It's 4 AM Chicago time and I'm awake.
Yesterday was one of those days when I broke wide open when I felt so helpless that I couldn't even speak or breathe for missing the one constant for the last 17 years – my beloved partner... my friend ...my lover ...my laughter ...my life.
I know exactly what sparked it was the call-The one I've been dreading – from the police. I know it wasn't supposed to bring closure but it would've been nice, yesterday, to get some answers, to know the direction that we were going. That call was supposed to come – the sergeant was supposed to tell me whether or not the states attorney was going to charge the man who hit and killed my husband in that terrible collision April 28.
The sergeant called, as promised – he's been amazing throughout this entire investigation. But instead of providing the answers that I sought his hands were tied – because the states attorney needs to speak to me. They had discussed this last Thursday and still no call. Logically I know that being in the states attorneys office is a little like being a police officer – your day can start at one way and quickly morph into something else as the day unfolds. I also know that I'm not a high-profile case, nor one in which they need to act quickly – after all the potential defendant is not a risk to flee the state. So the wheels of justice are turning slowly painfully – and I'm left dangling.
I'm not looking for closure here – that's a myth. What I wanted to know, when I got that call, was a little bit of time to prepare – because there are no good answers here. I needed that time to prepare: Time to call my grief counselor. Time to call Collin's grief counselor. Time to call Collin's school – to let them know what might be going on. Time to mentally gear myself up – so I didn't feel like a victim of this process once more.
Justice is not mine to serve, to dispense – it's really up to God ultimately. Here on earth, whether they press charges is a function of laws, evidence, and decisions that people have to make. The states attorney needs to review the evidence provided by the police officer and decide if they can charge this man. It is the interest of the state that they serve – not mine. I'm not looking for the courts to make this right – nothing can. And, ultimately, our laws are made by men and women – and therefore likely to be somewhat flawed sometimes, as we are not perfect.
Because of the peculiar circumstances surrounding this accident, the answers aren't at all clear. They may not be able to charge him at all. In that case, I'll be left with the aftermath – looking into my son's eyes and explaining to him that this was a terrible accident- and that's where we need to leave it.
The alternative is not much better – charges, possibly a trial, and possibly some media interest that would go along with it. All of it stands to open up that terrible day four and a half months ago where I lost the love of my life and my son lost the father he adored. I don't know enough about investigations for accidents to know if four and a half months is a long time or short one. I do know that they've been exceptionally thorough – my attorney tells me that – and I'm grateful. The flipside of that is been that, for Colin and I, it feels like an eternity of waiting.
I broke yesterday into a million tiny pieces when I got that call. And I learned something about myself, about my widowed and buy non-widowed friends-that there is a difference with whom you speak about this experience of ours. I tried to lean on two non-widowed people that I thought were good friends and learned, unfortunately, that not all experiences could be shared with them.
The contrast couldn't be more stark between the two groups. From my widowed friends, there was acceptance that I was where was and that I might need certain kinds of help and not others. They asked what I needed, they didn't judge, and they gave what I needed knowing that another day, another time it would be my turn to pick up that phone, to answer that email, to be the one to support them without question or judgement. They let me talk – because that was what I said I needed – and listened. They offered to come over-even for a very great distance-in case I just needed someone to hold me while I cried. They offered suggestions, with no judgement if I accepted or not.
From some of my non-widowed friends the response was very, very different. I got the "you really need to be strong because your son is watching you" text. I got the "women are like a teabag" analogy – and a comment that I need to be really, really strong because the water is now "boiling." I even got the quote "John would not want this for you." I thought...this person hadn't lived with him for 17 years....as if I didn't know exactly, profoundly what he would want for me.
"No one means you any genuine harm" has become my mantra these days.
As I move further into the journey some things are becoming easier-others are becoming incredibly hard. Everyone's journey is their own – I certainly can't judge anyone else nor would I even dare to. There are many people on this website that humble me with their courage and their stories. What seems to be distinguishing my story, these days, is what one of my wv friends pointed out-that although my husband's death was sudden, the result of an auto accident, the aftermath is long and drawn out. He wouldn't trade places with me, nor I with him.
Tonight, I'm staring into the void.
I am trying to get through, hour by hour, until I can call the states attorneys office and get some answers.
I am not looking for closure – I just want to know, one way or another, what the next challenge will be for us. We will have to move through it, survive it, ultimately learn how to thrive from this experience. Those challenges are for tomorrow when the sun rises again and I have to face another day.
Tonight I'm staring into the void and attempting to face it down.
I'm feeling the profound sense of loss that we all feel at one point or another. It is that moment where you look and you feel so incredibly hollowed – out inside. It's that sense of loss that nothing nobody will ever fill the one that you love- and they're gone forever. I barely slept – and then I rolled over and without thinking turned over to curl up in my husband's arms, only to be reminded as I slipped into wakefulness that he was gone.
I read the blogs of others those who have made this journey and are further out than I am – and I know I won't be here forever. Logically, I know that I will move through this experience today and I will conquer it – because the alternative is not acceptable to me. But I'm also recognizing, as part of this process, that sometimes it's okay to look in the mirror and to be present in the moment to lean into my grief. Leaning in has meant allowing my feelings to unfold – at the right time, at the right place, maybe not at that second, but certainly that day. Those feelings are part of my grief journey. I have every right to feel them. I have every right to have people around me who are supportive of my right to feel them.
Yesterday taught me that, yes, I need to "lead" my family and I simply can't crawl into an under the covers each time a grief wave hits me-and I don't normally anyway-if any part of this grief journey can be called normal.
But I can't – and won't – put on a front for the sake of other people's feelings either to satisfy their expectations of where I "should be" at this point. I'm not doing my son or myself any favors by pretending the grief isn't there. I will choose mindfully, thoughtfully when and where and with who I share this journey. My husband was honest with his feelings – when the challenges hit – we dealt with those feelings and moved on anyway. That is who he was -and that is who his son should be.
I am done staring into the void-and just for today, I made it. Time to face what the day brings.