What if he dies?

As I chatted about life, my control issues, my constant trying to bypass any negative impact on my life, I found myself sobbing. It was a major breakthrough and as you may know, breakthroughs in therapy are exhausting, reflecting, and disheartening. It means you’ve come far, but you’ve got a lot of work ahead.

My breakthrough was realizing that all of my control issues surround my want to prevent my husband from dying, and if he does, to be perfectly OK. 1012803_10151460056656637_212540762_nI do things like getting my insurance, will, life in order. If everything looks in order it will all be OK, right? I never realized how deeply I worry about losing my husband Dave and how those feelings impact so many other areas of life. One of them is control, the other is the concern I have over how I hold back in my feelings for him. Do I tell him how I feel enough or do I worry if I keep up my guard it’ll project me if I lose him? I worry it’s the latter.

If I keep living my life with this fear of loss and attempt at control, how much will I lose? What will I miss out on because I’m holding on so tight? I have no clue how to begin this process of unraveling this web of fake-control. Now I know the “why” but how do I move forward from that?

Remarriage is a lot more complex than I imagined. Part of me believed that once I remarried I was wiping the slate clean. My grief would be neatly tucked away and I could fully immerse myself in our relationship without the worry and frustration of grief. I tried putting it away for nearly two years and it brought me to the point I am at now: clawing my way out of a long state of depression. 12540716_10208539393388445_853301806440163555_n

One of the biggest reasons I married Dave was because he has been so understanding of my grief and widowhood. It’s a journey of discovery for us both-leaning how to navigate our relationship with this shadow of Kevin. He’s been more understanding than I would ever be and it made me confident about my decision to marry him. I wanted to give him a gift in our marriage-a gift of less grieving days, of less mention of Kevin and the past, a gift of a mentally healthy wife. I tried, I really did. It didn’t work.

It’s not a gift I was able to give him, nor was it one he really wanted. I’m sure he’d be grateful for less days revolving around grief and loss, especially now that we’ve suffered our own loss together. I know I’d be grateful for less of those days too. It’s just not how I’m built, mentally. Part of my mental health means that I need to acknowledge the sorrow filled days, to express them out loud, to speak memories of my late husband, of my miscarriage, of the pain of loss. When I try to tuck them away they find their way out in other areas. For me, that way is depression. I find myself sinking further into overall sadness by not addressing moments of grief.

I would rather live with intense moments of grief, whether its days or hours or minutes, than to live a lifetime suffering in sadness and losing my spirit by trying to tuck away my grief. My gift to myself is to honor those moments of grief, even if they are inconvenient to myself and my relationship with my husband.

Grief doesn’t always appear at the most opportune moment. It makes me sad for Dave-that my grief can mess up our plans, or cause an otherwise joyful day to be melancholy. He never holds it against me, he knows it’s part of me. So why can’t I accept that as well?

My hope was that by tucking it away, and checking off my fear-motivated to do list, I would begin to be OK again. I would go back to normal. Pre-losing Kevin kind of normal. What would THAT be like? I can never know. I can’t go back to that point. I can only go forward. With Dave. With the loss of my first husband and my baby. I can only go forward. 1014131_10151460061116637_1537221994_n

I can keep a million things on that to do list to try to prevent myself from experiencing loss again, but as we all know, loss is inevitable. And I hate that. I truly never want to experience loss again but my life is filled with so many wonderful people, it is bound to happen. I will have many more miserable, grief filled days, all because of the joy I have in the friendships, family, and husband that I have. I want to be OK with it, it’s just hard not to dread that time which is sure to come.

The last thing I want is to miss out on the joy of today by being filled with the sorrow of tomorrow. That time will come and when it does it will be devastating. I don’t want to feel the devastation now for what I have yet to experience. I have enough sorrow in my life to fill these current moments.921218_10153134216196637_7602370286186333761_o

I’m trying to take the pressure off – to do what I enjoy most and take the moments I have with the ones I love and savor them in their time. No to do lists. No goals. No new years resolutions. Just a want to be here, in the moment, not mourning tomorrow but feeling all of the emotion of today – whether that is sorrow or joy or something in between. I’m so grateful I get to do this hand in hand with Dave. He knows just how to walk beside me through it.

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Comments 4

  1. You said this well. Eric and I have definitely changed our view to reflect the mentality of “what if he dies”. We are just now NOT checking to see if he’s breathing in his sleep. I also feel a bit guilty about still grieving, but then I remember 1) grief and rememberance keep the person’s memory alive and 2) talking about grief helps other people feel permission to grieve as well as help yourself grieve.

  2. It does-we need to talk about it because otherwise it just fades away into this quiet sadness and I believe that’s much more difficult to manage.

  3. “The last thing I want is to miss out on the joy of today by being filled with the sorrow of tomorrow.” Wow – this is such a powerful sentence in so many ways…

  4. Thank you Michele

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