Six weeks ago today, I got some devastating news…my husband had died. In that time, the range of emotions has been drastic. I’ve been sad, I’ve been angry, I’ve been numb, I’ve found acceptance. While I’m never going to forget Tim and the wonderful things he brought to my life, this will be my last post specifically concerning him for a while. I need to heal, as well as one can in this situation anyway.
I’ve learned a lot from this experience. Though it is not a typical learning experience, I’ve learned quite a number of things about myself, about how society treats others, and about dealing with grief and loss. My eyes have been opened to things I didn’t realize I was handling wrong and regrets I’m learning to accept and not feel guilt over.
I’ve never been good at expressing my feelings, shy of anger that I have a hard time suppressing. During this time of loss, I let my emotions float to the surface. I didn’t run or hide from them, I wore my heart on my sleeve, as they say, for everyone to see. There was no hiding my heartbreak, my anger, my utter devastation. I let people see how I was hurting, how I felt. It was partly a cry for help in dealing with something I was unprepared to do alone, but also partly to show sorrow for someone I’d attempted to push to a back burner in the public eye.
My relationship with Tim was just that, MY relationship with TIM. I rarely gave the outside world a glimpse of what he meant to me, how I truly felt, or any of our private moments together. I thought that our relationship should remain private and that if I chose to share anything, it was (what I felt to be) mundane anecdotes and stories of things we did together. I’ve learned by doing that, few actually knew how I felt about Tim. Because we were separated at the time of his death, people didn’t understand that I truly loved him, that I was crushed by his death. I know now that by keeping my privacy, I seemed like I was seeking attention upon his death. I was/am in no way trying to be a martyr in any sense, I guess I learned to open up. Just too late.
I’ve also had some eye opening realizations about society as a whole. Few people have been genuinely concerned about me or my welfare during the past six weeks, the majority of people have been more concerned with Tim’s cause of death or the less than honorable aspects of which we were separated in the first place. I’ve been very angry at people for this. Why he died, or even the less than attractive things he did in life, should not have any bearing on how he is remembered. He had his secrets (which I will touch on later), but they didn’t define him. We ALL have secrets that we choose to hide from the world, and even if they come to light in our death, they aren’t everything about us.
I’ve learned that too many people are afraid of death. And by being afraid, they deflect the focus from dealing with a loss to some sort of bad mouthing to distract everyone from the pain. Sadly, I did the same thing, on a less dramatic scale, when we separated (more on that in a moment). I don’t want Tim remembered for his flaws, but rather for the amazing person he was, the joy he brought to the lives around him, and the numerous qualities that made him special.
In dealing with my grief, I’ve had a lot of realizations. Tim died thinking I left him for personal reasons, which was partly true, but not the reasons I really felt. I loved Tim with all my heart, and always will, but he had some demons that, in the long run, effected us both. Among them, he had a few medical issues, a drug dependency issue, and a resulting non-existent sex drive.
He died thinking that I left because we didn’t have sex, and I let him think that. I’d hinted numerous times that I hated his drug addiction, as a recovering addict myself, it killed me to watch him spiraling into a place I had already dug myself out of. THAT was why I left. I didn’t know how to help him, he saw there was no issue…and that is the first step in accepting help, admitting there is a problem. He refused to admit he had a problem, and the distance between us grew every time I brought it up. His resentment of me was becoming obvious, which made me feel horrible. Admittedly, I never flat out gave him the “me or drugs” ultimatum, though I don’t know it would have helped. After leaving, I felt like a coward for not doing it, but it was too late at that point. Instead, I let him believe what he wanted to believe, or more likely what he was willing to admit, that I followed my dick out the door.
During the first few months of our separation, I put up a wall with others. Especially those who still talked to him. I let everyone think I just didn’t care, especially if I thought it would get back to him. Sides were drawn amongst our friends and family. To my side, I seemed like I really didn’t care anymore. That Tim was someone I’d grown away from, and I didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. To his side, he was heartbroken because I left because we weren’t fucking all the time. I was just some sexual pervert trying to get my dick wet and not getting it at home. He definitely played the victim card, and I just let it happen. I felt he needed that to heal, so I assumed all the blame.
In reality, I spoke to his family and best friend and asked their assistance in getting him help. I told them why I couldn’t stay and why I was concerned about him. I couldn’t watch his struggle, it was breaking my heart. Like a coward, I ran. Though I hoped that my leaving would be the wake up call he needed to see how his actions affected us both. I pleaded with his loved ones to not enable him, I secretly hoped without my financial support, he’d not be able to continue down his path.
The guilt I feel over that decision may never go away. I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty, as I was only doing what I thought best, but I do. And it’s no one else’s business how or what I feel. I am not going to spend my life drowning in the what ifs though. I owe it to Tim to remember the positive memories I have, and to hold those close to my heart. He was a good man, he was just wondering down a path I couldn’t be a part of.
The ways I’ve learned to deal with my grief have been numerous. I’ve learned what to, and not to, show and say. I’ve learned how others deal with death. There is no one way that people deal, there is no right or wrong way either. I’ve also learned that while there are things I could have or should have handled differently, I can’t cannot live my life with regrets. I in no way regret a single moment of my life with Tim. I’m thankful I got to know and love such an amazing person. Just how my mind operates, I’ll wonder from time to time if I could have handled things differently, or if I should have said or done something I neglected to think of at the time, but I know that it would change nothing. I need to learn to deal with the circumstances as they are. I’ve also learned that, should I need to in the future, I need to be more open with my feelings. Tim’s death has been an eye opener to the emotions both of myself and others.
I am not ready to move on, but I am ready to not dwell on my loss anymore. I want to go forward with life and find happiness again, and hopefully I can do so with the lessons I’ve learned. I want to find the good in life and enjoy it. I want to find things that I am passionate about, without having everything tie back to my loss. I’m not ignoring, nor denying, my loss and what I feel, but I’m ready for it to not define who I am like it has for the past six weeks.
I’m going forward with a better look on life. There will be good times and bad times, and even instances I’ll be sad beyond measure. But everything we go through in life makes us stronger. I will be a better person for both loving Tim and a better person for learning from how I lost him.
I’m looking forward to being a better version of myself. Always moving forward.