How do you begin again when just about the worst possible thing in your life has occurred? How do you go on again? How do you even continue to breathe, let alone even consider the possibility of being joyful again?
These questions are flooding my thoughts and I have no answers. I try to focus on the things that I know are true.
On June 11th, I lost my beloved, he left this earth plane suddenly and tragically. While we were divorced at the time of his passing, it became very clear to me very quickly that in my heart, well my heart had never agreed to the divorce in the first place. As far as my heart was concerned, I lost my husband and I found myself broken by it.
In those initial days, I found myself moving through each day trying to take care of the things that had to be done. Going to the funeral home with his son’s mom and his parents. My stepson, now the single highest priority for me and right behind that, seeing to it that my beloved’s wishes would be followed and honored.
My stepson’s mom and I packed up his house, each of us standing in that room where he passed, tears unstoppable and yet doing what was needed, we leaned on each other and questioned why this had happened.
Within that first week on three different occasions, I had different people tell me to look for the gift in his death. When I first heard that statement, I thought that it was the craziest thing because how could there possibly be a gift in this, I just wanted him back, here, now, I wanted him back on this planet and this whole thing to have been nothing more than a nightmare.
Yet, each day I would awaken to the same horrific reality…he was gone, at least from here he was gone.
But in an effort to try to do something, anything that would help me through this, I began to be open to looking for what possible gifts there could be in this tragedy and as I did, I began to see them. While my stepson’s mom and I have always been friendly and friends in fact, in those days we got closer, we relied on each other, we cried on each other’s shoulders and we shared our love stories and our broken hearts, we are now much closer than we ever were before.
That morning when we all found out, that phone call was not the hardest phone call I would ever take, the hardest phone call was from my stepson 15 minutes later. He called me assuming that I would know what happened, I didn’t, it was soul crushing, what do you say to a 16-year-old who has just lost his father. Death is not a problem that we can fix. Everyone feels powerless in death. On that phone call, I wanted to be able to say something that would fix it but those kinds of powers I do not have. All I could do was cry along with him and remind him that he was everything to his father and that he was loved very much and that somehow, we would all get through this together and make sure that he knew that his dad did not choose to leave us..
My stepson is in fact one of those gifts, in his father’s passing he and I are getting to spend more regular time together. After he received his learner's permit to drive a few weeks after his dad’s passing, I got to take him out on the freeway for his first freeway drive (no small adventure on a southern California freeway). As I rode in the car that day, his dad was with us, I felt him, I could actually smell his cologne, and I shared that he was with my stepson. The way that his dad has shown up for me since his passing has been an incredible gift and when I am at my lowest and I don’t think that I can endure one more minute of this pain I am reminded that while yes, he left this earthly plane, he did not really leave us, he is with us every day. When I am at my lowest is when he tends to show up, to remind me of my own strength, to remind me that he is protecting me and to remind me that I have a full life to live, and I shouldn’t stop doing that because he is no longer here. He reminds me of his love and reminds me that I have way too much love to give to stop now.
“Death gives meaning to life.” My warrior sister Diane said this to me a month or so after his passing because I was finding it so difficult to think that the things that I had once thought of as so important, well they just weren’t anymore. Death changed my life and everything I saw in it. Death pushed me to re-evaluate my priorities, my time, my possessions, everything with a fresh set of eyes.
Everything began to be evaluated for its value and meaning in my life. Even some friendships have fallen away. I found out quickly that some people cannot hold space for grief. They want you to have a timeline or keep those tears well hidden away. Well for me, I will always have this loss in my heart. I will never again be the person that I was before his death, I can only move forward with who I am now and who I am now, well, I never know when the tears will flow, they just do regularly and often. I don’t know when my heart won’t feel this heavy gaping hole in it. I don’t know when I will feel joy again. All I know is that I am beginning again with my writing and taking it one day at a time learning how to live and love with the loss.
Here are a few questions for you to take to your favorite journal, walk in nature or morning commute.
- If you lost the most significant person in your life tomorrow, is there anything that you would have wished you had said? If there is an answer here, to say it!
- Where in your life are you focused on things that in the grand scheme of things probably aren’t all that important? Don’t wait for death to show you what’s important.
- What gifts are showing up in your life today? Do you see the gifts, they are there.
I blog because I love the process of posing questions, uncovering new layers of myself, uncovering those unexpected answers along the way. If you want to question yourself, then subscribing to my email list will ensure you have an opportunity to do that. I blog about once a month so you will not receive a ton of emails from me, only what I hope to be the best questions that we can ask ourselves to be better tomorrow than we were today.
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