It started out with a bad week. Everyone has them. A day where things go wrong and you have to struggle to breathe or not strangle your children, followed by another day with more problems and self-restraint, and then before you know it the whole week is almost gone and you no longer feel like you. The details aren’t important but here they are…
Monday I started packing and depersonalizing my house to put it on the market. I heard that helps it sell and I really need it to sell. My favorite canvas pictures came down and got boxed up. The smiling face of my husband no longer looked down on me. I could no longer look up at him. It broke my heart all over again but I knew it had to be done sometime so I kept going. Those boxes that held my heart, along with random crap I should just throw away, got stacked up and thrown around all over and my messy house got that much messier. Clutter stresses me out but I didn’t have the energy to clean it up so I dealt.
On Tuesday I got all four of my wisdom teeth taken out. The actual getting them yanked out part was cool but the recovery – not so cool. I can’t say I enjoyed holding bags of frozen peas on my face every half an hour and watching the clock to be sure I took my pain meds on time. Too much to keep track of. With the pills, the pain wasn’t too bad but it drained the little energy I had right out of my body.
Wednesday Jonah started throwing up again and that gave me anxiety, upsetting my stomach like anxiety always does. I felt his pain, literally, and that night neither of us got more than a few hours of sleep. I’m used to getting little sleep but eventually, they say, it catches up to you. I think it caught up.
Then there was Thursday and my little Madie decided to go besark. She has started her ‘terrible twos’ way too early and the timing couldn’t be worse. All day, most all the time, she screams. She screams and she screams and she screams. The screaming. Screaming and screaming and screaming. So much screaming. And she’s loud. She takes after her daddy in the volume department. The screaming is incredibly difficult to handle.
I didn’t eat dinner that night, I didn’t feel like it. If you’ve seen me you can agree that me skipping a meal is rare. That should have been a clue that something bad was about to happen. In a novel it would have been classified as foreshadowing. But I didn’t have that kind of insight that night.
After my non dinner, my good friend Heather came over. She checked with me before-hand to make sure it was okay and I said it was. I thought it would be. Heather is great and I love her to pieces. But her presence, though no fault of her own, was just one more thing for me to deal with, one more thing for me to do, one more thing for me to look at and acknowledge. It was the cherry on top of the ice cream sunday that was my week… and it broke me.
I didn’t know how I was feeling at first I just knew I didn’t like it and that I wasn’t okay. I wanted to run away and never return. Dan always knew how I felt and why, especially when I couldn’t figure it out for myself and even when I could. He heard my heart and understood it’s language. He understood me better than anyone in the whole world. Our relationship was on another level than most. We connected and communicated… almost like we were still in Heaven on the other side of the veil. Try as I might I’ll NEVER be able to explain it.
I texted Patrick, told him how I was feeling. He informed me that I was OVERWHELMED. Duh, why didn’t I think of that? It made sense. He is wise that way, just like my husband was. Patrick, Daniel’s best friend, is the only one that can come close to understanding. Not only has he dealt with more than his fair share of grief, he too had that kind of a relationship with my husband. Not in a romantic way of course. But the connection and communication was similar. They talked everyday. Not about sports or politics but real, personal stuff. The kind of stuff most people could never utter in fear of being judged or humiliated or misunderstood.
After Heather left, I left too. I went outside for a walk. I desperately needed fresh air and silence. I ended up in a field. The same high school soccer field that Daniel and I went to often, mostly at night.
My favorite night in that field was when it was snowing. I love snow fall! I was wearing my fluffy white jacket with the hood on and he was wearing at least four layers of clothing, a scarf and a couple beanies. We laughed and ran around and threw snowballs at each other and hugged and kissed. All that newly married bliss stuff. That’s how our relationship was, stuck in the newlywed stage. This particular memory happened not too long before the next one I thought about. We were in the field again playing with our daughter. Kicking a ball. More running. Always the laughter. So much love.
After walking around in a few circles like a puppy chasing his tail I decided to lay down. That Thursday night I laid down in that field and I cried. I cried and cried. (I’m really good at crying now. I should get a medal.) Right when the tears stopped and I was at a loss of what to do my phone rang. It was Patrick. He talked to me for an hour. He helped me put some pieces together. I could have talked to him all night. He’s the closest thing to Daniel that I have now. But alas, he has a life and had to go.
I didn’t want to leave the field yet. I NEVER EVER wanted to leave that field. I wanted to lay there and cry until I was eaten alive by bugs or at least kicked in the head by school kids with their soccer balls. After reluctantly hanging up the phone I scrolled through instagram and that’s when saw this:
It’s part of our marriage quote. Some couples have a special song, we have this quote. The next part goes like this, “But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.” Daniel used it in his proposal and his vows. We have it printed out in our bedroom. It’s special. To both of us. When my eyes saw this and sent the message to my brain – I collapsed. I was already on the ground but emotionally, I collapsed.
I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.
I feel apart again. It wasn’t pretty. Patrick tried to help but it wasn’t entirely working. My gratitude for him trying was huge but I just wanted my husband. I’ve felt that way pretty much the whole time since he has been gone but this was different. It was more intense. Not angry (still hoping that doesn’t come) just different. Deeper, more real. More permanent. As the days go by it’s sinking in. I’ve got a long life ahead of me without him. It doesn’t always seem fair that time goes by so much faster for him than it will for me. Why couldn’t I have gone with him? My kids just scream all day anyway, they don’t need me. I begged Patrick to come and take my life away. Another hour passed. It was pitch black and my phone was about to die. I needed my phone to get out of that field. I had to make a choice.
I got the courage, or rather I just didn’t give a damn at the time, to text a person I had on my mind. We went to high school together. She was popular so we weren’t friends but I always thought she was nice and pretty amazing. Turns out she still is. She talked to me. She told me her story. Without meaning to, she helped me realize that I prefer my own. She gave me my perspective back.
It was about this time that Patrick told me to go home, he made me promise to tell him when I was back safe and sound. That night they both helped me make my choice. They made me shiny again. God made me shiny again by leading me to the people I needed.
Yes I had a moment of weakness but I’m still me and I can still be bright. I know I’ll have moments like this again and again. Even worse ones too, I’m sure of it now. But life is a choice. In that field on that Thursday night I chose to get off the ground. I chose to put my feet under me and arise. It felt good. It felt right. My strength returned with each step. I will choose to stay bright and now I know better of what that means. It doesn’t mean that things will always be perfect, that I’ll always be strong. It means that I will persevere. I will make it through the dark times and be better for it.
I walked home and eventually I opened that front door. I put one foot in front of the other and I made it inside. I was dirty and covered in grass but I was home. I’ve got this! I’ve still got this. With God’s help I can do this. With God’s help, and the help of those working for him, I can do anything.