Recently a friend showed me a widow and widowers website. Out of curiosity I looked through it and needless to say, after an hour I couldn’t take it…………….it was so sad.
The page was filled with painful confessions of widow and widowers, this was clearly not me. I was doing well or was I? When the unthinkable happened nine months ago, I promised myself that I would not let grief take over my life. It wasn’t just vanity, I had to for the sake of the children who looked for happiness cues from me.
Since I was so busy with making sure the girls had proper support, I neglected dealing with my own grief. I tried to look positive despite having to go through Molly’s belongings, remove her name from all joint accounts, figure out how to wear my wedding ring and and many other painful tasks death of a loved one brings. People were amazed by how well I was doing. I wasn’t, but I was good at pretending. It felt like I was living a double life.
I got so good at living the double life that some friends felt that I was actually forgetting Molly!!! I ignored that and the judgmental comments I heard when I started dating and since the girls were doing so well, I continued ignoring my own grief and pushed on.
I was told that grieve comes in waves. I actually think grieving is more like being caught in a riptide. Anyone who has been caught in a riptide knows, you are suppose to let the riptide take you back and not fight it. Fighting it will wear you out and cause you to drown. Every time caught in the riptide of grieve, I fought it and drowned in a sea of sorrow.
As the anniversary of Molly’s death approaches it has become harder and harder for me to pretend to be well. I came with the realization that I needed to understand the sadness and specifically the guilt that seems to be taking over my life. The epiphany came when I received a call from Molly’s palliative care doctor, Gary. I often questioned whether I did everything I could for Molly. Gary assured me that I had done everything and even gone beyond where most caregivers go. The disease would have taken her no matter what I had done and I actually made the last months of her life pain free and full of love.
I figured this guilt stems from the sadness for a young life lost. Sadness for two girls who will not grow up with their mother and sadness for me to have lost my partner of 25 years. This is not the type sadness that will go away anytime soon.
The fact is that no matter how much I fight the riptide, it is stronger than me. I will not fight it but go with its flows. This way, maybe I can enjoy some of the gifts universe has given me after giving me the worst hand anyone can get nine months ago.