Along the Broken Road

Living, Loving, and Learning

So much has happened over the last month. I’ve adjusted into motherhood, which I must say is hard work! I’ve become an expert on baby reflux and milk protein allergies. I spoke at the Florida Professional Firefighter Convention (as part of the effort to raise awareness of cancer among firefighters and push for cancer presumptive legislation – I’ll  share my speech here in a different post). I’ve pretty much gotten all of the finances under control, although I continue to fight with insurance companies. Mason and I survived Father’s Day – his first of a lifetime without his dad. I made it through our 11 year dating anniversary and the anniversary of the day we got engaged. I went on my first outing with my girlfriends. I made it through my first Fourth of July without Ralf – bittersweet since it was also my first with my beautiful little boy. I’ve lost most of my baby weight (just 15 more pounds to go!). I’ve cried my eyes out, a lot. Way more than anyone is aware of because I do it when I’m alone (mostly in the shower). I’ve  also smiled and laughed until I could not breathe. I’ve reached out to old friends and made connections with new people. More than anything, throughout this grieving process, I’ve learned SO much.

The most obvious lesson I’ve learned is that tomorrow is not promised and life is completely unpredictable. I’ve always been guilty (as was Ralf) of being an over-planner and an over-thinker. Don’t get me wrong – it was that mindset that allowed us to build the amazing life we had together at such a young age. A lot of people would say that we did things the “right” way. We finished school and got our careers up and running before getting married. We were frugal and saved money while dating which allowed us to become homeowners of a beautiful house at the age of 24. We enjoyed just being married for a few years before becoming pregnant. But in the end – doing things the “right” way, and all the over-planning and over-thinking in the world could not have prepared us for what was to come. I still have to be a planner and a thinker to a certain degree because I have a boy that I want to raise into a good man. But I’ve found a new appreciation for “living for today” and “living for the moment”. I’m blessed to be able to say that I don’t have any guilt or regrets when it comes to my relationship with Ralf. I know how much he adored me, and I have no doubt that he was sure of my feelings and devotion to him. Sometimes I just wish that maybe we should have taken that trip to Fiji or Tahiti and worried about the finances later. We said we’d find a way to go by our tenth wedding anniversary and now that opportunity is forever gone.

I’ve learned gratitude. This experience has shown me that there are so many good people out there. The support, the gifts, the letters, the cards, the flowers. It really has been overwhelming. It’s testament to the type of man that Ralf was – that’s why so many people have wanted to help. But it’s also proof that while there is a lot of crap out there, there really is so much good in this world, too. I am also grateful because I’ve realized that the saying “No matter how bad you think you have it, someone always has it worse” is absolutely true. Despite everything that I’ve gone through, I still have SO much to be grateful for.

I’ve learned that everyone has an opinion, whether well-intentioned or not. An opinion about me choosing to live alone with my son rather than moving back in with my parents. An opinion about when I should or shouldn’t go back to work and where I should work. An opinion about whether Mason should sleep in my bed or in his bassinet or in his crib. An opinion about me deciding not to torture myself over breastfeeding.  An opinion about when I should start dating again. And of course, when that special person comes into my life and makes me feel ready – some will be offended that I dated too soon, while others will be implying that I should be “over it” already. If I can give a piece of advice to anyone who will experience a loss of a spouse, it’s this: DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU. There is no right answer, no “appropriate” timeline, no handbook, no calculated recipe for grief. People who truly love you will be there and support you in any way that they can without passing judgment – even if they may disagree. No one knows what it is to walk in the shoes of a widow or widower unless they’ve been there. I’m not saying it’s any more or less significant than the loss of a parent, a child, or anyone else. But when you lose your spouse, you lose your partner in crime, the person you built your life around, the one you envisioned the rest of your future with. When they are gone, you feel completely lost and have to rebuild your whole life.

I’ve learned things about myself that I never knew or realized before. It really is true that you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have. I’ve become more bold. I’m less worried about pleasing everyone and more concerned with taking care of myself and those closest to me. I speak my mind and stand up for myself when necessary. Motherhood has also given me courage I never imagined possible. I came across this quote on Instagram a few weeks ago, and it struck me so much that I reposted the picture:

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Interestingly enough, this quote recently made another appearance just a few days ago. It’ s like I’m being reminded. That’s another thing I’ve learned – there are signs everywhere! You just have to have an open heart and mind to receive them.

And with every new day, every new experience, I’ll continue learning. Living, loving, and learning. My heart is open.

 

butterfly garden

 

 

25 comments

  1. Helen

    I understand I’m a widow of two years and your absolutely right. Im still lost and grieving and miss my husband and partner in crime of 38yrs. A part of me will never be the same and thats ok. Glad to hear from you and your baby.

    Like

  2. Ivan

    – Maeghan, whenever I read an article or a blog or just a basic ‘comment’ on social media, I am always inclined to find what’s missing. My analytical nature forces me to think in terms of ‘yeah but this or yeah but that.’ I am often inclined to play devil’s advocate in an effort to see things from every angle. Well, this last post has left me without any yeah but’s. I have nothing to add because you have covered all the bases. From the ‘opinions’ of others to ‘living in the moment’ you are dead on sister. Just keep moving forward. You got this.

    God bless.

    Ivan

    Like

  3. madelyn

    U are such an inspiration. ur words bring so mch meaning into so many situations in life. We do not know how Strong we are until being Strong ia the only option we have. God Bless you and ur Baby Boy.

    Like

  4. Diana Cardona

    I had just posted a quote slide for my daughter to encourage her when I decided to check if you had posted a blog. As I read through it I see your quote. ..THE SAME ONE I HAD POSTED TO MY DAUGHTER. You are right…Every One of us is on a journey, the struggles are different but nonetheless important and God is there on the lonely road with us pointing us in the right direction and encouraging us with signs and his word. And when we share the journey. ..We encourage each other to go on . Thank you for doing that for me and I hope this community of strangers that pray for you and Mason do the same!

    Like

  5. Gina

    Glad that you and Mason are doing well. God is with both of you and will continue to lead you in the right direction. Will keep praying for both of you. May God bless you and Mason richly and abundantly!

    Like

  6. Maria Serralta-Valera

    So glad to hear things are falling into place and that you’re doing what feels right to you. That’s all you should do…God bless you and that gorgeous little man. You’re both always in my thoughts and prayers.

    Like

  7. Karen

    God bless you, your handsome son and your amazing courage. Enjoy every second of this first months, and as you said, make your own decissions !!!
    I pray for you every day, God will alway be with you.

    Like

  8. Firefighter Mom

    I was missing your heartfelt post! I am so happy that you are doing better and coping with your loss a day at a time.Motherhood can be very rewarding but takes a lot of time to get adjusted to the little life you are responsible for,your baby boy is beautiful and I know feels your heart with happiness.Follow your gut and do what feels right appreciate all the input you are given, diced it all and handpick what is good for you both.I admire your courage and the way you have handled everything that have come your way.You are a special human being and good things will come your way ,enjoy the precious moments with Mason,family and friends .That everything else will fall into place. Thanks so much for letting us know how you are doing ,as a firefighter mom you are always in my thoughts and I wish all this pain you have will turn into happiness someday ! God Bless You and Mason

    Like

  9. Hazell Cardentey-Lopez

    I was missing your posts! I often think of you n pray. God puts it in my heart to do so! My husbands calling is to be a Pastor. Who would have thought??? It came right after he was well on his way to become a cop. No longer the intent, btw. Anyways, he tells me often, God weighs the heart n he will place in your heart whom you must pray for. I too cry in the bathroom and sometimes he comes in and says, are u crying for her again? How can I cry for someone I have never met!? I don’t have to know you to feel your pain in the core of my soul. I too know what it’s like to lose someone I never thought I could live without to a brain tumor. God incredible enough never gives more than you can bare, he walks w us n strengthens us in unimaginable ways. I pray for all the time for precisely what the Lord is granting you, health, strength, courage. God bless you. We all belong to Christ, we are all his children n we must love one another, the bible declares it. It doesn’t say know one another in order to feel for the other. God bless you n Mason. Prayer is power and God is in control.

    Like

  10. Mari H

    So happy to see your post again! Glad you and Mason are doing well. You inspire me so much and I don’t even know you!! God bless you ❤️

    Like

  11. Monica

    We don’t know each other but ur story has deeply touched me and I love reading your blogs and seeing the strength you have. I too had a baby recently and also have a 22 month old and life with a newborn is very difficult, but know that you will find the strength to do anything and everything for your beautiful son. Just like you stated above, tomorrow is never promised and how both of you should have gone to Fiji or Tahiti and not worried about your finances. What a better way to accomish that desire you both had and still have and celebrate Ralf, Mason, and you by visiting Tahiti or Fiji on your 10 year wedding anniversary with your beautiful son. I know that Ralf will be there with both of you enjoying this beautiful moment. God bless you and your son. =)

    Like

  12. Marta fajardo

    Eres una inspiración para todas, siempre te tengo presente y me acuerdo de ti y de tu bebé, sigue adelante y has lo que creas sea mejor para tu niño y para ti, recuerda que siempre tendrás el apoyo de los que realmente te quieren , tus padres , hermanos y quienes siempre estarán a tu lado , . Yo siempre pienso y le digo a mis hijas que la carrera de madre es la más difícil de practicar sin embargo la que mas fácil aprendemos , nunca sabemos todo lo que somos capaces de hacer hasta que somos padres , solo Dios puede evitar que una madre haga algo por sus hijos . Le pido a Dios que te siga dando paz, rodéate de personas queridas , amistades que te traigan alegría , no escuches lo que digan , has lo que creas que siempre será lo mejor ,a veces la vida nos pone pruebas muy difíciles y solo nos queda aceptarlas y seguir adelante , tu gracias a Dios con ese bebito , fruto de tu gran amor. Gracias por compartir con nosotros , yo por mi parte siempre busco si has escrito o has puesto fotos del bebe , es un bello detalle y te sirve para poder expresar lo que tienes por dentro , Bendiciones y besitos para Masón

    Like

  13. Liza

    Always looking to read a new post. Your posts are so inspirational. And yes, you are right, people will always have an opinion but ALWAYS go with how you feel, you and only you will know what is right and what feels right for you. God works in mysterious ways and we don’t know know where we get so much strength from, but we do. I’m glad you are doing a little better. I know the emptiness is there and some days are worse than others but It’s also amazing how our kids help us get through everyday. They keep us going and are a true blessing. God Bless You and Baby Mason.

    Like

  14. Sheila Diaz

    Your posts are breath taking. I always say how amazing you are, but with each post you become yet a diffrent kind of amazing (for a lack of better words). I’m sure you have also come across the saying “opinions are like farts, everybody has them”. Stay strong and follow your heart. Ralf is in there and he would never guide you wrong.

    Like

  15. Irma Garcia Rodriguez

    So good to hear from you. You sound better and stronger than before. Continue on your path of healing and follow your heart always.

    Like

  16. Breathtaking…you’re truly an inspiration. Your words are a testament to your beautiful relationship with Ralfi and they are a gift to us. Thank you for sharing as you are helping those that read your post remember how valuable life is. It also helps us remember Ralfi in such a realistic and loving way.

    Like

  17. Janelle

    Every post just you share just shows how incredibly strong you are! Keep doing you! God bless you and baby Mason, you both are always in my prayers! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sylvia

    Meagan I share your grief. I lost my husband will be 5 years ago in October. And I must say that your post here is exactly the way it is. You can not compare and everyone will judge like you said “You must do what you feel is right”. I can tell you that you do see signs and I had to go through this loss to actually believe! Although I did remarry my late spouse is forever in my heart and never replaced and a part of me believes that he himself put him in my path as others believe I remarried too soon. I live with a clear conscious as well of his love for me as I am sure he knew how much I truly loved him! With this I tell you continue to live day by day as Ralf will guide both you and Mason and he will never ever leave your side. God bless you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Eyda Arguelles

    Loving this post Maeghan. Glad you’re doing well and my prayers for you and your family continue every night before I go to sleep…..keep up that incredible strength and courage!!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nancy

    Unfortunately it’s not until tragedy happens that we learn about ourselves. About how strong we are, how courageous we can be, and how independent we are. I continue to pray for you & Mason. You are truly courageous. Trying to live your life as normal as possible, still thinking that there are others worse off than you, and actually thinking about returning to work. Continue to make yourself happy, whatever you think is the norms, who cares what anyone says? Everyone will have an opinion especially when a child is involved, let alone the tragedy that you have been through. You remind me a lot of myself with your strong willed personality. Always remember:
    “Life can be uncertain.
    Work can be unpredictable,
    But by having family & good friends around you , support is Guaranteed!”
    May God continue to protect you and Mason. Keep your heart open and make sure to be aware of your surroundings. I’m sure he will continue to send you messages! Thank you for posting. Please keep us informed of how both of you are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Sheilah

    I was already missing your beautiful posts. Motherhood takes a lot of our “me time” away. Glad to read you are doing better, and enjoying yourself. Keep on loving, learning and above all, living!!! 🙏🏻🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: