About the best thing I can say about 2016 is that I have survived it so far. My dad didn’t. My husband didn’t.
It has been brutal. My dad dying unexpectedly, me being diagnosed with precancerous cells in my breast after a routine mammogram in April, having to undergo surgery to remove 2 masses on my breast while my husband laid in the hospital for what would be his final hospital stay, and my husband dying has all culminated in what has been the worst year of my life. My year pretty much trumps most in the suckiness department. Although I probably shouldn’t use the word trump in my blog.
Even with all that I have had times of real happiness. Mike and I spent half of the year creating memories, traveling, and laughing together. We graduated his son from high school, threw him a kick ass party at our favorite restaurant in town, and Mike was able to live to see him start his college career.
We laughed. We laughed right up until the day he died. He always loved a good party, and his last 3 days of his life, we had a house full of family, and friends laughing, partying, and loving. While drifting in and out of consciousness, he cracked jokes, let everyone know he was still there, and made me love him even more with his gentle, reassuring way.
The last half of the year we spent grieving. Some of the grief we experienced together, some I have had to endure alone. The grief we experienced together was realizing that he had run out of time, and although his mind wasn’t ready to let go, his body was tired. The fight was about over. Being told he had only 2 weeks- 2 months to live in the hospital was really awful. I thought Mike would lose it, scream and rail against God, and become angry. He never did. He handled the news as he did everything else in his life- with grace. Sure, he was angry, and he did wonder why him. However, he grew to accept it. He started making plans for his memorial, reached out to those he loved, and tried to comfort those of us who would be left behind.
Bringing him home on hospice, and taking care of him largely alone, and watching him die in our living room has left devastating scars on me that are taking more time to recover from than I could imagine.
The other side of the grief is just missing him. We rarely spent any time apart. The three years we had together were intense, and we spent a lot of time alone together. When we were apart, we kept a running text commentary going between us, and I miss it. He got me. He thought I was smart, and funny, and could do anything. When I was with him, I was beautiful. This loss has taken me to my knees in a way the cancer never did.
My business coach has us do an exercise where we pick a focus word for the year. In 2016 my focus word was Courage. Wow, I couldn’t have picked a better word. I knocked that word out for the year for sure. In my current frame of mind I am struggling with my word for 2017. I want to use words like hide, survive, and rest. I know those aren’t me though, and that it is the grief talking.
For now I just survive the days.