I received a text from my brother a little while ago. He asked me if I remembered a girl we went to school with. There was a death in her family, leaving yet another mother with two small children to raise alone. This friend reached out to my brother, remembering what happened to us almost ten years ago. She wanted to know if I would be willing to speak with the newly widowed mom. I said of course, to pass along my number.
The newly widowed mom, she's part of this "club" for lack of a better word now. The club no one ever, ever wants to be a part of. There are so many of us out there. Whether it was expected thru illness or sudden, there are so many of us left standing with children wondering what the hell comes next; what the hell just happened to our lives; what just happened to our worlds. At first, its mind blowing numbness. The reality doesn't sink in. From there, I think everyone handles it differently. But it's raw and it hurts in a way you would never even imagine. And, for everyone, it is different. No matter who you are or what the circumstances are surrounding how you ended up here, it's different. I am almost ten years into being a member of this club. I almost feel like I have a board position now, here to help others. And, while I never imagined life this way, I am here for whoever needs me.
People who haven't seen the kids and me in a long time, will ask me how the kids are doing, but more specifically, how old my youngest son is. You see, he was just 18 days old when tragedy struck us. So, natural association, I suppose, is to relate the two life events. They'll look at me and say, "Oh! So how old is he now?" And, I know what they are getting at. It kills me a little bit each time I hear it. It breaks my heart. Because, you see, I know what they are really asking me. And when I respond with his age, I get the same look from everyone and the head nod with "Oh, wow...."X" number of years...I can't believe it." Well, believe it. Because it is true. Maybe not for you, maybe not for your daily reality, but it sure as shit is for us. And, that is a horrible part of our reality. Truthfully, just my reality. I don't think the kids associate it the way I do. I hate that people connect my baby's birth with his father's death. It brings me to tears every time someone does. He's an incredible boy; tough, adorable, sweet as sugar and on days, yes, full of piss and vinegar, lol. Yes, it happened that way. I don't know why. I don't know why the higher power(s) made it that way. I've spent the last ten years wondering. But I have chosen to not make it a daily thought anymore. It would literally drive me insane if I did. INSANE. There are plenty of other things in life that can drive me insane, so I can't allow that to do so. I made a CHOICE. I made a choice to accept that this is what happened. I don't have to like it, I don't have to agree with it, or understand it, but, I don't have to pity myself or feel pity for my children either. My children are strong, beautiful, amazing individuals. Yes, tragedy struck them, and at very young ages. But they are survivors; they have empathy, sympathy and love for others. They have turned this life event into something a bit more positive. They know how it felt and how it feels and will continue to do so forever. Losing their father will impact the rest of their lives; their first everything's, graduations, weddings, children's births, etc.....but on a whole, they choose to move forward and live and love life. I'm not saying they don't have bad days..everyone has bad days...they are human, after all. But they have made a choice too. They've made the choice to be happy, loving, sweet people. I am always and forever proud of them. They are the reason I survived. They are the reason I can be happy. They are the reason I can love and be loved.
So, this new "club" that this newly widowed mom is now a part of--membership sucks. No question about it. I hope she will take my number and get in touch with me. I'll go meet her anytime, anywhere. Or, i'll speak with her anytime, day or night. I'll listen to her vent, I'll sit with her as she cries. She will get thru this because she has to. Her kids need her. The members of this club are tough as nails, and sensitive and sweet and caring. We're there for one another no matter what. I hope she knows that.