Monday, September 16, 2013

THOUGHTS ON SURVIVING HARD WORK

 

Let me tell you.Grieving is HARD work.

My belief is that grief is one of the hardest things we will ever go through in our lives and that each one of us will grieve in different ways for different lengths of time.

Unfortunately, the longer we live, the more times we will grieve.

My daddy was 17 years older than my mama. Daddy was already 45 when I, the last of eight children was born. I consider myself real lucky to have had my daddy for nearly 32 years. Since it’s been so many years gone by since God called my daddy Home, time has eased the pain quite a bit. With that being said, of course I still miss him to this day. I loved my daddy sooooo much. He was not only my daddy, but my hero. When he died, I felt like I had lost the world. I believe that I was 100% daddy’s girl from day one of my life, but I will say this, somehow losing my daddy brought me and my mama a lot closer together.

It was when I lost Danny, that I also found out that losing a parent is not necessarily the hardest grief we have to bear.

Although he started out as just the little bratty brother of my best friend, who lived across the street from me, he became so much more. He was not only my husband, but the love of my life, the daddy to my kids, my best friend and constant companion. 

My gosh, he was the one I lay nestled against every night for 35 years, feeling his breathing, his every movement.

We saw each other through sickness and in health. Most of the times though our years as man and wife, we even worked at the same jobs together. We fought, and Lord how we fussed, but we also laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. He was the one I could act all crazy with, but he was also the one I told my deepest secrets to.

God says when you marry, you will become as one, and when Danny died, I learned exactly what that meant. What do you do when a part of you dies? I fully remember saying to my brother Frank, who was trying his best to comfort and console ..."without Danny, this world won't be worth a damn to me."

If it had not been for my my children, my faith in GOD and His promise that we would someday meet again, I don't know if I could have survived. I am not going to lie; there were days when even I thought I was going  ‘crazy as a besty bug’, as my mama would have said.

Soon after he died, when everyone had gone back to their homes and there was only me and Dan left in this old house, I would go up to the grave in the mornings, in the afternoons and in the evenings and cry and scream out Danny’s name, as if he could hear me and magically come walking out of the woods nearby.

In looking back, I thank God that no live person heard me or I probably would have been committed!

The first weeks after Danny died, I would walk my dogs late at night and look at the stars that he and I use to gaze up at. Oh, the stars were still beautiful, but my heart ached because I was now seeing them alone.

Alone is such a sad word.

Now I knew how my mama must have felt when she lost daddy. My life as I had known it for thirty-five years, had changed.  Even as the weeks and months flew by, I kid you not, I would go to the store and come home and look around the house feeling all perplexed, and it would be because I was alone and felt like I had left him back at the store. 

You see, where one of us went, the other was usually there too.

After a while, my grief began to remind me of the waves of an ocean. It would go out for a bit, but then it would always come back..sometimes full force, but I forced myself to keep getting up each day, to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I also learned to lean on God and not to my understanding, but to His.

You know, I have known, and I so envy, those women who can hold it all together, who show so much grace and dignity when they have lost their husband. But let me tell you, I was not like that!  I was a complete basket case!

I guess that is why the experts say not to make any major decisions during the first year after the death of a spouse. 

Well, I may have nutted up for a bit, but I eventually made it through the hardest part. I just had to come to a point in my life where I had to accept that he was gone, and give it to God.

This does not take away from the fact that I will love Danny until the day I die. No one will ever take his place. I still miss him terribly and yes, sometimes I still cry at night, because the nights are the hardest to get through, but If I can say anything that may help someone grieving, it would be this…

You may be one of the strong women that can hold it together with grace and dignity, but still be silently grieving or you may even nut up for a little bit like I did but, as my sister-in-law kept reminding me day after day; it is still all normal feelings you are experiencing. Keep hanging in there, because believe it or not, it will get easier to deal with.

The main thing to remember?

Give it to God. He will carry you through.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

5 comments:

Andrea said...

Oh Carlene... what a beautiful, honest, poignant, real post you've written here. I think you have summed up what all women feel when they lose a spouse they love & cherish.

I lost my Daddy when I was 30 years old & he meant more to me than life itself, just as your Daddy meant to you. So I understand what you are saying here. But I know that I never truly knew what my Mom was going through, after Daddy died. I guess I was so wrapped up in my own grief that I didn't stop to truly consider hers.

When my Mom died, at 90 year old in 2008, she had a few surviving brothers & sisters. They came to the funeral home, walked up to the casket, patted my Mom on her sweet folded hands, but never shed a tear. My husband & I talked about this afterward & he thought it was just like them saying "Rest now, Caroline, and I'll be along, by and by." It was like they accepted death as a part of life and knew that they too would be lying in that casket soon themselves.

My parents were both 69 years old when Dad died. I thought my Mom did exceptionally well... but I think that's the "face" she wanted us kids to see. I'm sure she cried at home alone too. She once told me that the hardest part for her was learning to eat meals alone, with no one at the dinner table with her. I once went over to her house & saw a little portable tv on the kitchen table & couldn't imagine what it was there for. Then Mom told me it kept her company as she ate her meals.

Mom ventured out to the grocery store, for the first time since Dad had died, and she was waiting at the deli counter. Her number was up next & just as the employee asked her if she could help Mom, the song "The Way We Were" came on over the loudspeaker. Mom said she couldn't open her mouth & just shook her head "No", that she didn't need any help, and she walked out of the store with tears streaming down her face.... leaving her cart of groceries behind.

You are not alone, my friend. Very few spouses die together so every spouse on the face of this earth will have to go through what you're going through right now... one or the other. I hope this somehow gives you comfort... to know that someone, this very day, is starting their journey as a widow or widower. This very day... this very moment. And someone else will start their journey tomorrow... and next week... and next month.

Prayers coming your way. Please take good care.

~Andrea
XOXOXO

Paige Arwood-Hubbard said...

Ms. Carlene, you amaze me of all the wisdom that you have and share. I lost my daddy 3 months after I turned 32 as well. I was the oldest of 3 as you know but they had tried for almost 9 years before I was born because of mama's thyroid issues. After that they had 3 girls within 3 years. I know I was a daddy's girl. Like you it made I bond with mama so much closer. It is hard for me because his wife killed him. I think, I do I could except better if it had been God calling him home than what she did to him. You have always been a strong woman as long as I can remember and I know how much you love Danny. I don't know what I would do without Brian either. I don't what that feels like losing a spouse but I cam only imagine. You are right you just have to hold on to God and lose faith because we will all be back together one day. I am so glad you have Dan, Amanda, your son in law and them 3 precious grand babies to love on and when you love on them I believe they sense Danny's love coming through you, because we're one and a piece of him will always be with you. I love reading our post and your beautiful words of encouragement and love. Love ya. :) <3

Paige Arwood-Hubbard said...

Ms. Carlene, you amaze me of all the wisdom that you have and share. I lost my daddy 3 months after I turned 32 as well. I was the oldest of 3 as you know but they had tried for almost 9 years before I was born because of mama's thyroid issues. After that they had 3 girls within 3 years. I know I was a daddy's girl. Like you it made I bond with mama so much closer. It is hard for me because his wife killed him. I think, I do I could except better if it had been God calling him home than what she did to him. You have always been a strong woman as long as I can remember and I know how much you love Danny. I don't know what I would do without Brian either. I don't what that feels like losing a spouse but I cam only imagine. You are right you just have to hold on to God and lose faith because we will all be back together one day. I am so glad you have Dan, Amanda, your son in law and them 3 precious grand babies to love on and when you love on them I believe they sense Danny's love coming through you, because we're one and a piece of him will always be with you. I love reading our post and your beautiful words of encouragement and love. Love ya. :) <3

Donna said...

Good post, Carlene. God bless you.

Lynne said...

Thank you for sharing Carlene, it helps me to understand how my mother must be feeling with the loss of Dad this past January. Precious and truthful wisdom, may God continue to bless and encourage you. We may be lonely but we're never alone with God in our life. ((( Hugs )))