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Valentines Day without my Valentine

I'm a widow. I never thought I would say these words. I never thought I would say them in my 40s. Widows are supposed to be old women contemplating the end of their lives.  I hate that word.  Widow. Whenever I hear that word I immediately picture a black widow spider. And then I realize the irony of it.  How much the two have in common. People avoid both, are scared or freaked out over them, try to steer clear of them.  Luckily in my version we are not exterminated. But I do realize that some people really don't know what to say.  I would struggle with it myself.  It's OK if you just say “I don't know what to say”, or “I’m sorry for your loss”, or don't even bring it up!  But don't avoid us because it makes a lonely situation even lonelier.  A lesson I need to remember myself.

It is hard to believe it has been 8 months since Marks death.  Some days I wake up and ask myself did all of that really happen?  Yes, it did. I am a widow. My kids no longer have a father.  As a mom I want to shield my kids from pain, but I cannot take any of this away. It is an experience they were chosen to have at this young age in their lives. As a parent we can usually share our experiences with them on things because we have been there, done that, but this will be a lesson they will share with me someday. We try our best to ride the waves of grief.  You cannot avoid or escape grief. It is best to face it and work thought it. If you don't, it will always be there, festering, and it will find you, making life harder. Don't get me wrong, I don't think you ever fully get over it and are cured from grief. I believe by dealing with it you learn how to positively cope and live. Because that is what we need to do, live.

Much has happened since I last wrote and too much to get into detail. In July, we celebrated what would have been Marks 42nd birthday with our dear friends the Sterns. We had wonderful food and made a toast in his honor. I started a new job and as unsure and scary as it was at first, and at such a hard time in life, it has been a good change for me.  Svenja, our German exchange student came to live with us for three weeks this fall.  It was a wonderful experience and would recommend it to anyone.  We all celebrated birthdays with the twins starting it off turning 13, then myself, and most recently with Matt turning 18!  We celebrated by pulling off a surprise party for him. The look on his face was priceless!  So far I have been surviving three teenage boys in the house! But I do feel like I live at the grocery store.

The holidays were different but manageable. Those that are familiar with our cat Simon and his naughtiness appreciate that we could not put our Christmas tree up in the family room as we have always done. He would not leave it alone. So,this year it went up in our basement family area so that we could keep the door shut and the cat upstairs. I was sad at first, but realized that it was a blessing in disguise for me. A new area to celebrate and open our gifts and it made the pain of his absence more bearable. Since his "spot" was not empty as we never celebrated there before.  I could share with you all some of the difficulties the boys and I have had over the months. But those are private to me. And I am sure you all can imagine some of those dark days. As for today, we are managing along. The memories and talking about Mark are not as painful and I can talk more about him without breaking down in tears.  I think about Mark and miss him everyday.

Despite all we have been through we have much to be thankful for. I am thankful for the years I spent with Mark and the family we created. I am also thankful for the village that surrounds and supports my family every day. I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. We can laugh again and make plans.  I will live in today.

176 people hearted this

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Joan Stobie
By Navynursenm
The reading of the passion of Jesus mentions Simon of Cyrene who was pulled from the crowd to help Jesus bear his cross. I thought of you and your children and the cross you have had to bear for almost two years. I hope this finds all of you well. Easter blessings.
杨 烁
By 杨烁
I am a Chinese. I read the book recently because I lost my uncle last month.He is only 43 years old.The doctors didn't even sure about my uncle's condition,they speculated that he got a kind of cancer.He suffered a lot.He can't move ,he can't eat ,he can't even talk.My whole family are believe in God.We crying,praying for hope,for mercy.But still , he leave all of us ,painfully.He can't even talk to his only little daughter at his last moment.
If I remind your sad memory ,I'm truly sorry.I just want to say,after I read the book, I finally feel released, I'm not sad that much.Cause I realized that sometimes bad things do happened on good people. It's cruel,but bad things can't stop people love each other,bad things can't make people give up.We should live a good live ,for the people we love and for ourselves.
May God bless you and your whole family.
meredith smith
By meredith smith — last edited
Thinking of you, your boys, our hero -your prince, and wishing there were more entries coming from him. He taught us so much about living and you, in your way, taught us about being strong and you both taught us about togetherness and family devotion. I feel his loss, too. God bless you and your beautiful family as you adjust to a "new" normal. Bless you!
Marie Winters
By Marie Winters
Thinking of you, Praying that your "seconds" are easier than your "firsts".
Pattie Holden
By Pattie Holden
I am so sorry to hear this!! I did not know your husband, but my husband just found his bio on the GIST support site today and was so happy,because he is also 40 ish, he is also misdiagnosed, he also had a GI hemorrhage at age 39, he is also an active duty army officer and we were hoping upon hope that we could contact Mark for some info as we are just starting the workup ,etc. May peace be with you.
1 person hearted this
meredith smith
By meredith smith
Thinking of you and your family.