Today would have been the 59th birthday of the man I loved (and still do) with all of my heart. He was killed a year ago a few days shy of his 58th birthday. I have been in mourning since that day. Other family members have felt the pain, too, but I can only tell my story.
I made a comment to my cousin tonight (thanks, Cheryl) about grieving. I liken grief to a mantle or a cloak I was forced to put on. For the first few days, it was stifling, oppressive and shocking. The heaviness nearly suffocated me. As months passed, it became more a part of my normal wardrobe. That’s not to say wearing that cloak was ever something I wanted.
For a time, I was existing day to day, struggling to bear the heaviness. I got through those days, weeks and months, but just surviving his loss was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Ever.
Grief is a life-long process. The sharpness of loss fades to become bearable, but that cloak is still settled firmly on my shoulders. It doesn’t feel quite so heavy, but I still feel the weight. It’s not something I can take off and don again. It’s there to stay, but maybe I’m strong enough to stand tall in spite of the cloak.
Even though my dear soul mate has been gone for almost six months, I feel like it has only been days. I guess I’m still in shock. I haven’t discussed it with any other ladies I know who have suffered the same loss, but I imagine it’s much the same for them. I just keep going, fighting through every day.
My community was very supportive and generous. Bela and I got quite a bit of mail following the tragedy. It shames me to say, however, that I have not been able to even read all of the sympathy cards we received. Don’t get me wrong—I know who sent one, and all the love has been appreciated, but as far as sitting and reading each line…well, I still can’t. I don’t know when I’ll be able to or even if I will be able to. I have them saved here at home, though. Maybe some day….
I usually keep personal business out of my blog, but today is different. Today marks a month since my soul mate/life partner was murdered far away from me and Ysabela. The ugliness of what happened has haunted me, and I spent the day thinking about what (and who) I have lost. I know Ysabela lost someone dear to her, too.
At the end of every conversation with her daddy, I always promised him that I would take care of our girl no matter what. When she asked if we could go to the mall and a movie today after I finished work, I consulted my check book, inwardly groaned and said, “Sure! Let’s go!”
A promise is a promise, and my girl needed a day of fun whether I wanted to leave the house or not. It was nice to see Bela have a good shopping day (more about that later) and hear her belly laugh about the movie. I realized that no matter how tough things are, kids still need to have fun. It’s my job to make it happen.
One thing we know about life is that nobody gets out alive. Our rural community has been rocked by deaths in the last few months. Two awesome family men are being mourned. The community has been completely stunned by the losses.
The main question we have asked is, “Why?” We may never understand. I hate that feeling of helplessness that follows the news. How can we help the grieving family members? All that comes to mind is pray and “help them cry.”
The scariest part is that both men were seemingly healthy fellows. That just goes to show when death comes for us, we can’t say, “Can you come back later? I have some things to wrap up first.” Mourning our losses has brought us all closer to our own feelings about mortality. We have been forcefully reminded that when it’s our time to go, nothing can stop it. I plan to make every day count.