Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Other Side

"I'd like to offer my condolances on your loss..." It sounds so formal and cold, but we are limited on what we can say in this situation. "I understand what you are going through..." Well, in some ways this is true, yet no one trully understands what another is going through, not totally. Yes, I too am a widow, and yes I too lost my husband to suicide, but other than that well, there may not be many similarities, I don't know. We have never talked, but I know your son well. He is very dear to my heart and in turn, so are you-- even more so now because of this commonality that I regret we share. I am truly sorry that you are going through this (all of you). I am one year out and I can say that when I heard the news of your husband it evoked so much emotion within me that I could barely drive leaving your son's house. Oh, the pain was mine all over again for my own husband, and in those first hours of the news, the pain was for your son, too, whom as you probably know I love so dearly.

That day I talked to my good friend who had helped me through my first few months more than anyone else until I met your son (when I met him, he also greatly held me together, however he never realized just how much so). I said to that friend, "So this is what it's like to be on the other side? This sucks. I feel so helpless." She could relate to that statement as she too felt that way with me. I didn't know what to say or do for him. I wanted to go home with him as he faced this horrible news. He declined, but I think he knew he could have (and still can) turn to me whenever he needs a friend who will listen to him.
I thought about you as well and how dificult it must be to spend so many years together and raise 4 children and have grandchildren and now at this point in your life together to face this tragedy. I remember very well the moment I felt most alone. It was at my husband's funeral (atually one year ago today) when I saw his parents there together, his brothers had their girlfriends and his sisters had their husbands, and I... well, I sat there with the deepest pain I've ever felt and realized that they all had that "someone" to comfort them in their grief, but the person who was supposed to comfort me in my worst moments in life was the person laying in front of us all-- the person we had all gathered to mourn.

I am so saddened to know that you and your family are now traveling this journey. It truly breaks my heart. I want to offer the words that everyone gave me "you are not alone." But those were the words that infuriated me most. How dare They tell me I am not alone! How could they even think to say such words? "I AM alone!" is all I wanted to scream at them (and perhaps I did a time or two). And while those words-- and all words really-- sound trite, I offer them to you now anyway. I do not know your personal journey, and right now with it being so fresh, you may not truly know it either as it may change many times along the way, however, I say this to you for whatever it's worth-- to you, your son, and any other widow as well-- I am here to listen. I will do whatever I can and if I say the wrong thing, please tell me. I do not mean to offend, nor will I be offended by your honesty.

I can not offer much for I do not know the answers myself, but I will do all that I can. Your son will forever hold a special place in my heart and so too shall you. Suicide is an unfortunate common bond I wish no one had to share, but as we walk our journey's seperately we can also walk them together and be of strength to others. I still feel as though I am not far along, but the freshness of pain has had a year to settle and with that comes a different perspective. I wish there was a way to take away your pain. We would all take pain away from those we care about if we had that power, but it's something we must face. We must sit in it and deal with it, and while we must do so alone, we really never are totally alone. I am here Anytime... Anytime!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One Year (and a few days) Later

May seem scattered, but I'm watching Barbie with Avery and writing this at the same time...

Well, it has now been One YEAR since Tom died. I really can't believe that I made it through, that the first year is over and I Survived! I feel sad and accomplished by this fact. I feel like I'm stronger because some days I didn't know if I'd make it to the next, but I did. I feel sad because it's been a whole year without my love. I used to be so in love with life and living and that died with Tom. I want to feel that way again. Some people say the second year is harder. I'm not sure yet if that is true. I know that in some ways it has been more painful, but I think that is just because I'm no longer in a fog, but at the same time I have found this inner strength that tells me I can go on because I have made it this far.

The 10th was hard. I spent most of the day driving to Arlington. I tried to think of other things that would keep my mind off of Tom, but as 1:00pm approached I got more and more anxious. See, at 1:04PM on May 10, 2010 Tom called me to say his final goodbye. Minutes later he died. On Thursday May 13, 2010, Jena and I were in Verizon. I wanted a new phone because I didn't want anything to happen to the one that had all the saved text messages from Tom on it. So, while in Verizon the song "I Never Told You" by Colbie Caillat came on. It was the first time I had ever heard it and I lost it, bawling my eyes out in the middle of the store. I feel like there was so much I didn't get to say to Tom before he died. Ever since then that song has completely reminded me of him... Ok, so at 1:04PM this May 10th, one year to the minute after my last phone call from Tom, while I was on my way to see him in Arlington, that song came on the radio. I lost it! Then I was ok again until I actually saw his name on his headstone.

I spent almost an hour crying laying on his grave. I felt so peaceful there and at home. I wanted to stay and take a nap... and just camp out and never leave. I had such a headache from crying so hard and got back on the road to go to my Mom's house. It was so hard to leave him. I know that may seem strange and it's not like I think he's really there, but somehow I feel closer to him. Ok, well, on to year two...