Our entire lives we are creating a new normal. There are always changes in our lives that we have to navigate. As we go from childhood to adulthood all sorts of changes take place in our lives. We go off to school, get a job, get married and sometimes have children. Usually we have help from family during these times, someone to help us through.
This time creating a new normal is different. I never anticipated my husband getting sick and dying. I envisioned our life together going on forever. We never had any set plan for the future. We took things as they came. We worked together to provide a good life for our children. We did what we needed to do to see that they received a college education, helped plan weddings and welcome beautiful grandchildren into the world - all the time providing unconditional love and support.
My husband did get sick and die. It was a short, painful illness. From diagnosis to death only took 104 days ending 53 years, 3 months and 8 days of marriage. His death was anticipated, but what wasn’t anticipated was what it would mean to me. We had always done everything together and now I was left without that support, protection and love. For the first I had to make decisions and choices on my own. My children and grandchildren were with me giving love and support but it wasn’t the same. Nothing will ever be the same again.
After his burial and all the family had returned to their lives, I was alone. For the first time in my life I was living alone. The silence in the house was overwhelming. There was no familiar snoring, no slight movement on the other side of the bed or a warm touch within arm’s reach. Since there was no one in bed but me, there was no longer “sides.” I now sleep in the middle of the king size bed so that I’m not tempted to reach out for that warmth to be reassured that all is ok.
My husband was everything to me. Words can’t describe the feelings/emotions wrapped up in my love for him. Death did not diminish those. A part of me also died that night. I know this is something I will never get over, but by the grace of God and help from others I will get through it. It has been 2 years, 2 months and 4 days since his passing and I’m still trying to figure it out.
My new normal is not what I envisioned. I had a beautiful life that came to an end. These days I am surrounded by people who love and care about me and are helping me move forward. I do that by providing respite care for families that have a loved one in hospice and being more open about my experience with others. My husband would want me to be happy and live my life with purpose – this is my purpose now.