I can’t even begin to describe how overwhelmed I am feeling this week. In the midst of continued grieving and being a hormonal, 8-month-pregnant woman, I am also still figuring out all of the finances and wrapping up things at work before I take maternity leave. It’s a lot for one person. At times, just too much. Even with the amazing support system I have, I still feel so alone. Yes, I have a lot of help from many different people who love and care for me, but none of those people are Ralf. As much as they may try to comfort me or ease my pain, we all know there is nothing anyone can say or do to change that reality. I know it’s as frustrating for them as it is for me.
June 18, 2015 would have marked 11 years of Ralf and I being together- 7 1/2 dating, 3 1/2 married. We essentially grew into adulthood together. I witnessed him become the man that he was, just as he helped mold me into the woman I am today. There were definitely some rough patches along the way, growing pains that come from meeting the love of your life at such a young age, but we never broke up or took time apart. We worked through every struggle and fought for our relationship because we both knew what we had in each other. He was the most important person in my life day in and day out for 11 years.
Now that he is no longer here physically, I almost feel like I don’t know who I am without him, like I don’t know how to function without having him as part of my daily routine. The hardest part in all of this is that I can’t vent to him about how frustrated and overwhelmed I am. He had a way of calming me down and comforting me like no one else. To a certain extent, I have grown accustomed to being alone some nights – his career and shift schedule prepared me for that, ironically- but I no longer have the luxury of receiving an “I love you, sweet dreams” text before I go to sleep. Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I swear it feels like I’m going to hear his truck pull into the drive way, the sound of him fumbling for his keys and opening the front door, his fingers stroking the keypad of the alarm system, and his voice calling up from downstairs, “I brought breakfast!” It still doesn’t feel completely real.
It hurts. I know life will go on and I will eventually settle into a new routine without him, but the process will be difficult. That’s not to say that I won’t experience moments of joy along the way, especially once Mason comes. It would be unrealistic to think that I’ll never be happy again. I know I will and I know Ralf wants me to be. But sometimes I just need to sit down and embrace the tears and the pain. Tonight is one of those nights. Just as being courageous does not mean being free of fear, being strong does not mean being free of pain or emotion. Being strong means acknowledging and allowing yourself to feel the way you do, but pushing forward anyway, one step at a time.