Well I am back! The small town MN, INDY Gal blogger. I have been patiently waiting for the website to be complete so I could share my passion and love with all of you. This has been a dream of mine for a while that only my late husband, Kyle knew about. What had started as a blog, turned into something more than I could ever imagine and it's only the beginning. However, it's time to start getting back into blogging - something that helped me mentally get through a tough time in my life. I wasn't really sure what my first blog post should be but the more I thought about it, I realized that it was pretty obvious. Widowhood - yes, I googled it and it is a word.
Life has changed drastically in the last two months. Today marks two months since my husband Kyle has passed and two months, since I became a widow. At the age of 28, I joined a club that no one really wants to be a part of, widowhood. It's something that I never dreamt for myself, but then again who does? To say that the last few months have been sunshine and rainbows, would be a lie. To say that it has been terrible, would be a lie. It really has just been days filled with a lot of uncertainty and firsts. Coming home to an empty house. Cooking dinner for one (which is totally lame). Driving home from work with no one to call and share your day with. Going to bed alone. Missing the hugs, the laughs, the tears and their physical presence. Really the things that we take for granted everyday are the exact things you miss when someone is gone.
Even though I had months to prepare myself for what we inevitably knew was coming, how do you ever really prepare yourself to say goodbye to your best friend? The answer is simple - you don't. The last two weeks of Kyle's life were filled with tears, love, anger, joy, peace and just about every other emotion you can think of. In a two week time period, over 100 people got an opportunity to say goodbye to Kyle. The days were long and an exhausting at times but as I look back they were beautiful. Having the opportunity to say goodbye or as I like to say - until I see you again, was so amazing. Even though it was emotionally exhausting, I often felt wondered what it would be like, to be a widow who didn't get the opportunity to say goodbye. In fact I know of a few people who recently became widows and didn't get to tell their significant other, "I love you" one last time. I did. I got to say I love you, everyday for 4380 days (12 years) until Kyle's very last breath here on earth and for that I am forever grateful.
Grief by definition is deep sorrow, especially by someone's death. Pretty simple. Pretty basic. Yet for some reason when you are going through it, it doesn't seem that simple. When somebody we love and know leaves us, we all process it differently, that's the beauty of it. There's no book. There's no rules. It's a process that we all must go through. There are five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In the past four years, I have experienced all of this but what was even harder was watching Kyle experience it as well. Cancer F*in sucks. (Excuse my french) The five stages of grief are exactly what you go through when you hear that you have the "c" word. But in many cases you don't just go through the stages once, you may go through it multiple times, as Kyle and I did. Every time it felt like we were making progress, there would be a setback. So, when the time came for Kyle to leave this earth, I felt as if I had already experienced most of the grief and heartache already because it had been our life for so long. However many of our close family members and friends were just experiencing the heartache for the first time as death became reality.
What I learned is that grief, looks, feels and acts differently on everyone but that's the beauty of it. We are all human. We all have our own story. And we all have our own way of dealing with the things life throws at us. That's the beauty of life. You don't know what things may look like in 10 years or where you will be in 20 years. And if you did know what your life entailed, would you live your life differently?
The picture on the left was taken a few weeks ago. The Strand family, so graciously asked me to be a part of family photos. I was hesitant at first, because I knew that it would be extremely emotional for me. Another first -- photos with the in-laws without Kyle. What you can't see in this photo is Kyle's grave to the right. It wasn't planned for this photo to be right next to his grave, it happened by chance. As we gathered as a family to take the photo with the empty chair, my eyes filled with tears. My mind was telling me that I couldn't do this. And then I could hear Kyle's voice in the back of my head - "Stop that crying." We went on with photos and I decided I wanted to take one by myself, not really sure why or what I would do with it but I needed to take the photo. I had all sorts of anxiety that day but at the end I am glad that I did it. Grief looks and feels different for everyone - embrace and own it...
The last few months have been far from perfect. I get asked a lot, "How are you doing?" and if you know me, "I say good." because honestly I don't really know how to answer that question. There are days where I wake up thinking I got this - life is good. And then there are days I wake up thinking how am I going to get myself out of bed today? It's a struggle and a day by day kind of thing. All in all I am living my life and trying to make the best of the cards I was dealt. Everything happens for a reason, we may not always understand but we have to trust. By embracing the challenges that come our way, we are answering Gods check list for our lives.