About Me

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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sometimes It Feels Like Everything Will Fall Apart

When it finally hit us that Ken was likely to die pretty soon, hope continued to blind like being wakened by a flashlight following major surgery for multiple gunshot wounds. We were stuck in a hospital room across the country from our home, our friends, and our kids. Ken had been in that room for almost a full six months of stem cell transplant complications. We were exhausted. He wasn't going to get better.

Still, it was almost impossible to discuss what his impending death meant. To me. To him. To our young family. To our children. Discussing it would have meant that it was real and true. Talking about it felt like giving up on hope.

In the end, we didn't talk too much about what his dying meant to me or to him. It was one of those things that was just too terrible to face; it was a time where words just couldn't do the talking. But, there was one reply he gave me that I will never forget, one reply from my husband, a trained and born therapist whose world of work navigated the world of emotions. His words were inexplicable, obvious, hard to grasp, disturbing, comforting and true all at once.

"Ken, what if everything falls apart after you're gone?" I asked.

His simple reply was this:  "Sometimes it will feel like everything is falling apart."

Sometimes you feel like everything is falling apart. When you are there, in that feeling, you can know that you won't always feel that way. Emotions come and go and change. What a gift he gave me. He didn't try to falsely assure me that everything would be OK, or tell me that I would survive or happily move along. Ken told me what he knew from experience. If my life ever felt as though it was ruined, and it probably would, the feeling would not be permanent.


Sometimes it can be hard to imagine you will ever feel differently than you do right now. What difficult feelings are you holding now? Write them out where you can see them. Sometimes you feel this way; you may feel this way now, but it is likely that these feelings will not last forever.


Susan said...

Your words if wisdom and insight, your courage...continue to amaze me and puts things into focus for me. It makes me SO sad that you have gone through all of this, but I do live your perspective! Thanks!

Have Myelin? said...

I am sorry... and I will think of you today.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Jill. What a gift he left with you. Thank you for sharing it. I will remember it and pass it on.

alobsiger said...

Thank you for this. We didn't talk much about my husband's impending death for the same reasons. It made it real. It made us doubt that it might not happen and that he might get better and come home and be here now. And then how silly we would be for talking about such a ridiculous possibility. My husband only said I worry that you won't be OK. I told him but I have to be OK. Somehow I have to be OK so that I can raise our child. And our child is the reason I keep moving forward every day and try to keep things from falling apart.

Jill Schacter said...

Thank you for writing, and for understanding.

Oklahoma Lady said...

My husband was killed, there was never a chance to say goodbye. I spent days upon end wondering if he knew just what we would have said. I've wondered these past 6 years what went across his mind those last few seconds. One of my greatest comforts is that he didn't suffer but all in all had I known, I don't think I still would have wanted to let go. Time and the Lord has been my lifeline. Reading your post made me realize that it just might have been more difficult for those who know and have to somehow deal with it.

Jill Schacter said...

Thank you for writing Oklahoma Lady. It's all hard, no matter which way it happens, just hard in different ways!