Being together with someone for half your life - 16 years - memories are never ending. Some good, some bad. Whether it's getting into your car and you remember when you were 20 and drove a 1991 Geo Metro Convertible that was about the size of a large horse. You remember that your husband who was built like a horse had the hardest time getting into it. First off, his legs were in his chest and I never understood how he was able to use the gas pedal and steer at the same time. Secondly, not sure how it was physically possible to take him at his height and squeeze it into something that was definitely made for the Lollipop Guild. And it made you laugh thinking about his head popping out of the rag top or just to picture him driving it. Or maybe it’s remembering arguments over disciplining your kids, regrets of separating from the love of your life, bantering over what restaurant to eat at or who left their dirty boots in the entryway when I just cleaned the entire house!! Well, I'll show you what I think of that! I will throw them so hard across the hall that I will hit my hand on the wall and somehow dislocate my thumb. Ya, and then, with my head hung low in shame, ask for help because it hurts real bad and I don't know how to pop it back in. Mmmhmm..that was me. All in all, they are memories you can never get back. Memories that everyone has but takes for granted. Memories to make you realize you will never be able to make memories with that person again.
MAKE IT STOP!!
I am sure if you have lost a sibling, mother, father or someone you grew up with you would feel the same. You might feel the same if you have lost someone to divorce, separation, disability or mental illness. Your pain may be in the fact that your loved one has just been told they have a terminal disease or maybe it's in the loss of a job and you have memories of co-workers, the good ole days, making ends meet, etc. The memories are painted all over the town. They are on your friends' faces and in their jokes. They are in someone else's conversation that made you drift off into another world...that awful rabbit trail of "what if's" and "remembering when" or "I'll never have that.” They are driving by you in the vehicle you once had. They are in the clouds that you used to make shapes and images out of. They are in a strangers cologne or perfume. They are in your favorite restaurants. They are in your child's eyes and smile. They are at every holiday, birthday and celebration. They are when your daughter will walk down the aisle without her father.
MAKE IT STOP!!
Of all the things, I think it's hardest when you are not prepared for it. I mean, if I know I am going to visit the in-laws, I know that they are most likely going to serve "Dad's Hamburgers" as a tradition now. He was an amazing cook! I can prepare myself that the kids will get so excited when we BBQ because they just LOVED "Dad's Hamburgers." I can prepare myself that I am going to hug my precious mother-in-law and feel her pain and see the devastation in her eyes. I can prepare myself for all the childhood pictures on the wall and the honorable firefighter picture. The one with all our amazing friends' signatures around the border. What I can't prepare for is if I am going to bite into the hamburger and freeze. Memories come flooding back. How do I chew? Can I breathe? I can't prepare for hugging my mother-in-law and bursting into tears. Holding her as she cries in agony; a heartbroken mother. I can't prepare for looking at the photos and falling to the ground like liquid...melting. I can’t stand. My legs will not hold me. We used to eat hamburgers as a family...we will never be a family again. We used to hug your mom together...we will never be together again. We used to take pictures and I remember you in that stupid shirt and your goofy pose trying to make me laugh...we will never have another picture of you again.
MAKE IT STOP!!
As time goes on I can function a little better each day. I can clean the house and not think of us doing chores as a family. I can hear a lawn mower and not think of him mowing the lawn. I can get a postcard from Hawaii and not think about the vacation we took together. The one where our friend took us to “Shark’s Cove.” Yes, taking someone who is deathly afraid of sharks…me! I, trying to be brave and “make a memory” with my husband, decide to go snorkeling in “Shark’s Cove.” I knew how much he loved snorkeling and I figured it was only a small distance from the shore. Well, as we walk to the snorkeling area we both trek our way under water. He, being eager and full of life, ready to experience the ocean world and I, carefully observing every wave and sound in case I saw a fin or heard someone crying, “SHARK!”
There he goes, under the beautiful sea of color and wonder. Ok, I can do this. He’s not eaten by a shark yet. I don’t see any fins. PLOP! My head, or should I say face, is now under water. I did not allow for the back of my head to get wet. Baby steps. Oh ya, it looks pretty. Is that a fish – beautiful! What was that? Was that a turtle or a great white? After approximately 5 seconds of tormenting myself and hearing the Jaws soundtrack echo in my head, I quickly whip my head out of the water gasping for air and take off like I was in the Boston Marathon. Not realizing I was running over rocks and sea creatures, I split my foot open and felt the sting of salt water enter the wound - as I lay there, a helpless victim of the unforgiving sea. All the while he is calmly enjoying treading water, watching me, laughing hysterically.
MAKE IT STOP!!
I can listen to my friends joke and not think of his amazing laughter and smile. I can go to a function or party and not think, “Here I am again folks…alone!” I can take my kids on vacation alone and manage. I can look them in the eye and tell them it's gonna be ok...and believe it. What I can't do is
control the overwhelming flood of anxiety rush through my body as I look at all our couple friends dancing to a love song at a wedding or listening to the music we all sang to. I can’t fight back the enormous lump in my throat when the school sends home a Father‘s Day lucheon invitation. I can’t stuff the pain any further down when our friends take their daughters to the Father-Daughter dance. I can’t prepare for the times my children break down from enduring so much pain.
I can’t prepare for when the unexpected happens. I can’t go and get the mail and come home and see that half of the stuff is addressed to him and not think, you idiots!! Thank you mortgage company for not taking his name off the paperwork when I turned in what you requested! Thank you never ending doctor bills for continuing to haunt me. Thank you stupid junk mail for not even knowing who you are sending crap to as well as wasting a lot of trees! Thank you Blockbuster that you cannot change the name on the account unless I call corporate. Thank you Best Buy that when I give you my rewards number you ask me if my name is "..." and show me the screen with all his information. C’mon!! I just want to buy a phone charger. Thank you cable, electricity, and water bill for still, after several phone calls and screaming matches, you STILL have his name on the bills.
MAKE IT STOP!!
If you can read between the lines, I hope you take from this that life is short, silly at times, not fair, stupid and dumb, shocking, romantic, beautiful and most importantly…only happens once. You will have memories to last a lifetime, you cannot prepare for what may come your way, and you have people in your life that need you and want the best for you. You have children that rely on you EACH DAY. You can't let this overtake you...although at times you can't fight it. You can't shut the world out...although that seems very wonderful and tempting. You can't avoid get togethers and parties...although flying to another country for the holidays sounds perfect! You can’t give up. Life goes on...yes...a cliché I love to make fun of. But, it does. Life will go on whether you choose to join in with it or not. There will be births, weddings, holidays, new jobs, make-ups and break-ups, bills to pay, house to clean, lawn to mow, children to feed, bosses to complain about, family to love and talk about, friends to lean on and some to lean away from, vacations to take, jokes to laugh at, presidents to vote for, and love to give and receive. All this...you can't live if you...
MAKE IT STOP!!
Don’t give up.
Written by: Lindsy Brewer
I wrote a lot about my pain in 2011. I recommend writing if you are going through any kind of trial or circumstance. Good or bad. We can reflect on our life and hopefully look back and reflect again. I look back at this and there are things I wouldn’t have written now. I may not even remember. Especially if you’ve lost someone. You won’t remember all the events that took place. I have found it very helpful to keep a journal. I actually wish I had written more.
Pain is part of the process. It’s made you who you are now. You may not like it, you may resent it, you wish it never happened...but it did! It’s learning how to make pain be your friend, not your enemy. Just remember to never give up.