This is Us

It has taken me almost a week to write about the Superbowl episode of This is Us.

It shook me, more than Grey’s Anatomy’s depiction of Derek Shepherd’s death (sorry if you’re not caught up on that – but it’s been a few years…) It shook me not because of the way he died, because Derek’s death was more like my husband’s but because of the aftermath.

The having to tell the children. The having to parent the children. The 20 years in the future and how the memories still affect Rebecca and how the children cope and how life was so drastically altered as a PARENT.

Not just the wife. The mother.

I can’t find a video of it, the moment where she goes to Miguel’s house to talk to the kids.  Where she stands in the doorway and tells him that she needs to be strong for her kids and if he can’t, he’ll need to take a walk until he can.

But in watching that…. all I could see was myself. How my kids went home in one car and I went home in another and I was lost. I was not a pillar of strength for my kids. I was not strong, I was not able, I was not the rock they needed to lean on.

All I could see in that moment was how I failed my children when their father died.

How one of my kids would tell me that she thinks of the good memories and is happy.  And I thought that was such an amazing thing. But really – she didn’t want me to be sadder.  Now, when her life is changing so much, she needs her dad and he’s not here and she’s ANGRY because she hasn’t grieved.

How one of my kids asked me after a fight with my chapter 2 if things were ok, because he didn’t want me to be sad again.

How my daughter says flat out that when I’m old, one of my other kids will be responsible for me because she took care of me when he died. She did her part.

How I failed them.

I don’t know how to fix that.

I was in so much pain. I hurt so badly. I couldn’t move past it. And I failed them.

This is Us showed another side of being a widow. It showed what happens on the other side – not just from the widow perspective, but from the children’s perspective.  Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t. The kids are a plot line, a side story that come out every once in a while to make a point.

And because of it, This is Us, the episode where Jack died, the episode after where they went to the funeral (and the odd needing to have him with her at all times) that affected me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t expecting to be reminded of how I abandoned my kids when they needed me the most – not on purpose – just because I didn’t know how to cope with it myself.

How do I fix that? They are my heart.

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I Don’t Remember

I don’t remember the feel of his skin.

I don’t remember the way my arm rested across his chest.

I don’t remember the way he held me close.

I don’t remember the way he felt next to me.

I don’t remember the hardness of his penis.

I don’t remember how it felt to have him enter me.

I don’t remember.

The tactile memories are gone.

I don’t remember how it felt to hug him.

The only thing I remember is how it felt to kiss him and I don’t want to lose that as well.

I’m almost 5 years out.  It’s been 5 1/2 years since I last held him outside of the hospital.

And I don’t remember what it felt like.

January 2010 036

Is it Okay?

Is it okay to have moments, hours, days where I am so incredibly happy that I don’t think about him?

Is it okay to enjoy my life so very much that I don’t have a moment of breathlessness because he’s not here to share it with?

Is it okay to have things in my life happen that I DON’T want to share with him?

Is it okay to miss him, but be okay with him not being here?

A year or two ago, someone dear to me asked me “Why are you grieving so hard?” and I was flabbergasted that he would even consider asking me that.  After all, I lost the love of my life!  I had everything I knew turned upside down!

Today, I ask myself, “Why are you not grieving as hard?” Does this mean I didn’t love him as much as I thought I did? Does it mean that I don’t miss him as much as I said I did?

How could I spend a day, being ridiculously happy, and not want to share it with him?  How could I have moments that don’t belong to him?

The guilt, that I should have a life that I don’t want him included in all the parts, it confuses me.

How could I not want him included in all the parts of my life? How could I have pieces of me that I want just for me?

I don’t understand it.

But I’m pretty fucking happy, even if the happy is tinged with guilt.  And the only thing I want to share with him is that I AM happy.

I didn’t die with him.

A piece of me did, but that piece?  The part that is growing back?  That’s mine.

Don't Cry

This is becoming more and more real for me.  It happened.  It was beautiful. It was amazing.  It was painful and awful at times.  We weren’t perfect but we were perfectly imperfect for each other. And I’m getting to the point where I can smile… because it happened.

New Beginnings

I Just Found Out…

4+ years.

And I get a message:  I’ve been thinking about Mark a lot lately and thought I’d look him up and just found out he’d passed….

4+ years.

Shouldn’t the times of having to tell people be over by now?

Shouldn’t the moments of having to console someone while I’m crying be over?

They aren’t.  And that’s ok.

I was given a gift this morning.  A gift of someone who wanted to talk about Mark. Who remembers Mark.  Who can tell me stories I didn’t know of Mark.

That, my fellow widows, is the most amazing gift of all.

Yes, I cried.

Yes, I was sad.

But OMG…. to be able to hear someone talk about Mark and tell me the stories they remember… that is a gift.

And then I was given another gift… the gift of unconditional love.  The gift of my Sexxy Chef loving me, holding me while I cried, kissing away my tears, then making me smile because he is *that* awesome.

I’m blessed in so many ways.

I love my life.  I love the life Before … and the life After…

But thank you to whatever part of the universe that blessed me with the gift of memories of Mark… even if they weren’t mine.

Father’s Day

I made it through Father’s Day.  I made it through the day mostly because I had been riding on a derby high from 3 bouts in 24 hours.

I got home, emotionally crashed, and slept.

The missing him, it’s visceral. Every day that goes by is another day further from him being on this Earth, from him being at my side, from him getting to see his children and grandchildren.

How do I explain to his grandsons who he was and how amazing he was? How can I get them to understand?

Short answer… I can’t.  They’ll never know.

The countdown of days is on. I had a breakdown on the way to school yesterday. The weight of the day of his death gets heavier with each day. I know… or at least I hope… from past years, that it will lighten up again after the 26th, but for now, I’m simply walking through my days, hoping I don’t crash and burn.

I miss him.

19 Days

19 days.

In 19 days I will have been a widow for 4 years.

19 days.

The blanket of sadness, the heaviness of grief, it pulls me further down each day.

19 days.

My world changed forever that day. Everything I am, everything I wanted in my life, it all spun out of control and flipped me upside down.

19 days.

There’s a new someone in my life. He makes me smile.  I’ve smiled more in these last 5 days than I have in a long time.

19 days.

Each moment that I get closer to that point brings me further from him. Brings me further from being Mrs. Mark Smith.

19 days.

Each day I spend with the new someone… brings more smiles and more joy.

19 days.

The grief does not end.  It does not stop hurting. The wound may have started to heal, but it still reminds me, if I move the wrong way, that it is very capable of being ripped open at any moment.

19 days.

Interspersed with the grief is the joy and anticipation of what’s new and exciting.  The anticipation of what may be.  The now of what is.

19 days.

Nothing will stop the passage of time. Time will keep moving me towards June 26.  And I will, one day, one hour, one minute at a time, remember and grieve over the loss of an amazing man, incredible father, and wonderful husband.

19 days.

Nothing will stop the passage of time.  Time will keep moving me towards June 26. And I will, one day, one hour, one minute at a time, enjoy the fuck out of the smiles I’m getting with my new someone. I will enjoy the hell out of the joy he’s bringing to my life.

19 days.

In 19 days I will grieve, hard and heavy, over the loss of my old life.

20 days.

I will wake up on day 20… and embrace the new.  Because as much and as hard as I grieve over Mark… I want joy in my life again.  And joy and grief are not incompatible.  I can live an amazing life, experiencing them both.

Tucked In MY HeartNew BeginningsMoving on

I Watched You Die Again Last Night

I went to bed (alone) like I do (almost) every night.

I kissed the pendant and said good night to you again like I do every night.

I asked you to come visit me in my dreams like I do every night.

I woke at 630am, having not dreamed of you again like I do every night.

I forced myself back to sleep – it’s the weekend and I have been ill and I need the rest.

I woke 2 hours later, gasping, in tears, because I had just watched you die.

In real life, you died from complications of pancreatitis.  You made the choice to let go. We said our good-bye’s and loved each other the best way we could one last time.

In my dream, your heart stopped. I called 911 but they were stupid on the phone and I had to scream at them that you were having a MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION!! And they still just pretended they didn’t know what I was talking about. They didn’t send help.

Your heart stopped.  And I couldn’t get it going again.

I was surrounded by all my new friends, with all my new knowledge, and it wasn’t enough.

I watched you die again.

And then I woke up, alone.  Again.

It’s your birthday in 4 days.  Could you not have brought me a dream where you were happy?  Maybe have me “join” you in your memories of your last birthday with Wade?

I watched you die again last night.  And this morning, it feels like it did the first time.  Except I know how I’ll live without you.  I’ve been doing it for almost 4 years.

Mark in Fruitvale