I chose to launch this website on January 1, 2016. As the start of the brand new year, it seemed appropriate. As it would happen, it also marks exactly five months since my Cindy passed away. That left me with an interesting dilemma: what do I do about all of the things that happened in the first five months? Well, I could always write a bunch of “back-dated” blog posts to cover everything, but that doesn’t seem quite honest. Besides, there is no way that I could do that by the January 1 launch date.
So, instead, I decided to write this page which summarizes much of what I learned during my first five months without the love of my life. I’m sure, as time goes on, I will cover most of these things in greater detail in various posts. For now, this will suffice I think.
So, here, in no real particular order, are some of the things that happened and things I learned during the first five months.
- EMOTIONS ARE LIKE PING PONG BALLS. When you lose a loved one, especially a spouse, your emotions get raw in a hurry. You expect shock and sadness, but the sudden shift in emotions can be somewhat hard to deal with. When Cindy passed, I wasn’t sure how to process the information. At first, I was very calm. I called family and friends and cried very little. Then, it all changed and I would cry at the drop of a hat. There would be moments when I would go from laughing or calm to absolutely wailing and moaning in seconds. You just have to go with it.
- IT’S OKAY TO GET HELP. When my emotional mood swings got to be more than I could handle, I talked to my doctor and he gave me some prescriptions to help even things out. I’m not one to seek out medication, but, in my case, this turned out to be a good thing.
- YOU TRY TO HOLD ON TO EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing anything else. I tried to hang on to everything: friends, possessions, everything. I didn’t want to change a thing.
- THEY CAN’T REALLY BE GONE. That’s what you tell yourself a lot. At least I did. Even now, I expect my sweet Cindy to come in the front door any minute. I guess that’s just our minds way of keeping the grief from crushing us.
- FRIENDS MAY TURN THEIR BACK ON YOU. This is sad, but true. Some folks just don’t know how to deal with the new journey you’re on. They may not know what to say or how to act. Sometimes, they just pull away. I had this happen to me. One of my dearest friends just stopped talking to me. This sent me into a tailspin of epic proportions. Fortunately, I am blessed with a lot of family and friends who are loyal and who rallied around to support me.
- HERE COMES THE GUILT. I keep thinking about the last words I said to Cindy. They were, “I’ll see you tomorrow” when they should have been “I love you.” Why didn’t I say “I love you?” I’ll never know. That’s one thing I still have pangs of guilt over. Then, I would start thinking about the fights we had or the things I promised her I’d do, but never “got around to.” I suddenly found myself feeling like the absolute worst husband in the history of marriage. Now, months later, I can see that I was a normal husband and I have learned that such guilt was normal.
- THEN COMES ANGER. I became angry. I became angry at the nursing facility and the doctors. I even became angry at God. In fact, I’ve been a life-long Christian and God and I are still not on regular speaking terms as I write this. (12/31/15) If Jesus could make a leper whole, why couldn’t God make Cindy well? Was it because God couldn’t heal her or did he just not want to? Was he impotent or just being mean? Those are questions I still wrestle with. The one person I have not yet become angry with is Cindy. I miss her and I sincerely hope her soul is in a much better place. She deserved so much better than she got in life.
- PEOPLE ASK STUPID QUESTIONS. Or, to be fair, sometimes they ask reasonable questions at stupid times. Within an hour of Cindy’s passing, I was being asked what mortuary I wanted to use. I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t thought about it and didn’t have one on speed dial. The day she passed, I was asked when the service was. I had no idea. At her service, a week later, I was asked if I was ever going to date again. Let me tell you, when you’ve just lost the love of your life, dating and romance are not high on your list of priorities.
- THE “HONEY DO” LIST GETS DONE. For some reason, I felt extra compelled to do the things Cindy wanted done. The week after she passed, I had the tree in the front yard trimmed. Over the next few months, we had a security door installed on the house like she wanted and had new rock put in the yard.
- MAKE YOUR FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS IN ADVANCE. Cindy didn’t have anything pre-arranged so our son and I, along with my sister Debbie, had to sit across the table from the funeral director and make decisions while we were not in the best state of mind. That was hard! That’s why, I have made my arrangements and paid for them. Kevin will never have to do that for me when my time comes.
- RETAIL THERAPY MAY HELP BUT BE CAREFUL! I found myself buying things for the house like a new sofa for Cindy’s library and new appliances for the kitchen. I also bought an Amazon Echo, but I’ll tell you more about that down the road. The point is, as strange as it may sound, it actually helped me to get these things. “Things” could never take Cindy’s place, but they did provide a distraction that helped.
I’m sure there is so much more that I am leaving out. If you’re going through this now, I hope this list will help you know at least a little bit of what to expect. This list would have been handy for me a few months ago.