(just a little warning this is long and probably a bit rambling)
One year ago today we had a change in our lives that will effect the boys and I forever. We lost Larry. My husband. Their father. It is a day that will live in me and them always.
There have been several times in my life that a major change has occurred in my life. Several come to mind. Some were joyous and some were sad. Our wedding day: May 19th, my brother passing in 1990 at the age of 17, November 2001 the day Justin joined our family, August 2005 the day Kaden joined our family. My grandmother’s passing a few years ago and more recently December 2014 my cousin passed and June 2015 my dad passed. I know you all have significant dates in your lives both happy and sad that mark changes in your own lives. It changes us. It makes up who we are. It breaks us and gives us great challenges.
October 24, 2014 though was the day that just came crashing down around me in such an unexpected way. I felt like I was blind-sided by a bus. I truly didn’t see what was coming. The results were devastating and far reaching. I felt as though someone pushed me off a very high cliff and there was no one to catch me.
Sometimes I go back to that day. I try not to, but my mind has a will of its own and there are some days when I head back there. Back to that Friday. We had just celebrated Larry’s birthday the Saturday before. I had not spent the entire day with him on his birthday. I was at a bazaar sitting mostly by myself. He had encouraged me to go. I thought maybe I shouldn’t since it was his birthday and he was off from work. (I wish I hadn’t) but he was always my encourager. He ended up spending the day with the boys and they went out to eat breakfast together and then stopped at the local flea market. In the afternoon they came to the bazaar and stayed until it was over and time to pack up. Then we headed to our church hayride. We went on that same hayride tonight. Without Larry.
On that Friday, Oct 24, the boys and I had just finished taking my dad to his first week of radiation for the cancer in his lungs and brain, that had been discovered just a couple of weeks prior. As we left the hospital, little did we know that at about that same time the EMS was bringing Larry to the very hospital we were leaving. As we were driving home Justin commented from the back seat “wouldn’t it be great to know the future?” My answer was no. How ironic was his comment in that moment.
Not knowing what was happening with Larry we came home, dropped dad off and mom and the boys and I went to the grocery store. In the meantime dad received a call from Larry’s co-worker saying that he had had a massive heart attack. Dad was distraught and upset that he could not remember where we had gone. When we returned I honestly thought that dad was mixed up. This could not be happening, could it? For some reason unbeknownst to me, my cell phone was off. They had been trying to reach me for an hour.
I was taken to the hospital by our friend and fire chief. When I arrived I knew it was very bad. They took me right back. The ER doctor would not let me see Larry while they we were working on him. Then the doctor came out and told me they were were so sorry. They had done everything they could. He didn’t even finish his sentence and I knew. I knew he was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye. The boys didn’t get to see their daddy again. I know everyone on that floor could hear my cries of anguish. I could not believe he was gone. I still can’t.
The rest of my time there was surreal. I was brought home by my pastor and her husband ( I love them) I had to tell my boys that their dad was gone. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. EVER.
You know I have such regret that I was not there when Larry needed me the most. I have had a difficult time with that. I SHOULD have been there. My phone should have been on. I wonder sometimes if he wondered where I was and why I was not there with him. I regret it oh so very, very much. I try not to dwell on that very often, but it is there reminding me. I know it was not my fault, but my heart hurts so much knowing he was alone and I was not there. I know that he had very good care from the doctor and nurses that attended him. I have no doubt about that, but it still does not help me much.
I also realize that had my phone been on I would have had my parents and my boys with me. I know my dad could not have handled being there in person. He was so devastated when I told him Larry was gone. I know too that I could not have handled my boys and myself. But still I regret not being there for him. I know God’s plan is so much better than mine. But you know what I still regret it.
My grandma died a few years ago and she was so special to me. She was someone I looked up to and loved deeply. ( I still miss her and wish I could talk to her) I asked her one time how she managed to go on after my grandfather died. She said she did what she had to do.
You see my grandfather died when my grandma was 55. I was 52 when Larry died. I never in a million years would have ever thought I would be in the same position as my grandma. I never thought I would be here without Larry. But here I am. Sometimes in a deep pit of despair. I have family and I have friends who love me. But sometimes I feel so utterly alone.
Now here we are today October 24, 2015. An entire year without Larry. It has been the longest year of my life. Without his smile, his laugh, his love. Just emptiness and loneliness and a deep, deep longing to see him again.
I do go forward. I get up each morning and do (mostly) what I need to do. What’s expected of me. But I don’t want to. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed. I want to cry and I do. A good friend shared with me about crying in the shower. No one can hear me in there. I cry myself to sleep some nights. Some days I don’t think I can do it. Face what I need to face. Raise these wonderful boys who God felt I was capable of raising. I worry I am not doing a good enough job. I don’t say that for you to praise me. I get told all the time what wonderful boys I have (and it is true I do and I mean that sincerely) Not because of me, but because of God. Just tonight at the hayride someone kindly told me how wonderful the boys are. I thank God that they are in spite of me. Because I know I make mistakes.
But I am thankful too. Thankful for all the years I did have with Larry. I am so sad for my boys that they got cheated out of time with him. I’m not sure what the point of my writing is tonight, but I feel I need to say these things. I hope that in some small way, it helps someone else.
Loss is hard. Grief is hard. It never goes away. Ever. It is always there. Lurking and waiting. I never know when something will trigger a memory or feeling. The fall weather makes me keenly aware that Larry is gone. It reminds me of him. I don’t know why. I miss him. I will always miss him. I wish he were here. I know he is not and I know I need to move forward. I try. But some days are so hard.
Sometimes what the world sees on the surface is not what is really happening on the inside. Take the picture at the beginning of my post. It is a lovely picture of an early fall morning. It was taken on October 30th of last year while we were waiting for the fire company to bring Larry past our house on his last ride on the way to the church service to celebrate his life.
It gives the picture an entirely new meaning doesn’t it? Some days when I feel I cannot go another step, I am reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus made for me and I go forward. Some days I may have to crawl but I’m moving.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2 (NKJV)