I feel like I have some summarizing to do of what these last 2 1/2 years of my life have been like before I can move on to more uplifting topics. I don’t know about the 5 stages of grief…if there’s really a text book way to grieve. I only know what I have experienced. And here’s a breakdown (no pun intended) of the past 2 1/2 years.
The first 6 months…
SHOCK: I just couldn’t believe it. Lance died. How did that happen? It was unfathomable. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He was super human. He was supposed to survive. I really wasn’t ever going to see him again? My kids lost their father? These were some of the thoughts that swirled through my head day in and day out. And nights were horrible. I didn’t want to go to bed. Alone. I was lonely!! I looked for every escape imaginable mostly in the form of my cell phone. After all that Lance had done to eradicate himself from the ever addicting cell phone, it had become my life line. Anyone out there? Anyone up at midnight to tell me I’m not alone. ANYONE??? I even would text Lance and tell him I missed him. Sometimes I would watch videos of him, almost obsessively, trying to will him out of the computer and come to life. It just wasn’t possible I wasn’t ever going to see him, touch him, hear his laugh again.
Mornings were no better as I woke up feeling like there was a ten pound brick on my chest, it felt so heavy! Thank God for my kids…they have always brought me love and joy, even through my hardest days. Plus I had to be there for them. They had lost their father. I had to be present but sometimes I was so distracted. It was so hard to concentrate on anything. I was so racked with my own feelings of loss and shock. Even being through this every day with my kids, I couldn’t imagine what it’s like for a 7 & 9 year old to lose their Dad. The kids and I lit candles and chanted every night together for 40 days straight to release his spirit. Even when it was over, we still wanted to chant. It was our connection to him. We talked about him daily. We still do.
ESCAPE: Six months after Lance passed, a man came into my life. I know to many that seemed soon. I didn’t care what people thought. I knew what I had been through. How I had been on this journey for two years straight. Day in and day out. How there was nothing I wanted more than for Lance to survive. But he didn’t. I wanted to laugh, to have some fun. Unconsciously I wanted to escape my pain, my life even. And I did. It was a bit surreal. This pain was being lifted by someone bringing lightness into my life. I was being reminded that there is joy, happiness, even elatedness still to be had.
ONE YEAR TO YEAR TWO:
THE WORST: By one year, my support team for the most part had gone on with their lives (accept of course my die hard friends). That is normal and to be expected. You can’t always have people around checking up on you. Life does go on. But some people expected me to be moving on too (or at least it felt that way). I guess from outward appearances it seemed like I had. But grief grabbed me and took me down. I felt this emptiness, this loss so deep that I still can’t put it into words. I was so devastatingly sad and lonely sometimes. As the second year reared it’s ugly head, I couldn’t believe that this was really how life was going to be. It really was going to be without Lance. He wasn’t coming back. Certain random holidays I just wanted to hide. Father’s day, Memorial day, the 3 day holidays where everyone is with their families, their dads, their husbands. Our anniversary was so painful(!)…I thought we were supposed to be married for 50+ years? I started realizing that everything in my adult life was and had been about Lance. My dear, wild, mad scientist, father/husband/friend was gone and everything I dreamed about in my future was about us. It was debilitating. Humbling. I realized escaping grief was unavoidable. I couldn’t believe I was really going to have to let go of this man. We were Lance and Nance. Who was I without Lance? Ugh.
TWO YEARS TO PRESENT:
DREAMING AGAIN: For the first time in 4 years (since Lance was diagnosed), I am starting to dream again. Big dreams. The letting go process continues. I realize it’s an ongoing process. We (my kids and I) still have our hard days. But I don’t wake up with that brick on my chest and the man that showed up is still with me, and we are starting to create a future together. My kids, now 10 & 12 are thriving in school and with their friends and their sweet, loving compassionate hearts continue to grow. We still talk about Lance daily. Sometimes even talk to him. He will always be a part of us. I see many traits in my kids passed down from Lance. The wicked smart, life loving, adventure making, risk taking man will always be with us. We just have to tap into our hearts. He’s there.