For the most part, since Kramer passed away, I’ve been doing pretty good. Sure, like all widows, I have good days and not so good days. For me, the days most people think would be hard, I manage…the days like Christmas and Thanksgiving…then there are days when things creep up on me and catch me unaware.
I was at a reception a bit ago and chatting away with the table of people I was sitting with. There was music and actually well selected background music. On came the song, Last Kiss by The Cavaliers. It’s an old song. I think most people remember it more as “Where oh where can my baby be”.
There was a couple at the table. The guy learned over and put his arm around his wife. He started singing and swaying with his wife.
It was a completely normal thing. Most people wouldn’t have thought a thing about it. The song is a great one to sing to. It’s the perfect song to snuggle up to and sway…but the song takes on such a whole different meaning once you’re a widow. You feel the pain of the song…not the sweet swaying that I used to relate to the song. Not what the couple with me felt.
I felt the pain. I felt the grief of losing “my baby”.
When things like this happen and “catch me”…it so hard to know what to do. I didn’t start crying…I didn’t even get teary. I didn’t get up and go the bathroom. I just tried all I could not to concentrate on the music. I kept telling myself over and over in my head…”concentrate on the conversation”…”concentrate on the conversation”.
By the way…I got home from the party I was at. I went to Youtube and found “Last Kiss”…and played it and played it and played it until I was over it.
I made it through okay…but that’s what it’s like to be a widow. Innocent moments become challenges. Things sneak up a the most normal times.
I had another moment this week….I was scrolling through Instagram.
I saw a post from Buck…
I thought the picture was a tag from his surgery. I didn’t read the words…just looked and assumed it was about his personal medical things as of late so I started reading the words.
Buck wrote: “A year ago our family was ready for a fight. Despite Dad being diagnosed with late stage lung cancer and despite what could be found on a 2 minute Google search the doctors confidence and my mother’s refusal to lose hope made this surgery seem like this whole cancer thing would just be a bump in the road. 50 minutes into what was supposed to be a 4 hour surgery we were called into the surgical consult room, there was only 2 things that could have happened. Either he didn’t make it, or the surgery didn’t work. Thankfully it was the ladder. Optimism took a big hit after that, but it was still there. The next challenge was telling Dad, I remember Mom telling the doctor that she wanted to do it. She held his hand and said,
“The surgery didn’t work.
They did everything they could.
They’re working on a new plan.
We love you very much.”
That I wasn’t ready for. I wasn’t ready to watch him lose his strength. I wasn’t ready to see my sisters, both nurses, to give him the best at home care he could have asked for. I wasn’t ready for their living room to look like an emergency room. I wasn’t ready for “stupid” questions from my kid. I wasn’t ready to have conversations about what hymns we’d sing or what casket he’d like.
I remember where I was and what day he got diagnosed, but this day is much harder for me. This day our family dove head first into a world we weren’t ready for.”
I wasn’t ready either Buck. The 19th of February was the day our hope took a hard blow. I think these next few months are going to be the hardest on me….until the anniversary of his death. A year ago when I was living this, I was in so deep. All I could see was the next thing to do. Wipe a nose, change a diaper, get to a doctor appointment, call one of my kids, write a blog post…I didn’t feel the emotion of having a loved one dying of cancer. The day to day things, the putting one foot in front of them other, masked the sheer grief and disappointment. Hope hid fear. Fear hid reality. Reality was was hidden by hope. Day to day “must do’s” hid it all. It was a circle that allowed me to mask reality and ignore the emotions of the moment. My husband was dying of cancer.
But now, the hope is gone. The fear is replaced with reality and from time to time, sometimes even a week or two of day to day things still hide the emotion…but then, there’s a song…there’s an Instagram post and WHAM…and the emotion is here. The emotion is strong…It is almost as if I can feel both the emotion from then that I put aside and the emotion of today all at once. It’s heavy and it is hard.
It’s okay though. I know that to really find a new path, I have to do this. I must work through this. The feeling have to be felt. If I don’t feel them, I’ll get stuck and no good to anyone if I’m stuck. This is the real grieving. Standing at the casket was nothing compared to this. Standing at the graveside and hearing the bells…nothing compared to this. Tears and a kleenex box (the extra lotion one please) ride me through.
No worries…I’m okay. This really is all just part of the process and I know that. Wednesday was a bad day. Today is a good day. I’m back on the busy side of things doing the day to day. I might get a week…I might get a couple weeks, but the grief will come back and I’ll get through it again. I must. People are depending on me. I need to make a new path.
Last year…I ignored the grief. This year, I’m embracing it. Embracing will help me move forward. If you’re in my situation I hope you find the courage to embrace it too. We can move forward together. One step at a time.
Thanks so much to all of you for being along the path and cheering me on. I really do appreciate all the support that has been sent my way by so many people.