Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Would Do it All Again In a Heartbeat!

It has been twelve years. Some days it feels like twelve minutes and other days it feels like a lifetime. Twelve years ago today I started my day like any other day. I kissed my husband good bye, told him I loved him and left to take my mother to the doctor. If only I had known that those completely normal and oh so mundane moments would be our last together, I might have held on and refused to let go. I might have single handedly willed him to live and fought to keep that aneurysm from destroying our lives and all our tomorrows to come. I didn't know though, as I know is God's plan. I have often gone back over it all in my head and wondered if there were signs? If there had been, would I have been able to distinguish them from the physical and mental stress that the entire family had been through in the prior months? Do brain aneurysms even have signs? Twelve years later....I don't have the answer for that. I guess I could never bring myself to do the research, afraid that I might not like the answers I found.

You would think after twelve years that this time of year would cease to hit me so hard. In truth, some years have been better than others, but always even if I am lost in everyday life.....a lightening bolt never fails to hit me and I suddenly am transported back to July 2, 2001. This year though...that lightening bolt tore right through me. Even with my usual less than stellar memory, I can still see, hear, smell and feel that day as if it happened only minutes ago and not years. I can feel the helplessness and the realization that my world that day was ending much differently than it had begun. A piece of my heart was gone and my life was shattered. I was alone and what that morning had been a partnership was from this point forward going to be a solo journey. It was suffocating and overwhelming and I kept thinking that this was a nightmare that I would wake up from. I would hug Tim and tell him what an awful dream I had and then he would hug me and reassure me that he wasn't going anywhere and all would be okay. But it wasn't okay....and for a part of me deep inside....it never really would be again.

I don't dwell on the past. I have done very well in fact letting the past go....or at least telling myself I have. I have learned to remember the good times, the wonderful times and the times we laughed and loved. On most days....I can think of Tim and feel happy and even be so very grateful that even though he wasn't in my life for the years I would have liked him to be.....I was just so fortunate to have had him in my life at all. Seldom do I fall into the trap that loss can wrap you in. I won't allow myself to wallow in "poor me" and I won't let others pity me either. I am certainly not the only one who has lost their spouse.......and of course, my kids will take their cues on how to handle loss by the example I set....right? Gosh I hope not.

They say that anger is one of the steps of grief. It took me years to get to the point of anger. I think the main reason for this was that I was not sure where to place the anger. I couldn't be mad at Tim because I knew he was the last one that wanted to leave this life when he did. I also didn't feel I could be mad at God because I know inside me that God does nothing without a purpose. Yes....even in losing the man I adored......there must be purpose. So where does the anger come in? Do I get pissed at a weak blood vessel? It was a no fault death and reality and common sense told me that nothing I or anyone else could have done that day could have saved him. He was gone before he hit the floor. Yes, the anger has been very hard to process.

I think rather than allow myself to feel the anger, I tried desperately to find the blessings. People think I am crazy when I say this. It in no way lessens what I felt for Tim, what we had together or his life, but he was gone and I had to go on and the only way I could was to find something positive in a sea of loss and desperation. Amazingly....there really were blessings. Each time I saw a blessing I grabbed a hold of it and held on for dear life. These bits and pieces were all that was keeping me afloat. Perhaps because I have held the blessings so close and talked of them, rather than my pain....this is why people seem to think I am so strong. Trust me, I am not.

Someone said to me once that they were in awe of how I handled it all. They told me that I had survived my trials and my loss with such grace and dignity. The word "strong" also came into the conversation. All I could think was, what a poker face I must have. If only they could see the inner me and what went on inside my head and my heart, they would be embarrassed for me at how pathetic and weak I really am. Any strength I have is nothing more than a facade. I have spent more time hiding inside myself and praying that God would give me the strength to keep going than anyone will ever know. Each time I sit alone in a hospital with David, face bills I can't pay or I find the world expecting me to move forward when I am literally frozen in place.....I am anything but strong, graceful or dignified.

Of late though, I seem to have found my anger. I think I have even found what I feel is the appropriate place to put it. I have found that I am not angry at anyone.....I am however extremely angry at circumstance. I am angry that the man who could make me angrier than just about anyone on the planet and then turn around and make me laugh was taken from me way too soon. I am angry that with him I lost a piece of me and who I am, so much joy and the promise of growing old with someone I loved. I am angry that the older kids lost their dad when they needed him most, that Z lost his hero and that David will never know the man who spent hours by his hospital bed literally willing him to live. I can't help but find myself furious at times that I am left to do it all alone which means when things go good.....the praise is all mine, but when things go bad.....then so is the blame. Trust me.....there is a lot more blame than praise in my life.

There isn't just anger though, there is also sadness. At times....the anger turns to sadness and then at other times....the sadness becomes overwhelming and I find myself angry again. Luckily....neither last for long periods. I guess it is all part of the process. The problem is....no one ever tells you that the process can take years.

I can't help but feel great sadness that Tim was not here to see David surpass the doctors expectations time and time again. That he wasn't here to see Z perform in his first high school musical or watch him sing the first time on stage. I am sad that Tim is not here to see the wonderful woman his daughter has become and the men that Sean and Wes have become. He didn't get to become a grandpa and see his beautiful granddaughters, he didn't get to finish the degree he longed for and he didn't get to follow all the dreams he had for the future. Sad? Very. Angry? Yeah, I am a little of that too.

Then I remember.....Tim got to be a son. He got to be a brother, an uncle, a nephew and a cousin. He
got to be an amazing husband and dad.....a he even got some second chances. He got to be a friend, a coworker and a boss. He got to sing and he got to dance. He got to cook, entertain and laugh. Tim got to make a difference in the world and before it was all said and done....he found his faith and he found himself.  He was blessed and he blessed those whose lives he touched. For this....I can't feel angry or even sad. I can only feel blessed.

Yes....even after twelve years....I can still find myself lost and very alone. You don't lose someone like Tim and find your way back easily. However....if I knew then, what I know now......I would do it all again in a heartbeat!


Anonymous said...

I knew Tim. He was a great guy and a great friend. Above all he loved you and those kids. He was crazy in love with you and he always had a story about his kids. Even after all these years I still expect him to come walking in the door and say "Hey man how's it going?" Life got a little dimmer for us all on the day we lost him.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Beautiful blog.

Ela said...

I am typing through the tears. This was a beautiful story. Loss can be strength in people and even though you don't think it is there, I would say being able to write this blog with such raw emotion shows more strength than you realize.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

So sorry Lisa. You and the kids are in my prayers.