This I Believe

Janine - West emphis, Arkansas
Entered on December 29, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: carpe diem, death

I believe that even in the face of loss, one can find redemption.

In the early hours of July 1, 2002 my world spun on its axis and landed somewhere else. My husband of 22 years died of a massive heart attack. I call it your basic nightmare, 5:30 a.m., a Monday morning, awakened by a terrible noise I see my husband sitting straight up gasping for air, our children, who at the time were 19 and 11, both involved in the process. Our daughter, 11, flagged the ambulance and our son, 19, spelled me in giving CPR to his father. My struggle was to find true north again. Time is indeed relative–and time never moved more slowly for me than in the months following my husband’s death. Every day seemed endless, every week difficult. I finally realized that I was in such a hurry for “time to pass” to stop the unrelenting pain that I only slowed the process. There is no finish line for grief. The first year anniversary is not a magic bullet. Grief is circuitous. The circles do get larger and larger but continue to blindsided you. I could anticipate some of the waves of grief ….Christmas, my husband’s birthday, our anniversary, but some took me by surprise. The children’s birthdays were much worse than either my birthday or his. Compounding the situation were the rogue waves that blindsided me. A song on the radio, an intimate look passing between two parents over the head of a child, a Father’s Day card “To Daddy from His Little Girl”., the rogue waves were always triggered by something I couldn’t anticipate.

A friend of mine told me at my husband’s graveside, “This is a terrible, horrible thing, but it is yours. Savor it. You will learn something from it. What it is I can’t tell you but you will figure it out.” It took me over a year to realize my lesson in loss. Everyone’s lesson is different. Mine was “You have today, that’s all you have. If you live it honorably, fully and passionately, it is enough. Nobody is promised tomorrow.” It has redefined the way I live my life.