Thursday, October 23, 2008

No one ever said life would be easy...

Earlier in the week someone asked me, “So, you’re ok now, right?” Ok? You’re kidding me right? I have been hearing this lately and it’s beginning to really piss me off. David died nine weeks ago…basically in my arms. I am now a single mom. A widow. And essentially trying to get through the days, be a good parent and mourn the loss of my lover. I’m not ok. I’m far from it. Just because I am not huddled in the corner in the fetal position or hysterical doesn’t mean I am fine and “getting on” with my life as I have been told to do so much recently. I’m living. For David. For Me. For us. Because David didn’t get the chance to live out his dreams and his life. I’m trying to continue on for the both of us. But that doesn’t make me ok. It makes me a survivor.

And onto other ranting…I figure I’m on a roll and I might as well get it all out now. Mind you, everyone does not need to freak out about how they have been to me. Or begin pulling back and rethinking how they interact with me. People have been amazing and if you are sitting here wondering if it was you...then it probably wasn't. So many of you have been phenomenal and I wouldn't be here today without all of the love and support I have had. But here's where I am having a problem...

I am so tired of the people who avert their eyes when they ask me how I am. Give me a break. Get some balls. If I can survive this, these people can muster the strength to look me in the eyes when they talk to me. And for those that decided to completely remove themselves from our life after David was diagnosed and the others that dropped off as he was dying or after he died. They missed out. And I mean that.

Some have sent letters saying that it was too difficult. Too painful. So they have stayed away and continue to do so now. Too painful for them? Are you serious? Try living a day in my shoes. But ya know, I didn’t walk away. Never would have. And I will forever be glad I didn’t. David was amazing and taught me so much about love and life. Precious gifts. And the last two and a half years have forever changed me…for the better.

No one ever said life would be easy or fun all of the time. Part of life is pain. But life has many things to offer. Life is also full of joy, exhilaration and passion. Life just is. The good and the bad. The balance. You can not pick and choose which things you will or will not experience. Because then really…you truly aren’t living. David chose life with all of the crazy crap that went along with it. So I am choosing life as well. Embracing the pain and loss…because I too have all of the beautiful memories we shared. The laughter. The love. Our wonderful life together.


At October 23, 2008 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this type of behavior from people you know and may even love.

Until people live in your shoes they will NEVER understand the pain and the loss you feel and how you cope or deal with it. Your right, you could sit in the corner and cry but then they would say that you need help because you aren't dealing with it properly. When when you try to "survive" the best you know how not only for you & your son they immediately think you are ok. I hope that none of those people ever have to deal with any tragedy - only then will they understand what "loss" truly means physically and emotionally.

Although, I haven't lost someone in my life I am dealing with a life diagnosis for my daughter - a rare disorder that will leave her disabled and special needs. At first, everyone was there for me but when I picked myself up and decided to move on the best I knew how everyone seemed to disappear. I was told how great I was doing and how strong I was and how I just seemed "ok" with everything I'd been handed.

No, I wasn't ok and it wasn't fair for them to assume I was. Couldn't they put themselves in my place, how would they really feel deep down. They disappeared because I didn't need support or love anymore? After just a few weeks or months I should be ok with all I've been given? That isn't the way it works when there has been a loss.

The people who disappeared before David was gone and still are -you're right, they missed out and will forever more. Luckily they wrote it - I have those in my family that have NEVER even held my daughter for God knows why. They might catch mental retardation? So better in writing than in person where the sting hurts more. It just suprises me that their pain could be more than have to move on and face everything that reminds you of David but they couldn't come see him before he passed? couldn't come see you now to hug and be there for you or even more importantly, come and see your son?

I'm angry - the ignorance of some is amazing. The thought of not identifying or empathizing in any way with how it must feel to lose the love of your life and assume after 9 weeks you are ok.

Stay strong, lean on those who are truly there for you, who tell you via email or posts they think about you often. Don't let this negative energy and ignorance bring you down. You are an amazing woman and mom and your energies need to be placed where they are important - remembering and bringing to life David for your beautiful son, living the dreams you and David had the best way you can without him.

At October 24, 2008 11:04 AM, Anonymous Roads said...

Many thanks for linking to my site. I'm so sorry about your loss.

Bereavement is a painful process. It's poorly understood, and the recently bereaved are often abandoned by even their closest friends, just at the time when they need emotional support most.

I really wish so much that this weren't true, but I'm afraid to say it often is. And just as some people walk away from cancer, so many more will walk away from the thought of death.

It's hard, and it seems inexplicable and cold and uncaring, but although it will make you rightly angry, I suspect you can't blame these people. It's simply how it is. They have no idea.

On the positive side (if really there is any, at a time like this) I can only say that you may find that new, unlikely friends will suddenly appear. People who did not know you and David before will have no baggage from their earlier recollections of happier times.

They will take you as they find you, and they will be enormously sympathetic and helpful where others you expect to help you now might find it unexpectedly hard to do so.

I wish you all the best in such difficult times. All kind regards to you, from London.

At October 24, 2008 4:09 PM, Blogger Satine said...

I have a long comment here, but to summarize briefly:
1. I empathize with your frustration about certain people who have made you feel as though they expect you to be ok when you're not nearly feeling that way
2. Art. Do it... that is, when you can... you'll be glad you did.

You know what your blog today reminded me of? It reminded me of myself--a few years ago when I was hurting real bad, so my response is written with the empathy and understanding, and yet even with the knowledge I've gained in my experience I am aware that we are still unique in our feelings and challenges...

When I was married my then-husband was overseas for 14 months. My friends disappeared when I needed them most at the same time quite frankly. To this day, I don't bring it up with the ones who have come back into my life, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten either. One of my longest-time friends even told me directly that she didn't want to hear about it anymore--what I'd heard on the news and how I was concerned and even afraid for him in a fire zone... and although my situation and yours are not the same by a long-shot--I did fear for his life every day, never knowing if he might ever come back... and although I did not have the grief of him being permanently gone, I did have the grief of feeling entirely alone and even feeling let down by some others who up until then had been prominent people in my life. Even the support group we were supposed to have from the military wasn't set up right the whole 14 months he was gone, so none of us military wives could call one another or get in touch with anyone at all... and the correspondance overseas is not only delayed, but in my case he rarely wrote... while I wrote daily, and could only confide knowing that my letters were being sent at minimum, somewhere out there... otherwise, all I could do is hear about the crap on the news, and it was too hard to turn away from it... so... not to go into my own story even further here--but I feel for you. I feel as though you're reliving a few of the things I had to deal with that were hard to cope with, and a lot more. And, at the same time, just so you know, I know you will never forget him and you will always miss him and in that sense, a part of you cannot be ok, because that part of your life has entirely changed now.

Someday maybe you can do some of your art in his memory or to express yourself about how you feel about this loss. It might help you to feel like you're sharing the depth of your despair... you might cry and agonize over it--you might even obsess over it--I only say this because I've done it... but it was something I could look at as I worked on piece-by-piece day-after-day during my times of despair. I did it while my Kev was overseas--but I couldn't for months into it... it took a while to be able to begin something... it had to be personal. It had to be mine... I had to completely submerge into it, and then when it was all painted, all written out, and when I got my most dymanic feelings out onto canvas, I could put it away for a while, and it became easier gradually to do other things... and when I wanted to bring out those feelings and memories, I simply brought out those pieces of work.

At October 25, 2008 5:44 AM, Blogger Jess said...

Here's my opinion: There are a lot of dumb people out there. And they say stupid things because they don't know any better.

Here are some of my favorite examples of verbal diarrhea:

To you, after losing your husband less than six months ago, "So, you're okay now, right?"

To my dad as he was battling bone cancer and facing a scary bone-marrow transplant: "So, uh, how's that cancer thing going? Are you better yet?"

To me when I was having the twins and freaking out at the prospect of managing with two infants: "Twins? God, I'm glad it's not me. I could never handle that!"

Again to me, after a miscarriage at 11 weeks: "We'll, at least you didn't have time to get too attached to it."

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

On the flip side, there are people, often surprising ones, who know exactly what to say - or what not to say. Sometimes a random encounter with someone you only sort of know can lift your spirits, even if it's just briefly. They may say/do something that touches you deeper than your best friend ever could.

Don't be too hard on the stupid people out there. I honestly think they just don't know any better. And certainly, they have no idea how painful their dumb-assed comments (or actions) can be.

At October 25, 2008 10:59 PM, Anonymous TGLB said...

9 weeks. Yeah, that's about the usual. I got a "tough love" speech from one of my best friends at a month. You're not all right now, and it's okay. You will be, with enough healing and time to do so. I hear it in your "voice." You just can't rush this.

I cut loose a "friend" who also told me it was too hard for him to deal with the whole death/widowhood/pain thing; I told him to try living through it.

You are doing your best, and it is enough. I'm so sorry you are walking this road, but your fellow travelers are here for you.

At October 28, 2008 9:14 AM, Blogger momazilla said...

Only 9 weeks and someone is asking you if "you're" ok now?

I completely understand with friends running the other way. Only mine was family. My Aunt came out to visit for a few days and wanted to stay longer, when I found a solution for her, she still went back home. My Uncle left for Minnesota, BUT within good reason for a doc appt. BUT told my Mom he'd be back in a few days, but then told me a week, then said call me if she gets worse.

She asked me every day when her brother was coming back and why did he take off? It hurt me to no end to be left alone with my Mom, but this is how it's been all our lives. We've only had ourselves to depend on and know through thick and thin, we'd always be there for eachother.

But now she's gone and I don't have the comrade I always thought would be there.

My Aunt who left, said some pretty hurtful things to another Uncle that my Mom had said, and used me as a guilt trip. I don't believe she thought that email would come my way, but it did. And it made me miss my Mom so much, that I felt I was back at step one of the grieving process.

Suffice to say, now that Aunt doesn't call, email me, nothing. I did send her an email explaining that she should NEVER use me as a guilt trip, if she's just as guilty of doing the same thing.

And the sad thing is, this is my family. I expected so much more out of them.


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