clear path of 'what to do next' so that fear wasn't at the top of the list. I wanted to leave something that I would want to have: peace of mind.

On Saturday - the day after - I took the kids to the amusement park. It had been planned long in advance and they were being so good to just sit with tons of people...but they are kids. Their aunt asked me to take them...blessed me to take them. As we drove I answered questions they had. I talked about my feelings and how each person grieves differently and some take longer than others. I told them that whatever it looked like for them was MORE than ok. We were all shell shocked.

We rode roller coasters - it was quieter than a normal day at the park and it felt like someone had come before us and cleared a path. The park was quite empty due to the high heat. After a few hours we all agreed that we wanted to head back, it had been a nice reprieve, but we wanted to be there. We walked into one last ride on the way out. And as we got up the stairs, I sat down and cried. Looking back, I'll call it an anxiety attack - it just all compiled and ate me at once. But...

Here's the kicker.

My kids are amazing creatures - both inside and out. They fanned me with maps, they lifted my hair and blew on my neck, they wrapped their arms around me for hugs, they asked if I'd like to get out of line, they said sweet things about their uncle...they helped me move past that moment. They didn't look embarrassed or worried about what others thought - they (yes, all of them) took care of me.

We all need a little of that from time to time.

Love on all those around you. I've truthfully learned that going to sleep can change everything. Stay healthy and go to a doctor from time to time to find out how to help yourself if you aren't healthy. Share with your loved ones what your wishes are for when this time does come. You can't pick when it does, so don't be stingy with your thoughts on the subject. Share...


  1. M, I am so sorry for your loss and feel your pain and shock maybe a little bit more than most. Two years ago (just last week) we all flew and drove (DH family, parents and sister and her family from Ohio and then his only brother and SIL from Colorado, they all flew down) and we drove to the beach for a big family vacation, a year in the making. Beach house, beautiful beaches etc and 3 days later FIL slips and falls while trying to get tot he bathroom early morning on the 3rd morning of vacation. Hits the back of his head, air lifted to head trauma hospital and hour later, life support, dies within 6 hours of falling. Shock, MIL is still not right 2 years later, you are not supposed to go on vacation and end it with planning a funeral! Who does that? Its not in the plan, trying to make arrangements for the body to be flown back, for the kids to get back home, exchange you beach wardrobe for funeral attire, what a mess. We started out with plans of fun and good food and great family time and ended the week at a funeral in Columbus, OH! Like a dream, a bad dream that still haunts us today. It will be hard for a very long time for your husband especially as well as your BIL wife and children. Stay strong... (Sharon in NC)

  2. What a moment. I'm so glad your children were there for you and so caring and supportive.

  3. I am so blessed to have all of you in my life and I love you all so much! Hugs to all.