And you guys, the very the last bit of wisdom at the end made me all sniffly. Because I've watched my own siblings grow up without their mom (my beloved step mom) and my amazing cousins have to do the same. And that advice just rang so true to me...
So I present to you, the Domestic Enemies of the Widowed Mom.
Domestic Enemy 1: The ring
Omg. Wear it or don't? I wore my ring for a year. When someone asked me whether my husband was coming to whatever kid meeting I was in, I would say he wasn't. This was followed by the inevitable "why not?", to which I would have to reply that he was a little dead at the moment. Without fail, I would hear: "Why are you still wearing a ring?"
I mean... What kind of a question is that? Maybe because I didn't choose to be unmarried, nor was I ready to be without my husband.
But then after time, I took it off. Holy Schmidt. That got a reaction, too. And lots of questions. Yes, I still missed him, of course I still love him, no I'm not happy now. And most of all, taking off that ring does NOT mean I'm in the market for a new husband, which leads to...
Domestic Enemy 2: Other married women
Yes, I'm technically single. But no, trust me, I don't want to take away your husband. Remember the awesome guy that up and died? Still love him. Sheesh.
Domestic Enemy 3: Life insurance
Yes, I thank God for it. But no, it is not like winning the lottery. I would rather have my spouse and the father of my kids then the money.
Domestic Enemy 4: My step kid
I helped raised him. I love him. Please share him with me. I miss him.
Domestic Enemy 5: The questions
I know that people weren't out to be insensitive, but if I wanted to tell you about how my husband died, I'd let you know. It's the same with how I'm feeling. Sometimes I don't even know what I'm feeling, I just know that it sucks.
Domestic Enemy 6: Our precious kiddos (they're not the enemy but you know what I mean)
They miss their daddy. They miss him with all their hearts, but they still want to eat, play, go to school and have a life. I'm tired though. No sleep (coffee was my saving grace), the youngest was 3 months old when it happened and still needed everything, and my 3 year old couldn't cook yet! Plus they also missed their other sibling... the one that moved out because daddy wasn't there anymore. Lots of crying and throwing fits... Plus the kids acted out, too.
Domestic Enemy 6: The in laws
Yes, no, or maybe? Some still want to be family. Some just want you to go away. Some just don't know what to do with you. It is what it is.
Domestic Enemy 7: Workman's comp
After eight years, they still mess up. Yes, he's still dead (I'm not kidding, they asked if he'd seen a doctor recently).
It wasn't all bad, though. The majority of people I came into contact with had tact and grace. I needed both. I'd like to think they were the kind of person that reads this blog. They'd bring T-boxes, mail bills off, do laundry, make their husband mow the yard or cut firewood, kidnap my children for a few hours, and take me out for 60 minutes of being "OK".
Lydia asked me to tell you what I really needed from my friends when it all happened. So here goes:
- Instead of asking me how I was, (let's be honest... I was losing my mind), they asked me how they could help.
- Sometimes I had a month of meals in the fridge, but getting the baby to his well-baby check up was impossible.
- Other times I just needed a few moments to be alone and grieve instead of taking care of what was left of my family.
- You'd be surprised but nothing says "I'm here for you" like a mopped floor or Starbucks. And you know, in my humble opinion - it's OK to say "I have no idea how to help you, but I'd like to".
- I know losing Fluffy was hard and I get how much we all love our critters. But it's not the same. And those kinds of comparisons are just not what I needed to hear.
- Being patient and forgiving with me. I forgot your birthday, and to say thank you, etc. I'm sorry, but at that time, I couldn't remember to shower (hey...thanks for reminding me to shower... people stopped sniffing when I walked by).
- Even almost a decade later, after another (wonderful) marriage and a (perfect) baby, I still have days where I think "He won't walk his daughter down the aisle, or teach his son how to drive a stick," and it makes me so sad.
- Thanks for holding my hand in that moment where I'm overwhelmed with those thoughts.. Because it's hard for a lot of people to understand how I can grieve for what will never be.
- Most of all, thank you for telling my kids about their dad. He was an awesome man and you sharing those stories with his kids will help them to know him a little better.
xoxo, Mrs. Dashwood
PS: I ended up getting guardianship of my stepson, who is a teenager now (and the spitting image of his dad).
(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013