Immediately after they told me my husband was dead in a crowded, buzzing hallway, they tried to usher me into a room to decompress me. I wasn’t having it. I needed out of the sterile hospital air and insisted on going outside. I paced back and forth and kept repeating over and over “Ican’tdothisIcan’tdothisIcan’tdothisIcan’tdothisIcan’tdothis” and they kept saying “Yes, you can.” It sounded ridiculous. The love of my life was dead with no warning whatsoever. I had no idea what to do. They were lying to me. As I was sent home in a new, comforting numb state with AARP pamphlets on losing a spouse clutched in my hand, I knew there was no way I could ever do this. Now, a few days shy of 6 months out, I begrudgingly have to admit that they were right.
I think about myself six months ago today. July 21st was a Monday. I was at work and was probably excited for a four day weekend I had talked my husband into taking with me. I had not had a lot of time off that year and my manager at the time had insisted I take a break, so I picked two random days on the calendar and emailed them to my husband and asked him to take them off too so we could spend time together. He had a lot going on at work and was hesitant, but ultimately my multiple whines of “Pleeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaase” wearing my best pout won out. That day was a normal, unmemorable day in which I had no idea I was a mere 5 days from my life changing forever.
I have been wondering what it would be like to speak to my July 21st self and tell her what her life would be 6 months from then. It is likely I wouldn’t have believed myself. I would have had to explain the following:
1. In 3 days, your husband will talk you into getting a fourth dog.
2. In 4 days, you will kiss him goodnight and head upstairs just before midnight.
3. A few minutes later, you will hear him making a strange sound.
4. You will find him having a violent seizure and call 9-1-1
5. His friend will drive you to the hospital, but he will already be dead
6. You will plan his funeral with his sister, and there will be stormtroopers present
7. You will take 3 weeks off work, and then work from home
8. You will finally get the change offices
9. At eleven days out, you will meet someone that eventually becomes your new boyfriend at just over three months out
10. At just over four months out, you will meet him in person and it will go amazingly
11. At just under six months out, you will meet his 16 year old daughter and she won’t think you totally suck
12. Through all of this, you will keep it together at work and not be in danger of being fired or talked to about performance
So, if you were me, would you believe me? I sure wouldn’t, but thinking back on all of this it is clear that not only can I do this, I am doing this and am not the total failure I feared I would be. Sure, the fetal position is awfully tempting too many days than I would like to admit, but I don’t often succumb to it. I can do this.
Good thing for today: My performance review at work was actually pretty good. It is a miracle!