I haven’t written on this blog in a very long time. I felt an overwhelming need to share this today though so I am following that need. I am ok with others going on this journey with me but these words are for me. To let it out and to process it.
I remember everything about Feb. 2, 2017. We had been at the Hospice Inpatient Center for almost 2 weeks. It was a beautiful sunny day. I also had an incredible need not to leave Todd’s bedside. Before this point, I had felt comfortable leaving for small bits of time but I was unable to leave him this day. I sat in the chair next to his bed all day. Holding his hand. Sleeping some. Talking to him. Just being. I remember how hard he was trying to breathe. I remember how he did not look at all like the young, healthy 46-year-old man he should look like. I remember friends, lots and lots of friends, coming and going and being there. Taking care of me, bringing me food and chocolate and Diet Cokes. I remember my kids gathering around his bed as I prayed over him and us. I remember asking God to help us TRUST. I don’t know that I did trust but I wanted to. I remember the nurse talking to me about how they’d help us pack up our room after he passed and what the next step will look like but it did not register to me what she was truly saying. I began putting things in bags and cleaning the room. I just needed to be busy. He was close to the end but yet I didn’t know or realize it. He’d been close to the end for so long. Looking back it seems everyone knew this was his last day on earth but me.
I remember when the nurse said “Jennifer, I think he’s stopped breathing” and she checked for a heartbeat. He was gone. I was shocked as if I had no idea this was coming. I cried and cried and literally laid on top of him. I talked to him and I told him I was mad he left and that he was supposed to be with me. I kissed him, over and over as my tears fell on his face. I pulled myself together to tell our kids that their dad was gone. That is nothing anyone should ever have to tell their children. They all reacted in their own ways that show their personalities, Zachary quietly contemplative and uneasy with open displays of emotion, Caroline sobbing and wanting comfort but pushing away at the same time, and Christopher angry – yelling, cussing, screaming. It was all so surreal. I remember going out to the waiting area to a room full of friends and all I could think to say was, “now what?” I had no idea what to do. I felt empty.
Today I still feel that emptiness and it’s the same but its also different. A part of my life is missing. Gone. I have begun new journeys without him and that makes me feel very sad but also proud, because I know he’d be saying things like, “That’s my girl” or “I knew you could do it!” I struggle to parent alone and it’s not fair that he isn’t here to help me with the difficult things that have come up and also to celebrate with me when the fruits of our parenting result in amazing things like graduations, first jobs, weddings, etc..
Today I’ve felt sorry for myself. I allowed that for myself today because I usually do not. It has been a hard day for and I did not foresee that this year. I expected it last year but thought it would be easier this year. It isn’t. So today I spent in bed, watching Netflix, and of course, typing this. I’ve moped and cried. And I can hear him saying, “Pull yourself together, I wasn’t that great!” And I laugh because that is how he was. Funny, sarcastic, and never full of himself. Yes, he was that great. And I miss him dearly.