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Challenge: Life Changes

'Maybe he is the sunset': How words from my daughter got me through another day

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I’m on vacation alone with four kids in Florida for the next two weeks.

I thought getting away would be fun. I thought I could take my mind off missing him, looking for him, wanting him back here with us. Maybe it would help my heart, help my anxiety and guilt about being seven months out and life around me going on like normal.

The people go on. They post normal things, they celebrate their birthdays and go on date nights with their husbands and take their kids happily on boating trips and to summer festivals together and all that fun crap. But all I feel is anger, envy, horrible guilt and regret and heartbreak that I’m the one left here and he’s not.

I have a fear so profound of being alone it physically makes my heart hurt. Maybe coming to the beach watching all these couples walk hand in hand was a stupid idea after all.


While watching the sun set on the Gulf tonight, I witnessed a couple get engaged — their family and friends cheering with joy and excitement. So much love and promise for the future before me, but all I felt was sick seeing them. I felt annoyed and bitter and sad. I wanted to tell them it’s all fun and games and love and big diamond rings until you’re sitting in front of that once strong, virile man who now weighs less than you clinging to every breath as he remains alive only from the shit in a feeding tube and a vial of blue liquid morphine.

Will they love and forgive each other when they still have time to do it?

Will they squander years fighting the same fights and spend countless nights going to bed angry at each other?

Will they realize the things that are truly important here in this life before it’s too late?

I’m tired of being the only one here. Tired of hanging on by a thread every day. Tired of yelling at the kids for misbehaving, not listening or bickering over everything when we have everything we ever could need (thanks to him). I’m tired of telling them how much I miss their daddy.

I’m tired of these shitty widow feelings and lack of love, empathy or feeling for anyone anymore. Tired of not seeing beauty in anything anymore.

I let the kids stay out late tonight, collecting shells in the water as the sun set. Still mad that he can’t be here with us like all these other people around. My kids pointed out the pinks, oranges, blues and purple in the amazing sky over the sea.

I mumbled through tears to my 6-year-old, “I wonder if your daddy can see this sunset too.”

She said, “Mommy...maybe he IS the sunset.”

And just like that, I saw the beauty in the things tonight. One more day that I made it through.

I posted this the other night in an online support group for widows. I debated laying it out there, here for all you "normal" people. But this is what widows need you to know – these are the heavy feelings and moments that take our breath away and crush our hearts some days. It’s ok if you don’t get it, be glad you don’t have to.

But sometimes what helps us most — spoiler: it’s not the trite advice to make new memories or comparisons to losing your grandma or even thoughts and prayers — its just being able to leave our hurt, our grief, out there for someone to HEAR.

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