Tuesday, February 25, 2020

"I" Didn't Die

I didn't die.
I lived.
A piece of my heart and soul will always remain with my late husband.
But the bottom line is that I didn't die.
He did.
The life we had together reached its final chapter.
The dreams we hadn't gotten around to processing will forever remain unfilled.
But yet, I am still alive. 
My life is forever changed. 
My grief isn't more or less than that of anyone else going through a similar trauma. It is simply different. It is uniquely mine. Just as every relationship is different, the grief at the end of every relationship is different. Sometimes my grief sits quietly in the background, acting as a silent observer of my life. Sometimes my grief is a turbulent ocean, and it is ALL I can do to keep swimming... to keep breathing... to keep my head above the grief.
But I do.
Not because I'm special or because I'm strong, but because I am the owner of my grief. My grief isn't any more valuable than the next person's.
But it is unique.
It's mine.
My pain is soul shattering.
It can be so devastating that at times the level reaches beyond pain and turns to mind numbing calmness. It's allowed me to notice pain in others. It's provided me with more tolerance for perceived issues while at the same time less patience in dealing with nonsense. It's allowed me to see that the childhood adage that "Life's not fair," was one of the truest lessons we learned. And that it is a lesson we are continuing to learn. Life may not be fair, but the only one I can live is mine. And so I do.
I've learned the dangers of the what-ifs.
What if I had noticed something?
What if I had checked on him?
What if I had acted differently, or spoken differently, or loved differently, or had just done it all differently?
Would he still be here?
Would we still be writing our story?
Or would the outcome be the same? Yet different. Because we would have been different. Our relationship would have been different. In indulging this line of thought, I negate the very things that made us, "us". Life happens. 
What if it had been me instead of him? I'd want him to continue on and create a life rich enough for both of us. To experience more of the dreams. To know joy and happiness...
I'd want him to continue his story.
While keeping the chapters that were us.
And letting go of enough to create chapters that don't contain me, yet somehow in my own vain way, may remind others that I existed. That I mattered. That our chapters were worthy of the pages they are written on.
And so I will wake up to face another morning.
I will smile at people I see.
I will watch elderly couples holding hands and know that it will never be us.
And I will continue on.
I will embrace new opportunities and chances.
I will try to live a life worth living for both of us. 
Because once again, I have changed.
I have grown.
I am moving in a new scary direction.
Not down a path I would have chosen on my own, but one that I was tossed upon, and am learning to navigate, one twist and turn at a time...


On Thursday, September 13, 2018 Jeff Oldaker went to heaven. I'm pretty sure most everybody knows this now and I'm not blindsiding anyone. My heart is completely shattered. My world is forever changed. Jeff was very active and only in his 40's, and he suffered a fatal heart attack. Thank you everyone for all your kinds words! Hug your family tight, you never know when it'll be the LAST TIME.......