Sometimes the pieces of my life include memories of a lost love who I still miss, grieve over and sometimes hate for leaving me and our children to coast through this world alone. Although the second of February marked the ninth year he’s been gone sometimes it still feels like it was yesterday.
When I met the wonderful man who I am married to, Greg, I had been a widow for six years. My children were all grown ranging in age from 22 to 32 and I had no plans to remarry although I had been dating for several years. I mainly missed the companionship of a man. I had accepted the cards that had been dealt me as far as being a widow, but that need to have someone to share my day-to-day life with was real and something I missed more than anything. All of my kids lived in another state and had their own lives and relationships when I remarried, but to them I should have stayed a widow forever. A piece of advice never in your state of grief promise your children you will never remarry cause those words could bite you in the butt later.
Widowhood wasn’t something I was prepared for although I knew was a great possibility the day my husband had transplant surgery. Prior to having the surgery he had gotten real sick and we were told without a transplant he would surely die. With a transplant the odds were more in his favor of living a long life. We did prepare for the inevitable, although we were really hoping and praying for a good outcome. It was not until three days after surgery that he slipped into a coma that would change not only my life, but the life of our kids forever. The turmoil we all went through during the six weeks he lay in a coma was more than I thought any of us could bare. I put up a brave front for my children, two of which were still in high school, but I was hurting more than I ever really let on. I put the pieces of our shattered lives back together the best I could and carried on. I had too for the sake of my kids. I returned to work after being off for eight weeks only to walk out on a job I had been at for five years. It would be four months before I would even consider going back to work.
I was depressed and most days I didn’t do much more than feed my kids. Most days I wished it had been me that had died. I hated my husband for leaving me alone to deal with the aftermath. Eventually I realized I had to go back to work, for financial reasons more than anything else, as my kids depended on me to take care of them. I know I let them down and I have said I’m sorry more times than I can remember, but it’s not enough.
Our youngest daughter graduated high school, then went to the local community college, which led to her moving out. Our youngest son graduated the following year and joined the Army National Guard during his senior year which would have him leaving for basic training in the summer after graduation and then a tour in Kuwait. Knowing that both of my youngest would be on their own and I would be left totally alone with an empty nest I decided to move out-of-state to start over. And start over I did. I moved to Nashville, Tennessee with nothing but the contents of my house and a car. I moved in to an apartment with no job, no friends and no family.
It made me have to survive on my own. Something I had never experienced in my whole life as I’ve been a mom since I was seventeen so I went straight from my parents to adulthood. I never experienced life without a man until my husband passed away. The experience made me stronger in some ways and weaker in others.
Stronger in the fact that I learned how to do so much for myself. It took three months to get a job, but I did it. I made new friends and I done things I never dreamed possible. I proved to myself that I could make it on my own. Weaker in the fact that I hate being alone. Loneliness is very real and can be very scary.
The loneliness is what lead me to Greg, but when we met I had no intentions of getting married. I kept telling myself I would be okay with just living together, but I knew deep down I would never feel comfortable doing that and even though my children were not happy with my choices, I needed to do this for me. In the three years we have been together so much has changed where my children are concerned, but I do not regret my choices.
With all that being said, I don’t think we ever quit grieving for those that we’ve lost. The way we deal with the loss and grief is what matters. I will always have the memories and stories of the times we spent with our children, which carries me through the tough days.
As I look at my future I know I will survive whatever is thrown at me. I have a wonderful husband, beautiful grandchildren and a future that includes making wonderful memories exploring this beautiful country as we RV all over the country.