As I look back over the past almost three years, I can see how far I have progressed down this road. I truly did not think I would survive. There were times I didn't think that I could take another step. There were mornings when I dreaded the sun like nothing I have ever known. Yet, here I stand.
I count the things that were the hardest. They were small and simple. The day after the funeral was a nightmare. Because at 10 pm that night, my heart expected to hear his truck in the driveway. It never came. The clothes in the closets. The medicine in the fridge. The nightstand with his messy odds and ends. I was in such deep shock. The hits just kept on coming. A particular phone call comes to mind. A bill that I was clearing up for him. I wasn't on the account so I had to say the words. "He died." She asked me "Oh I'm sorry. What happened?" I couldn't breathe. As I was mustering my strength, I said "I need to speak to your supervisor." That question is never okay to ask. Now I ignore them.
That was the first of the explosions that turned my world into a wasteland. That Easter, they found spots on my father in laws lungs. A year later everything I knew as my life was gone. In July he went to his son. My son and I were in shock again. That week his step father was diagnosed. As I slowly but surely found my way thru the fog of grief, my relations improved with my mother in law. She needed me to listen. To tell her the truth as she fought this monster. I found my grace in a box that I had packed away. I held her hand as best I could and this January he went to his step son. Three years. Three gone. Three times I held my son close but I couldn't say it would all be okay.
Some lessons come hard. They come so that you will do what you must, when you should, because tomorrow is promised to no one. I've learned to say "I love you" when I should not when I am sure it will be returned. I don't say it if I don't mean it. But, if I do, you will hear it often. I have learned to live without regret. I don't believe in tomorrow anymore. I believe in today. I believe in right now. I believe in my friends. I believe in my son. And I believe in love.
I am open now. Open to see what life has for me. Open to new things and new people. I have learned my strength. What I can bear and what I cannot. What I will tolerate and what I won't. What is worth fighting for and what is not worth my time. I have learned that people do actually love me. They see me and it's okay if I am not perfect. I have reached back and helped a few. I have given some wisdom and listened to some stories. I have told quite a few more they are not insane. I have learned that we all grieve. Death, divorce, it's all relative. You grieve the person, but moreover, I believe you grieve your dreams. You grieve your hopes and plans. I have also learned that if I don't work my grief it will work me. If you know me at all, that's not an option. Nothing works me. I run this.
In a long conversation, I was asked "When will it be alright?" and I answered "When it's not Thursday anymore." He collapsed on Thursday and he passed away on Friday. I counted Thursdays. I dreaded them. I held my breath at midnight and on Saturday I would let it out. I wouldn't leave the house. Then I counted 20th's. The 20th of the month ripped me apart. Another month. The calender flipped pages and I stood still. The world stopped.
I had another conversation with God. I told him how awful it was of him to take Rich when we were still young. When we had just found the door. How dare he do this to me. To rip me in half and bury the part I needed the most. I was so angry. He sat me down. He said "It could have been so much worse for him. What you see as cruelty was mercy." In my tears I said "But I didn't get to say goodbye." and he said "You will never say goodbye because he is not gone from you." Slowly I came back to the realization, I had him well over 20 years. His death was not about me. It was about what was best for him. The flash of selfishness passed. I became grateful. I have our son. The greatest gift I have ever been given. Without the decision I made so long ago, to face what would come with his diabetes, I would not have him. I made a promise. "Till death do you part." I kept my promise. I didn't know how badly it would hurt. But I kept my end of the bargain. I fulfilled my contract.
For all the bad there is good as well. I am closer to my son then ever in my life. We have withstood the worst hand in hand. I would never say it has been easy. But its been worth the struggle. I have cried a river of tears. But now sometimes they are from laughter or joy. I am no longer easily led. I don't fall for just anything. I don't bleed on command anymore. So as I look back at these three years, I can say that I am still standing. I didn't die. I didn't give up. I survived it. I made plans for next weekend. Only today did I realize the dates and I am okay with it. You know what, it's not Thursday anymore.