The Beginning Steps
It’s been almost 3 years since the morning I woke up and found my wife’s body in her bed. The last time I updated here was at the 9 month mark. It is time to tell the beginning of the rest of the story.
I think about her so many times a day I couldn’t begin to count. It can hurt, still, but it can also brings smiles, and always – ALWAYS – love. I love her just as much today as the day I married her. Laurie was a special addition to my life. She gave me a supportive partner, a family, and a new direction in my own motivations. She motivated me to revamp myself for the better.
And then she was gone, with no warning.
I mean, sure, she’d been chronically ill for a long time already. But when you have that situation in your home, you worry about sudden events or flare-ups or trauma of some kind. You don’t live a normal day and expect them to be dead by morning. We knew she might not make it to a ripe old age, but we sure as hell didn’t think she’d die in her sleep at age 59, either.
But she did.
I said in my nine month piece that I felt like what I thought of as the color in my soul was leaking out, and I didn’t even have the desire to plug the hole. It’s still like that sometimes. It’s also NOT like that most of the time, now.
My Tiffany Epiphany - Except For Benito, This Time
What is a Tiffany Epiphany? A life-altering realization for me, named in honor of my older daughter, Tiffany, who usually helps me have them.
I’m ashamed that it took what it did to snap me back to reality, because there were a million other reasons that “should have”. But Laurie and I often said, “Shoulda, coulda, woulda, but didn’t!” This is one of those times, because what are the options?
We have a grandson named Benito. He is the only child of our daughter Elisabeth. That makes his situation rather unique, among our six grandchildren. He has no siblings and not the same paternal grandparents as the others.
Well, he HAD different grandparents. My wife died in 2018. His other grandmother died in 2019. Then, at the beginning of this year (2021), his other grandfather died. Guess what that makes me? I’m the last man standing, as far as my beautiful baby’s grandparents go.
For reasons I cannot explain, this touched me more than anything else has, so far. I mean...why not that I have been the only parent our daughters have? Why not a number of other reasons? Why did this one special grandchild get to be the reason? I don’t know. Couldn’t tell you, except that I firmly believe God works through my Benito to send me messages, and this was another of those.
He was close to his father’s parents. He knew them on an in-person-all-the-time basis. He and I know each other and love each other. We get along very well, and I know I hold a special place in his heart. Living so far away (I’m in Texas, he in California), we have never had the same kind of interaction.
It broke my heart that my precious grandchild should have had to face losing all but one of his grandparents, year after year after year. It also lit a spark inside me. It made me realize that NOT all the color had leaked out of me yet; there is still plenty to go around!
Missing Her And Moving Forward
There really should be a new term coined for the type of loss widowhood is. I will never tell anyone that it is “better” or “worse” than another loss. I’m not in your head, so I don’t know what you feel. We are not the same person, so maybe you hurt more than I do – who knows?
I will say that losing my wife was utterly different from losing my father, my stepfather, my grandparents, cousins, friends, aunts and uncles. I didn’t plan every single plan for “us” with any of them. I did that with Laurie.
When she died, MY future disappeared. I was reborn, very much against my will. I was resentful of the bit. I didn’t want to be here without her. I still really don’t just love being here without her, but that’s just something I will have to cope with, because it clearly is not my time to join her, yet.
I miss her. At times, it is so bad I feel like I’ll die from missing her so much, quite literally. It physically hurts, still, sometimes. Those times hit out of nowhere – just WHAM! I still cry sometimes, though not as often as before. TV shows, movies, and music make me cry more easily...you just don’t notice how many things will bring up memories until memories are all you have left. There are all kinds of married people everywhere on tv and stuff. Widowed people. People sharing sweet moments. They hit hard, most of the time. I really want what we had. I miss it.
Will I ever fall in love again? Hell if I know! It doesn’t seem likely, but it does seem possible.
I have had a number of crushes, here and there, since losing my wife. There was one who seemed promising, but it quickly did not work out. No skin off mine. I already lost the one I “couldn’t live without.” That didn’t kill me, so this one had no power to hurt me (for long, anyway).
I’m colder than I was, in some ways. Warmer in others. I’m not the same person I was before, and I’m glad that I’m not, most of the time. I really, seriously dislike those days when I don’t feel ANYTHING – they do still happen, though they’re getting more spaced out.
In the two years and ten months of solitaire, if you will, I’ve worked out a lot of issues. There is more work to go, and I will get there.
It can be hard to find motivation sometimes, but since my epiphany after my grandson’s tragedy, it is much, much easier for me to keep it all in perspective. I will make it. And I even want to, now.