Grieving as a Newly Wed
I will not pretend to be an expert on anything, especially marriage, considering the fact that my husband I have been married for less then a year. That being said, one of my very favorite comments made to me about when congratulating us on our marriage was just a simple comment on a facebook post, it said “Mazel Tov! Wishing you many happy years together. (Clearly, you’ve already got the ‘support each other through good times and bad’ part down pat!)”. It was a simple comment but I think about it often and it still makes me smile. I have been saying for a while now, but I truly mean it, my husband and I survived 2018, we can get through anything together.
I have a “fix it” personality. I also have about no patience. I am insanely empathetic, protective and my love for my husband is nothing short of an obsession. Not a great combination when there is nothing you can do to take his pain away.
My husband just absolutely adored our daughter. If it were a competition, nothing and nobody came close to taking her out of 1st place in his eyes. The loss of our daughter just devastated him. I know how much I was hurting over her death and I know how much I was hurting over the loss of our son, so I wanted to protect him from this feeling at all cost.
It took about 6 months for me to really open up and talk to my husband in detail about what was making me so upset on any particular day. I didn’t want to burden him with my feelings when he has his own to deal with. If he was having a good day where Syd and James weren’t on his mind, I wasn’t going to bring them up because I did want to remind him and make him sad. I was doing my best to do what I thought was protecting him. You know what I learned when I finally sat down and cried to him? He was there, to wipe away my tears, hug me and tell me he missed our kids too. The biggest thing that surprised me was I saw him slowly begin to open up to me a little bit more, he began to share with me what he told himself to get through those really hard days and we were able to comfort each other through it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, grief can bring out the ugliest side of a person, at least it did with me, and there were a few days that I was just horrible, to everyone around me, especially my husband. Just like there have been days where I just leave my husband alone for a few hours because he’s got a giant stick up his butt. Some days are just bad days and you have to just allow yourself to feel however you are feeling on those sad days. A very wise person told me you just have to sit in your grief on those days. Sitting in your sadness or anger is the only way to work through your grief, at least that’s how it worked out for me.
Another thing that I learned was that I couldn’t “fix him”. I spent so much time trying to make sure he didn’t feel bad or he wasn’t hurting. I didn’t want to listen to people when they told me to take care of myself first. I was given the airplane analogy, you know, first put the air mask on yourself then you can help the others around you. I just didn’t want to listen to reason, I thought to myself “I know exactly how badly this hurts, I know exactly how devastated I feel, I don’t want him to have to feel this way too.” It wasn’t until I just sat in my grief that I learned this was what we had to do. There is no hidden detour path to avoid grief, sucks, doesn’t it? I had to learn that I couldn’t help my husband the way I wanted to help him. I had to sit back and let him feel all those things he was feeling and when he felt like it was the right time to open up to me, I would be there with open arms and listening ears.
I’ve always known I was stubborn, in fact, I’m sure my friends and family are laughing at me right now as they read that because WOW, what an understatement. Learning to do things a different way then how I wanted to do them felt impossible, but it was what had to be done. I had to give my husband the respect he was giving me of just allowing him to feel however he was feeling, to trust him to know that he was grieving our losses the way that he knew how and the way that worked for him.
I am thankful I have a husband who is as determined as I am to get through our losses together. Someone who I know loves me and supports me no matter what. A partner who I can sit with and cry on any given day or sit with an laugh over the 1500 puzzle I thought was a good idea.
The great thing about life is that you are never done growing. Not as a person, or in work, not in your marriage and not with any other relationships. There is always room for improvement, no matter how perfect you may think you are. There is always room to make a relationship stronger and there is always time to find new ways to show those special people in your life that you love them. As you are reading this, what person comes to your mind? What special thing can you do to show them that you love them?