I have officially surpassed the age my husband was when he died. He was a mere 118 days into his 51st Year and hadn’t even reached the halfway point to 51. Yes, I know adults don’t normally count their half-years, but in this instance, it makes sense.
From this point on, I will forever be older than he was ever allowed to be. It’s a strange feeling, especially since he will remain in my memory as that full-of-energy 18 year old who was poised to take on the world before it wore him down, and I often still feel like that dorky, awkward 16 year old who was totally smitten from that first date (although my mirror these days is more than happy to show me how far from that young girl I truly am, the rotten thing).
In some ways, reaching this date drives home the finality of it all in a way even having an urn of his ashes on my dresser doesn’t.
We were supposed to grow old together. We had plans for our empty nest years! We were going to enjoy our time together in a way we had never been able to previously.
We were an old-fashioned couple. We each lived with our parents until we were married, my husband moving into what would be our first apartment a mere month before the wedding. Then I got pregnant on our honeymoon and our family was already growing by the time we returned from Hawaii. Between my morning sickness and my husband’s job, we never got to enjoy that honeymoon phase of marriage.
As we grew older, between having children and moving and job changes and just everyday life, we never really had time to simply be a couple sharing a home, so we anticipated being able to do that. Until that life was inexplicably wrenched from our grasp, the reason for which will remain a cruel mystery.
Rather than focus too heavily on what has been lost, however, no matter how disappointed and bitter I may want to feel, I’m going to consider each new day as one more opportunity to make myself the best possible “me” I can be on my own.
A was my biggest fan. At times, it felt as though he were the only person who understood and supported me. I now know that isn’t true – I’ve had more people step up for me in ways I didn’t even know I needed them to since he left us – but in the “before” I often felt he was in my life to build me up because I wasn’t strong enough to do it on my own.
Have you heard that Michael Bublé song I Believe in You? Part of the lyrics read:
I know that there are times
When you feel worthless
Like all the love you get
You don’t deserve it
Sometimes I feel my faith is just a burden on you.”
The song was released after A died, but every time I hear it I can’t help but think it’s him speaking to me. He used to fight with me, literally argue the point that I had to believe I was worth something, that I needed to see my value the way he did. The first time I heard this song, I felt he was once again trying to help me see him through his eyes of love. It was almost as if he were telling me that I needed to learn to spread my wings on my own in a way I could never do if he were still by my side. He was giving me his permission to take flight.
Yes, there are times when I feel that perhaps I’m just rationalizing so that maybe his death has some meaning, but if you knew what a big, self-sacrificing heart this man had, you’d probably understand better and begin to believe he would find a way to continue to support me no matter what. He wouldn’t let a little thing like death stop him from taking care of his family.
Now life is not a movie script, and I know I’m not just going to miraculously believe in myself wholeheartedly in the next scene. But I’m going to work on it. Genuinely make an effort to look myself in the eye each morning and remind myself that not only am I capable of anything I put my mind to, but I deserve to live my best life. Then I’m going to hit the runway and try to fly. There are certain to be many setbacks and likely much turbulence at times, but it won’t stop me.
I’m cleared for takeoff and I’m going for it.
© 2018 Many Faces of Cheri G All Rights Reserved