I got a message this morning from someone who has known me for most of my life. She is like another mother to me. She expressed the opinion that Dave would want me to “move on”. To be clear, she wasn’t suggesting that I forget about him and move to the beach, but rather that she was believes that I need to go on living my life. I know that she only has the best of intentions as someone I love and trust. My response to her is below. (Please excuse lack of capitalization. That takes too much effort for texting and informal emails!)
thank you for your message. i got it early this morning and wanted to think on it for a little while before responding. my immediate reaction was “this must have been tough to send”. that was coupled with the thought that i knew you sent it 100% out of love. so with those two things in mind, my mind then wondered “how does she know?” and “what does move on mean?”
if it means to get up and live each day to my best ability than i am doing that. if it means taking care of my kids and enjoying time with them, then i am doing that too. if it means spending time with friends, then that is covered as well. i am just not sure what it means to move on. dave wanted me to be happy. he wanted us all to be resilient and not let his death limit our lives in any way. i can’t say that i am happy all day every day, but i can say that each day i find happiness.
i carry a sadness with me too, and i think that is okay. we have been through a traumatic event. the sadness is not of the “can’t get out of bed or shower or participate in life” variety. if it were to get to that point, i certainly hope someone would come over and kick my butt out of the bed. dave’s life and death are now a part of who i am. i believe that i will carry it with me for the rest of my life. not in a negative way but just as what makes each of us unique with our own history and experiences. dave’s life and death will influence how i see the world – what is important, what things are not worthy of too much time and attention.
i feel that part of my responsibility during this time has been to provide comfort to dave’s family and our children. i hope that i have been able to do this at least to some degree. we are all grieving and yet no one’s grief can be the same – as his wife, child, sibling or parent. another responsibility is to figure out a way to celebrate dave’s life that is worthy of him. so while my outside facade may seem a little weathered and fatigued, inside i am a warrior battling hard.
there is no guide book (that i know of) that teaches you how to navigate this path. and i am sure each person’s path is individual and special. this time is full of questions, disbelief, and confusion for me. it is also filled with amazing memories that make me both happy and sad at the same time. in time, i imagine i will let go of the unanswerable questions and spend more time thinking about the memories. i believe that it is truly a gift that i don’t have to contend with regrets. dave left this world knowing how loved he was and with a clean slate. and we (the kids and i) have given ourselves that same grace. we know how much he loved us and there was nothing that went unresolved.
thank you for caring about me enough to voice your concerns. i want you to know that we are okay. one day at a time – ups and downs and sometimes baby steps backwards but ultimately making forward motion. i love you.