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Death of Spouse Not Recommended

I'm going to write a gloomy post for a change. Normally I try to be upbeat about the havoc death brought upon me and mine. Generally, I aim to be filled with perspective and humor: after all, everyone dies. Death isn't special; it's expected. You can learn lessons from it! It can make you appreciate simple things, like waking up in the morning with your heart still pumping and your brain synapses still firing!

Today I want to tell you that I hate that more than six years have gone by since Ken died. Some days now I can go all day without thinking about him. Is that a relief? I don't know. I think it's sad. Not thinking about Ken makes me feel as though he's lost to oblivion.

I've met so many people in these last six years who will never have known me as the married woman I once was, as a mother with a husband who was my partner in a life we chose to make together. I am meeting people, more and more of them,  who will never know who Ken was. Maybe people who meet me think I'm divorced or that I decided to have children without ever having a spouse. Maybe nobody really cares why I'm a single mother at all.

This weekend I attended a benefit for Willow House, a wonderful, big-hearted organization in the Chicago area that offers free grief support services for families. If you've lost a spouse or a child, or if you're a child who has lost a parent or a sibling, you can participate in a support group with others who have had someone in their nuclear family die. These are people who understand that losing a spouse, or a child, or a father or mother or a sibling when you're young, is a loss that shapes your whole world and colors it a shade darker than the life you had before the loss.

The main speakers at the benefit were a husband and wife whose seven month old daughter died six years ago. The woman talked about how before you have a loss like that you walk on the surface of life and then after the loss, you enter a world below the surface and you come up once and a while to breath. I didn't lose a child, so I don't know what that feels like. I don't ever want to know what that feels like. But I will say something that our death-denying culture makes me feel a little ashamed to say:

Even though I can now go for a day, perhaps, without thinking about Ken, I don't know if I will ever make it through a day without thinking about the future I lost when he died. I know I will always feel bad that my son and daughter don't have Ken here with them to be their father.  What they are missing by not having him here cannot be counted or measured; it is a vast emptiness where years and years of his amazing love, wisdom and patience could have been.

I am not the person I used to be and I don't believe there's any way to get her back, no matter how many years go by. Like the bereaved mother whose baby died,  I live in a darker world, even when all the lights are on, even when I am loved, even when I am happy and grateful for the life I get to live. That's what the death of my husband did to me.

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Comment by Jerry on May 9, 2012 at 5:04am
Its been over 2 years that my wife has been gone,and I admit the the activities of life keep her off my mind for longer periods of time as time has passed. But when I do think about her it hits me like a ton of bricks. The thing that brings me the most happiness, my grandchildren, at times brings e the most sadness. I just think about how much she would have loved to be here watching them grow up, and them missing out on a loving grandma.
Comment by Suz on May 8, 2012 at 10:05pm

I am really moved by your words, Jill. I cry for my grandchildren to be.

Comment by Susan B on May 8, 2012 at 7:57pm

thanks for speaking these thoughts to us. We all feel this way at least some of the time, and even if an "always" turns out not to be, that's ok. Good to share the thoughts and speak to the pain. Great blog post.


Comment by twinsmum on May 8, 2012 at 6:27pm

enjoyed that read and yes I love your posts too.


disappeared since he has gone too.  Sure I can try and do some of the same but its not the same as he isn't here to share them with me.

"What they are missing by not having him here cannot be counted or measured; it is a vast emptiness where years and years of his amazing love, wisdom and patience could have been." - this is one thing that i am sad about my children missing too. 

And I don't like the dark person I have become at times and unfortunately the kids cop that darkness a little too often.  I feel like a Jekyl and Hyde.....

Comment by Jill on May 8, 2012 at 6:03pm

Thank you all my WV friends for your comments. It is so helpful to me to know that others understand.

Comment by kimkirt (KK) on May 8, 2012 at 10:10am

I call it "the other side" because that's how I feel. Similar to what you wrote about in commenting on "below the surface." I do know that I feel more compassionate toward people deserving of compassion, to whereas before I was oblivious to this side and didn't really know how to treat them. No more, I am not a "get it" and will always be, no matter where my life path leads. Hugs, thanks for a great blog post.

Comment by rodsgurl09 on May 8, 2012 at 10:03am
I totally get "Not thinking about Ken makes me feel as though he's lost to oblivion." It's only been 10 months since we lost Rod and no one wants to talk about him anymore....if I stop, it will be like he was never here. I can't bear that thought. And you're so right, we will never be that person again. But I like to think maybe I'll encounter some good changes down the road along with the bad I've already walked through. (((hugs))) and much love to you.
Comment by MsKris12 on May 8, 2012 at 9:08am

tearing up Jill...I always love reading your posts, and same is true of this one.  I'm not so sure it is as gloomy as you might think it is, but it certainly speaks true.  None of us will ever be the person we were "before" the Event (that is what we call it at my house, the EVENT)..and I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not either.

Blessings to you, Love


Comment by Soaring Spirits on May 8, 2012 at 8:30am

I still love you even when you're gloomy.

But seriously... when people say "always".... I just don't want to hear you. I am putting my fingers in my ears and singing POKER FACE or something to just block it out.

Always? Really? That's a very, very long time.


Comment by jean on May 8, 2012 at 6:22am

Summed this up perfectly as usual, Jill. Your blogs have helped me so much I cannot begin to tell you. Life does go on and yes, we are not the same person. This is life tho... we all change as we grow up. We are still growing up. We won't ever forget them. Love coming your way

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