I was reading my fellow blogger Jen Fulweiler's blong today over on Conversion Diary (I would make that into a clickable link but I don't know how--someone please tell me), and firstly I want to welcome her beautiful new son into the world, as well as Hallie Lord's over at Moxie Wife. Lovely, strapping young men!
Unfortunately, Jen's son is having some breathing issues and had to be taken to the NICU in another hospital. She said something to the effect that people were telling her how strong she was being, and if what she feels is being strong, she wants some examples of what "not being strong at all" feels like. I could agree with her completely on that point. (and please join me in prayers for her young son).
I have had several people tell me lately I am handling my husband's death "well" and that I am being "strong" and one lady said she had no idea how I could do it--that she could never be that "strong". Frankly I would love nothing more than to collapse into a permanent pile of weeping, raging terror and agony. Nothing. And I do so on a regular basis. But, once you run out of strength to howl and scream and beat the wall and beg him to come back, please please please come back, I cannot bear it, I need you so much...........what are your choices but to get up and keep going? Especially if you have a child, and especially-especially if you have a special needs child--one you swore to your dying husband to do everything for that he would want me to, to the best of my ability?
It hurts. It hurts when someone was picking up some ham radio equipment my husband had been repairing for him and said while giving me money for the repair that he "certainly would not want to take advantage of a widow" (a widow??? That's me now? I don't like the sound of that at all. I feel I should be 95 and wearing black crepe). He meant it kindly, but it's not the identity I always had of myself. Wife, wife, wife--someone's wife--that's what I was, and still am, in my mind.
It hurts to flip through facebook and see a photo posted by my dear stepdaughter of her dad and my husband just weeks after we got together, when he was healthy and strong, holding her now 14 year old son and seated next to her now 17 year old son, who served as a pallbearer at his funeral, wearing a shirt I bought him so long ago, as a birthday present. I wanted to die. The pain was exactly like an icepick being driven through my heart and into my soul. How will this ever ease? I cannot fathom it.
I have to remember the blessings of these past few weeks--that he survived the initial esophageal bleed which almost no one does, because he was in the ER already when it happened, giving Daniel and I time to get there, and that a kind friend was willing to drive us 3 hours in the middle of the night to his bedside.
That he woke up from his post sedation coma after being given a good week to do so by a kind, caring Catholic doctor and a wonderful Catholic nurse.
That he saw us and recognized us and knew we were by his side.
That he had one good, lucid day when he was able to talk to us, and to tell me he loved me and kiss me, and even tell us a joke.
That he was baptized into the catholic faith, given an Apostolic Pardon, and went, presumably, straight to Heaven.
That I was able, despite earlier events indicating I would not be able to do this for him, to bury him where WE both wanted to be buried--in a beautiful Catholic cemetery, with a Catholic funeral service in our parish church, by my spiritual director and pastor, and using the funeral home I wanted. This was due to incredible kindness on the part of a family member.
That I was with him when he passed, and that he passed peacefully, with me holding his hand.
And finally, that a kind woman I barely knew at church said to me yesterday, "You think your relationship with your husband is over--but it is not over! It's just changed, that's all. He's still here and you still have a relationship with him!" That was the best and most encouraging thing anyone has said to me since the funeral.
But it's still so very very hard. Please keep us in your prayers.