Did you ever find out what happened?

Don’t you just love the questions that come after your spouse passes away at the young age of 40? So have you found out what happened, was he sick, have you heard back from the autopsy, do you think it was his heart? Some people I believe genuinely cared, because they care about me. Others I think just wanted an earful of gossip. I’ve spent the past year picking and choosing who I give the answers to, and that’s ok. I do what I feel is best for me and best for Jason.

The morning of my 36th birthday when my 8 year old daughter found her father dead I was almost positive I knew what happened. I hoped and prayed I was wrong, but had a sinking feeling I was right. That morning was full of first responders. From the 911 operator, my amazing neighbor who spoke to the 911 operator for me, paramedics, fire department, police officers, detectives, etc…There were so many people in and out of the house on and off the phone. I remember feeling like I couldn’t catch my breath. I remember thinking this can not be happening, this can not be real, this is not my story! Who are all these men, why are there so many, where are the kids, why can’t I breath normally, this can not be happening, this is not my story. Where are all these people coming from? Did I turn the stove off?!?

Next thing I know my sisters appears. She was the first person I called, after 911, and it seemed as though she was here as soon as I hung up, immediately assuming the role of ring master of the nightmare of a circus going on. She was incredible. I honestly could not have done the things she was able to do. She is my hero and strongest person I know. Also the first person I answered when asked “what happened?” I told her I did not know, but had my suspicions. I did not want to be right.

Once the paramedics determined there was nothing they could do to save Jason the questions started rolling in. So many questions. Do you know what may have happened, were you two getting along, any history of alcohol or substance abuse, what medications was your husband on. Turns out when someone as young as Jason dies there is no choice, but an autopsy. So then the detective comes. Turns out Jason had a pocket full of illegal drugs. My suspicions are being confirmed, but I still didn’t want to accept them. It was so scary knowing I had two small children at home, a house full of police and detectives, a dead husband, and his pocket full of illegal drugs. I was terrified I was going to loose my husband and my children at the same time. Thankfully they did not take my children. We were able to leave and go to my moms house as soon as I was done answering the detectives questions. Without any hesitation my sister stayed at the house and continued her new roll of ring master. Answering the never ending questions, finding this grabbing that, calling all those that needed to be called, cleaning out the bedroom, removing the bed, and securing my house. She loves super hero movies, but I don’t know why because she is the real super hero.

The weeks it took waiting on the autopsy results felt like years. I thought I would never know what actually happened. I came up with 100 different things it could have been. I still kept hoping even with what I knew that it wasn’t what I suspected. I kept hoping that maybe one of these other options could be what actually happened.

Well, the day finally came and the results were in. My suspicions were right, sort of. I suspected he did some cocaine and then to fall asleep took some Xanax. I figured the combination of the upper and the downer probably stopped his heart. Well I was right, but there was more. Not only were Xanax and cocaine in his system, but also hydrocodone, ketamine, and methadone. To say I was shocked would be an extreme understatement! I didn’t even know what methadone was. As if on schedule a whole new set of questions arrived along with the results. Why, where did that stuff come from, how long had he been using, was this a regular thing, things were so good for the past 10 months what happened, is an alcoholic a drug addict, why, what was he thinking, was he thinking? Who do I tell, do I keep it a secret, can I save someone else, can I save another wife from the pain I’m in, other children from the pain my children are in? What do I do? What did he do? The questions still haven’t stopped 14 months later. I don’t know if they ever will stop.

When the questions come from my kids I do my best to answer honestly and openly. When the questions come from loved ones I also answer openly and honestly. When the questions come from those just wanting an earful of gossip I give as little information as possible. I hope someday I can use our story to improve someone else’s life. Maybe save a life or help someone else survive grief.

Grief

I wrote this a back in May 2020, only 9 months into my grief journey. I still feel the same way 5 months later.

I just want to take a minute and talk about grief. I’m curious why grief is talked about so little. Why is this not something people discuss? We all will or all have experienced grief. Yes, our grief will be different, but if you are human you will experience it at one time or another. Sometimes we grieve the loss of a pet or a home. Maybe the loss of a parent, friend, or sibling. Maybe a miscarriage or loss of a child. A grandparent, a neighbor, an aunt, an uncle, Or maybe in my case you lose your partner your best friend your husband and the father to your children. You get the picture.

One thing that I do know for certain is that every single life will end at some point, and that will start the grieving process for another person. No one teaches us how to grieve or what to expect while grieving. Someone may tell you their grief journey, And you can take some notes, but I can promise you that won’t be your grief journey. Maybe you can prepare for how you think you will grieve, but just like any other situation life gives us you won’t know how you will react until you are living it. So why don’t we open the conversation about grief? Why don’t we make it more normal?

Let me tell you what my experience has been like. I promise it was nothing like yours, and I promise it was nothing like I could’ve predicted. I did things I never would have thought I would’ve done. Things I would’ve easily judged others for doing. I also survived the biggest tragedy in my life to date. I did what I could to get through each day. Maybe one of these days I’ll write a book describing it all. For now I just want people to understand when you are grieving you are doing what you can to survive the hand you’ve been dealt.

     For me this was the thing that helped the most: people reaching out even if it was as simple as a text message, just to let me know that someone was thinking of me. The phone calls the visits the cards all of those things helped, because I knew someone cared.

For me the the thing that did not help: not reaching out, because you didn’t know what to say, or because you didn’t want to make me sad, or you thought I was probably being taken care of by someone else and I didn’t need one more person checking in on me.

I needed each and every check in no matter how big or how small. No matter how often, and no matter when. It’s never too late to check on someone who is grieving. Trust me just because you see us smiling we are still hurting. We just don’t talk about it!

The people who were there for me checking on me regularly allowing me the space to live the way I needed to without judgment will forever be the most amazing people in my life. If you’re one of them you know because I’ve told you.

       That’s another thing tell people you love them and why you love them.  Make it mushy make it uncomfortable, but make it genuine and honest. You’ll never once regret telling someone how much they mean to you.

     Anyway back to grief. Here’s the thing I’m nine months into my grief journey. I’m just a grief baby but I have learned a few things.

  1. You don’t get over it you learn to live with it. It is now a part of you.  It’s just as much a part of you as anything else.  I promise you one thing there is not one single day that goes by that I don’t think about Jason, and I don’t know if there ever will be.  My loss is part of me.  My grief is part of me. 
  2. It does become manageable. If you take those moments when grief comes out of nowhere and knocks your feet right out from under you like a big tidal wave, let it. Sit knocked over on the floor and feel those feelings. Embrace them. Get sad, get angry, laugh whatever you need to do to feel.  Then get up and keep moving forward.
  3. When you’re ready reach out to others who are grieving. Trust me they are all around you. You never know when someone will need you or you will need them.
  4. Talk about your loved one. Yes they died, but they also lived. Jason lived 40 years, 15 of those were with me. There is a lot more to his story than his death, and his life should be celebrated and remembered and talked about.
  5. Live your life and do what’s best for you don’t let others tell you how to grieve.
  6. Seek help if you need it.  At one point I was seeing three different therapist\counselors. Battling grief takes effort, and work to go through. There is absolutely no reason to do it alone or without help.
  7. Talk about it. Please just talk about it there are people who want to help, and don’t know how.  Just tell them to listen. You just talk! Get it out! It’s OK your thoughts are normal your fears are normal your behaviors are normal and you will be OK.

     Life will never be the same again, but it can still be ok and good and beautiful just keep going.  Also remember pain loss and sorrow are all a part of life too. Just don’t get stuck or lost in it.

Normalize grief

Talk about it

Get it out

Just keep going. 

A Place to Shed my Skin

A Widow’s Journey.

I am starting a blog to document my journey as a young widow and mother. I want a place to help both myself navigate this “new normal,” that may never feel normal, and others trying to do the same.

I am 37 years old. On my 36th birthday I woke up to the worst gift I will hopefully ever receive, a dead husband. I was left alone with two young children. A 4 year old son, and an 8 year old daughter. My life as I knew it ended that day. I was born yet again on August 3rd, 2019. This time with a much different story than 36 years before. I am now a little over a year into my grief journey, and trying desperately to get to know the new me.

I would like to share with others the obstacles I have faced, the sorrows, the joys (yes there is light in all the darkness), and the challenges. I want to discuss grief, solo parenting, addiction, hope, support, my personal growth journey, and anything else. I hope that I can help others feel less alone in such a lonely place. I want others to know, even though our stories are totally different, we share something others don’t. The feeling of loss and grief. I intend to be open and willing to share, so if you have anything you want to know about my journey please ask.

I would love to work with other young widows and mothers who are trying to rebuild their own lives. I would love to help you find the rainbow after the storm. Let you know you can find your way out. Please let me know how I can help you.