Collaboration with a Purpose: Losing My Husband Changed Everything
Folks, I’m one of ten bloggers talking about various forms of loss today in Collaboration with a Purpose.
Blogger Tajwarr Fatma (of https://lifeaswehaveneverknownit.wordpress.com) came up with this idea (do visit her blog, OK?), and our joint purpose is to try to help others by letting them know they aren’t alone. We all have to deal with significant losses at some point, and the thought was that ten different bloggers might have ten different takes on the subject.
The theme is loss. How did you overcome it? How did you deal with it?
My topic is how I continue to deal with the catastrophic loss of my late husband Michael. He died in 2004, but without his influence on my life, and without the love he shared with me, I doubt I’d still be trying to make it as an author.
Michael was the most positive person I’ve ever been around, and he made me believe that I could do anything I put my mind to…I just had to keep after it, and keep trying, and not stop until the wall fell down, that’s all.
So, one day, I had the best and most supportive husband on the planet, someone who understood me and appreciated me and was into me, a wonderful and giving and caring man who also wrote and edited and was creative.
And the next, well, he had four massive heart attacks in one day over the course of ten hours. He couldn’t survive that, and he died.
His loss was devastating.
Even now, after so many years, I don’t have the words to express just how incalculable the loss of my husband actually was. Michael was my rock, my soul mate, and often my co-writer, and when he was with me, I felt whole. Loved. Understood. Appreciated for myself. And valued, not because I was a writer or a musician or anything, but because I was and am myself.
Michael even understood my health issues, and helped me work through them, so I could get more done with less wasted energy and effort.
When he died, all of that went away.
Or did it?
See, how I deal with Michael’s loss every day is to think about how much I love him.
Still. Always. Forever.
I love that man, and I feel his love for me, and it helps me go on.
No, he’s not here to make me dinners, or give me a backrub, or complain about politics (we both loved to do this), or come up with new stories, or edit anything I’ve got going, or help share the load with regards to paying work.
But his influence continues. I keep trying. I remember. I know how he felt about me. And it makes a difference.
In this life, I’ve met only a handful of people who truly have understood me, but none have understood me as well as Michael. He was my best friend, my everything…and all I can do to keep going is to tell myself that someday, in the positive afterlife (whatever shape or form that takes), I’ll see him again. And when I do, I want him to recognize me, and to know that I’m still the same person.
See, I can either celebrate his life, and do the best I can, or I can turn my face to the wall. I don’t see any benefit to turning my face to the wall, so I keep trying.
But yeah, some days, I do look at that wall, and say, “Hmm. Maybe today, I will stop trying.” Then I shake myself into sense, think, “Nah,” and go on and do what I was going to do anyway.
That’s what I learned from Michael. Accept that you feel lousy. Know why you feel terrible, even. But do what you were going to do anyway.
If it takes a little longer because of health issues or whatnot, so what? Keep going, keep trying, and do the best you can.
So, if you’re dealing with a significant loss like the loss of your husband, or a treasured friend, or someone you cared about deeply, try to be good to yourself. Realize there will be good days and bad days.
And most importantly, don’t listen to other people if they tell you that you’ve grieved long enough. It’s not up to them; it’s up to you what you do. If you need to grieve until you feel like you can take a step forward, you need to listen to yourself and do what you feel is right.
Just do your best. That’s all you can do.
But know that you aren’t alone. There are others on the same path as you, even if not at the same time, even if not in the exact same way.
As Buddha said (an apocryphal story, granted), there’s no one who’s not known loss. Every single person has known it, in one way or another.
May we use that knowledge to make us wiser, more compassionate, and more caring, eh?
Now, go take a look at the other bloggers’ takes on the same subject, will you?