Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wake me up when December ends

It’s December 1, 2011.
I bought a new car today.
My very first new car ever.
The very first car I have bought all by myself.
Something bright and shiny and new to replace the old and falling apart, frustrating and faded.
I should feel happy.
But I don’t.
I am gripped by the worst grief I have felt in months.
“A new car – you are so lucky” she said.
“I am not lucky” I wanted to shout. “The only reason I have to buy this is because Greg is dead. If he were alive, he would have fixed the old car.”
“...and all that bright, shiny money I paid for the new car wouldn’t have been available because it would have still been sitting in his superannuation account.”
This conversation never took place though.
The second half of it ... my half of it... took place in the shower as I washed off the dirt of the day like so much armour surrounding my heart.
...and I broke.
By the time I dragged myself from under the hot water, big, fat, salty tears were plopping onto the bath mat at my feet.
I gripped the door frame for support as drop after drop fell from my eyelashes to puddle onto the floor.
My whole body was heaving with silent sobs as I crawled into our (my) cold bed, and as I lay down the tears ran in a steady rivulet down my face to soak the pillow behind my head.
...and I wonder if I am feeling this way because today marks 21 months since Greg’s head and chest were destroyed so badly by the bulbar of a truck, that I never saw him again.
... or am I feeling this way because I am having to face my second Christmas alone.
....my second Christmas as a sole parent.
...trying to put some sparkle into the children’s lives to make a semblance of a happy childhood.
...trying to fake a joy that I don’t feel and trying to summon a belief in God and goodness that has long since gone.
I don’t know.
Right now, all I want to do is to sleep through this horrible season and wake up when there is some light back in my world.
Just wake me up when December ends....

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  1. I don't even know that a * works for this.

  2. Amanda, I am crying with you. We are sharing those big, salty tears together. I can so relate to this post. I, too, am at 21 months and thus am facing my second Christmas without my wonderful husband and as a sole parent.

    You have helped me immensely by letting me know that someone else is wishing away December. Thank you my friend.

  3. Amanda, what can anyone say when one is in such pain, but that I am so sorry that you have to be where you are right now. Grief is such a long process with so much pain that we have to walk through to get through it. One day I received an insight that has helped me a lot, and that is the strong sense that my John is now living with such joy as it is not even possible to experience on this earth, and somehow through my pain, this understanding helps me let go of him and feel better. Blessings to you and yours.

  4. I am so sorry for your pain, as I read your post, I hurt with you. This is our first Christmas without my husband Martin,(last Christmas he was on hospice). I am trying to also give my children a somewhat normal life growing up without their father. Everything I do now is without my husband and know that I would not have to buy new cars and water heaters, and fix things around my house if he was here. He would fix it all too. Your post helped me feel like I am not alone and I too cannot wait for Decemember to be over.

  5. I, too, keep hitting the fast forward button on my calendar, but it doesn't seem to help. These are the days 2 years ago when we went from doctor to doctor, scans to biopsies, getting increasingly bad news at each stop. I thought it would be easier this year, but it is not. There is no sparkle or joy in my house, and seeing it elsewhere only compounds my sorrow. The only decoration is a candle from Hospice lighting ceremony, where I was able to say his name in remembrance this year (a step forward). My friends talk of the upcoming holiday gatherings with such anticipation, dates college children will be arriving, dinners planned already, and I am crying on the inside while trying to share their joy. I avoid their questions of my plans, as I have no plans as of yet. Yes, they do invite me, but I feel so out of place; it's not the way I want to spend the day.

    I do also try to picture my husband at peace, as anon mentions above. His last months here on earth were so painful for all, himself included, that I have to believe his spirit/essence/soul is in a better place, soaring above the earthly pains as we know them.
    But I am sad and angry yet for him leaving so soon, and leaving me to deal with all left behind. It wasn't supposed to be like this....but it is. I'm missing what was, trying to function with what is, and grieving for what would have been. Focusing on today only does help, but my mind wanders to all the tomorrows when I thought he'd be beside me.

    At least we have sleep to escape to. Thank you Amanda, for sharing what I am feeling, too. There is tenacity in our numbers.

  6. my car had 226,000 miles noises in the front end that my husband could fix i couldnt i had to buy a new car 6 weeks after i felt so guilty like it was blood money and i felt like everyone was looking at me commenting oh look at her only 6 weeks and she's spending the life ins money on cars like i profited from his death

  7. People seem to think we got rich over our husband's dying. Most who comment are divorced people or people whose husband was not as thoughtful as to provide life insurance for his spouse. I shudder to think what would have happened to me without it. It is in an IRA for my future use, should I decide I want to live long enough to collect it. Yeah, people think we are so well off....compared to a lot of other people, I am. But I would give it back in a minute to have him back. This will be my third Christmas and I am as sad as I was the first Christmas. I am 2.5 years out, and I wish I could tell you how much better I am doing. I am better, I am not anywhere near okay. This will never be okay with me.

  8. This will be my second Christmas alone as my husband died on 20 December last year. In a lot of ways it is my first. Last Christmas was a blur for me as was most of the holiday period. This year I know that the feelings will be strong on Christmas morning that someone is missing from the house. I will though have my family here for the day which should help somewhat.

    I do believe that he is in a better place and no more pain. Able to watch over those he loves and is always just a thought away. Before he died he told me that if I ever needed him he would be sitting on my right shoulder and all I had to do is put my hand there to know he would be there. I wonder what people think as I often do just that through the day. I know that I am better, not all the way, but better........ a long way to go yet though.

  9. Amanda, I have cried those tears too. I had to buy a car this year the first time in my life. My husband was "car guy" he loved them and we would shop for a car together. I had to do it alone. I hated every minute. Now its here. The day I bought it home someone said "oh< a new car. That must be a thrill". It had absolutely not one ounce of thrill. Gratitude - Yes! I am grateful. So grateful for my husbands brilliant finance mind and that I can afford a new car. But I am not excited, happy, or THRILLED! I too drove it home and cried and said to Jim "I hope its okay, I hope I did it right."
    The people who think our husbands died and we are tripping through December spending their insurance money with delight - would be demented. My very beautiful and widowed sister in law (yes , my brother also died of cancer) said to me days after the funeral when I asked "what now?"
    "Live! Do what you want, when you want, treat yourself to small things when you can, travel and don't give a damn about what anyone thinks you should do or what they tell you to do. You watched your spouse die for a year and a half, if they want to question you - tell them only after they have lived through your sorrow".

    Another friend said "anyone who knows and loves you will understand".
    That has helped me through a lot of self doubt.

    You needed a car. You have a car.

    This is also my second Christmas. It will never be the same. It will just come. I wait for the light. Today it snowed so beautifully, I went for a drive in the "new" car and at every beautiful vista and snow covered forest I whispered to my husbands spirit and said "this is all for you".

  10. I had to buy a new (used) car this summer (a year after Dave died), as our old car turned over 400,000km (250,000miles). 400,000 km and I STILL felt guilty over buying a used car! (And it is a sensible little hatchback - nothing fancy.)
    It should have been fun and exciting as we would have argued and then compromised on a vehicle that we both agreed on.
    It's not the same at all - being the sole decision maker. Nobody to discuss these purchases with.

    I remember feeling uneasy and sweaty and nauseous and guilty as I sat in the office at our bank with the life insurance cheque. (It was nothing crazy - but it allowed me to pay off our debt and I was extremely thankful to have it. I still have to work for a living unfortunately...)
    And I would give it all back and be happy to argue and stress about finances again just to have him back.

    I agree about giving December a pass. I've put up lights and hope to decorate the tree this week, but I'll be doing it alone.

  11. I still have these moment even now after two years, My husband loved Xmas and surpriing people with gift they did not even know they wanted. He was such a kid. As I was putting up the Christmas decorations. I took out he light up Snoppy with a Santa hat- he couldn't wair for the kids to see, but I rhink he was more excited by it than they were, but it did bring a tear to my eye and I had to look up and thank him for being a part of my life and how I missed him.

  12. I feel your pain as this is my second Christmas without my love. I too had to buy a new car.I had put it off for over a year. I had to trade in my husband's truck (along with our other vehicle) that he had waited for all his life.It was such an exhausting experience. My 14 year old saw a truck like his the other day and said "Look, There goes daddy's truck" My heart just broke. My husband's birthday is also in Dec. This month just sucks for me! I can't wait for it to be over. Know that I pray for you and everyone else who will be spending this Christmas without their loved one.

  13. This is also my second Christmas without my husband, who died on 11/02/10 from melanoma. Last year I was in a daze during the holidays, but this year I have sunk into a depression as I realize what is ahead (or isn't ahead). In mid-October I was at Macy's shopping for a birthday gift for his granddaughter, and when I saw the Christmas department set up it hit me over the head, how will I ever survive this year?! I wish I could skip it altogether this year.

  14. I am at my 2nd Christmas without my husband as well and it seems much worse than the first ( only 2 months after his death). I think I was still in shock last year. I am amazed at the strength and love it must take for people with young children to create some Christmas cheer for their family. My children are grown. One in the US and two in Australia with me.
    My husband made Christmas so special for all of us that I just can't face it without him.
    I will be thinking of all the widows and families missing loved ones this year. Peace to you all.

  15. Your story really hit me because I am going through a similar process. My fiance, Will, passed on 10/31/11. He was 24 years young and in an accident headed home. It was three weeks before our only son's first birthday. Reading the stories of people who have lost people so close to them helps me stay out of that incredibly deep pool of sorrow that I am on the edge of currently. I dip my toe in now and then and I breakdown at any given time. But I can't allow myself to fall in completely, our son would lose me mentally and emotionally and he has already lost enough. It helps to know there are people out there that feel the way I do. My fiance didn't have an insurance policy but he had a small inheritance he was due to receive and his family is turning it over to me for our son. I recently received a settlement for an accident I was in over a year ago. My fiance and I had one car, the one that took his life. So, I have to buy one soon and I am dreading it. I feel so guilty about using the money I received to buy a car because I know what we WERE going to do with it and it hurts to know that I have an opportunity to attain and he will never have that again. I was a stay at home mom and I have to turn into a single working mother in a short period of time. This post stuck out to me because I remember Will and I talking about this Green Day song your title references. I want the same thing. I don't know how to handle Christmas. Our son's birthday was two days before Thanksgiving this year and both days were hell for me. I know Christmas will be the same. I can at least say we had a wonderful time together as complete family last year. I'll try to hold on to those memories.

  16. I have a lot in common with you, Amanda. Car accident, my husband was 47, and we were only married for 7 years. I lost him in May 2009. Sometimes I say it's indescribable - but you said it perfectly.

  17. I so can relate to you Amanda. Thank you for your post. I am 17 months out and will also be celebrating the 2nd Christmas as an only parent. I too had a husband that could fix just about anything on the car. I purchased a "new to me" car and was very careful about the kind and amount I spent because of how judgmental society can be, especially those who have never experienced a loss. Truly don't know where I would be without my children, for they are truly what pulls me along through this journey. Thank you for your honesty.