Early in my grief I read about the concept of “the waiting room.” I don’t think I fully understood it at the time. As I reflected this week, I realized I was sitting in that very room and had no idea. The writer who introduced me to this concept talks about people staying there for prolonged amounts of time. No longer did I want to stay there after I realized I had arrived. Recently I have been sitting in the waiting room just waiting for life to restart. I knew so many obstacles would come with the first year, the birth of our second son, and so on. I’ve been waiting for my grief to be small enough to say “now I can live again.”
I think it’s pretty accurate to compare grief to driving on country roads. You know you are slowly making progress but not quite sure exactly where you are. Than you hit a road and you know you have made it past a huge portion of the trip or obstacle. Every crossroad bringing you that much closer to your destination.
This week I hit what seems like a huge crossroad. In two different occasions I noticed a shift in my heart. Up until recently all of my quiet thoughts were given to my loss, to my grief. My brain and heart have not stopped in 11 months. The other day I was snuggling the boys and watching cartoons. Usually I’m planning a to do list, or reminiscing memories of Fareed. But I didn’t, and for 5-10 straight minutes I just sat there and was present. I have been present since his passing, but never in these quiet moments. Before you knew it, louder than anything, the realization that I can be – hit me. I was there. Fully.
I may be one tough cookie and have way more on my plate too even process this with people, but having two kids under two is hard work. Losing Fareed has made me cherish (even more) every beautiful moment with these boys. On the really hard days I catch myself being angry that he’s not here to help. I catch myself sad that they won’t know how much he did help. I want to call him and just chat about the obstacles. Or process parenting with him as we fall asleep together. Everything goes back to my loss. I think I will always miss him as my partner in life. What shifted was my focus on losing him. It was a really long day and both my mom and I were exhausted. And sorry for you non parents, my oldest decided to go to the bathroom in the tub. This is no easy obstacle to clean and disinfect child, toys, and tub all while watching a baby. Just a month ago I would have cried because Fareed wasn’t here. Everything hard sparked an emotion in me amplifying my loss. But this didn’t. I went into go mode and got the job done. Halfway through I noticed my mind shift and I was even more motivated to get everything cleaned up. I realized my strength, and that my loss no longer defined me. I am a Solo mom and I can do this.
With this newfound acceptance and strength, I realized I recently opened the door to the waiting room. I have been waiting for the bad to pass so the good can start. The problem- life has had good moments since He passed, and the future will still have bad moments because of his loss. See, people get stuck in the waiting room because they wait for an obstacle or a person to tell them it’s ok to smile again. They don’t allow themselves to live until the guilt of grief is gone.
I knew right away I never wanted to get stuck in grief. I had a little boy relying on me, another little boy I was bringing into the world alone. So I looked grief in the face and said, you won’t take my life too. And so the journey began- and I dug deep into this crazy widowhood thing. It hasn’t come without many tears and a deep longing for Fareed. The realization that I was sitting in that waiting room gave me a choice.
I can sit in a cold, quiet, comfortable room with my grief. I can keep replaying the sorrow, the sadness and heartache. I can say life wasn’t fair and I didn’t deserve this. I can say it’s to hard. I could close myself off to truly living because I’ve already lost too much.
Or I can open the waiting room door and take a leap of faith. I am a strong person. I believe life after loss can be beautiful again. Being a solo parent has its challenges, but I can do this. I will miss Fareed everyday. But in honor of him, I’m going to go live.
I smiled (and cried) this week when someone brought something beautiful too my attention. My husband was a remarkable man. And of all people, He chose me to love, cherish, and make a family with. He loved my strength, and my giggly side. He loved how simple I am. How I am optimistic even when things go wrong. He would be proud of who I am and who I am becoming. He was and still is my best cheerleader.
So with his voice rooting me on, I’m pushing through that waiting room door. I am building a life for the Boys and I that is beautiful once again! No more waiting for the grief to lessen. Our future is waiting for us and we have the best fan sitting in heaven.