April 21, 2018

two plus love

Tonight I am laying in bed awake.

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of my husband's death. Is that how you say it? Is it an anniversary or is there some other way I should say that? I don't actually know the proper way to talk about death still. Tomorrow, I will refer to his death using the plural: "years." "Years" sounds like a long time. "Years" sounds like I should have learned the proper way to talk about death by now.

Alas. Not PC. Sorry not sorry. Whateves.

This is the thing I want to say - tomorrow it will be two years since I stood in the ICU hallway conferring with doctors, agreeing to take him off life support. Two years since I sat my kids down and looked my kids in the eye and told them they had to go say goodbye to their daddy. Two years since that day that is etched in stone in my mind. Every detail. Every hug. Every. Last. Breath.

But I'm OK. I mean, I'll cry myself to sleep tonight and tomorrow I'll go through the motions of "Remembering Papa Day" for my kids and I'll cry some more. But I'm OK. Until I sat down to write, I wasn't even really thinking too much about the deathaversary. Deathday? Is there a name for it?

Anyway.

What's really on my mind tonight is my mom. Two years is not only the measurement of my husband's death, but also the measurement of when I last talked to my mom. It was actually in January. We stopped to have supper with her on our way to Washington where Todd was waiting to begin treatment.

I'm trying to figure out how to word this. PC is not really my thing tonight. So bear with me. My mom - she hurt me. I don't think she meant to, and I'm pretty sure she didn't even realized that she hurt me until I told her. I've had over two years to process the pain and as much as I want to say I've moved on and forgive and forget and all that stuff, tonight my heart hurts from this still.

The only thing that hurts worse than the initial hurt was that all I wanted was an acknowledgement of the pain inflicted. That's all I asked for. That's what I've needed to move on. Instead, I feel like a child still. Still wondering what's wrong with me that I'm not lovable enough...  I just want to hear you say that you're sorry you hurt me. Because that's what you say when you hurt someone you love. And I need to know that you love me.

I'm not writing this to rag on my mom. That just is what it is. This is about pain. We all experience pain, don't we? Some more than others. But it's unavoidable. I've endured two years and four months of really intense pain. I thought that the pain would kill me, and sometimes I thought about ending the pain myself. But I have two amazing reasons I didn't. Two things that kept me going. Two little people who are sleeping soundly tonight, not even knowing that more than once, they saved my life.

Guys, I get pain. If you are hurting tonight, I just want you to know that you're not alone. I get you. I get the numbness and the acuteness and the throbbing and the gut-wrentching, heart-stabbing pain. But there's something else that I get - love. I've been loved on like I never could have imagined. Through the pain, I have been blessed beyond measure. My mom hasn't been there for me, but I can think of several "moms" I have in my church. My husband might not be here, but there are many husbands who have jumped my car and moved furniture and unscrewed tight lids and told my kids the correct names for the kinds of balls and the sports they belong to.

The only thing I understand more than pain, is love. And that's because I've been loved well - by my sister, my friends, my community, even the cashiers at the Village Market and the teller at the credit union have told me more than once that they're praying for our family. My in-laws - I don't know what the rules are about your in-laws after your husband dies. Are they still my in-laws? Do I call them something else? Whateves. They are family. They have loved and supported us through hard thing after hard thing. I love those people so dearly...  I hope you guys know that. I love you.

At the end of the day - and it is the end of the day - you only have two things when you close your eyes: pain and love. And when you wake up, you have a whole new chance to add to, or subtract from, both of those things. Happiness isn't in stuff. Happiness isn't in money. Happiness is in love. Pain is unavoidable, but what you with that pain is the key. Love keeps us from giving into the despair of pain. Love holds us tight when we're all alone. Love is what keeps us going until that very. Last. Breath.

"Keep on breathing. Just keep breathing..."was my last mantra to my husband. And it's what I'll leave with you. "Just breathe..."

3 comments:

Mazacs said...

Tara shared this blog with me when I stayed at her Airbnb this weekend. I had told her how I lost my wife to cancer last year & am now raising & homeschooling 3 kiddos (10, 7, & 5). Our stories are not the same, no 2 are, but I can relate to the lost dream of growing old with the most important person to you in the world. I can relate to the gratitude of having the blessing of children to help us through this. I am so very sorry for your loss & for the pain of this journey. Thank you for sharing your heart. It has been healing to me to read about your journey.

TN Quiltbug said...

Beautiful reminders—for all of us. Thank you for sharing, and for putting into words what so many of us cannot. Jesus carries all of us through. No One else could.

Praying for you and asking for special tender blessings, during this time.

Lanett Merrills said...

Thank you for sharing Cas. Today I was missing my mom so much and I am dealing with so much in my own life right now....your words once again touched me and yes, we all have to endure some kind of pain in this dark world we call home, but thank the Lord for the ribbons of love He allows us to have so that we can breathe through our difficult and sad times. I long for heaven and home with our loved ones. Hang in there until that wonderful day.

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