Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What Would He Say ......

...... if he were to come back for a moment or two ...... after five years?
What would he think of how I've handled his death ...... and my "after"?

It's interesting that just typing those two sentences brings tears to my eyes.  Tears that run down my cheeks as I type.
I think part of that is because I know that he will never come back, not even for a moment or two, and it breaks my heart to even ponder that.
And I think the tears also come because I know that his heart would be broken ...... at how broken my heart became.  And how dark my world became.

But what would he say?
I think the first thing he would say is, "I'm sorry."  Not that he could've stopped death from taking him out of that surgical room.  I know that.  Jim would not have chosen death over us.  Ever.  But the choice was not his.  And he'd still say he was sorry.

He'd say that he knew how much I hurt when he left, and how alone and cold and dead I felt.  And then he'd say that he never doubted for a second that I would keep breathing, that I would survive his death ...... and the grief that would move into my soul.

He'd tell me that he always knew how strong I was ...... and that even when I doubted if I'd live to see another day, he knew better.
He'd say that he's proud of me ...... and that I should be proud of me, too, even though he knows I'm not.
He'd tell me that of course I grieved hard ...... because I loved hard.  He didn't expect less.  He'd also say that he knew that I did the best I could ...... and that my best was pretty damn good.

He'd say that he's proud of our children.  They may have made choices that we wouldn't have chosen for them, but we raised them to do just that:  make their own choices.  And then to live with the consequences, and the joys.
He'd tell me that he knew that our oldest got accepted to Harvard ...... and that it made him grin from ear to ear.  He say that he's been watching all six of them ...... and that he knew they'd be ok. He's proud of the young women and men they've turned into.  And he's beaming because we'll finally have another Cowboy in the family!  
He would wish that he could be here for marriages and grandkids ...... to enjoy them with me, but that he'd still be watching them  ...... and enjoying them, too.

He'd tell me to stop blaming myself for mistakes I've made and wish I hadn't.  "Everyone makes mistakes, Janine.  The point is to learn from them.  And you did."

He'd tell me how very, very proud he is about the work I'm doing to support and encourage other widowed people.  He might even wipe away a tear or two as he tells me he's glad that I allowed God to work through me, as I used his death, and my grief, to be a positive force in the lives of others.  And ...... he'd say that I always had made a difference in the world ...... at least to his and the childrens' world.

And when it was time for him to leave, he'd hold me ...... and tell me that he's never stopped loving me ...... and that he never will.  And that means that he wants me to be happy ...... and to grab onto love if it ever comes my way again.

I can almost hear his words now ...... the last words he said to me 5 years ago ...... the last words he'd say again if he had the chance:  "I love you.  I'm proud of you.  And I'll see you soon."
And I'd have no doubt, that just as they were then,  they're still true.


  1. Beautiful! I hope you can begin to hear those words in your head, not only in his voice but in your own. I wish that for all of us.

  2. I love this. Whenever I carry on my conversations with Dave I imagine his responses and it always helps me.

  3. My husband always said that he was happy that he had a smart wife. I have conversations with him to let him know what is going on and to keep him updated. I think that he is proud of me too.

    Janine, sharing your experiences and feelings has given me hope and encouragement.


  4. I often wonder how my husband would have coped and dealt with grief if I was the one to go. I used to second guess all my decisions, pondering and questioning what would he do or think about this and that? I'm doing the best I can with where I'm at, that's all I can do, and I hope he'd be ok with it. I know he could never understand the grief and I'm glad for that, it's not something I wish on anyone. Doug said those same words "I'll see ya soon" ....some days it can't be soon enough. But other days find me wanting to have a reason to be. Hope is dim, but calling.

  5. Janine, so perfect for me today as I try to get through what would have been our 31st wedding anniversary.... my third without him. I, too, imagine what he would be telling me today especially. I know he would be proud of me, as well!

    Thank you for sharing so deeply!

  6. Wow! I am just a big cry baby. This was so hard to read. There is so much pain with grief that just lingers on for years. I am only at 1-1/2 yrs but I don't think I have not cried one day in all that time. I know he would want me to be happy. I was his main concern even as he was slipping away from me. He will always be my hero. I wish I was half the human being he was. He would say I love you and it's ok, be kinder to yourself you have been through a lot losing so much in such a short time, your mom and sister are here with me and I am sorry I was not there for you when they left as well and that you were let down by so many again. Then he would refer to some song and tell me he would see me soon and that he will be there when my time comes. Thanks Janine I am sure that was hard to write.

  7. I cried reading Janine's blog and all the responses. We only knew for one day my husband would not live, and he said he was not scared, just worried for me. Of course, not wanting to burden him, I told him I would be okay, not to worry, and as far as I was concerned, I still had hope. That stupid word. He told me when we first knew whatever was wrong was worse than we thought, when I said "you can't leave me..." he said "you're strong like your mom, you will be ok". I said, "No, I'm not and I won't be we have to get you better". That last day I had to try and convince him I would be ok..I really cannot say I have had a good day in the 45 months he has been gone, one I could say I didn't think about him most of the time and wish I was with him. I wish I could find purpose to my life but as time goes on, it seems more elusive. I think he would be sad I have grieved so hard, but he would tell me to keep trying to have a somewhat happy life.

  8. Sometimes to me it's amazing how I come to this blog and find someone writing just what I was thinking about today and how I am not crazy for thinking this 3 years later!

  9. Kudos- I have not read a more touching piece than this.
    We all have our own ways of grieving- but the common thread is that we loved and were loved.
    Thank you so much for reminding me!
    Randi Franklin

  10. good on you writing this.

    and yes, thinking if all were reversed I would oh so want to say:
    I'm sorry (death)
    I love you (eternal)
    You were my soul (life)
    Please let the love, the joy we knew support you, allow vibrancy to color
    your seconds, minutes, yeah, each hour you have.

    In out hearts we always remember
    Perhaps in our actions, honor

  11. Wow! Just read this post.
    I have spent the first two years of my grieving as a widow asking "what would he do? what would he think of this decision? what would he be doing now if I was dead and he was still living? "
    I had a year and four months to talk to my love about his dying.
    He gave me so much advice, he said he was sorry he was sick and going to leave me, he said "have no regrets - everything led us here to this beautiful love"
    he said "i love you so much" - his last words to me before he became unconscious.
    Now - I talk to him in my head. I say "i am trying"
    I say "oh, how I miss you"
    I say - thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to me - in my life, for loving me the way you did.

    Thanks for the reminder Janine

  12. My husband of 31 years died a sudden death; left for work and didn't come home. We never got to say goodbye while he was alive, other than the kiss on the top of his head as I walked out the door that morning. While I believe now, that there is "no good way" to die, I must say I would've like a little bit of time - even a day, a few hours. But I can say that I was blessed that in our relationship on earth, we had random frequent conversations about if he dies - never about if I died. Weird. We even randomly talked about remarriage in one of these conversations. This love letter you wrote so beautifully describes the love you shared; I too am blessed to have a few of these "after death" love letters that my man has written on my heart that I have been able to put to pen and paper. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. I can't tell you how deeply this touched me. It's like you took the words right out of my mouth. Beautifully written! Thank you.

  14. WOW, Janine - I can't stop crying right now...That was touching. My life is taking on a whole nother direction right now and I can't help wonder what Eddie is thinking. I know he is proud of me for having the courage to step out on my own and concentrate on being a strong, independent woman who can provide for our daughter. To stop trying to be something I'm not and just accept that someone upstairs has other plans. I have to trust that. Thank you for writing these words...

  15. That is such a beautiful tribute to both of you...and I love the picture. The two of you look so comfortable together. It sounds like you have done a wonderful job, Janine. Thanks so much for writing such a lovely blog.

  16. Thanks, Janine, I thought that was a lovely blog, one that brought tears to my eyes. I, too, have been a widow for five years. I too, know that my husband will never, ever come back. I do, however, think ofhim every day and carry him with me in my heart and in my mind. And I can still hear him say, in his soft, melodious voice, "My love."