Dad is continuing to improve at the new skilled nursing facility. Breathing a sigh of relief. For the time being. Which is odd, because I've become so accustomed to living in survival mode.
Dad asked that I stop at a store and grab him a few things: a pair of sweat pants, shorts, and a few t-shirts. Seems do-able, right? Wrong! I can get through the hard things, and stop dead in my tracks for the small things.
I find him the pants and the shorts and then start looking for a shirt. The shirt my eyes fall upon is a blue striped shirt. It's the same blue striped shirt that James was wearing the last time I saw him before he died. And I can't move. I have a handful of clothes, in a BIG store, one kid wandering one way, and a toddler unfolding ALL of the shirts on the next shelf, and then there's me. Hello blue striped shirt. What do you want from me?
I have a lot of anxiety now surrounding this blog now too. This was to be my sanctuary of a sounding board where I could put out what was on my heart, and kind of feel my way through the different emotions that swarm through this body. It's been suggested that I make this a private blog. Well, let me tell you something: it's not the strangers whose words I fear.
This blog sums up my thoughts and feelings, rational or not, and only a portion thereof. These are only a fraction of my demons and angels. This is no way constitutes a whole picture of my life.
There are some people who are tired of hearing about James. Sorry. For you. Not sorry for me. I'm still going to blog about him. I started this blog a few years ago after my mom died, and after Emi was born. It's seen me through this journey, which has veered mostly off the well beaten track of life that revolves around the kids, and is now painted in a completely different hue now that James is gone.
Maybe you didn't know him. Maybe you didn't like him. Maybe you thought he fell short of several goals. Maybe you thought that addiction, pain, depression, and PTSD were only for the weak. Well, maybe you were wrong.
The man I first dated on July 31st 1997, later married on July 31st 1999, and had 3 beautiful girls with, was my soul mate. We've been through more together in our years than most people approaching an 80th birthday. A lot of it was hard. Life is not easy. Everyone has a cross to bear. It's a matter of whether they chose to share it with the outside world or not. Sometimes that choice is made for them, even when they try their hardest to hide it.
Despite the overwhelming odds against James and me... there was not ONE time that I ever questioned his love for me. NEVER. We vowed to always speak from our love and never our anger. Love was our common denominator from the word go. There isn't a moment I regret. Or something I wish I'd said... Isn't that the ultimate goal? I'm proud of that. And in the same ending breath I'm still absolutely broken. Heart broken, spirit broken, anything broken... EVERY thing broken.
I'm not MAD at him for dying. Some think I'm going to get to a place where I'm angry about all that's transpired. Aren't you ANGRY with him for LEAVING you and your 3 girls to fend for yourselves? Well if you're not now, you will be. Maybe I will. I don't know. I'm not there yet, and just don't see it on the horizon I guess. What I see was a man who was haunted. Who started off rough, but pulled things together. He loved his family fearlessly. Then he saw some bad things: some friends die. The depression and the PTSD took hold. He tried to fight through it. Then he injured his back and couldn't heal. The fusion never took, and more vertebrae continued to fracture. I'm convinced that hidden beneath the PTSD, depression, and pain, that there was some sort of psych component that was never identified or addressed. If anything that's what makes me sad.
It's ok if you don't want to read about him. Don't read it. Leave now. Please.
He was my husband, and my life, and every waking minute for the past 13 years. A part of me died too the morning he died. I can't get that back. I'm not just mourning the loss of my husband, and grieving. I've been mourning the loss of my marriage and soul mate over the last year while I watched him slip away. Now it's just that his body followed suit. I'm mourning the loss of a daddy for my girls. The look in his eyes when he held those girls for the first time. Little did they know that he had kissed my belly goodnight every night from the first day we found out I was pregnant with each of them.
I'm relieved for him... because his pain is gone. His flashbacks are gone. His depression has ceased and so has the PTSD. My heart is a little lighter when I think that these are no longer his burdens to bear. My heart is lighter, yet my soul is cracked. How in the world do people survive the loss of a spouse...