I had an epiphany the other morning. It happened, as these things tend to do, while I was doing something unrelated. Over the last 18+ months, I have shared anything and everything the kids have been up to with Dave’s family. I thought that I was doing it as a way to keep the kids connected to their “Tremaine” side. I realized in that moment that what I was really doing was expecting his family to fill the giant void that he left behind. I wanted them to react and respond like he would have. Not only is that unrealistic, it is incredibly unfair. How could they?
I think there are different stages to loss. Not the whole anger, denial, acceptance thing. This is different. At the beginning, I think that I was more focused on the physical loss. Dave’s presence. His touch, his 6’5” frame on his side of the bed, at the dinner table. I would be out and catch a glimpse of someone and do a double take convinced in that moment that it was him. Over time, logic and reason took over and I have learned that I won’t see him or touch him again.
The next stage, for me, has been missing the emotional support. What he would say. What he might think. And perhaps, as a sign of my own growth, I have come to realize that I can’t expect those things to come from others. I can take the many things that I learned from him and use them in any way I can. Not because it is what Dave would want or say, although I do want to honor him, but because I believe it is necessary. Over 20 years of marriage, we learned a lot from each other. I can take those lessons and be a better person. For myself and for the kids.
Growing up is no easy task, my friends.