On It’s Own

Today marks 5 1/2 years since Brad’s death.

It’s interesting how the passage of time changes things.
{and how it doesn’t}

I remember having a physical “flinch” on every 1st of every month. Another month without Brad. I was always counting. Hours, days, months.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’m counting years now.

I remember being really sad when it was the first new year. I did not want 2009 to come. Thinking that Brad died “last year” was something that made him seem so far away.

You also reach a time where people act like you are supposed to be ok. You are expected to move on and get over things. I’m not sure what time frame that is… or who decided that,  but I do know that no one who has lost someone significant in their life ever says that. {some days I’m extra grateful for those people who get that you don’t “move on”…}

At the beginning, I hated the passage of time.  As time passed Brad felt further away and people felt that I should be “adjusting”. I wanted time to stop all together. Because my whole world had stopped. I was literally angry and offended that the world kept spinning.

For a long time I thought that holding on to Brad meant holding on to all this pain that came with losing him. I think I held on to my grief with all my might. I clung to it. Wore it like a badge of courage. It was my little partner and I got pretty comfortable with it.

The thing that was the scariest to me – my worse nightmare, was that time would pass and Brad would start to feel far away. And that me healing meant that I would lose that connection I had with him. That I would start to look at our life together and it would feel like a dream. That it wasn’t real. I remember praying that I would remember every little detail of our life together.  For a while, clinging to my grief was how I tried to fight off the passage of time. How I tried to keep him close.

My sweet husband has always been very patient with me. {he had, “the patience of Job” my dad would say :)}  He has been patient with me while i’ve been learning some important lessons.

I remember feeling and knowing that he was so close in the days following the accident. And being terrified that that feeling would go away.  I was scared the feeling would go away when he was buried, or when we left our beautiful home we shared and moved back to Utah. I was scared that feeling would go away as time passed. And all the while, my sweet patient husband has been able to reassure me that he’s not going anywhere.

And I think he’s finally gotten a new lesson through my thick head. And that lesson is this:

That the love I feel from him {and for him} does NOT have to be accompanied by the intense pain and sadness I feel from losing him.

The love exists ON IT’S OWN.

It’s not tied to any of the pain…
so I’m working on letting that part go.

It’s a process I will probably deal with forever. But now instead of clinging to that grief and feeling that it is what makes Brad feel close. I am feeling good about letting it go.

It probably sounds simple. But it’s a big perspective shift for me.

I’m focusing on remembering that being loved by this amazing man changed me.
And that it still is.

one day closer to you.
I love you my boy.

  • Chad and Tara - Found your blog through American Widow Project. I am only 11 weeks into this journey, but am grateful for these words of wisdom. And ever grateful that the love I have for my husband can exist without the pain. Thank you for writing this.

    (PS, I am also in UT!)ReplyCancel

  • Jen - You are in Utah! Where? (there aren't many military widows in Utah as far as I know.) I am so sorry for your loss. Wow, 11 weeks – I don't know that I could string a sentence together at that point. I'm so glad that you found the AWP. I think they are great. It has been good for me to be able to learn from them. I would love to have your email. (if you wouldn't mind sharing.) Mine is jenrfunk@comcast.net – I would love it if you would send me a message so we could keep in touch.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel