Nine months after Dave died, I started my nine month survival plan of living with a terribly herniated disc. Life became all about managing my physical pain. Then in the middle of that whole ordeal, I met my ex. When we got married, I was pretty much, not allowed to have any of Dave's stuff anymore or even talk about him, and having a feeling about him, was way out of the question. If I would tell a very neutral story from the years that I was married to Dave, it would not go well. I would say something like, "when WE went to the Sand Dunes, it was so incredibly windy." Then my ex would sarcastically say, "I never realized that WE went to the Sand Dunes together." Then I would try to use I, instead of we, and say, "I went to the Sand Dunes once and it was so incredibly windy." Again, according to my ex, I got it wrong and he would say, "Oh, you went there by yourself???" Then I would just sigh and give up telling my story, or I would ask him to choose the pronoun he would like me to use. It was too exhausting to ever tell a story, not even about Dave, but any story that took place while I was married to Dave. This is one tiny little picture of what emotional abuse looked like in my marriage to my ex. It wasn't like he would call me names or tell me I wasn't worthy. In fact, often times his words were complimentary, which is what makes these relationships so confusing.
And don't even get me started on Dave's birthday or death day. I didn't even want them to exist, because managing my ex around those times, took more out of me, than taking time to remember Dave. If I had a feeling about Dave that I would dare to express, my ex would express how difficult it was to be married to someone who had lost a spouse. There simply wasn't enough room for me to have a feeling about missing Dave, because that was just too hard for my ex and then I would have to manage his feelings and his passive aggressiveness that would inevitably ramp up to a level 10. It was so impossible.
As, I type this, no wonder I am so far back in the grief process. I seriously had to shut so much of Dave down, as soon as I put that ring on. It is so sad. Last summer, I did not feel this way. I felt immense relief and some serious anger, but now that those are diminishing, the sadness and the vacancy that Dave left, is so stark and so sharp. I've decided that I do NOT do sad, very well. In fact, I seriously hate it.
I've done a lot of choking back tears lately. Like a couple Fridays ago, when I went to pick up Spencer at Eagle Lake Camp, where Dave and I were both campers at the SAME TIME, when we were Spencer's age. What are the chances of that happening??? I can't even imagine how different it would have been to drop Spencer off at camp or pick him up, with Dave there??? Then when we got back, I took the girls to get mountain bikes and we all went for a mountain bike ride. It felt so great to take care of all of that on my own and get them out there, because I knew Dave would be cheering us all on, but the cloud of sadness that he was not WITH us, was pressing in so hard that day. Then after that we went to the pool and I got to play some volleyball . . . yet another thing Dave and I enjoyed doing together. I loved everything I did that day, but I couldn't get away from heavy sadness that comes with doing Dave things. It's like I want to carry on all these things that we did together and I want my kids to learn all the things they would have if Dave were here, but doing those things, also hurts, lately.
I can't even seem to speak his name without crying, lately. I was timing at a swim meet, when someone asked how he died and I instantly began to leak tears. It is just so right back on the surface, for LITERALLY crying out loud. I broke down in Taco Bell, of all places, the other day. May I remind you, this is 6 1/2 years later?????? It feels ridiculous to me!!!! My kids were with me and they were like, "What the heck?" So I told them I was missing Dave and then I went on for a bit. I said, "Are you guys tired of listening to me talk, yet." Spencer said, "I'll never get tired of hearing you, mom." Leah goes, "I will!" I want to be fine without him and without any other guy, for that matter. I am relearning again how to do this life and parenting without Dave, (or anyone else) yet again. This time, for reals!
Oh, one quick story from our bike riding time, was when they all started to do some bouldering and the girls were having a hard time getting back down. I was at the bottom telling them to get busy getting down and that it was taking forever, because that is the kind of patient mom I am!!! Meanwhile, Spencer had climbed over to them and told them where to put each foot and he talked them down all instructively (is that a word?) and calmly. It was SOOOOOOOOOO Dave, that I started laughing out loud!!!! Spencer is SUCH a mini-Dave in his just simple kindness. It's not from me!!!!!!
Father's Day just recently passed. I just wanted to pretend that the day was just like any other day. I've already felt so griefy lately, that I just didn't want to entertain all those sad feeling that I'm evidently NOT good at, whatsoever. I was doing such a good job at forgetting that it was Father's Day, that I got on Facebook, where every post is about how wonderful everybody's dad is, complete with perfect family photos. I was in mid gag, when I came across this post called, "Let the Children Fly," and it challenged me to work A LOT harder that day to honor Dave, by using the day to talk about the men in my kids' lives that are examples of good fathers. Lately, I tend to want to point out what makes up an unhealthy person, but after reading that post, I tried to use Father's Day to talk about what makes a good father. They had some really good ideas on what makes a good father. I ended up letting them take the lead on the day, and they decided that they wanted to play mini golf at Dave's favorite spot. And then at dinner that night, Leah prayed and thanked God for all the Father's out there. She was thankful for fathers, even though she doesn't have one here on earth???????? My kids are quite possibly so much further than I am. So, to the men in my kids' lives, they are watching and God may be using you, more than you know, when you live lives of integrity, honesty, kindness, and faithfulness.
|This is a father that my kids didn't know super well, but man, all three of my kids really looked up to him. We will miss you, Ted Woodard!|
This weekend, I'm headed to an Aldridge reunion of sorts. I'm so thankful for my continued relationship with Dave's family. I love them so much. Sometimes when I think things will be hard, they are not, and sometimes when I least expect it, the grief hits. Either way, I'm thankful to still be a part of Dave's family.
One last parting thought. I am not really a lyrics person. I don't need deep lyrics to enjoy a song, but I do like a fun beat, (that's just how deep I am). With Tween's in the car, I've gotten a lot of Tweeny music exposure. One of my favorite songs, lately, is, "Broken and Beautiful," by Kelly Clarkson. It's how I feel about writing a post like this. It's this mix of, "I've got this!" "Hold me!" "My broken is beautiful!" Some of the lyrics are:
I don't need your help and I don't need sympathy
I don't need you to lower the bar for me
I know I'm Superwoman
I know I'm strong
I know I've got this 'cause I've had it all along
And I'm enough
I don't need you to tell me who to be
Can someone just hold me?
Don't fix me, don't try to change a thing
Can someone just know me?
'Cause underneath, I'm broken and it's beautiful