Oh no! The 3-month mark?! 100 days after Jay had passed was the hardest time I have had in the 10 years since his loss. At this point, the numb feeling wore off and I began to realize he wasn’t coming back and I really was a widow. For people who have never lost anyone before – thinking it took 100 days to figure that out sounds completely laughable, but it’s true. The first 3 months I was in a fog. I was not sleeping well, stressfully trying to keep up with the normal (not so normal) everyday life, and trying to calm my heart down, (ouch- the thud of my heart each morning when I woke up and recognized this really was happening!)
My brain couldn’t figure all of this out. Until 3 months and it all became very clear. This was my new life and I was going to have to find new ways to cope. I didn’t know very many widows or widowers to ask what was going on. Facebook groups of this kind didn’t exist that I knew of. The only books I found were ones with quotes and I needed much more than just cute words. Or there were books written by psychologists who talked to people about their loss but hadn’t gone through it themselves. Looks like I was on my own to figure this out. That’s why I write is to help others on this path to know they are not alone and to help expedite the process of learning if possible.
I did NOT have much in my “toolbox” on how to cope with the tragedy. I wasn’t the best communicator so I couldn’t describe to others how this felt. It just hurt.
What I came up with were things I had learned at the gym. Yoga taught me to breathe through it all. Kickboxing helped me get the anger out. (this felt awesome!) In spin class, I could fly away -fast for an hour. It seemed the only people that could help me fight crappy feelings were at the gym. SO each morning after I dropped off all my kids at school I went to the gym for about 3 hours a day. I guess it was a healthy release and my body rocked after months and months of workouts that lasted 3 hours a day. I wasn’t eating very much at all and it was my trainer at the gym that told me I could not keep working out like this and eating so little. I was about 90 pounds. Laura told me I had to drink Ensure shakes to get at least some basic nutrition. I did it and I did start to feel a bit better.
I write to express my feelings so I had started a blog and wrote on Sundays. This helped me to get it out of my heart onto paper. It also helped me when tons of people were calling to see how I was doing. I could just write it once and they could read it. I liked talking to my friends on the phone but telling the story over and over was too much for me.
The next tool I found that I had never used before was saying YES to help. I didn’t like to have to use people. Maybe I’m still like a 2-year-old and want to do everything By Myself! But I couldn’t. There was no way. I couldn’t concentrate at all. Paperwork of all kinds was bursting out of my home office. Homework with the kids- I suddenly had no idea how to do 3rd-grade math or come up with a science project. My parents came over a few times a week and helped me fill out the mounds of paperwork I had. When someone dies it is crazy all the stuff you have to do and without a functioning brain, it’s super difficult. My parents helped with laundry and fixing stuff around the house and dinners. Amazing help! I am so blessed to have these two sweet angels in my life. But there were more angels that appeared. I would pray for help and then the help would arrive. Neighbors offered to watch my kids while I got some really important stuff done -like staring at the wall. One friend was a teacher and helped my youngest with homework a couple of times a week. People would take me and my kids away to have fun like ice skating and going out to dinner. Neighbors brought me dinner for months a few times a week. SO thoughtful! My next door neighbor kept my yard looking awesome. I have no idea to this day how to even turn a lawn mower on. This journey showed me often how much I didn’t know. Luckily someone did and showed up willing to help. The world is filled with really good people.
Music helped me as the gym did. It can raise my spirit in seconds. I made playlists and turned it up loud! Probably drove my neighbors crazy but I survived another day without a highly functioning brain.
As I mentioned before there were many angels on earth willing to help me. What was so incredible that I had not felt daily was angels from heaven helping me. I put total trust in them. It may sound crazy but I was. I have never felt safe in my home staying alone. I know I was 40 years old, but still liked to sleep over at my moms with my kids if I had a chance when Jay went hunting. So to put this simply I did not like to sleep alone (with kids) in my house. Now it was every day. Are you kidding me! I seriously had no idea how to do this. I couldn’t sleep at my parent’s house- I had kids and teens who had to go to school every day. There was not an option here except to get down on my knees and ask for help. I knew they would be there because I felt them strongly since the first day he was missing (this was a clue that he was no longer living) I asked and believed that angels would watch over us at night. For some crazy reason, I slept just fine every single night. Well, I didn’t exactly sleep fine, but I didn’t worry about safety ever. It really felt like an army of warriors surrounding my home. They stayed there for months and months. Just ask and they’ll come to help. It worked for me! It felt like after a few months that some of my army of angels left because it was fine, but some never left. This is really hard to describe to people but I believe there is a veil that divides the living from those in heaven. It is VERY thin when you lose someone close to you. I felt many individual people there at my home and surrounding it. This is one of those incredible blessings you get from going through this that other people may not be aware of – the spiritual piece. I know that when people pass away they are still around us along with many other angels.
You can do this. Somehow through it all, I not only survived but thrived and came out of this whirlwind a better person. I still grieve in different ways after 10 years but have learned better coping skills and what to do when faced with drama and trauma. I will grieve my entire life I’m sure. Losing my husband and father of my children will never be something I just “get over”. My life will never be the same and I guess now I’m grateful for that. I loved and that makes it a part of me and my heart forever.
WOW- Sometimes I feel like Wonder Woman because I fight every day to win and be positive. Haha, so she’s my hero right now. Only LOVE can save this world. I stay, I fight and I give.