“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher
Shortly after Dave died, a friend enclosed this quote in a card she sent me. It has always been very close to my heart since. It redefined the meaning of courage for me. I was feeling anything but brave as I faced a world without him. I was feeling defeated, abandoned, and desperately sad. Courage seemed so elusive to me, but every night when I fell into bed, exhausted and overwhelmed, I thought of this quote. I would tell myself that I had made it through another day and that I would indeed try again tomorrow. Just over 2600 tomorrows have passed since he died. I have tried every day. Although, I don’t feel courageous, I have survived.
I’m not sure if this is common with everyone who loses a spouse, but since he died, I mentally struggle with the idea of just running away. I want to leave this life behind and start completely fresh. In the early days, I wanted to run away from my pain. Maybe, it is a form of “flight or fight”. I didn’t want to look at everyday in my life and see the gaping hole that was left by his absence. Somehow in my mind, it seemed like running would ease the pain. Well, unfortunately I know that nothing but dealing with the pain and loss eases it. I never did run away. I never had the courage.
Day by day, bit by bit, I chipped away at change. I think having the boys made me feel that responsibility to them was more important than change. I am an oldest child…I always feel responsible…courageous – rarely, responsible – always…
I knew I had to deal with healing their hearts too. I knew that that would be a lifelong deal. It was not only my loss, but theirs also. I wanted to run, but needed to keep things safe for them. I wasn’t confident that taking them out of “our life” would be the best for them. I have always thought of what was best for them first and what is best for me takes second.
Although my children’s needs always come first, there is still that quiet voice in my head that encourages me to care for myself too. It wants me to dream again. It wants me to be fulfilled again…because, really, I need to face it, if I don’t model happiness in my home or model following my dreams, how will the boys learn that? How do I find the courage to follow my own dreams? Now that I actually am forming dreams and goals for myself again, how do I make these things happen with my two boys in tow?
Leaping is always the hard part for me. Taking that breathless fall into the unknown takes great courage. I have witnessed it in many people that I know in this widowed journey of mine. I have watched people transform their sorrow into many positive things. I have seen that you can run away and take your kids with you and everything will be alright. I have seen many brave women and men do very brave things with their very, broken hearts. I know it is possible. I know it. I just don’t know if I can find the courage to take the leap.