If I'm that upset, I know Mr. Wonderful is 1,000,000 times more devastated.
Things between us have gotten progressively better as of late, and for that I am eternally grateful (#111). We have viewed each other as a supportive safe haven over the last couple weeks, when previously we might have viewed each other as part of the overwhelming stress. There aren't enough words to say how grateful for and humbled by that I am.
We spent so much time together on Tuesday night -- eating the food that their family and friends prepared and brought over to comfort them; talking about the plans for the burial and the memorial service; admiring the cosmetic changes they made to the house, which were supposed to accommodate them during her last 6 months of life but which now serve as a constant reminder that she left us even sooner than expected; taking care of things that need to be taken care of (washing loads of laundry, putting the dishes in and then running the dishwasher, making the beds, etc); trying to find the joy in this moment rather than contemplating the huge hole that her untimely death has left; and holding each other to in some way soothe the pain that her absence has left.
The house was palpably emotionally empty, devoid of the energy and warmth that she always brought to it and now occupied by her two sons, but only when they are in town. And we were left to wonder this: what happens next? There are so many things to take care of, and there is so much grieving to be done. When things are that daunting, what do you do first? How do you wrap your mind around it? It's going to be a tough road ahead for him and his siblings, and he has to be the dad (because their biological father already passed), lawyer, financial guru and host all at the same time. So, all he can do is what's next. Having learned to take life one day at a time since reality started to come unglued this spring, I've learned how to respond to this, and I now have the fuel I need to encourage him (I'm not sure I would have known how to otherwise).
For that, I'm reminded again of how deeply grateful I am for the wisdom of others that has gotten me through this difficult period. This Is Not the Story You Think It Is by Laura Munson (#112), for instance, helped me view this crisis as about what he's going through -- not deficiencies in our relationship, and it taught me the importance of not suffering and creating my own happiness. Heartwounds (#113) gave me insight into -- and, therefore, empathy for -- what it is he's been dealing with and going through on a grief/trauma level. How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It (#114) revealed to me not why this happened or what I should do in repsonse to it (as the other books did), but how things came unraveled when they did in the spring. I now have the tools I need to process what comes my way and to react to/support him during this time rather than be defensive. These resources have been invaluable to me, and I want to highlight their authors yet again in the hopes that you, too, might benefit from their wisdom. These authors have helped me save my relationship.
But it's my friends (#115) and family (#116) that have held me up when I couldn't stand, wiped my tears and taken care of me when I was too upset to take care of myself. They've been my biggest supporters during this grueling process. I couldn't have gotten this far without them, and I'm humbled by the grace they offered me even when I didn't deserve it.
I have been told that one day Mr. Wonderful will look back and take stock/give thanks for the fact that I loved and supported him instead of giving up on him during this time period. And that may be the case. But I didn't do it with the hopes that he would thank me for my presence and faith in him. I didn't do it to be thanked or praised for it. I did it because I love him, and I wanted us to come out on the other side of this process. I believed in us, and I believed in him. So, while the worst of the sadness of grief still lies ahead, we will tackle it together. The fear and anxiety that accompanied the unknown and sickness and that threatened our relationship has ended, however.
My thanks to you, too, for seeing me through this. It's not over yet.