I’ve attempted to sit down and write multiple times over this past month, but on each occasion the words have eluded me. March is filled with many difficult memories and milestones. There has been so much on my mind and heart, many thoughts and tears that need to be “let out” to avoid allowing them to fester inside of me. But until this very moment, I guess I haven’t had the strength or the energy.
On the 24th, it will mark two years since Ralf passed away. I know it sounds totally cliché, but it really does feel like just yesterday and yet like a lifetime ago. So much has changed in two years- losing my husband, becoming a mom, returning to work full time to better provide for my baby, selling a home I thought I’d never leave – just to name a few. Sometimes when I have a moment to just sit and reflect on the changes I’ve endured over the course of twenty-four months, I wonder how I’ve managed to keep my sanity. If it hadn’t been me, if my life hadn’t completely veered off the path that it was expected to take and I were hearing about some other young wife and mom-to-be whose husband died unexpectedly, I know I’d be imagining myself as a total basket case. Yet here I am. No straight jacket. No room with padded walls. Not only still breathing and surviving, but managing to enjoy life.
We all think we know how we will react in certain situations. I know I myself am guilty of saying “I will never” too many times in my life, especially shortly after I lost Ralf. The truth is that you don’t have a clue how you will respond, or exactly how you will feel, until you actually find yourself in those predicaments. I’ve since realized that I shouldn’t set unrealistic expectations for anyone, and that I must reserve my judgment on myself and on others because none of us really “know” what we are doing as we navigate through grief. I’m learning as I go, listening to my intuition with every big decision, and it’s working for me. I’ve learned that it’s okay not to have all the answers up front, AND it’s okay to sometimes change my mind along the way. The one truly certain and inevitable part of life IS change – circumstances, perspectives, people are continuously evolving.
My biggest “I will never” proclamation after Ralf died was when I vowed that no other man would ever be allowed to carry the title of “Dad” for Mason. His dad was in Heaven, plain and simple. I even remember writing a post about it, and a very wise man commented on it. I didn’t know him personally, but I believe his name was Ivan. He said he wanted to respectfully remind me that it would be okay to change my mind at any point, and that if that moment came, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. Ivan was right. Mason did not choose to be brought into this world, much less without a father. He was robbed of the opportunity to meet Ralf, who I have no doubt would have done a damn good job at earning the title of “Dad” – anyone who knew him would agree. But Ralf is no longer here and he isn’t coming back, as difficult as that has been to accept. To have found a man not only deserving of the title, but also wholeheartedly yearning to step into that role is an absolute blessing. Knowing the type of unselfish person that Ralf was, I now realize that he would have wanted this opportunity for his son. Mason will always have his “Daddy in Heaven” (who he recognizes well in pictures) and now he is blessed to have a daddy on Earth, or “Dada” as he has chosen to call him all on his own.
As I deal with everything that March symbolizes for me, as I continue grieving the loss of a great love, I have new blessings that fill my heart with gratitude. I pray that I continue to allow my heart, which has a limitless capacity for love, to continue to heal, continue to forgive, continue to expand to accommodate yet more love. Anything is possible.