One of my standard endearments to Ken had always been "you are my perfect husband." Awww. Ain't that sweet? But it's true. In Ken I truly found everything I had been searching for in a partner. Did he have flaws and did our marriage have it's challenges? Well, I guess, but not many. Although I must admit that sometimes I would level this complaint at Ken: YOU THINK YOU'RE PERFECT. But then again, most often so did I.
But then he got sick. And then he died. NOT PERFECT. NOT ANYWERE CLOSE TO PERFECT. THE OPPOSITE OF PERFECT. In fact, it's downright shitty. I got royally screwed. My life as I knew it is OVER. I am living what is the stuff of nightmares for many of you. I found just what I was looking for...I did such a good job finding my perfect husband and the perfect father for my children, then POOF. Gone. Different life.
This time last year, Ken was engaged in a splendid fight for his life. He fought so hard and with such spirit that though it was perfectly awful, he helped us believe that it wasn't. That it was OK. That he could endure. That all the suffering was worth it. He was still there for us, leading the way through the minefield of horrors, and so many of us followed along by his side.
So now we edge into some difficult territory...his and Paul's birthday next month...and then the anniversary of his death/Natalie's birthday the following month. He's missed alot of living and being Ken, he would have really enjoyed being here for all of it for he was truly a contented person.
I think that despite his death, despite living the reality of one of the worst things that could ever happen to me, I may have integrated some of his contentment into my being. I find that I am happy to just try to live a very simple life, to keep my stresses low and my own health a priority, to not expect too much from myself, to enjoy the company of wonderful friends during the day, and then to be fully there for Natalie and Alec when they come home from school. To be grateful for them. To laugh with them. To be content with our little family of three.
Something about our loss makes our little family ever more precious to me and it brings out more that is good in me. I wouldn't call anything about me or my life perfect, but I do try to see more that is perfect, just as it should be, in my children, in my friends and in my life.
Of course, there are those moments when all that is really lousy about my situation comes to haunt me. Usually this is in those early hours of the morning, before the alarm clock rings. Then everything feels so absolutely terrifying that I fear for my future and my children's future.
When the terror strikes, I summon Ken who truly never seemed to me to fear anything. He gives me strength still. I still follow his lead. His presence in my life is nothing that I can call perfect anymore. But I will take what I can and call it good, because what remains is all I have.
- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.