Life Goes On…Which Sucks When Your Spouse Is Dead

Life goes on. Unfortunately, this means that you’re alone now. After the funeral, everyone goes back to their normal lives, but your life has been irrevocably changed. You have your other friends and family around you, but you’ve lost your touchstone. You will go on, and will eventually thrive. I promise. However, there will be times when the smallest thing pulls through a memory which twists your heart again. Here’s my story about how to deal with the death of a loved one.

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The other night I was watching This Is Us on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a story about two parents and their three kids, in several different time frames. Each episode explores the family’s lore, centered around the father figure. It’s very clear at the first episode that he will die. The story follows two separate timelines: the present when the siblings are young adults; and when they were growing up. Their father is a central part of the narrative. You watch him raising his kids with love and tenderness, the dread of his eventual death looming over their happiness.

Purposely picking out a tear break gave me permission to cry

I watched and, as expected, it pulled my heartstrings. Really hard.

I watched, and I cried, so I watched more. Episode after episode, watching this family in turmoil after their dad died. Watching their happy moments with dad when he was alive, knowing that deep dread that he would die. It was like watching my own life on video.

I think I was subconsciously looking for a release.

How to deal with the death of a loved one

It’s been five years since my husband died. My time for mourning is done, so says society. Yet, there are moments when I’m thrown back into the past, and he’s alive again.

I mourn any time I’m near the waterfront. The sound of waves crashing against the sand reminds me of our newlywed beach date. We had picked a small inlet to picnic, sheltered by fallen trees. We named it Secret Beach. I could swim while he watched his beloved air show.

I mourn when his son shows me the maze he drew at daycare. He’s the image of his father who couldn’t pass a maze without having to solve it.

These small moments bombard you at the beginning of your widow life. The only way you can cope to keep going is to numb them out. Otherwise, you’re afraid of drowning under them. Over time, although still painful, their attacks are coming less frequently, and with less precision. You learn the delicate balance of walking forward, while being pulled backwards at the same time. It’s a skill you learn – a talent you will become adept at.

You deal with the death of a loved one by staying true to the course you planned with them, as much as possible.

How to get over a death of a loved one

The night that Myke died, I was taking my first night off since giving birth to 2 1/2 year-old Knight. I felt mother’s guilt for taking off, but it was something I needed to do. I was invited to a woman’s seminar. The keynote speech was about a movement to help mistreated underage girls in Africa.

Throughout the night, there was a distinct pulling feeling that something about this night would change my life forever

It was a powerful and distracting feeling. I was having trouble focusing on the speech because my instincts were ringing like crazy. I brainstormed different theories, trying to find a match to this feeling to let it quiet down. Maybe I was to join one of these movements to help these girls. Maybe I was to give up my job and travel the world. Maybe I was to start a women’s support group of my own. But nothing fit. Even after the lecture was over when I was back outside with fresh air, the feeling didn’t go away. I knew something about tonight was important – I wasn’t expecting to come home to find my my husband dead.

The lost my love died, and the force of that impact still re-vibrates into my soul every day. Every day the kids do something that I want to share with him. Every day I look at Tristan and see his dad. I see Alyx, and want to share with him how amazing she is. I miss him terribly – yet I know he’s still here.

When you miss someone who passed away

We persevere.

We go forward, keeping memories of lost loved ones close. We find new memories which makes us laugh, while simultaneously regret that we couldn’t share this moment. You will walk that line between life and death forever now. But it won’t weigh you down anymore. It makes you more aware of the brightness around you.

Of the gravity of the big moments, and the compassion for those in pain. Your loss actually will bring you closer to others, because you can truly relate to how they feel. You will become so adept at dancing this line the weight will transform into lightness. You will fly, with your beloved as your wings.

6 Replies to “Life Goes On…Which Sucks When Your Spouse Is Dead”

  1. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one is like losing a piece of your soul. I lost my mom last summer and I feel the ache so deeply in my chest. But you’re right, we do persevere because that’s what they want us to do. Your children are incredibly lucky to have you. Take care.

    1. Thank you, Jenna. My father died from cancer a few years ago, and I do miss him. Being aware of mortality means that I am so ever aware of the moments I spend with my mother, as she’s not getting any younger. Loving life.

  2. So sorry for your loss. I lost my boyfriend in high school (actually saw him die in a climbing accident) and even after 3 weeks people were wanting me to move on and quit being sad. I can’t imagine if we would have had more time together and children how that loss would have hurt so much more. I did learn that you take the time you need and when you need it. It has been almost 30 years now and it still hits me sometimes that feeling from that day. God bless you and your family!

    1. Oh my goodness, that’s horrific! You must still have nightmares about seeing the tragedy unfolding before your eyes. Three weeks?? That’s impossible. Mourning never stops, it just changes to walk with you on your journey.

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widow solo parent of two

I’m Sarah!

I created this site to be a safe place for those who are under a tremendous amount of stress. My focus is two-fold: helping those who have experienced grief learn how to live through it; and helping solo parents bring their all to their kids, without losing their minds.

My goal is to tell our continuing story to help other widow/ers of young kids find hope and inspiration again. I want to help guide you along your path of grief, through the shadows and pain to a better, brighter life. To help you live with death, while embracing life.

 

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