It's been six and a half weeks since my husband died. That amount of time feels both like a lot and very little at the same time.
I get asked how the kids and I are doing by someone, in some way, probably every day. Honestly, we're doing better than I ever imagined we would.
We're not simply OKAY. Saying that would be too overly simplified and make it sound like losing Mark wasn't a huge and sad event in our lives.
Because it was. It is.
We are doing fairly well, all things considered. I prepared for the inevitability of Mark's death for years before that fateful night last month. I got therapy, I wrote blog posts, I processed with family and friends. Mark and I talked about the possibilities and probabilities, both with each other and with our kids. We ore-planned for his funeral arrangements.
In the weeks leading up to his passing, Mark and I had several conversations about where he was, how he felt and how he hoped things would go. It was still too hard for him to admit out loud, but I know now that he knew he was dying, that his body was losing its battle.
We are doing fairly well, all things considered, because it is very, very comforting to know that someone you love SO MUCH is no longer suffering and is actually completely whole and happy, having been able to shed their diseased body.
As I burst into tears.....
But that's also part of it. I am allowing my feelings to come, to feel them, let them flow through me and pour out of my eyes. It's the only way. I will be authentic in my grieving. I will allow my children to be authentic as well. I will not let anyone tell me nor them how we "should" feel or be.
I feel like Mark had a good death and we were able to accept that it was his time and let him go. I'm very grateful for that.
As I write this, Camryn and AJ are enjoying their last day of grief camp. I felt so much relief when I knew they were able to go. We are quite open with each other, but I know that kids often need validation from people other than parents. One of the scariest things about losing Mark for me is that I am now a single mom, without the luxury of their dad to talk to about them, to problem-solve with. I don't know if I'm helping them grieve in all the right ways. I needed grief camp for my kids so that I too had someone else to validate them and help them with coping skills.
With them at camp, I got to visit my bestie at her new home. Right on the heels of losing Mark, she moved over an hour away (when she used to live just 2 miles from me). Getting to see her in her new environment was very reassuring. Also, she is so very easy to talk to because she is utterly accepting of whatever I need to say or however I feel.
Something I have been struggling with is continuing to wear my wedding ring. I feel weird without it, but wearing it on my finger feels like a lie. I lost my husband; I'm not actually married anymore. I don't know why these details matter to me, but they do. It's not that I'm anywhere near ready to think about other men, it's just.....confusing.
Surprisingly, and quite organically, I found a solution while with my friend. We went to Target for a few things and I stopped by the jewelry counter to look at the necklaces. The chain I've been wearing (and swapping out pendants on) for only about a year and a half inexplicably broke a couple of weeks ago. At Target I found what I thought were two chains of different lengths (with pendants), but turned out to be one double chain. I thought this wasn't going to work, but with a little thought, my friend and I found a solution.
I didn't plan it or think of it when I bought it, but this necklace, with my wedding ring at the top and a simple circle pendant with a tiny clear stone at the bottom, to me, symbolizes what was (my marriage) and what is now (just me). I feel like I can wear this with pride rather than confusion.
Finally, we are doing fairly well, all things considered, because we are surrounded by a lot of love and support. From our family and friends to social media peeps and those of you reading this, we can feel the love.