Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Delayed Grief?

So, my late husband’s mother and brother have been in town for the past few weeks….

Yes, it is very difficult……

When my late husband was killed, I think I was in shock.  These things only happen in the movies….in really really BAD movies….not in MY life.

But it DID happen….and I WAS in shock.  I went about each day just doing what I had to do to get by.  I didn’t want to be around anymore but chose to muddle my way through for my daughter’s sake. 


It didn’t take long for me to learn who was truly a friend of “ours” and who was not.  It didn’t take long to know that my family would be there for me no matter what, and his family would be there to remind me of THEIR loss…and how awful it was for THEM…disregarding that it was *I* that lost the person that I had daily contact with….that I had planned a future with….that I had a child with…..

Then it was just two of us….


Of course I understand that his family suffered a loss too, but the one’s that made it into THEIR loss were the one’s that we would see on holidays….and not even talk with in between.  His mother and brother are the only ones that I can honestly say were there for me….despite their horrific loss too.  And to this day, they are the ones that I drop everything for when they come into town. 

And…..they are also the ones that it hurts so much to see leave….

And then….ohhhh, and THEN….I have the guilt on top of that hurt.  The guilt that I have moved on, and am I being unfaithful to my current spouse if I have these heart-breaking feelings of loss over my spouse just because his family is visiting? 

Orrrrr…have I been unfaithful to my late spouse all along since finding Pete and making a new life with 2 more beautiful children??

Which is it? 

This is where I get confused.  When I met Pete I felt I had to hide it from people.  I didn’t want to hear that it was “too soon”, or that I was being “disrespectful” for moving on before a specific period of mourning….

In hindsight….I wish someone would have said something…..although they might have, and I was too blinded by my grief to have heard them.  I suppose it wouldn’t have mattered what anyone said….I was moving on.  I was keeping busy.  I was trying to make a new life because the one I was planning was stripped away instantly on May 31, 2005. 

I think that is something that I have a habit of doing….keeping busy, physically and mentally, and the horrible thoughts, the hurtful feelings, the negativity, the GRIEF can’t catch me.

And NOW….my life is still busy.  It’s even more busy than it was before.  But as soon as I feel things start to calm a bit, I add something else that will prevent me from thinking too deeply or feeling too deeply…hence the new puppy.

The new puppy came just in time….as the late spouse’s mother and brother came for their visit.  The puppy has been a distraction, and the kids have not let my mother-in-law and I have even 2 minutes to really speak. 

Am I ok with this?  I thought I was.  Until my brother in law stopped one more time before he had to head back to Florida.  (my mother in law still has another week here)  When I gave my brother in law a hug goodbye….ohhh….the ache I felt inside.  It was unbearable.  It was like he was taking yet another piece of my late husband away with him…..But did I cry?  No…I did not.  Why?  Because I did NOT want Pete, my current spouse, to worry…to have doubts over my feelings for what I have now, as opposed to THEN.

You see….I DO miss the life I had.  And I refuse to feel guilty over that.  I just don’t want my husband to think I don’t value what we have….the fact is, the two cannot be compared.  Two different people…two different lives….

Just because I miss what I used to have doesn’t mean I am not okay with what has taken it’s place, right?  I mean, I have 3 beautiful children now instead of one.  They will have each other when Pete and I are old and gray and need THEM to take care of US.  (What??  One can hope, right??)

Sometimes I feel like people forget that Brian, my late spouse, and I did NOT divorce…..we did not separate by choice, we were separated by DEATH.  Oh, there is such a big difference.

The difference is…..when you divorce, go ahead and compare the two lives….say how horrible the previous life was….beat the shit out of the previous spouse’s character…THAT is all okay!!  But when death has been the cause?  Oh no….it’s not ok to do that.  It’s just NOT.  You have respect for what you had.  You don’t need to glorify it and say how perfect it was just because you are supposed to be respectful to the dead…no, it’s not that.  You need to be honest about it though.  And I can honestly say that what Brian and I had wasn’t perfect by any means, but if he were still alive today, I can pretty much bet that we would still be together.

So….just because I moved on, and it doesn’t matter how soon or not soon I did this, it doesn’t mean that what I had previously didn’t have meaning.

And maybe I didn’t give myself enough time to grieve…or….maybe I did.  I really don’t know.  I don’t know if I just kept busy with any distraction I could which prevented me from grieving…..or what?  Can one have delayed grief??  Is it even possible?


What I do know is that often times I find myself wondering how I got to where I am today.  I find myself analyzing if the choices I made were the best for me, or were they made for my daughter??   Did I make my choices with a clear mind?   Did I even take part in these decisions?  I look at my kids and think…how the hell did you get here, and WHEN??    Seriously….It seems that I am cloudy in my thinking sometimes…..and it can be very scary.

Pete and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary next week…..time sure does fly, doesn’t it?

We have come  a long way, yet….we have an even longer way to go.  There is no perfect marriage… the past, or the present….and that is ok too. 

It really is.

And here’s a video that hit close to home….not only because of the losses I’ve had, but because of the words….the same words I had put on Brian’s stone, yet….I try to recall these words as I live my life now. 

It’s really not the number of breaths in life you take, but the number of moments that take your breath away.


Here’s to all your breath-taking moments…and may there be plenty!!

Link up with Shell if you’d also like to “Pour Your Heart Out” today.



Rebecca said...

Beautifully really captured the heart's confusion at mourning a loved one, but not wanting your new loved one to know. At the end of the day, it's what is best for you. Maybe you do have some delayed guilt b/c you had to keep moving. You couldn't stand still and feel every single shard of glass that ripped through your heart. You had a child to continue to raise and you had to be strong for that child. Allow yourself some time to feel it though...or else it will sneak up on you when you hug your BIL again...that had to be the weirdest feeling...wanting to cry, but not wanting to let it out. Sometimes you don't know if you'll stop once you get going.

singedwingangel said...

I think if you fear what your current husband thinks you need to explain to him the feelings. Let him know that ir is nothing at all against him or your life but a mourning for what could have been and was taken in an instant. I think he loves you enough to get it..

Shell said...

I could really "hear" the way that you feel from this post. You had a good life with your first husband- you didn't choose to separate from him- it's okay to mourn the loss of that life. And, it's okay to be happy with your life now, too.

That One Mom said...

Wow. I know what you mean. I really do. My kids were very young when my husband, their dad died. They have no memory of him. It is still hard for them to see me wanting to share my life with another man. More than once they've asked, "Did you love Dad?"

Just be honest with yourself. Don't for a second feel guilty for building a new life with someone else!

Natacha said...

Beautifully written... keep moving forward ...

Tracy said...

It sounds like you have not been allowing yourself to feel sad at the loss of your first husband because you are afraid your current husband will feel bad.

You lost your first husband in tragic circumstances, that is a fact and cannot be changes, you loved him and expected to be with him for the rest of your lives, unfortunately he was taken from you too early. There will ALWAYS be times when you think about him and want to cry for that loss. This is normal.

You have been blessed to find another man who obviously loves and adores you, he knows you were married and the circumstances of your husbands death. I doubt very much that he would feel hurt if you cried for your first husband sometimes, in fact he would possibly be sad to hear that you have been bottling up these emotions.

You need to express your feelings, not bottle them all up trying to keep everyone else happy.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing.... it does helps to hear someone else feels just the way I do and is confused in the same way I am. Best wishes to you for a happy & peacful life!

gayle said...

This is a wonderful well written post on death and grief. Each of us deal with it in different ways and I feel most of us have some regret on how. For example my mom died when I was 15. I have always wondered why I didn't react the way I have read other kids did. But boy did it hit me in my twentys!!! Most of us will always miss those we love...sometimes it hits us harder than other times! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us!

Kat said...

Oh, Ter. This is so beautifully written and I think you know more than anyone how you yourself feel about all of this. You just need to know it's ok to feel whatever you are feeling, no matter what anyone thinks or says. And know that NO ONE has the right to take away your right to have those feelings, whatever they are.

Imaginative Me said...

Wow! Hard life! I don't think you need to hide your feelings from your current spouse. If he loves you, he will understand that grief affects us all in many different ways. Let him be there for you. And I don't think it's anyone's business how long you grieved or how long before you moved on. It's your heart, your mind, your soul, NOT theirs! You needed to do what was best for your healing, and your daughters! I think you're great!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I saw your comment to me on Lisa's site...(bloggoddess).. I went to her page cuz I was wonderin' wth she was and noticed your comment... U and I share the word 'widow'... I lost my husband 9 yrs. ago to a car accident.. What u have said here is so true...I learned who were friends and who were family... Some of my friends became family.. Some family didn't know how to handle it... This was something that totally devastated my (then) 2 teenage daughter and 9 yr. old son...I won't go on about it...As far as love on 'those sites'... I thought i did find it... Its just too bad he had a drinking issue.

Frugal Vicki said...

I cried pretty much the whole way through this. It is so honest, and so heartfelt.
I seem to get through life by almost pretending the things that worry or hurt me aren't there.....and that causes me some fuzziness so I understand what you are saying.
I think a good talk with your husband may help.....or possibly a good long talk with your late husband may help even more.

Mike (Real Dad) said...

Hey bud. Loss is never easy and sometimes it takes years to face it. Hang in there and keep in mind that not only do you have the memories, you have a piece of him in your daughter. Pete may never understand the feeling unless he suffered a terrible loss but you have every right to feel the way you do and not to feel guilty about it.