Along the Broken Road

Ups and Downs 

I’ve been in such a funk these past couple of days. I can’t think of any one particular incident that could have caused it. I think I have always been prone to anxiety, but ever since I lost Ralf, it has worsened significantly. Sometimes, there is a trigger – like our wedding song playing on the radio unexpectedly, or seeing a black Dodge Ram on the road, or having to do a double take because for a split second I forget he is gone and could swear I just saw him at the end of the aisle at Publix. Other times, though, it’s just a general feeling of yuckiness that sets in out of nowhere. My head is cloudy. I have a hard time focusing on the most minor tasks. My body and my heart physically ache. Once you enter widowhood, you are a member for life. Even if you are so lucky, as I have been, to move forward and find love again, the pain your great loss has caused you stays with you forever. Some days it’s more pronounced than others, but it is always present. I am not the person I once was. I am forever changed and more aware of my mortality and the mortality of the people I hold most dear.

 
I’ve been having horrifying dreams and reliving every minute of Ralf’s final days in my mind over and over and over again. I keep thinking about that last morning we woke up in our bed together. It was the first time in a long time because he had been so consumed with studying for his lieutenant’s exam and had been getting out of bed at the crack of dawn to head to the library to study for months. I remember feeling so happy and thankful to wake up next to him, not realizing it would never happen again and that in ten days I’d be at his burial. I keep thinking of all the time we weren’t granted, of everything he is missing out on, of all the things I wanted and needed to say to him. My heart will always feel like I could have and should have done more even though my intellect knows that isn’t true. It’s crazy how the human mind works. It’s like when you rewatch a sad movie that you’ve seen a hundred times – you know how it’s going to end, yet you watch it again because somewhere deep inside of you there is the tiniest ounce of hope that things might turn out differently. I often find myself thinking how I should have picked up on some kind of sign earlier and sent him to the doctor, or how my pushing him to follow his dream of becoming a fireman somehow led to him getting brain cancer. I can list all the things I would have done differently while he was in the hospital, as if it could make any difference at this point.

 
Even with the way I am currently feeling, I know the severity of this “funk” is temporary. The wound Ralf’s loss left is now part of who I am – some days the scar tissue is intact, other days I bleed like the pain is new. But I know that a hard day, month, even a rough couple of years does not equal a bad life. I’ve heard it said that you should never evaluate your life when you are in a bad mood because everything will be viewed in a negative light. Even when I am feeling this way, I know that I am so greatly blessed. Blessed for having known and loved Ralf, blessed for the tremendous amount of support I received after Ralf’s passing. I am SO incredibly blessed to have my baby boy and the opportunity to find great love again – a chance to rebuild. I recognize that not everyone who has walked along the path of widowhood can say the same and I am grateful. Some days it may take a little (or a lot of) extra effort, but I always end up at that same realization. I believe that many beautiful moments await me, and I hope to enjoy them with my whole heart.

12 comments

  1. Marie

    You are my daughters age but I relate to all of your words. I lost my husband almost 12years ago I was 41 at the time. It is a broken road and I have also found love again, never the same but it’s love and life does go on. The pain never really leaves you and you still have days where you just want to scream even so many years later., especially for my children. Thank you for sharing your thoughts God bless

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  2. Katie

    I first saw your story when a friend of my husband’s shared it, asking for prayers for your husband. It’s eerie to me reading your posts sometimes because the description of your husband is so similar to mine-down to my husband being a FF/Medic for Miami-Dade. I cried for you and your unborn child following your story and I continue to pray for you. Looking forward to reading your future posts. Thank you for reminding all of us to slow down and cherish the moments we have with our loved ones, as we never know if it will be the last.

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  3. Sylvia

    I love reading your writing. I too lost my spouse and can relate to everything you have said. That special love and bond never goes away but the one we lost would not want anything other than us being able to move on. I also found love again and remarried but my late spouse will forever be in my heart. He and God guided me through the hardest moment in my life and through them I was able to move on. Keep your strength and faith for they are always by your side!

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  4. Estrella Oropesa

    Beautiful, I lost my brother three years ago and I found someone else that is feeling the same things of course it is a different Love but still Love….
    I Love your writing….Keep writing…..
    Love Estrella

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  5. Marina rodriguez

    All I can say is hang in there. I can only speak of losing my mom at 26 and having those dreams you are describing and the bleed. At times I want crying and yet my eyes were full of tears. Now 38 later only good memories flow. Try to pick one good memory and relive it and it will help. You truly are blessed!

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