Four Months

It has been four months since he died. On the one hand, one-third of a year doesn’t seem like much time at all. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime in these last four months. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, reach for my phone to call, text or send him some nonsensical picture or search for his presence around me. As I tell myself, life goes on and so must I. Is it easy? HELL NO! Do I miss him? Every single day. Do I wish things were different? Of course.

“The reality is, you will grieve forever. you will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it.

You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same, nor should you want to.”

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I believe that things happens for a reason. I just don’t know the reasoning behind this “happening” yet. Is it to make me a stronger person? Perhaps. More independent? Perhaps that, too. Make me appreciate my family and life more? Could be. Live more in the moment? Possibly. I don’t believe that I will ever truly understand the “why” of what happened. I’m not sure I’m even supposed to understand it. Therefore, I will continue to have faith that I am where I’m supposed to be and so is he.

And while I learn to move forward on my own, taking care of things for myself and my children, I am learning that I am pretty capable of doing just that. Hard things, easy things…all of the things. I am not the first or the last person to suffer loss. It just makes it a bit more profound because I too suffered from the “this won’t happen to me” mentality. Well, it did happen to me. Today and every single day forward, I must live with this fact.

I think this attitude that I used to have is why I find people’s lackadaisical attitude toward Covid so frustrating. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Covid doesn’t care that you’re healthy. Covid doesn’t care that you have a family that loves and needs you. Covid doesn’t care that people are tired, frustrated and demoralized.

Four months. Too long and yet not long enough. Four months down…I can do this.

How are you?

People LOVE to ask “How are you?” after you’ve lost someone close to you. It’s like a kneejerk reaction to seeing you out and about doing the day-to-day things that are required by life. They always say it in this soft, whispery voice and touch my hand.

I never know how to answer this question. Physically, I am fine. Mentally and emotionally…not so fine. I just told my boss’ wife…”Physically, I am fine. Mentally and emotionally, I am one step away from needing a gallon bottle of vodka at any given moment.” I don’t want to give the impression that I’m using alcohol to self-medicate. I’m not. In fact, I’ve gone completely the other way. Alcohol would be the easy way out. Sure the numbness would help for a hot second, but the hangover isn’t worth it and the respite would be brief. But if I’m to be honest, sometimes, I’d like just the brief respite from the grief. It’s a heavy mantle to bear.

Last week my daughter and I were talking, and I told her that I am sure that I show all sorts of common signs of depression. Who wouldn’t given the circumstances.

  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions ✓
  • Fatigue ✓
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness ✓
  • Pessimism and hopelessness ✓
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much ✓
  • Crankiness ✓
  • Restlessness ✓
  • Loss of interest in things once pleasurable ✓
  • Overeating, or appetite loss ✓
  • Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away ✓
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings ✓

Yep…all the classic symptoms. It doesn’t change anything. I still have responsibilities — my family, work, school, etc. Those responsibilities keep me moving forward. It would be too easy to give in to the overwhelming desire to lock my door and stay in bed for days at a time. Oh don’t get me wrong…there are times (usually weekends) when I give myself grace, and I let myself stay there supine and sloth-like. But I remind myself that the world keeps going, and so must I keep going. He would want that. He’s probably in heaven rolling his eyes and telling me I can do this. He’s right. I can. I don’t want to. But I can do this.

I realize and understand (I think) that my grief journey will not be short, easy or uncomplicated. I will take it as it comes. I will be okay. I will remember the good times, the hard times, the in-between times and the love. I will cherish the gifts I have been given.

You have permission to smile, do regular things and enjoy your life, today, even while the world is heavy. It does not mean you don’t care. It means you are showing up for your life while you are still living.

Lisa Whittle