I’ve dealt with loss in my life – all 4 of my grandparents, my childhood home, friendships. And when I lost Jim the first time – true love.
But through all of those losses, the rest of my world remained unchanged. I still had my family, friends, the career I love. My future as I envisioned it.
That all changed after I lost Jim the second and final time. Because this time,
I also lost my entire future. Yes, my family and friends stood by me, but my career no longer mattered to me. I’m just being honest.
There’s loss, and then there’s complete and utter loss. I had absolutely no idea what was next. Nothing mattered. I was simply surviving.
That’s how it is when you lose it all in a single moment. A blink. An instant. I just went through the motions, surviving without really knowing why. Getting through one event and surviving until the next one. Recovering and doing it again.
I didn’t want to create a new life or a new future. I wanted my life. The one I had worked so hard for. The one with my Happily Ever After.
This was the exact opposite – my worst nightmare. And when you’re in that much pain, joy and happiness seem so far away, so far out of reach. I started thinking about less miserable. Less pain. Even one tiny little bit. To be fully transparent, I didn’t believe I’d ever smile again… let alone laugh.
I couldn’t comprehend what to do with the rest of my life. So I stumbled along blindly, making so many mistakes along the way. I felt like a child, learning everything all over again for the first time. Including who I was. Who I am. Who I want to be.
Because like I said, I lost it all when I lost Jim. It’s invisible to almost everyone else, but it’s my reality. I call it the club I never asked to join but am now a lifetime member.
People think that because I look ok on the outside, I am ok. People think that grief has a timeline, with a beginning and an ending.
There is no ending. The nightmare is my reality. I’m not asking for your pity. I’m just hoping you’ll understand a tiny bit more. I’m hoping when you see people, you’ll know that there’s so much more that you don’t see.
You see the smiling woman with a chronic illness. The muscular man who used to play football. I see a woman who can no longer conceive naturally and a man who isn’t able to do what he loves ever again. Futures lost. Dreams shattered.
People think that we can just “move on” and what you need to know is that there’s no such thing. It’s completely starting over again, and it’s not by choice!
Know that there’s a world of challenges we face every single day that no one else can see let alone understand. Know that we make mistakes as we start our lives over and that we’re doing the best we can.
Know that the way we’ll get through it might not be the way that you would –
and love us anyway. Know that we need you, even if it looks different than it did before our loss. Know that we appreciate you more than we can express.
And to those of you in a club you never asked to join, know that you’re NOT alone. Know that you WILL get through it – Your. Own. Way. Know that you will smile again, and even laugh! And know that you’re a badass even if you don’t see it!
I mean, it works both ways. There are some things other see in us that we don’t see in ourselves right 😜