Ever since Spence died I think I've become so much more aware of other people with cystic fibrosis passing away because I highly doubt that all of a sudden we started losing more people to this disease. I've been very close with the CF community for many years and since losing Spence, it's definitely become more difficult to be a part of. I've had to see CF through to its very bitter end and I continuously see my friends, my courageous, strong, and beautiful "Cyster Wives" make daily posts about how their husbands are fighting for their lives just as Spencer fought for his in the ICU for 3 painfully long, but painfully short months.
And it's not only seeing the daily struggles they live through and have to muster up the strength to fight through, but being able to empathize with the heartbreak as they post that they husbands have passed away from the disease that connects us all together. 3 wives very recently have lost their spouses. One just lost hers tonight. And that doesn't account for the growing number of CF Wives, and now widows, that we've added to our CF Widows and Widower facebook group within the last few months. A group where everyone can go and talk about the gut wrenching pain, the absolute heart break and devastation that comes with losing their world. Some of us have been on this journey much longer than others. A couple are very new and completely blind sighted by their new world minus one.
Knowing what to say to these grieving wives is nearly impossible. I don't remember how I made it through some of the earlier days. I don't remember what other people said to me that helped or hurt. I don't really remember certain moments or realizations that happened after he died. I seemed to be in so much of a fog it kind of just escapes me now. I was going through the motions. That's just about all. I was coping and just trying to survive each and every day in a new, strange, and scary world without my husband. I now understand how others, whose situation I am in now, felt when trying to muster up the words, courage, and strength to post how sorry they are that your husband just passed away.
You'd think that after going through the experience you'd be a master of what to say and how to handle it. How to comfort someone who is grieving. But sometimes I think it just becomes harder because you're more raw and more vulnerable. You understand that everyone takes what is said differently and you're terrified to say something hurtful instead of helpful. And you know how much comments can hurt.
But seeing how hurt and how lost they all are is so heartbreaking. Heartbreaking because I get it. I once lived through that pain as well. Sometimes it's hard remaining so closely connected to these situations. It brings up past feelings of loss. But on the other end of the spectrum of things, I'm glad that I'm able to be a confidant. Someone these ladies can go to when they are lost and don't know how to take their next breath. I'm so glad I can offer up my story and coping skills when a wife posts in our group about how much it hurts.
I'm so thankful that I have healed in such a way that it hasn't hurt me, harmed me, or made me a bitter person but instead made me better. Taught me lessons. Showed me my abilities. My inner strength. It has left it's marks, that much I will admit. There are still a few things I continue to work through, and that I possibly will be working through for a very long while... but over all I am amazed at how well I've come through my loss. I'm so grateful that I have the ability to take such an awful experience and turn it into something positive, something that can help someone and show them, when they are ready to be shown, that life doesn't have to end just because your husband's did. He'll always be a part of you, nothing and no one can take that away, but you CAN put the pieces back together, begin and continue to heal heal, and most importantly..... live. And not just live, but live happily and fruitfully.
The road to getting to this point hasn't been easy, no, not at all. And I know there will continue to be bumps from time to time. There was a point in time where I felt like each day that came I was further and further away from it. For a good while it became a whole lot harder. But I really do feel like I've hit a point where it's gotten so much better with each day that passes. I look forward instead of backwards the majority of the time. I can still spread a genuine smile across my face even when I miss him just a little more than normal. I can truly still feel happy despite losing Spencer. So, so happy.
It's a happy that at times I didn't know I'd be able to find again. But this year I've discovered and grown so much. I've not only learned that I CAN be that happy again, but that I can still open my life and heart up to someone else. That I can let another person in. That I can still become vulnerable, but in a good way, and not bad. That I can still follow my dreams and pursue my goals. That I have my whole life ahead of me
It's a kind of happy where I feel like people look at you and wonder what you're up to. The smiles are so real. Most of the time I feel giddy. I don't know where it comes from, I don't know why or how I feel it, but I'll take it. I deserve happy.
So I guess if this blog serves any purpose other than to allow me reflect on how much I've blossomed over these last 3 years... It is maybe something like this....
To tell all of my friends who are facing this same journey that you are strong beyond all measure. You are loved and I am so, so sorry that this happened to you. I want to tell you that it WILL be okay. That you probably can't see it now, but one day you will wake up and maybe you'll cry one less time tomorrow.... Or maybe you'll be able to hear your wedding song and smile instead of laying in your bed the rest of the day... Maybe it will be something as simple as waking up in the morning and taking a shower.
Though these things might seem like something so small, it is progress. Relish that step that you were able to take today that you weren't able to take yesterday. Step by step, day by day you are healing. You're going to have days, maybe even weeks at a time where you won't want to get out of bed in the morning (or let's face it, afternoon). When getting dressed takes up all the energy you have. When crying through the entire day is the only way you're able to get through. That's okay. It's going to happen and it's expected. On those days do what YOU have to do to make it through each hour, minute, and second. And on those days, and even the good days, please know I'm here for you and I love you. Please know you're never alone. It gets better. I promise that day by day, month by month, or maybe even year by year - as you learn the coping skills that work for you - it gets better.