A Month of Sadness

One month ago today, I was called by a friend to tell me that my husband had died. During this past month, I’ve not had a great time dealing with that horrible news. The range of emotions have been total devastation to fond memories. I can’t say I’ve been actually happy, but there have been moments of peace, though few, where I know he is no longer suffering. 

I’ve been sad mostly. Not a day has gone by where he has not crossed my mind, and therefore his loss has always been looming. It helps to think about the happier memories, but there is always that overwhelming nagging in the back of my head that says that while the memories are great, there will never be any more. I’m angry, i feel guilty and like a failure, and I’m scared. 

I’m angry for different reasons. Angry that he didn’t listen to me. Angry with myself that I didn’t force him. Angry at other people that seem to focus solely on how he died, rather than the person he was.  Angry that I cannot have his things, OUR things. Angry that I cry, and angrier when I just can’t cry anymore. Angry that I’ve not had a sign from him to know that he’s at peace. Angry that the one thing that has always brought me comfort in troubled times, music, just reminds me of him. Angry that I have to live without him….and angrier still that I have no idea how to do that. 

I feel guilty for not being a better example. He was going through a battle I faced years ago. Did I somehow fail to set a better example? Was there more I could have said or done? Did I not love him enough for him to see how it was affecting us? Did I not make it easy enough to love me enough to face his demons? What could I have done, said, showed, been differently? The unanswered questions just bring on another wave of anger and sorrow. 

I’m scared to go on with life. How do I go on, knowing he can’t, he won’t? How am I supposed to act? How long will it hurt? Does the pain subside, or ebb and flow for the rest of my life? The heartache I feel scares me. I feel like I’ll never heal. So many things I do, see, and hear throughout the day only remind me he is gone. I’m scared I’ll never know the answers about him. I’m absolutely terrified he died not knowing how much I loved him, how much I always will. If I were to die, would I see him again? I’m too scared to think about that…I could never run the risk of dying and losing him forever versus at least living and having my memories. I’m too scared to live without him, too scared to die and never know. 

I feel like a zombie going through my life. It’s changed dramatically, and the “what ifs” just keep piling up. I can’t forget, but I’m having trouble moving on. The guilt, the anger, the fear are preventing me from actually living. I’m just a shell going through the motions of life, knowing that a part of me is dead. 

It’s The Living That Make Death Hard

I’ve been dealing with a great loss for close to a month now. I think I’ve achieved all the stages of grief at some point in time, some more than others. Some days it’s all I can do to get out of bed, other days I spend a lot of time distracting myself, and a handful of times I’ve felt at peace with the death of someone so important to me. It’s a personal journey of grief that I may never fully feel has ended. At least not any time soon. 

The worst part of dealing with my loss has become those still around me. With Tim’s death, I am able to pick and choose what, when, and how I choose to remember, I can block out the bad times, focus on the good, and remember him in a light that I am comfortable with. I am by no means trying to paint him as a saint in my mind, but silly little things we got mad at each other about 5 years ago seem trivial. Who cares about the  breaking of a coffee mug, when you can remember when and why it was bought and how you felt it was the perfect gift at the time? Why focus on how mad he was when I got a bleach spot on his favorite shirt, when I can remember how good he looked wearing it? See what I mean?

But the living….well, they are another story. On a daily basis, I am forced to allow people that I am not close with into my personal space for hugs, pats, and hand holding to show me support for a loss that they are not personally suffering. Nor are we close enough that I feel that I need comforted by them. It’s different for family and close friends, I wish I could hug them and not let go until the pain goes away. 

Often I am questioned about Tim’s cause of death. At the time of this writing, I do not yet know. It could be 6-8 weeks before the full coroner’s report comes back. But the thing that irks me most is that HOW he died is irrelevant to those on the outskirts of our life.  You (theoretical people asking) were not a part of his life, why do you feel compelled to know the intimate details of his death? I feel that information is for us, his family, and us alone. Even people that were close with him, I’d like him be remembered for the great person he was, rather than what he died of. I don’t feel that publicizing that information will set anyone’s mind at ease, I don’t feel that it would provide any life lessons to those who didn’t really know him, and I don’t feel that knowing how he died would do anything to honor his memory. And constantly asking me is not helping me to focus on the good times we had, it merely is a slap in the face to remind me he is gone. 

Another thing I get asked frequently that pissed me off is “but you two were separated, right?” Yes, that is true, Tim and I were separated, that doesn’t mean I immediately stopped loving him the moment I moved out. Nor does it mean I had given up any hope of reconciling. Was I giving him space to do what he needed to do? Yes. Were we still in contact? Yes, often. Had I cut him out of my life? Absolutely not, nor would I ever.  But even if the answers to those questions were opposite, it still doesn’t discount the 11 years of love I had already had with him. A love like ours doesn’t just die the minute you decide to work on your own issues separately. In fact, in my mind, our seven month separation seems irrelevant now. I never stopped loving him, I’ve got it on good authority that he felt the same about me. 

The worst part of all of this is how others seem to think I’m just going to go back to life with the same zest I had before. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. I was entitled to three paid days off from work for my loss, which was definitely not enough. I took five before I felt strong enough to show my face in public. I’ve had a couple vacation days since then as well, so I could attend gatherings with family. I’ll be taking another five next week surrounding his celebration of life. Do I think that it is enough? No, not at all. But I understand that life goes on around me, and the world didn’t stop just because MY world died. Working has been a nice distraction, despite the constant questioning. I’m not going to cease being sad. I cannot just stop my heart from breaking. I do not want to just forget about him and move on. 

I may never be back to the way I once was. This has affected me greatly, and I can’t imagine a time where I will put it on the back burner and forget it. What I’d like, in lieu of the aforementioned comments, is for people to ask me to tell them about a good memory of Tim rather than his death. Ask me about when I knew I loved him rather why we were separated. Ask me what you can do to help rather than just assume I’m back to normal. I may not ever be like I was, and that’s ok. But I wish others would stop making it worse. 

About My Late Husband

Tim and I met in a chat room on the internet in 2004. We talked a lot, got to know each other, even were at the same club at the time on more than one occasion. We had an astounding amount of mutual friends and ran in the same circle. I pursued him for nearly two years to actually go out with me. On February 2, 2006 we did, and we’re together from that moment forward. I didn’t want anyone else but him, it was a case of love on the first date. A date that lasted three days. Within a few months, he moved in with me in Indiana (he lived in Ohio previously). He was not thrilled about living there, I could tell, but he did it because he loved me. 

Getting to know Tim took a long time. He had an interesting life, and was very adventurous. The son of an Air Force veteran, he moved around a lot as a child, and lived in a lot of places around the country and in the United Kingdom. He had done and seen so much growing up that learning about it took a while. It made my childhood growing up on a farm and being in the same school system with the same friends my whole life seem lame in comparison. Little did I know at the time we envied each other. 

Tim was extremely interested in, and good at, being artistic. Home decor, painting, crafts, bonsai, fashion design, the list goes on. While I am perfectly content with a chair to sit in and a t.v. to watch, Tim wanted our place to be pleasing to look at. He painted nearly every place we lived, made (or a few times) purchased artwork for the walls, rearranged the furniture to be complimentary to the room, and he had an incredible eye for detail when making sure that everything was just perfect (i.e. the heighth of a lamp in comparison to things around it). The attention he gave everything astounded me. 

Tim was also the smartest man I’ve ever met. He had a unquenchable thirst for knowledge. If any subject came to his attention to which he was unaware, he’d read everything he could on the subject. While I read far more books than he did, I rarely read anything to broaden my knowledge, but he would read manuals, websites, articles, and all other manner of informational literature. I would go so far as to say he was an expert in several topics. He had an excellent memory, so once he learned something, it stayed with him. His memory was both a blessing and a curse for me, while he remembered positive things, he also remembered what I said he didn’t like four years ago….

Tim loved to dress up. Any occasion for him to wear a suit and tie was a thrill for him. I am a tee shirt and jeans kind of guy, actually hate wearing ties, so this was an often an uncomfortable time. Never once did I deny him the opportunity to get me fancy though. He’d stand behind me and tie my tie, I think he secretly loved it, though he never admitted as much. He often set clothes out for me to wear. On more than one occasion, he informed me that IS what I’d be wearing, to get over it. Jokingly, he’d say “just listen to me, you know you have no fashion sense”.

Tim was the funniest person I know. He made me laugh daily, even during rough times. His sense of humor was strong. Puns were a particular favorite of his. As I mentioned before, his memory was long, and as my common sense isn’t as great as my actual knowledge, he’d often remember silly things I said and remind me. He never made me feel like he was laughing AT me though, always with me. 

Tim was an excellent cook. He hated repeating meals in any close time frame. Sometimes it would be months before we repeated a recipe, and even then he would change it up (improve it, he called it). He knew what tastes, spices, cooking techniques went well together. He was great at “pleasing your palate”, making sure he satisfied all your tastes sensations. I remember an informative lecture after dinner one night about umami, one of the tastes on your tongue. 

Tim was an avid video gamer. His favorite was all of the Legend of Zelda games. He’d play for hours. He’d cuss, scream, and take breaks when he couldn’t figure out a part, but he was pretty good at them. I don’t have the hand-eye coordination to play really, but I’d watch him play. He always thought that was weird, but I’d sit and watch like it was a movie. 

Tim was both far gayer and far manlier than I am. We often joked about that, I was sub-par on both fronts. He was a drag queen, designed his own outfits, cooked, crafted, and several other things that could be construed as more “feminine”. But on the other hand he was extremely handy about fixing things, building things, and he had a very deep voice, all things that seemed “manly”. 

Tim was a night owl. Rarely did he ever go to bed before the sun came up. When I took my promotion at work and had to work days, he was furious. Not for the promotion, but because it was going to limit our time together. As a compromise, I’d sleep while he was at work, so I could spend time with him at night, then I’d catch a small nap before work. Though he refused to take me to work (I don’t drive), he was usually still awake when I left. He often told me the dark inspired him, that is when he got the best ideas for whatever project he was working on. 

There are countless things I could (and may eventually) share about Tim. The memories come in floods some days. He drove me crazy, both in good and bad ways. He was a horrible housekeeper, had trouble focusing on one thing at a time, and talked me into doing things I didn’t want to do. But he was gorgeous, smart, funny, adventurous, and caring. Everything he did, he did to prove he loved me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was selfless, he was kind of selfish, but he always wanted things for US. The countless things I’ve heard (since his death) he said to others close to us prove that. It is very painful to live without him in my life, in whatever capacity, but I take comfort in the fact that I am a better person for having known and loved him. 

About My Late Husband

Tim and I met in a chat room on the internet in 2004. We talked a lot, got to know each other, even were at the same club at the time on more than one occasion. We had an astounding amount of mutual friends and ran in the same circle. I pursued him for nearly two years to actually go out with me. On February 2, 2006 we did, and we’re together from that moment forward. I didn’t want anyone else but him, it was a case of love on the first date. A date that lasted three days. Within a few months, he moved in with me in Indiana (he lived in Ohio previously). He was not thrilled about living there, I could tell, but he did it because he loved me. 

Getting to know Tim took a long time. He had an interesting life, and was very adventurous. The son of an Air Force veteran, he moved around a lot as a child, and lived in a lot of places around the country and in the United Kingdom. He had done and seen so much growing up that learning about it took a while. It made my childhood growing up on a farm and being in the same school system with the same friends my whole life seem lame in comparison. Little did I know at the time we envied each other. 

Tim was extremely interested in, and good at, being artistic. Home decor, painting, crafts, bonsai, fashion design, the list goes on. While I am perfectly content with a chair to sit in and a t.v. to watch, Tim wanted our place to be pleasing to look at. He painted nearly every place we lived, made (or a few times) purchased artwork for the walls, rearranged the furniture to be complimentary to the room, and he had an incredible eye for detail when making sure that everything was just perfect (i.e. the heighth of a lamp in comparison to things around it). The attention he gave everything astounded me. 

Tim was also the smartest man I’ve ever met. He had a unquenchable thirst for knowledge. If any subject came to his attention to which he was unaware, he’d read everything he could on the subject. While I read far more books than he did, I rarely read anything to broaden my knowledge, but he would read manuals, websites, articles, and all other manner of informational literature. I would go so far as to say he was an expert in several topics. He had an excellent memory, so once he learned something, it stayed with him. His memory was both a blessing and a curse for me, while he remembered positive things, he also remembered what I said he didn’t like four years ago….

Tim loved to dress up. Any occasion for him to wear a suit and tie was a thrill for him. I am a tee shirt and jeans kind of guy, actually hate wearing ties, so this was an often an uncomfortable time. Never once did I deny him the opportunity to get me fancy though. He’d stand behind me and tie my tie, I think he secretly loved it, though he never admitted as much. He often set clothes out for me to wear. On more than one occasion, he informed me that IS what I’d be wearing, to get over it. Jokingly, he’d say “just listen to me, you know you have no fashion sense”.

Tim was the funniest person I know. He made me laugh daily, even during rough times. His sense of humor was strong. Puns were a particular favorite of his. As I mentioned before, his memory was long, and as my common sense isn’t as great as my actual knowledge, he’d often remember silly things I said and remind me. He never made me feel like he was laughing AT me though, always with me. 

Tim was an excellent cook. He hated repeating meals in any close time frame. Sometimes it would be months before we repeated a recipe, and even then he would change it up (improve it, he called it). He knew what tastes, spices, cooking techniques went well together. He was great at “pleasing your palate”, making sure he satisfied all your tastes sensations. I remember an informative lecture after dinner one night about umami, one of the tastes on your tongue. 

Tim was an avid video gamer. His favorite was all of the Legend of Zelda games. He’d play for hours. He’d cuss, scream, and take breaks when he couldn’t figure out a part, but he was pretty good at them. I don’t have the hand-eye coordination to play really, but I’d watch him play. He always thought that was weird, but I’d sit and watch like it was a movie. 

Tim was both far gayer and far manlier than I am. We often joked about that, I was sub-par on both fronts. He was a drag queen, designed his own outfits, cooked, crafted, and several other things that could be construed as more “feminine”. But on the other hand he was extremely handy about fixing things, building things, and he had a very deep voice, all things that seemed “manly”. 

Tim was a night owl. Rarely did he ever go to bed before the sun came up. When I took my promotion at work and had to work days, he was furious. Not for the promotion, but because it was going to limit our time together. As a compromise, I’d sleep while he was at work, so I could spend time with him at night, then I’d catch a small nap before work. Though he refused to take me to work (I don’t drive), he was usually still awake when I left. He often told me the dark inspired him, that is when he got the best ideas for whatever project he was working on. 

There are countless things I could (and may eventually) share about Tim. The memories come in floods some days. He drove me crazy, both in good and bad ways. He was a horrible housekeeper, had trouble focusing on one thing at a time, and talked me into doing things I didn’t want to do. But he was gorgeous, smart, funny, adventurous, and caring. Everything he did, he did to prove he loved me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was selfless, he was kind of selfish, but he always wanted things for US. The countless things I’ve heard (since his death) he said to others close to us prove that. It is very painful to live without him in my life, in whatever capacity, but I take comfort in the fact that I am a better person for having known and loved him. 

Grieving Is Hard To Do

On the first of February, I lost my husband. So many people have been there for me in the best way they know how, but I’ve felt many of them are not helpful at all. I’ve spent a great deal of time avoiding people and avoiding thinking about my loss. So many emotions are running through my mind…devastation, anger, sadness, guilt…happy memories of good times, forgiveness for any grudges I held. It’s been a roller coaster of feelings, but mostly I am heartbroken. 

My heart is breaking because I will never see or talk to him again, I will never again hear his laugh, I will never again make him smile, I will no longer see him toil for hours at one of the many creative ways he was an artist (painting, sketching, bonsai, woodworking, decorating, designing..both clothes and home decor, and much more), I no longer get to experience the sheer joy he felt watching fireworks. There are numerous things I am going to miss. I merely have my memories, and I am sad that I feel that isn’t enough. 

Throughout the writing of this blog, since starting it long ago, I have not really shared an abundance of personal information about my husband. I respected his privacy, and I knew he read everything I wrote. Today, I have decided to break that tradition. Writing (and reading) has always been my safety net, my escape from reality. So in order to help myself heal, I’m going to write about him. Probably a lot, as a warning. Memories I have, both good and bad, need to be recorded. They need to live on. 

Last night, I got to spend time with family. Tim’s dad, step mom, two brothers, sisters in law, nephew, niece, grandmother, Tim’s best friend, her daughter and mother. It was nice to be together. I was hesitant to go initially, I felt like having me at a family gathering would be awkward. They are not my blood, I married into that family and I felt having me there would be a constant reminder of a loss we are all sharing. I didn’t want to be the reason for tears or sadness. Stacee (Tim’s best friend) talked me into it and I’m glad she did. I had a nice time, it was great to be around others that understand my pain, my loss, and my grief. His younger brother and sister-in-law gave me a framed photo of Tim and I dancing at their wedding. I don’t really remember the picture being taken, but it means the world to me to have it. 

After spending time with them, I know that I AM family, regardless of whether I was born into or married into it. We shared a lot of memories about Tim. He touched all of us in ways that are hard to express in writing, and I can only speak for myself, but he is missed and will not be forgotten. 

Feigning Normality

It’s very hard to go on with life after the death of a loved one. Especially when everyone I see on a daily basis knows me as half of a couple. Without my other half, people feel compelled to try and comfort me all day long. I appreciate the gesture, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I’m purposely trying to distract myself from thinking about the loss of my husband. In those times, I’d rather focus on work, or my gym routine, or a book, or a t.v.show….anything BUT death.

I am still sad, I am still grieving, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m still thinking about it. But a distraction is nice. When I focus on my loss, it consumes me. I think of question that I may never have the answers for, like did he have any outstanding bills I am now responsible for? How did he make that one dinner I thought was so delicious? What do I do with his stuff? How long will I remember what his voice sounded like? Once his ashes are on my mantle, will that be weird once I decide to date again? Will I be able to forgive the secrets he hid in life that may arise in his death? The questions are becoming endless.

That is why I am trying to cope by spending large chunks of my day as if nothing has happened. I’m not ignoring, I’m not forgetting, I’m merely trying to distract myself. Being back to work has been nice, shy of the constant condolences, to distract my mind. Continuing my weekly gym routine has been great, the endorphins keeping me pumped. Reading has calmed my mind, sweeping me into worlds where my grief doesn’t exist. Even social media is a nice distraction, showing me that life is still going on with those I care for and reminding me that there is still plenty of good in the world to behold. 

I’m dealing with my loss in my way, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. But I am still alive, though my husband is not. Life needs to continue to go on, and the world around me is not going to stop because I suffered a loss. Even if it hurts on days I cannot quiet my mind, I need to find a way to go on with it. 

My Heart Is Breaking

On Wednesday, February 1st, my heart was broken. I received the phone call I was dreading, that my (estranged) husband had passed away. 

He was a very strong willed person, and we didn’t always get along, but we had a love that would never die. We were separated due to both of us having personal demons we had to deal with, but we were not out of each other’s lives completely. We really couldn’t stay away from each other for long, even if it was just to catch up or remember the past. Above all else, he was my friend. My best friend. 

To get the call that he was gone from this world was devastating. My heart is breaking. I’ve cried so much my face hurts. I’ve had about 36 hours since the call to relive moments in my mind. I’ve tried to concentrate on the good times, but a few arguments have crept in. The seem so silly and trivial now. The “what ifs” started coming to mind, but I’m aware that we were on our own paths, and I don’t know if things would have been different. I cannot concentrate on those, as nagging as they are. 

I want to remember the good times. We had more of those than I can remember at once. We were together for 12 years, there are countless memories of happiness. There are so many, I won’t begin to list them here. 

I am sad, I am heartbroken, I am angry, I am grieving. I’ve cried more in the last day and a half than I have in the last year. I’m crying for the loss, I’m crying because I will never again hear his voice, I’m crying because I cannot tell him that I love him anymore, I’m crying knowing that this world will be a darker place without him. However, I’m a better person for having known him, having been his friend, and for having loved him.