Almost a year and I can feel again!
So in 23 days it will be 1 year since I lost my husband. I am preparing mentally and emotionally for this day; although I am not sure what to expect. I would think I wouldn't have any more tears left because of those, what seemed like, endless nights crying and crying. That was proven wrong when I held our wedding rings in my hand a couple of weeks ago; took me 2 days to get back up from that. One can't leave behind 19 years of memories, good times, bad times, scary times, loving times, poor times, rich times, every single moment possible because of a deep commitment between a man and a woman. Until death do us part, and it did. I learned alot from my husband; a loyal man always there when someone needed him. I will always have a piece of him in my heart, always. I move forward a different woman because of these 19 years, because of the influence this man had over my heart and life. I learned alot about marriage, about being a wife and about being a caregiver to my husband. This is definitely not the same as being a caregiver to my son. First of all, I became my son's caregiver at 9 weeks after birth when we found out his diagnosis. I became my husband's caregiver at 17 years of marriage, in 2 years my title of wife seemed to fade as I became nurse, representative, power of attorney, and sometimes, what felt like mom to my husband. These strokes were slowly turning him into a child.
There was nothing worse, than watching my role fade as wife, his role disappear as husband, as his health grew weaker. He grew weak and I had to grow stronger, above his capacity. This was painful, considering I wasn't done being his wife, help mate, learning how to walk in submission as the Bible teaches. My love for him had to change, it was now a love that focused on his health, holding his hand to get from point A to point B. Romantic love and that mutual support had to be set aside, as I waited and prayed for a miracle, that God would heal and restore. My commitment as wife was there 100%, but much of what I felt was a motherly love at one point, as he became more and more helpless. There was a point when I even forgot I was a woman. The last 6 months of his life were brutal for the both of us. All I remember were doctors, therapists, pharmacies; long exhausting phone calls with insurance companies and appointments. I was a care giving robot, at this point just barking out orders to my husband and my children to keep every one on schedule, my husband following close behind me; honestly don't really remember the emotional or mental condition of my kids. I do know they were not doing well.
I was advised, at one point, to take a weekend off and go to a hotel to sleep and rest by myself. I asked my mom and family to stay at the house and watch my husband and children for exactly 24 hours. Later I find out that my mom thought I was going to the hotel to commit suicide. This is how hard it had gotten, but I didn't see myself, I was too busy trying to keep my husband alive and my children healthy.
At the end of it all, God healed and restored my husband, just not the way I expected Him to do it. His ways are not my ways. Now I focus on my children, what I have been unable to do in these past few years. I also focus on taking steps forward. God had a plan for my husband and I He has a plan for me and my children.
One thing I am settling into is feeling. I can feel again! I stopped feeling, it hurt too much to feel. It hurt too much to reach out to my husband for emotional support, for physical intimacy or just a hug; just to realize I am now asking too much of him because of this wicked illness. I chose to be strong, move forward, suck it up and (whatever you do Laura) DON'T FEEL! There is no time! There are appointments, phone calls, medical journals and notes to fill out, keep records and receipts, and smile so the children have peace knowing mom's got this. Somewhere in between that feed the family.
Now I am feeling, I have spent months just feeling the pain of separation from my husband, feeling the pain of watching my children hurt. I have felt a deep physical pain in my chest and shoulders which comes from a broken heart. I have given myself permission to be angry, frustrated, scared and confused. Now I am on my way to feeling some balance, peace, happiness, joy, hope in the future God has planned. I am feeling love. I have more love to give! This is scary but so worth it. I can feel again!
I now listen to my body when it's tired. I hear my heart telling me its time to cry. I also see the need for laughter and smiling, for rest and fun. The pain comes in waves, the pain of what should have been, in my own head. The inner protest of "this is not how it was supposed to be". Just the simple heartache of missing the man I devoted 19 years to and gave me 3 beautiful children. I will feel all of this freely now.
As I approach the first anniversary of my husband's departure, I embrace God's plan and purpose!