As I sit here this evening pondering all the thoughts whirling around in my mind, the one over arching thought is that I can’t articulate any of them fully or well. It’s hard to explain something that I’m not quite sure I understand myself. This month has had a lot of triggers — my anniversary to Clint, another new grandchild he was not here to see with me, holiday get togethers, Christmas music & decorations, etc. I’ve done alright, I suppose, navigating it all. I’ve made adjustments that have helped. But today, today it has hit me. And, I’m not sure what about today has been particularly upsetting. Maybe it’s a series of things.
Often my new life can be a bit like living in an upside down world. It’s like being body snatched.
Surrounded by a room full of smiling faces, children tearing into packages, Christmas music playing in the background…it’s all so wonderful! And then I feel like I’m looking from the outside in. I know all the people. Some better than others. I am happy. I love my new life! But, this isn’t the life I spent 25 years building and nurturing. It looks similar and feels similar but it’s different.
Clint is gone forever. And, my 2 oldest daughters are married with children of their own and are not here this Christmas. In fact, the last Christmas my husband was here, was the last one where we were all together. The first Christmas without him came just a month and a half after he passed. By the second Christmas, they were both married and visiting their in laws with their new husbands. It was just me and my two children still living at home with me. On top of that, my daughter got the flu and was sick the entire Christmas Day. It was great…let me tell you! I ranked it as the second worst Christmas ever! With 3 of them not living in the home anymore (Clint in heaven and the other 2 married), Christmas just isn’t the same. I’m learning this is going to take some time to adjust despite how hard I keep trying to chin up and continue pushing through.
It’s also hard seeing my 2 “babies”, still living at home with me, to navigate it. They miss what was as well. They miss the traditions. They miss us all being together. Again, it isn’t that we don’t love what is and all the new people we adore! I think that’s what makes it all so difficult to explain. How you can love and miss what was and what is at the same time??
Another struggle for me is the fact that Clint is always just on the tip of my tongue or the forefront of my thoughts. Here we are at Christmas number 3 without Clint AND, me in a new wonderful marriage. That doesn’t create any awkwardness <insert sarcasm>! Some people feel comfortable talking about Clint. Other times they don’t know him as well and so, it wouldn’t even be natural for them to bring him up. Then there are times that he isn’t mentioned and I feel like my past life is a ghost and he isn’t remembered or missed. All of the times hurt. All bring possibility for tears. I’m sure no one around me could possibly feel confident in knowing what to do and I hold no hurt or resentment toward anyone! I’m trying to figure out how to handle all this myself. I’m not sure there is a “right” way or a way that will not have the possibility of producing tears.
On the flip side, everyone near and dear to me has not only accepted my new life, with a new man, in a new marriage, but has embraced it! This also brings me so much joy and happy tears! I see the grandparents and aunts and uncles on all sides, including Clint’s family, welcoming new grandchildren and great grand children into the fold and treating them just like everyone else! I am humbled to my very core by all of this. They all genuinely like Jor-el and me! And yet, this brings tears to me and causes me to remember that life is very different from what Clint and I built for 25 years.
I guess what the whole thing comes down to is this: losing someone close to you hurts! It hurts in a way that can’t be properly described until you walk that road yourself. My life is personally filled with so many oxymorons that I confuse myself! Sadness and joy and sorrow and happiness and anger and thankfulness and resentment and love dwell in my inner being all at the same time, nearly all the time. I tire of not being able to lay it all down. I’ve begun to believe that it IS the price you pay to love someone dearly, wholly! It can feel like a pretty heavy burden most days. I’m holding out hope that I won’t always struggle like this. But, then again, maybe I don’t want to lay the struggle down? Maybe that will be like losing another part of him and the life I had with him? Maybe I don’t want to let it go?
One of the last things I realize I am struggling with is the fact that everything I worked to build for 25 years, feels almost like a shadow to me now. As I “look from the outside in”, I wonder how long this new marriage I’m working to build will last? I look at the families near to me and wonder how long theirs will last? When a youth at a family get together says they want their children to experience our family gathering when she has children of her own, I wonder if her dream will ever actually be a reality? How sad that my inner world even thinks like that! I often remind myself of this: LOVE IS worth it! Clint used to guard me against self protecting in an effort to not get hurt when love dies or fades or walks away. All relationships eventually come to an earthly end. But, the people we have loved are eternal! My new love with Jor-el is amazing! He is so perfect for me! He loves us so well! And, me and my kiddos and grandkids love him! So, I will continue putting one foot in front of the other. I will continue loving. I will continue missing. I will continue working through my numerous, head boggling emotions. I will continue encouraging others to not sell themselves short on love! I loved Clint well when he was alive! That was my time to prove my love for him! I held his hand all the way til death parted us. I am still living. I enjoy loving and receiving love. I am thankful for the love I had with Clint and the one I have with Jor-el. I am thankful for God’s many good gifts! I am thankful that God saw fit to bring me Jor-el! I am thankful for wonderful family and friends! And, on this Christmas Eve, I am thankful God came to redeem us and give us all a hope of an eternity with Him forever in heaven! This is not all there is! But I am also so incredibly grateful that God can make what seems to be a hopeless situation and turn it around for my good and His glory! That weeping lasts for a night but joy comes in the morning! That He does in fact have unbelievably good gifts for me! That as long as there is breath, there is hope! I just have to keep my hands open and offer Him the right to give and take away as He sees fit.
Merry Christmas to all my dear family and friends and fellow widows/ers and the readers I’ve never even met! I pray God’s richest blessings on all of you! Much love always, michelle ❤️