My Late Husbands Underwear

imageWhere am I at these days? I am present. Present in the grief, the sadness, the hope, the love for life. I am not cut out for this Widow thing. I don’t think anyone really is. For me, I am a thinker not a feeler. So processing my grief has all been in my thoughts. What do I do next? How do I get through this? Why is my husband no longer here? How can I be the best mom I can be? My schedule keeps me super busy. Tons of appointments, two kids under two, arranging all of Fareeds things early in the loss, and trying to maintain relationships and community. Between my schedule and my natural way of processing things, I rarely let myself feel these things. I have felt the weight of his loss, but for me to keep moving forward I need to sit with those feelings. I need to let my heart ache so it can start to heal back together.
Here is a moment of honesty, I kept all of Fareeds favorite underwear and socks until a couple weeks ago. The pain that came with getting rid of them was unbearable. “But they were his favorites!” I have been deep cleaning my home and I looked at the tote where they were. And I felt it. I felt the silliness of keeping his undergarments. I felt the pain of knowing he was never going to wear them again. I felt the guilt of throwing away his favorites. I felt the peace remembering him running around in them on a Saturday morning. I felt relief as I took them one by one and threw them across the room. “Mom I need garbage bags.” You may not understand the importance of this moment, but it’s huge. I sat alone in my closet balling over his briefs. But I was feeling so much more. I was feeling the weight of the loss, the depth of my loneliness, the huge longing for my sweet husband to come back. Alone in that closet, part of my heart started to sew itself back together.
What would have been our second anniversary just passed. I spent the day shopping with my sons, and mom. That night I watched PS I love you. I’ve wanted to watch it for a couple months but everyone thought it was a terrible idea. That night, it was the best idea. That movie is completely different when you are living it, feeling it. I could laugh at things I relate to, I ached with her for the loss of our husbands, I had joy with her as her tribe carried her through. I felt. I felt the emotions and weight of our story, of a young widow just trying to survive.
The day after Charles was born there was an hour lapse between my family and friends who were there to help me. I had a repeat C Section, massive abdominal surgery. The nurse came in to tell me it was time to get up and go the bathroom for the first time. We can all debate wether she should have helped me or not, but she left. I sat there holding my newborn son and the weight of everything hit me. I needed help getting up. I needed help putting my son in the bassinet. I couldn’t do this alone. And There I was- all alone. Normally a husband or significant other is there to help in these moments. My family and friends tried their hardest to align schedules but it just didn’t work out. So, I sobbed and I sobbed. I needed my husband. Charles needed his daddy. We had no help, and the weight that it may look like that a lot in the future, tore me to pieces. This was OUR family and he was gone. The loneliness, helplessness, pain both physically and emotionally all sunk in. The nurse came back to check on me. Shocked to see me still in bed, shocked to see me sobbing. She didn’t think about the fact that no one was there to help me. I was not upset at her, I was upset at life for playing me these cards. I told her my story and she cried with me. That painful, painful moment started to heal my broken heart. I was able to acknowledge not only the thoughts of how lonely this journey is but I let myself feel that loneliness for what it was.
I am an optimist. I am not one to sit and give myself a pity party. I know if I want to be happy again, I have to work towards that. I want so badly to love life again. Deep in my bones lies hope. I am learning that the most healthy way to move forward is to feel. I can slap a bandaid on it and hope it heals, or I can dig deep into the wounds and get out all the hurt, decay, and pain. It might look pretty to the outside world but the first decision will cause an infection, the decay could spread, and I could end up with a much bigger problem down the line. By taking baby steps and feeling that pain, I am allowing it to heal the best way possible.
The night my husband passed away I was in utter shock, shattered to my core. So I sobbed, and I scrolled my news feed. I read all of the condolences, all of the memories, the comments, and the likes. The feelings were to much to bare so I distracted myself with everyone else’s. I catch myself doing this from time to time in my quiet moments. Instead of using them to process, dig deep, and feel. I distract. There are much worse things to distract with like alcohol, drugs, retail therapy- but my distraction is social media. So I’m making a conscious effort to use it minimally. I am using my quiet moments for journaling, for prayer, for peace.
There is nothing like spending your second wedding anniversary alone to make you feel more like a Widow. A word that I haven’t wanted to feel for months. If I accepted that, I was accepting my new life. A life I never wanted for us. If I called myself a Widow, that meant my husband was no longer my husband. He was my LATE husband. It was acceptance that he was never going to introduce me as his wife in a crowded room ever again. Ouch. For months I chose not to feel that. I told random strangers of my husband like he was still here. I talked as if I were still married. Though the love between us will never end, our marriage did. I am no longer married. I am a widow. The day after our anniversary I came to terms with that. You may never understand the weight of this action, I pray you never do. I changed my relationship status on Facebook from Married to Widowed. I chose to feel the pain of that status. I chose to heal that wound instead of continuing to slap a bandaid on it.
I see hope. As I let myself feel and sort through the mess, I am slowly coming back. My heart that was once shattered across the floor is putting itself together piece by piece. It takes A LOT of effort.
I have a friend who does really large puzzles. I’m sure hers are 1,000 plus pieces. She has her table where she goes to sit and put it together. She uses a fancy light so she can see things clearly. She never finishes it in one sitting. She comes back to that table time and time again to dig into the work of the beautiful masterpiece. I’m sure there are some days it feels like she will never finish. If she looked at one individual puzzle piece she would never be able to envision the bigger picture.
That’s where I am at in my journey. I am going back to that table day after day. I shine light in the dark, painful wounds. I can’t see the weight of each individual step I take. I don’t know what the future has in store. But I continue, in hope of a beautiful masterpiece.
A healthy, whole, fun, loving, bubbly, joyous, hopeful, rich, and flourishing masterpiece.

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