Author Topic: Today was a day of firsts, and an emotional roller coaster  (Read 829 times)

Karin

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Today was a day of firsts, and an emotional roller coaster
« on: November 15, 2015, 12:11:31 AM »
Today was the first family gathering with my in-laws since DH's funeral and the first time I've seen his parents since then.  I've visited with each of his sisters and a few other members of their families and talked to many of them (including his parents) on the phone, but today was the first time I saw them all as a group, and I wasn't sure how I'd be able to handle it.

Something about DH's funeral service, or the priest who presided, or just the reminder of our mortality prompted my niece to decide to have her 2-year-old little girl baptized.  That's what brought us all back together today, just one month later.  I wanted to go, and at the same time, I wanted to just crawl back in bed and cry.  I convinced myself to go, if only for the baptism ceremony.  I didn't have to go to the party after.  I had no definite plans beyond the church ceremony, and decided to see how I felt about the party when the time came.

I ran into some of the family, including two sweet adorable little girls, in the parking garage on the way in, so it was nice to walk into the church with them instead of all alone.  I was probably the only person crying during the ceremony, not for any religious reasons but just because all I could think was that he should have been there with me for this.  He adored all of his family.

I decided to go to the party, at least for a little while, but not without tackling another "first" before I went.  I stopped at the cemetery (or "memorial park") for my first visit.  I don't need to be there to talk to him, and I probably won't visit often, but today, stopping felt right.  The place is absolutely huge, and unless you know just exactly where you're going or you have a map, you might spend hours walking around without finding the right site, especially without a headstone to mark it yet.  So, I went to the office to ask them to mark the right place on the map for me.  Not tremendously helpful, as there are lots of markings on the paper map, but none on the actual landscape. . . . so there's still some guesswork and hunting involved.  And yet, I parked in exactly the right place to walk straight back in the row right to his spot, temporarily marked by a little plate bearing his name.  No guessing, no walking around searching.  I stood there for a while, talking to him and crying, and poked an American flag into the ground there for him.  He was always so proud and patriotic, so I know he would like that.  But, I didn't feel any closer to him there than if I were talking to him while lying in my bed.  He's not there, in the ground.  He's in my heart, soul, mind, and memories.  I felt closer to him on the beach in Monterey a couple of weeks ago, sitting in the gazebo where he proposed, than I did standing there in the cemetery.  I'll go back when the headstone is there, just to make sure everything is correct, but I don't know how many more visits I'll make.

After, I did go to the party, and even stayed longer than I thought I would.  One of my nieces, after having read some guidance on coping with grief and seeing a counselor herself, had the courage to risk making us both sadder and talk about how we can help each other through this.  She understood that we're all grieving, but we're all grieving different relationships, and if we can't make it better, can we talk about how to make it "not worse" for each other?  It was the start of a really honest, open conversation that, over the course of the afternoon, pulled in some other family members as well.  What it really came down to, for us, is that we need to be open and honest, acknowledge how much this sucks, and just be there for each other, whether that means talking, sitting in silence, or cursing the world together (or all three in the space of 5 minutes).  I was glad she opened the topic, because many of them were afraid to upset me or hurt me in some way, so they didn't know what to say.  Bottom line . . . . . no meaningless platitudes.  Say what you really feel.  If you ask how I'm doing, mean it, and don't tune me out or get upset if the answer is longer and more complicated than "okay" or "hanging in there".  If you don't really want the answer, don't ask the question.  Most importantly, talk about him often.  Don't avoid talking about him for fear of making me sad.  I want to hear all of those stories.  I need to hear them.  He lived, and I don't want to forget any of it.  I may cry, will probably cry, but I'm not fragile or broken, so please don't treat me that way.  That conversation felt like a great first step in healing for all of us.

I'm still struggling, though, with seeing his parents.  I had been in town a few weeks ago, but I didn't go to their house.  I wasn't ready.  I still don't feel ready.  As irrational as it sounds, I feel like I failed them, and I'm not sure how to face them.  Rationally, I know that DH was a grown adult (was already a grown adult when we met), and that he was responsible for taking care of himself.  On the other hand, it was just him and me, a team, and I feel like we each had one major job, that of taking care of each other.  He was their baby, youngest in his family, I took him away, and it was my job to take care of him . . . . and I failed.  I know that's not really true, and his parents don't feel that way at all, but until I can shake this feeling, it's very hard for me to see them.  I feel like such a fraud, because they love me so much for loving and taking care of their baby and making him happy, but in my mind, I failed.  I can't share this with them, as I don't want them to feel any blame for the irrational feelings I have, and I know they would feel bad.  They're grieving for their child, so they certainly don't need that added stress.  And I know they want to see me, so I feel like a terrible person for withholding that visit from them, but I don't know how to get past it and let go of this feeling that I let them down.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 12:19:20 AM by Karin »

ssdad

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Re: Today was a day of firsts, and an emotional roller coaster
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 07:30:03 AM »
Thanks for sharing, Karin. It feels like we are many people when we do things now. Or maybe people with many different takes on things. I wonder how he would have been at the event. I wonder how the non widow me would be. I wonder what people are really thinking. ...

donswife

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Re: Today was a day of firsts, and an emotional roller coaster
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 09:05:52 AM »
what an emotional day for you
filled with Highs and lows ,
thanks for sharing
and giving the rest of us strength for when we approach these difficult days
take care
My everything

Jen

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Re: Today was a day of firsts, and an emotional roller coaster
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2015, 04:24:35 PM »
(((((HUGS))))))
I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. ~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Dying is easy. Living is hard. ~George Washington, Hamilton