As surreal as it seems…tomorrow is the 4th anniversary of my husband’s death. Unbelievable.
I don’t visit Widville as much as I used to…I have literally buried myself in work over the last few years, but I log in every now and then to see how everyone is doing. I have to…this site helped me more than I can tell you, and now, I have the honor of offering my help as well…for whatever it may be worth.
Also, it is my way of honoring the wonderful man I still love so deeply…four years later.
I want to WILL you strength with these words…
To help you get through these painful days…
To offer those of you who are new in your loss a new way to think about the irreplaceable one you continue love so deeply and the loss you suffered.
Maybe it will help you navigate through this dark and lonely Valley of the Shadow…
I pray that it does.
I AM STILL HERE! Four unbelievably scary years later, and I am still here.
Just as many of you feel right now, I wouldn’t have believed it was possible. I could not see one day in front of me, let alone FOUR YEARS?!? I could not understand how I could survive another day...my heart was yanked out of my chest...my soul felt shredded.
When you are only a short time after a profound loss like this, you cannot see...you cannot feel...you cannot imagine anything beyond the very moment you are sitting in.
So you sit.
You don't know what else to do...and though you don't want to be in that moment...you don't know how to get yourself out.
Not one element of your life is untouched…not one thought...not one action...not one other relationship in your life. Your home is no longer ‘home’. Your daily routines are blown to shreds. Your 'safety' is gone. Your very foundation feels as if it is crumbling.
For the first few months after Rick died, I kept reliving that day I lost him. (He passed suddenly...unexpectedly.) It got to the point where it was all I could think about...that last day replayed over and over and over. The events of that day burned themselves into my brain and they were all I had…or so I thought.
Are you feeling this way?
It was horrible…a nightmare...a REAL, minute-by-minute nightmare I could not escape. I felt like I was losing my mind. I was swimming in a pit of grief so black and thick my heart literally hurt. I lost ALOT of weight. I didn't want to eat. I didn't want to be alone...but I didn't want to talk to anyone.
I wanted to run, run, run! But where could I go?
I was stunned...stunned with grief…barely functioning.
I stayed away from photographs (when I could resist). Looking at them threw me back to that day I lost Rick. I felt so weak and wounded at those times that I could not take anymore...so I put my photos out of sight (but not out of reach).
Something in me made me do these things so that I could survive...because many of those days...I felt like I was dying...dying of grief.
But I wasn’t…I wasn’t dying.
I FELT mortally wounded, but I wasn’t…
and neither are you.
Then, I became a member of this site. I read the blogs, joined some groups, and just watched for a while.
I read posts of those in the 'newness' of their loss...like I was. I needed to know I was not alone. I needed to connect with special people who understood this nightmare I was drowning in.
So, I wallowed in that area for a while. But then, I deliberately went to the posts of those who were a year or more out, because I had to have 'survival' fuel.
Do you feel as if you are drowning too?
And a seed was planted in my brain...in my heart.
This is the seed I hope to pass along to you…
my attempt to WILL YOU STRENGTH!.
I came to understand that I did have some control in this dark Valley of the Shadow. I could choose, at least every now and then at first, to think of other memories...of other times that really defined my love and life with Rick. They were more worthy of my reflection.
As time ticked by, I could step back more and more and see a bigger view of my 32 years with him. And what I saw...was priceless. Not perfect, mind you, but priceless!
My life with Rick, I am blessed to say, is my TREASURE! Rick left me with an irreplaceable, priceless treasure of love, children, memories, and dignity.
He was good and decent...he was sweet and strong...he worked harder than anyone I have ever known...he gave absolutely everything he had to his family.
He makes me so very proud! (Notice how I use PRESENT tense here.) He IS my treasure...and I am the sole owner. (That thought makes me smile every time I think it!)
I could not control the appearance of those mental pictures of my last day with him at first...but I got better and better at putting it into perspective...into their proper place BEHIND all the other days of his life…of my life with him.
Because Rick was so much more than that...so much more than the day he died. And so am I!
I will not allow the horror of the day I lost Rick define Rick...
or define me...
or any day I live after it.
YOU CANNOT EITHER!
Those you loved and lost deserve so much more...and so do you! You will come to see that soon.
I live a life that is forever changed...just as your life is now…forever changed. It is one I didn't want to live...but I am living it! Victories and failures, happiness and disappointments, laughter and tears…all of it!
And like many of you are experiencing, some people still treat me as if I am contagious...others have abandoned me completely...still others say stupid, hurtful things to me. But they are ignorant. They don't know....how could they?!? Yet sadly, many of them will one day. They will travel through this Valley of Shadows, won’t they? I don’t wish it on anyone.
Cling to those who love you GENTLY in these dark days. If they can't come to you when you need them...go to them and wrap your arms around them. Stay away from the hurtful, ignorant ones who don't know...but someday may...how horrible this time is…and then be there for them, God willing, to help them grieve when the time comes.
And never forget that you have a treasure like mine. A treasure of love you own that was created in every day you lived with the ones you grieve for now.
In fact...YOU are a treasure too!
Can you see that in the darkness?
YOU are someone else’s treasure!
So don’t allow yourself to be lost in this Valley of Shadows. This piercing pain will not last…it will not!
Take one small step away from the pain…just for a moment at first…and let your heart swim in the days that really define your life with the one you love and lost…the days that helped make you who you are now…the days that built the treasure you own.
Don’t rob those who love you of the priceless treasure you are making for them now!
You are irreplaceable, loved, and needed…
A treasure like no other on the earth.
May God bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you. May He lift up His countenance you to…and give you peace…give you peace…give you peace.