When my husband died, every moment felt like a lifetime. Each hour dragged. Days were exhausting and seemed to wane on and on until I finally collapsed into my empty bed. Minutes ticked by slowly. It was the strangest feeling. It was like being trapped in this world that moved in slow motion while the rest of the world kept plugging along at regular speed leaving me behind.
As the years have gone by, time has resumed it’s regular flow. What used to feel like centuries is now back to feeling like regular days and nights. I remember lying in bed all those years ago and just waiting for the morning to come back…I was always waiting for something…and it just never arrived. As I look at my children and how much they have grown, it feels like time has flown by me again. As I look at our healing, my healing and dealing with the enormity of my loss, I don’t know how I made it this far or how so much time has already passed.
We have had our milestones throughout the years also. We had our year of firsts without him. Then we moved on to just feeling the emptiness of something missing on special days or occasions. There is always that longing, that wondering how things would be different if he was still here. The boys and I have made it through many moments, many milestones, and we will continue to move through them. It’s odd though that this month, the things we have faced seem to bring back larger waves of grief than there have been lately. I’m feeling more off balance again as I watch my big boy navigate new opportunities and say good bye to things he loves.
My big boy just turned 14. The scales have tipped to him being parented by me alone longer than he was parented by his father and I together. It’s weird, but for some reason this means something to me. I don’t know if it because I really never knew I would make it this far or if I am sad because he has missed out being his father’s son. I’m sure it is both. I really, really feel bad about it though. I am so sad that his dad isn’t with him as he finishes elementary school and moves into full throttle teenager. My heart breaks that his dad won’t be here to teach him how to drive a car, treat a girl, be one of the guys, give advice before sports…all of it. I have made it through the childhood heartbreak with him. We have done ok. Looking at him turn into a man without his dad to guide him has new heartache attached. I didn’t expect it. He is struggling in new ways with not having his dad around and watching him, sitting with him, guiding him has made me feel inadequate in some way again. I’m not sure why.
The milestones he reaches as a teen and young adult seem to have a new meaning. They seem to have that stabbing pain of the early days of loss attached to them. I can sense his emptiness and sorrow as he tries to manage these new things. I’m not sure if these feelings are just because he’s growing up, or because of who we are as a family without his dad. Probably both, probably not the most important thing…how he, well we, handle all this will again be the important thing.
During these minutes and during milestones I long to be “normal” again. I hope that they weren’t so bittersweet. I want my kids to just be kids, happy kids. I hate that there is always this thing that they carry along with them. As much as I didn’t want their dad to die, I want their lives to be more happy than sad. I want them to be able to love with out reserve and the fear of loss…maybe it’s just too high an expectation…who knows? Maybe it is just in getting through the minutes one by one, that we will be able to look back at all the milestones and know we did our best, we had happy moments, we had sad moments and we made it to here.