Six months Babe! I can’t believe it’s been six months since you passed. I’ve been reflecting back on my journey so far and I can’t even imagine I am where I am now. Bewildered and dumbfounded that you even left this world and that I am even sane and functioning after it happened. Both possibility and outcome were completely unimaginable and unfathomable before January 7th.
After you passed, I remember running through the entire day and weeks after your death over and over in my head. It was on repeat in my mind like I was binge watching some tragic horror movie, and not my life. I couldn’t even believe this was really happening to me as I was living each day of it. I mean, doesn’t this kind of thing only happen in the movies? Even now, there are days where all I see are flashbacks of certain events and moments of your passing that constantly replay over and over in my head. No matter how hard I try to eradicate all these traumatic memories out of my head, they refuse to leave my mind and continue to resurface over and over again. I continue to walk down the valley, thinking it can’t get any deeper or darker than where I am, but I’m always amazed at how deep and dark it can really go.
Today, when I woke up, I was in a really bad place. I just felt so stuck and defeated. Like I’m trapped in the middle room; imprisoned and unable to break free. Did I tell you?! The middle room is like grief purgatory! You know you can’t go back, but you can’t find the strength or courage to go forward either. So, you're just stuck!! Stuck in the middle room, and you can't get out!! You're standing at the threshold and looking out at your salvation. You can see the clear, blue skies above and the lush green grass and vegetation before you. You can feel the sun’s rays hitting your face. You can hear the birds chirping. You know that your life would be so much better than where you are now if you can take that first step over the threshold. You know you want to step outside into the world where it’s sunshine and rainbows, but you can’t, even though it’s luring and pulling you over. You want to cross over the threshold, and you know it will be better than where you are now, but all you want to do is run back in time as quickly as possible. You want to run back and make time stand still and never move forward to January 7th. Even though you know that life doesn’t exist anymore nor can it ever be again, you can’t help but always hope for it to come back to you. I’d give up anything for one more moment of that life. Hence, the feeling of being stuck, defeated, hopeless, and frustrated with myself when I woke up this morning. I felt like I was knee deep in the “muck” and couldn’t get out; like I was being trapped in quicksand. The more I struggled, the deeper I sank, making it harder to break-free. It feels like you’re dying a very slow and painful death by suffocation.
So, as a way to cope through this emotional “episode,” I decided to start writing, but a few sentences in, I decided I wasn’t going to let fear be my boundary any longer. I need to find my voice and speak my truth. I had been wanting to make a statement on facebook about your passing, since I never said anything publicly on Facebook, and there were still a lot of people who didn’t know you had passed. The only thing I did after you passed was changed my profile photo to the last photo we took together, but I didn’t say anything. I just replaced the profile photo, and at that moment, that was enough for me. I was fine to suffer in silence. I didn’t need anybody to know my pain nor did I need anybody to feel sorry for me either. Then about 5 months after you passed, I started to feel like I needed to make a formal and official statement so everybody was on the same page. I didn’t know who knew and who didn’t. I guess it was my way of making sure I leveled the playing field. So, I told myself, I was going to post something for your birthday, but as your birthday approached, I couldn’t find the energy or courage to do say anything. So it came and went like any other day. After your birthday party, I decided I was ready, and I would say something on your 6-month deathversary. I wanted to tell our story from the beginning and lead up to the tragic ending. So, a week or so before your 6-month deathversary, I posted my favorite photo of us when we first met in 2003. Then a few days later, I posted a photo from our wedding (which is the only photo from our wedding that was ever posted on social media)!! But, as your 6-month deathversary got closer, I got cold feet and couldn’t do it, so I aborted mission. I just wasn’t ready to publicly acknowledge in an open forum that you left this earth forever. I can barely believe it myself, so how can I convince a couple hundred people of something I can barely believe myself?! Also, it was completely out of character for me to share something that intimate and private on FB. So, I decided this wasn’t a ‘rip the band-aid off and jump off the cliff’ kind of moment. But, I ended up watching a video of Eileen Huang, a spoken word poet. She was in high school, and she used her voice to speak her truth against gun violence in our country. She was so brave and eloquent. Then I watched another video of a high school student who was calling for stronger gun control after the Parkland shooting. Then there were all these videos of undocumented immigrants who weren’t afraid to share their painful stories of family separation in the “Keep Families Together” movement, and I thought myself, how amazing it is to find your voice and the courage and strength to speak your truth and tell your story. So, I somehow found the courage to finally write a post about your passing for FB. I also realized that the person who didn’t feel comfortable sharing such intimate and private details of her life on FB was no longer me. She isn’t here anymore. Whoever is standing in her shoes right now is a person who’s still evolving and trying to find out who she is. She is a work in progress and needs to step outside of her comfort zone if she is going to survive this tragic journey she is on. Once I decided to write about your passing on FB, the words just flowed out of me like they were waiting to finally break free. I was finally able to stop crying after I posted the comment on FB. It was like I finally found my voice and the warrior within me to push the envelope and break through the barrier of fear that was holding me captive. I finally found my voice and the courage to speak my truth and tell my story. I was finally able to break free of the shackles that were imprisoning and holding me back. But, I know there’s still a lot of work to be done before I can even take the first step through the threshold towards a life without you, and this is the first small baby step towards the right direction. I have to continue finding my voice, speaking my truth, and owning my story if I want to survive this tragedy. I have to start owning my story if I want to become the person I want to be--a survivor.
And if you're curious, below is what I posted on FB:
On January 7, I lost the love of my life and partner for over 14 years without any warning or notice. In about twenty minutes, my entire world shattered and turned upside down. Six months later, it’s still hard for me to own my story and accept my fate. But, I refuse to be bounded by fear, I am determined to find my voice and own my story.
He was my rock, the anchor that held me steady, the calm when the storm is raging around me. He is usually the person that gets me through these kind of situations, and now, in my darkest hours, he is not here to get me through the most difficult period in my life. But, I know that his love and strength will continue to carry me through while I’m learning how to “dance in the rain” until the storm passes, and I can see the rainbows again.
A few weeks before he passed, I asked him “How much do you love me today?” He responded with, “You can’t measure the depth of my love for you.” I started to laugh and said, “What the heck are you talking about? Of course you can. You do it all the time!!” Generally, whenever I ask him this question, which I ask often, he usually uses his hands and arms to indicate the barometer of his love for me. Some days, his arms were as wide as he can stretch them while other days, it was just an inch. So, this was the oddest response to a question I’ve asked him for over a decade. Of all the memories we’ve shared through the years, this one stands out the most since it felt like the universe was giving us the goodbye we needed to get through such a tragic event, since it knew we would not have the opportunity to say goodbye on the day he passed.
Without knowing it, this is the last photo we will ever take together. We were supposed to grow old together, but the universe had other plans for us.
I love you, Babe! You’ll always and forever capture and 'bewitch" my heart and soul.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.