It was a day I will never forget and a day I never thought would happen to me. A day that made me finally realize that the saying, “I dropped to my knees in despair” is actually a real feeling. A day that I don’t wish upon my worst enemy. A day that forever changed my life and many other lives around me.
On April 29th of this year my husband died suddenly of a brain aneursym. His coworkers found him at work unresponsive and when the paramedics reached him there was nothing they could do to revive him. He was gone. 45 years old. Gone from our lives at the blink of an eye.
I had grieved before. My father passed away when I was just 23 years old from cancer. I was always sad after he died. I lost him at a time when I just started to appreciate him for how hard he worked and provided for my family and me. I didn’t have enough time with him to let him know how much I appreciated him and that still bothers me to this day.
I bring my father up because after my husband died, the only thing I could think about was the wave of support somebody gets immediately after a loved one dies. The rush of flowers, emails, phone calls, meals and people visiting every second of every day. I knew I wouldn’t have time to grieve until everybody went back to living their normal lives and I’d be left to handle this on my own. I was scared to death (no pun intended). Scared because I was an official adult now with official responsibilities; kids, work, bills, and the future. What do I do now? I was scared and I knew grief hadn’t hit me yet. The anxiety I felt was overwhelming.
On May 29th my grief came to a head. I was sorting through a ton of paperwork to gather for insurance companies, lawyers, banks and everything else I had to do in order to get my new life in order. I remember my head feeling like it was going to explode because of the overwhelming feeling I had in dealing with everything that was thrown at me after his death. I remember falling to my knees and I started to scream and cry. “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE? WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE? WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE?” were the words I screamed over and over out loud. I screamed these words for a good hour until I was so exhausted I couldn’t do it anymore. I remember rocking myself back and forth in a fetal position on the floor. I thought about calling 911 because I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. As the screaming subsided I kept rocking back and forth until I told myself to get up off the floor, and move forwards, not backwards. I gathered enough energy to crawl to the shower. I sat there and let the water run for a good half hour. I closed my eyes and just sobbed. As I finally found more energy to crawl out of the shower, I pulled myself up on my bathroom vanity and just stared at myself in the mirror. I looked tired. I hadn’t slept much since he died, and I looked pale. I had the look of despair on my face and I did something completely random: I took a selfie:
I wanted to remember the day when I’m pretty sure I hit rock bottom. I know that sounds strange, but I felt like it was a momentous day because I made a promise to myself that I would never feel this way again. It was like grief was my enemy and it paid an unwelcome visit. I wanted to kick it out and kick it out for good.
As the weeks went by I experienced the phases of grief that everyone would tell me I would experience: heartache, sadness, anger, regret and guilt, all wrapped into one. It was like living each day spinning a roulette wheel of emotions. Which one was it going to land on today?
This is me now:
This is the dress I wore to his celebration of life. There is a reason behind the red stilettos, and why I chose to have a stiletto dangling from the title of my blog. My husband called me one day out of the blue and held the phone up to the radio and told me to listen to the song that was playing. It was called “I Met a Girl” by William Michael Morgan.
He told me that it described me perfectly and if he didn’t know any better, that song was written by him for me. The song has a verse that reads as follows:
Every time I look down at the stilettos I smile because I know they are a symbol of one of the many reasons he fell in love with me.
It’s been four months since my husband died and I look back at the picture I took of myself often. I look at it now and I am glad I decided to take the picture that day. Because in hindsight I realized that the picture I took of myself on what seemed to be the worst day of my grieving was actually a poignant symbol of how the depth of my grief is equal to the depth of my love, and the love I had for my husband was tremendous. There WILL be days when I hit rock bottom and crawl into a corner where I scream and cry. There will also be days when I laugh and there WILL be days I do both or I don’t do any of it at all. What I do know is that moving forward I intend to live life on purpose. All of us will die one day. What sets us apart is how we will choose to live.
I can’t wait to share my journey with you. I hope you laugh, cry, and be inspired by my story. I hope I can help someone who is going through this similar journey. Although it’s not a club anyone wants to join, I hope we can help each other become stronger, stay true to ourselves and most of all, love ourselves every step of the way.