I remember sitting in the church– the church where we recited our vows, now the place where my husband laid in the casket while I hoped he would get up and say this was all a joke. As I stared at his lifeless body; my head stayed tilted (for some odd reason)– and I felt the urge to want to go hold his hand; the hand I used to hold in the car on our rides home, the hand that used to grab my hands and give them random kisses, the hand that has touched me in the most intimate ways. But I couldn’t moved. I was glued to the pew and wondering how his nails had changed colors? How his skin appeared darker? How this was really “my Jason,” “my husband” laying visible and lifeless–trying to take in that this was the absolutely last time I would ever see him again physically.
I was high off anxiety pills but could still feel what was happening around me. Family members hoovering over me– especially the one’s that barely call me now (but we will get into that later). People walking up to me admiring my strength, my appearance, and giving their sympathy/empathy. As I sat there, almost as lifeless as my husband; my body felt surreal– my five senses was on alert and numb all at once. At the sermon, I kept locking eyes with the pastor. He was trying so hard to give me reassurance that I will be okay. He said, “this will be hard, I can’t tell you this will be easy, but with the grace of God you will get through this– I am here if you need me.” He went on to say the people you see here today will eventually go back to their own lives, and you will be walking this journey with a select few. AND BOY WAS THAT THE TRUTH!!!
My circle quickly narrowed in, and only the people that I talked to prior to his death are the ones still here supporting me and checking in periodically. My immediate family is beyond amazing! My sister order books on grief so she could be prepare for any setbacks. My parents pushed me to fight through depression by forcing me to get up and move around. My oldest brother kept the fire lit on my humor. My little brother sat many days with me in the room mostly quiet–but him just being there was comfort enough. My grandparents prayed over me. I had a host of close cousins/aunts that came over almost everyday that month. And let’s not forget my friends– y’all know who you are.
But one person understood my grief the best. I was shocked by the strength and patience this young person displayed. My niece Nakya (and her side kick Suggy) laid with me for 30 days and 30 nights. She didn’t ask me questions. When I cried she stayed quiet but was present. I laid on her throughout the night for comfort; we ate together; watched t.v together; we grieved together. No pressure– just grief. It was moments I noticed it was wearing on her, but she didn’t leave. This little person allow me to utilize her strength –the love she showed me was indescribable. These 30 days gave me a whole new meaning of support and love.
The first month started my fight for reality, my fight to eliminate my dis-beliefs. My small circle of support prepared me for battle. As I prepared to head back to work and live a life without my life partner, the lifelessness I felt so deeply connect to sitting in the pew was leaving– I realized that my small circle was something I needed to live for.
One thing I know about grief– support matters and how you give support matters even more.