It’s been 27 months since I started grieving the loss of Donnie. 27 months ago we heard those 5 words that changed everything. “It’s not good, it’s cancer”. It’s been over 2 years since we heard those words. Even then, I didn’t know what today would hold, but we knew that our time was limited. Initially it was projected that Donnie would have 4-6 months to live. We were very fortunate to have had 18 months together after that fateful day.
I guess my point in all of this is realizing that I have been grieving for over 2 years. After Donnie was diagnosed, I was grieving the loss of our life as we knew it. I was grieving his health as I watched it decline. I was grieving the entire time for something that I knew was coming and could not change
I was grieving the loss of our carefree life. I was grieving the loss of innocence in my children. Their innocence that believed that Daddy would always be here with us. I was grieving for our future plans and shared dreams that we had that we knew could never be.
I have never felt so helpless as I did in those 18 months after his diagnosis.
I have been grieving the physical loss of him for the last 39 weeks. Part of me will grieve for him the rest of my life. I will always miss him and love him. He is such a part of me. I can’t change that.
I guess the reason that I am writing this is because of everything that I have heard about the grieving process. All the stages of grief. How time heals and numerous other things. I think most people think 1 year is the magic number. After a year, it will be all better. How can you put a time table on this? How can any one person tell another how they are supposed to mourn their loss or for how long? Each person grieves differently. Some in silent, some openly. Who are we to say which way is right? Just because one person grieves openly doesn’t mean that they hurt any more than the person who is hiding it.
I am working on the “acceptance” stage of my grief. I remember the first time I uttered the words out loud “ I will never see him again”. It was 7 and a half months after he died. Such a truthful statement but I had been so focused on my own grief that I had not truly comprehended that thought. I know that sounds crazy to most people but to others who have been down this road will understand. When I spoke those words out loud, you can’t imagine how it hurt to say it. Even though you know someone is gone, it is still hard to admit to your heart. Even though I had known for 18 months that I was losing him. Admitting he is truly gone is a huge thing for me.
I don’t expect people to understand my grief process. My hope is that what I share with people helps them to understand tolerance and how hurtful it is to judge people in my position. But what I have learned in all of this and have finally accepted is that there will always be people who do judge me because they don’t think that I am grieving “correctly” no matter what I say or do. I have learned not to care what those people think. And I don’t judge them for thinking whatever they think about me. I am thankful that they aren’t in a position to know how they would behave if this happened to them.
I didn’t die when Donnie did. I certainly wanted to for a while. I’ve been grieving for the last 27 months. I want to live again, not just survive. And in my heart I know that Donnie wouldn’t fault me for that.