My first 3 months as a young widowed mom

My first 3 months as a young widowed mom

I have been thinking about writing this post for weeks, I’ve written and rewritten it a million times in my head but have struggled with the actual writing of it. How can mere words fully encompass the entirety of the pain that I need to lay bare? It feels impossible to take these emotions and voice them accurately, a raw scream of rage and pain is about the most fitting thing I can think of but that doesn’t translate well over the computer.

I had everything figured out.

I was a stay at home mom, working on one day having an income from my blog on sustainability, doing what I loved every day while taking care of my family. I had a home, my animals, and my loves. My husband, my son, my world.

Until half of my world was torn apart when I lost my husband. Everything changed. All of a sudden, the future I saw as fact was completely gone, my heart destroyed and my life in shambles, I now have to restart from scratch.

Our love was a fairy tale from the start, and like all good fairy tales I was expecting the happiest of endings, never even questioning that it would be what happened. However, life had other plans for us, and instead we did not get our happy ending, passing together peacefully at the age of 103 surrounded by family.

Instead all I got was 3 years.

For three years I didn’t go more then 48 hours without seeing him, and even those instances were few and very, very far between. We never went longer then two hours without talking in some way, whether I was grocery shopping, or he was working, or one of us just was out and about, we were always in contact. Even when he was out in the mountain getting stuff done or chopping fire wood, we had radios so that we could still talk.

There was a point, when neither of us were working, and for about a year we spent every single moment together. It’s not an exaggeration, the longest we were ever apart was when I was grocery shopping or he was out chopping wood, and like I said, even then we were talking. Do you have any idea what it’s like to spend that much time with another human being? Not only did we not drive each other crazy, we fell even more in love. That’s not exactly an easy feat, to spend so much time together and not get sick of each other, we were truly soul mates through and through.

I can go on and on about us, our relationship and all the amazing things about him. Slowly I will, I’ll share all my stories because now, all I have are stories. All I have are my memories, and I don’t get to make new ones, I don’t get to add to them anymore, so I damn will make every single second of every memory eternal. I don’t care how sick of hearing it people will get, I’ll never stop talking about him. Not just for me, but so that his son will know how amazing and loving his daddy was.

Maybe, to some people three years might not sound like a long time, and truly when we were supposed to have a life time it isn’t, but boy did we pack a lot of life into those years. We went through so much in that short time, more then a lot of married couples that I know that have been together for decades. I knew him in almost every situation, we knew each other better then anyone else in the entire world, and we became seriously good at communication.

For three years, we were the perfect team. For three years, I never had to question my place in this big scary world, because it was with him. With my family. I never had to wonder at the fear of the future, because what is there to be afraid of with him to protect us? He would never allow anything to happen to us, and together we could overcome anything. For three years, I never felt anything but loved unconditionally. I never had to question his devotion and love to me, to our family.

My life has now forever become a before and after. Before: I had dreams, hopes for the future. Before the pain. Then, after. After, I’m just trying to survive. Even if I accomplish every goal we set out for, it will never be a true victory for me because I won’t have him to share it with. Every bit of news I get, every time I accomplish anything, it’s another reminder that I am alone. That every time I look over my shoulder for him, waiting for him to urge me forward, there is no one there. Every time I wait for his smile or reassurance, it’s gone.

It makes me inexplicably angry to see other couples. To see other daddy’s with their babies, their families. To know that they got more time, that they get more time. That one day, they could just decide to have another baby together, or that they can still experience life together. That they are still a they. A we. A team.

They don’t have to learn to walk through life dragging this pain behind them, that every time they smile or laugh, they don’t feel a stab in their heart that they will never get to share this joy with their partner. I envy them their carefree love, I envy them their arguments, their ability to make more memories, Their life.

For the first week, I slept on the floor, if you can call it sleeping, because the thought of laying in a bed without him made me physically sick. When I finally worked up the courage to sleep in a bed again, I had to get the smallest one I could, because anything bigger would just be a slap in the face of how much space there is without him. But even a smaller bed doesn’t stop me from waking up every night reaching for him, looking for him and wondering where he is. No matter how many blankets I use, without him I’m never truly warm, I’m never truly comfortable. For three years, I have almost never had to sleep alone, and we weren’t just cuddlers. We were clingers, we never stopped holding each other throughout the night, if he rolled over, I rolled over. If it was hot out, then we would just commit to sweating disgustingly together, because we needed to hold each other to sleep.

But now, there is no one to hold me. No matter how much I sleep, I’m still exhausted, because I can’t stop myself from constantly waking up to look for him. I’m always just a little bit awake, waiting for him to come back to bed.

It’s interesting the way other people react when a tragedy befalls someone else. No one really knows what to do, how to handle it or how to help the person, because how do you make it better when they have lost so much? I lost my husband, my best friend, my home, my sense of security, my future and hopes and dreams, my sons daddy, my partner and my way of life. It’s been a huge eye opener, to understand what is truly important, and what isn’t. It’s also really made me understand the value of time and connection.

Some people have come out of the woodwork, to help me in any way they can, to support me and EJ as we navigate this chaos, and I’m eternally grateful for these people. Some people, have turned into very judgemental and just mean or hurtful people, for whatever reason. Some people will judge your grief, thinking that your grieving wrong, or that your doing whatever wrong or not how they would do it. Those people, they don’t know how incredibly lucky they are that they get to judge from a place outside of the club. Because someone in the club? They know that none of us wants to be here, and they know, that we are just doing whatever we can to survive.

Some people, just disappear. They don’t know what to say, so they think they should say nothing. In a way, it’s worse then the ones being assholes, because at least they are a good distraction, and not only that, their rudeness is still better then silence.

Going from being with the love of your life every day, to pure unfiltered silence is… devestating. When your in a relationship there is so much you don’t even consciously notice in order to truly appreciate it. It’s just second nature to hear your husband coming down the stairs, for them to be as excited as you when your baby does something new, or for them to just hold your hand, or brush past you. It’s second nature to seek their opinion when making decisions, or to see their face when you wake up in the morning. You don’t truly notice how much you crave that connection until it’s no longer there.

It’s astoundingly silent, and so heart wrenchingly lonely.

I will never get to look in the fridge and sigh in frustration because he drank all the milk again, even though I asked him three times to leave me some. I’ll never get to do our laundry. I’ll never get to bring him home his favorite chocolate bar, or surprise him at work with an ice cap. I’ll never get to watch him play with our son or grow as a daddy with him. The entire definition of who I am, and my life, has been rewritten. I don’t even know who I am anymore. There is no comfort in home, because I lost that when I lost him. There is no comfort in my dreams or the future, because I can never have the one I wanted.

It’s like starting a race everyone else is almost finished, while carrying a canoe. It’s awkward, unwieldy and you have no idea what the hell you’re doing, but damn it you’re trying. Even if no one else can see the stupid canoe, you can feel it, and your trying your damndest to just. keep. going.

Thank God I have our son. Thank god I have EJ, he is his daddy’s boy in so so many ways and while it hurts so much, I’m so glad he is the light in my darkness, bringing me joy in the moments it feels like I will never smile again. I just wish his daddy was here with us.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Sorry for disappearing, I hope to have coffee with you some day when I come back, and feet the small fry.

  2. I am so happy you are writing. Your story here is raw. I can feel your huge devastating pain. I am so sorry you are going through this incredible loss.
    I am also thankful that you have your precious little, beautiful EJ. He is going to help his momma get through one day at a time for now. Lots of hugs to you two.

  3. Shayla!!! Sooo sad. If I miss him so much, I cannot think how very very lonely you must feel. So well written, I can feel your pain……No words can comfort you, but just know that I think of you and Little Erhardt constantly….love you…..

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