Today was a sad day. I went to my first funeral since Jay’s in 2012. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it. 8 hours later I can tell you I made it.
I have incredible friends. One friend of mine went with me to the visitation yesterday. Another one sat next to me at the funeral today. I have said it before and I will say it again…I have amazing friends.
Before each event I found myself taking a deep breath before walking in. You see this wasn’t just a dear friend of mine. She was a dear friend of Jay. Almost all my memories of and with her include Jay. They are happy memories. They both had hearts of gold. Pure 14K gold. But nonetheless when it involves Jay it takes a twist in my mind that I have yet to find a way to explain.
The visitation was easiest. Seeing friends I hadn’t seen in a few years, it felt good to hug them. We all wished under different circumstances but truthfully it was a calm I haven’t had in a long time. It made me want to plan a party at the house and invite every single one of them to laugh and enjoy their company.
The funeral was difficult. I had stopped by the casket to see my friend at the visitation because deep down I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it the next day. I chatted with a few friends when I walked into the funeral and honestly couldn’t wait to find my friend to sit next to and get seated. Maybe if I sat down and stared out the window it wouldn’t be so real. Maybe I could pretend I wasn’t at a funeral. Maybe I could trick my mind into why I was there and who I was there to say good-bye too. All plan As need plan Bs.
The first time I broke was when the person that hired me walked by and sat in the row in front of us. She knew Jay well. She was the reason I met Jay. I stood up and hugged her. There are many days I have wished to be back in the moments when I first started that job. Life was simple.
The second time I broke is when the family had walked in after the casket and I saw her beautiful daughter sitting in the front row. It wasn’t just that but during the first song I looked up and I saw her lower her head. I don’t know what it feels like to lose a mother but can empathize with the feeling she had in that moment. “I cannot believe I am doing this. I cannot believe this is our final good bye. I do not want to do this. Why do I have to do this.” It is amazing how vivid memories flood back. I remember when it hit me what I was doing. For me it was when the adrenaline started to wear off and everyone had left the funeral and I had my last moments with Jay before we closed the casket for the last time. I remember the feeling all to well now. “I do not want to do this. I do not want to say my last good bye. I do not want to figure out what is next. I do not want to do this.”
It has been a rough few days. Since Saturday when she passed I have cleaned my whole house, cried until there were no more tears, watched as our life insurance video was released at my work, smiled and laughed remembering many good memories but most importantly remembering life is short and yet good.
Another first down in this life post May 2012. I am still standing after a sad few days.
It never ceases to amaze me how emotions, feelings and memories can flood my mind and be so vivid. Wounds that I thought had healed break open and bleed as they once did almost 3 years ago.
Tonight the world lost another amazing soul. A good friend of Jay’s and she worked with us where we first met. When I read the message telling me about my dear friend my heart skipped a beat. And almost instantly tears fell from my eyes. No crying, just tears. I was holding Aaron in the chair as he had just fallen asleep. I found myself holding him tighter as if trying to protect him from the emotions flooding back in my mind.
After getting Aaron up to his bed, I sit in my kitchen and I can hear their laughs and I smile. I then sit here crying because the emotions from May 9th, 2012 have come back in full force. I then find myself laughing as vivid memories of them making up a story or getting the other to break and laugh first come back. You really never knew what to expect when these two were together. It was so much fun to be part of it, to witness such amazing personalities give those around them such joy.
They called themselves F.A.N.s. Far Away Neighbors. It started when he moved to a different cube at work. It was something that stuck. They are no longer far away.
I am trying to hold on to the good memories. I will eventually put on my big girl panties and deal with the emotions that flood back. But for tonight…my heart hurts.
I posted a picture on Facebook the other day that made me laugh. And then stop and analyze it validating its point.
The picture said “My brain has too many tabs open.”
If you don’t get it a quick explanation is that internet browsers can have multiple tabs open at one time.
So here is my analysis. This statement is SO true. Our brains have so much going on in them. Anyone who has multiple tabs open in a browser (in real life) at any given time can validate that it can become overwhelming. You may have opened two tabs that are on the same website because you have so many open you don’t remember opening the first one. This may at some point cause your browser to crash or become unresponsive. You may have to close the whole browser and lose all the tabs you were working on just to get it working again. Anyone who has done this can remember the feeling of dread because what if you forget what you were working with on one of those tabs.
Think about all of these and what we do with all the information we process on a daily basis. All the “tabs” we open. It is no shock we can all become so exhausted and overwhelmed where we need a break from it all.
So after analyzing this silly photo my mind went towards my work. A current conversation has been around internet browser compatibility. Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Firefox…etc. So here is my analytic brain at work again. These internet browsers…they can cause software developers to want to lose their flippin minds. Let’s go back to our brains. Let’s see these internet browsers as “times in our lives.” Childhood. Teenage Years. Highschool. College. Adulthood.
There is a “transition” of sorts between these times in our lives right? We need to make our lives and our mindsets compatible. So then let’s talk about life events.
My take on childhood is this internet browser is one of force updates. One day you have a 1 year old baby and the next you have a terrible 2 year old and then a terrifying 3 year old. They are forced and anyone who has children will tell you, the transition time given is little to no notice. You create “work arounds” and sometimes work night and day to figure out what the heck changed and what you can do to adjust to make things work.
The rest of the times in our lives I can relate to the internet browser that has a major release. They don’t force the update but sooner or later you have to accept it. Sooner or later you see it. Sooner or later you have to adjust. And with a tweak here and a tweak there you figure it out. You adjust and start opening tabs in the new updated internet browser of your life.
So then I found myself saying, “It’s OK to close the tabs.” “It is OK to change browser and even upgrade when needed.” I may not like some of the new features in the browser or things now missing. But a workaround is always possible. A new way of doing something or seeing something.
And that folks is what my brain did after seeing one little picture. That was kind of fun.
A topic discussed in my first grief group I attended is that it seemed like everything in the house broke after our husbands died. The reality is the things that broke in the house were probably due to break in the time they did, our husbands dying didn’t cause them to break. But when you are dealing with no hot water, no cool air from your air conditioner and hard water it is VERY easy to look up and scream “REALLY?…Thanks a lot jerk!”
I have replaced many things in this house. Not because I wanted too but because it was necessary. A leaking shower causing the ceiling below to leak, why not. Lightening strikes between your house and the neighbors taking out your circuit board for your air conditioner your stove outlet and a TV…it was bound to happen. The front cement steps breaking up causing people to trip…ok sure. These are all things I can call my general contractor and he can either stop over or give me someone to call and take care of it.
I thought I was writing this blog because of my recent issue with the water softener. I wanted to laugh about how I have taken everything thrown my way. After looking up and saying “REALLY? Thanks a lot Jay!” then looking up and saying “Did you see that? I took care of it. Bring. It. On.”
Then as I was sitting on the couch starting to write the blog I looked at Aaron. He was smiling at me and playing with some of his toys. I asked him to come over and give me a kiss and hug. He walked over and very quietly gave me a kiss and hug.
Then for some reason I looked at him and said the following. “Aaron, do you know where your daddy is?” I have no idea why I asked him. It just came out of my mouth. And without hesitation he looked right into my eyes and said “He’s gone.” Then he continued to play with his toys. Two words. That’s all it took to break my heart. He looked at me a little concerned as tears fell down my face. I can fix a lot of things, but I cannot fix this. I cannot bring his dad back.
Whether you can fix it or not the fact remains, things break.
I have joked with a dear friend of mine that once you lose someone the way we both did, we have become the people everyone talks to about death. Looking at it now I think I will consider it an honor. An honor that people feel we are strong enough to not only lose someone the way we did and survive but handle ourselves and life in a way in which they want to learn from us.
There have been a handful of my friends who have come to me in some format asking me to be a resource for someone they love. Does it take me back a little bit to those first moments after Jay’s death, yes. Do I walk away from each conversation a stronger and more enlightened person, absolutely. And honestly if I can help others it helps me, it’s a win-win situation.
The other day I had a friend come to me and ask me to be a resource for a friend of hers who just lost her husband. I could see it in my friend. There was pain and sadness in her eyes. There was also a look of “You can help her Alyssa.” I told her I would be there to help. The fact remains to an extent it is up to the grieving. It is their choice in how they move through their grief. But I will be there, in any way I can be and that she allows.
While chatting again with my friend she mentioned she was crying. Crying for her friend, for me and also for herself not knowing what she would do should she lose her husband.
Here is the proof that working through your grief and helping others is good. I wrote her back saying it was OK to cry. She needed to grieve as well. Not only for her friend and maybe even for me or the possible loss of her husband but for her own mortality. In my opinion when we lose people, especially close to our age, it causes us to face our own mortality. We have so many plans for ourselves in life. To know we may not get a chance to do everything we want is a hard fact to swallow.
Her response was awesome. “When did you get so wise.” And with that I could “hear” a smile. And to be able to help someone in that way is an honor.
Being a widow means…
I lost my husband.
I understand life is short.
I will grieve in someway…everyday.
I have strength you do not understand.
I love more fiercely than anyone you know.
I have a story you do not want to hear.
I have a story you need to hear.
Being a widow means I am Warm-hearted, Independent, Determined, Organized and most importantly Worth it.