Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mourning... MY STORY

I have written this blog post a thousand times in my heart and mind. It's so deeply personal to me, but I know so many people who can relate to what I intend to share. This morning I got up early knowing today is the day. I want to share about something that is ongoing in my life. It's every day and it's WHO I am now. I became widowed November 15th 2014. I lost my husband to a rare aggressive cancer. I still can't believe at times that Tyler is gone.

His death was the worst thing I had ever went through. I have been through a lot. This long 18 month battle with cancer brought me to my knees daily. I helplessly watched my husband endure such a nasty horrible struggle to life. He was so STRONG and had FAITH like no other. I learned so much. I battled with him. I do remember this time with sadness but honestly I think of the GOOD TIMES mostly. We laughed with tears as he lost his hair and he compared himself to our son in law. Often, we just watched FAMILY FUED together, and we each tried to be the winner. I rubbed his numb feet. 

By the end of this life, I was in the hospital with him. I slept by him on the hospital sofa in his room. I could not sleep as I heard his labored breathing and his moans from pain. I would take him to the rest room. To this day, I KNOW I was helped to carry him. I was given the sacred blessing of see him talk to angels and know the veil was thin. He was going to God. He fought it to the very end. I want you to know something. I will NEVER get over losing Tyler. 

I like to remember Tyler this way- smiling, holding the grand babies and how much he loved his family. 

He fought like a WARRIOR. 
I remember his STRENGTH.

I remember how much he HATED taking photos. 
I would talk him into doing it anyway.

The truth is this- I had no idea what I would feel or face. I was suddenly widowed. I went home and stayed in his pi's for days. I was completely lost. I thought I was strong. I had FAITH. I know DEATH is not the end. Here I was a complete and utter mess. I was not sleeping. I was goggling how to "know" and "feel" our dead was with us still. I was desperate. I was going through every love note he ever gave me. I had a 16x20 photo of Tyler in my front room of my home. I had it printed for the funeral. I left it up as a shrine. I had all the funeral flowers surrounding this shrine. I would just kneel and talk to his picture, sobbing uncontrollably. 

I was MAD he had left me. I was not doing good. I finally had to call a grief counselor. I was so sad and angry at the same time. To be honest, I was a HOT MESS. I thought I was stronger than I was. I was scared of myself. My poor kids were so worried about me. I remember my daughter McKay coming home from her mission and as happy as I was to see her- I felt DEAD inside.

This is where it's going to get REAL. I had a HARD marriage to Tyler. I loved this man. Oh my... we had a love journey. However, our marriage was filled with a lot of trials. I gently talked about them in the book I wrote. I found journals Tyler had left, notes and things that made me even sadder.  Tyler was the strongest man I have ever known. He was a very successful doctor. He was good-looking and such a hard worker. Tyler was human and had his weaknesses just like we all do. He loved to control pretty much everything. This was HOW he felt safe. I fought back. 

Our marriage was a constant battle of me fighting back. He often told me, "You are too d___ feisty." Well, I knew I had to stand up for myself. For almost 19 years I picked my battles. I agreed to not shop at night without him because he was afraid someone would hurt me. I agreed at times not to drink Diet Soda so he would stop getting so mad at me- or himpouring it down the sink. The problem is, I kept drinking the diet soda and he kept getting madder.  Yes, I was the "closet diet mtn dew drinker". I can LAUGH at this now. Seriously, we fought ongoing battles over this. 

I could tell you a hundred things that I could not stand about our marriage, but I could also tell you a 100 things that I loved. I choose to look at the good. This is me.  Seriously, I knew we did not have a "perfect" marriage. We went to counseling at times. The counselor gave me the book "When being in control is out of control." My counselor over the years helped me to understand and to stay sane. Tyler was so mad and took the book and ripped it up. I can laugh at that now.  I will tell you that I "knew" and felt he loved me. I knew I could not change him, nor could he change me. I felt for years, that I could "help" him feel safe with me. I tried so hard so he would not always feel so threatened that I would someday leave him. (1st wife left him and it scarred him). 


Yesterday I went to the grave again. 
Why would I stop visiting him? Talking to him? Sharing with him?

Why does it always rain when I visit Tyler's grave? I love to talk and share my heart as I visit him. I know he watches over us. He was such a protector. My sister is law kind of summed it up best to me. She said, "Tyler, was obsessed with you." He loved me often in a way that was "too much" and was so afraid to lose me that he would try to smother or control. I had so much love and compassion for him knowing it was just him. I have no doubt that he knows how hard his death has been on our children and me. There has been nothing easy about this. I was sobbing yesterday as I drove to the grave. This is a ongoing grief. It just doesn't go away.

You don't stop loving someone when they die. I am so thankful Tyler took such good care of me and his kids.  I FOCUS on his goodness. I think when someone dies we tend to focus on just their good. I know that for me, there is peace in my soul as I remember the good and my kids and I can LAUGH at things we used to not think was so funny. He taught us life lessons. Tyler and I taught our children the importance of academics, working hard and how to LOVE themselves and others. We tried to foster the desire in them to serve God and others.  We were united to our goals as parents. This was US. We both were "imperfect" beings trying to raise children to be better than us. Tyler was a strict dad. He made us all so mad at times too. He was firm and stubborn. It made him Tyler. This man was so strong in his character, love and devotion as a husband and dad. I know he was with us as Seth got married. I felt it so strongly.

I want you to know if you know someone who is widowed... they never get over the loss and pain. You go on and God gives you strength you did not know you had. It's a trial I never thought I would endure, but I did and continue to do so. 

Brian was texting me yesterday. I told him that  I was on my way to grave. I love him. He supports, understands and let's me talk about Tyler. He knows that it takes NOTHING away from my love for him. I am beyond blessed. I have told people that it's like the love you have for a child. When you have a second child you think you cannot possibly love another child as much or feel the same way but you do. God gave us the ability to love MORE and for our heart to expand. That is why we can have several children and love them each the same. I believe Tyler somehow lead me to Brian after he passed. I can honestly say Brian is the most amazing person. I adore him and he is the reason I can smile during the new journey. I love him and it takes NOTHING from my marriage and love for Tyler.

GRIEF is real and it does not simply end in a "specific" time. There is no time clock. I don't think that is how it works (at least for me!) 
You continue to remember, love, cherish and focus on that person and what they meant to you. I share stories with my kids all the time. I often feel prompted to remind my sons over and over of the love that their dad had for them.  

My advice is this. Each day is a gift of TIME with your husband, wife, kids, parents and your  family. LOVE so much each day that you are constantly smiling and doing things that create memories. Don't put off seeing or talking to those that you love. MAKE IT HAPPEN. What is most important? 

I am different now. I wake up and know more personally that TIME is valuable. I can't get more of it. How will I spend my time? Who will I spend my time with? I know I want to make a difference in my family and home. I try hard to create memories and often it's the simple nightly meals at the dinner table. Don't forgot to EXPRESS your love to those in your life. They may be at a point of not receiving or wanting it, but still just do it. 

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At October 29, 2016 at 8:56 AM , Blogger Terri said...

Beautiful and heartfelt Teresa. Hugs!

At October 29, 2016 at 9:30 AM , Blogger Tami said...

Needed to read this softened my heart. ❤️

At October 29, 2016 at 9:46 AM , Blogger Cathy said...

Oh Teresa, I have tears reading about your journey. You have expressed so much love in your writings! Ty was so special and you two have changed my perspective on life! Sure miss seeing you! Hugs!

At October 29, 2016 at 9:48 AM , Blogger Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts. I'm glad you have found love again! And also cancer sucks!

At October 29, 2016 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Angie Lucas said...

So beautiful. Carry on, warrior.

At October 29, 2016 at 9:56 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you girls. I share this because I want everyone to know that Tyler is still loved, missed and remembered. This journey has not been pretty at times, BUT it is REAL and it's making me a better me. I hope in some way i can remind others to CHERISH those that they love and be more mindful to spend quality time with those that they love. xoxo

At October 29, 2016 at 10:11 AM , Blogger Cathy said...

You have accomplished reminding us to cherish those special to us!

At October 29, 2016 at 10:38 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Wow. So powerful and such a help to anyone struggling. Thank you.

At October 29, 2016 at 11:08 AM , Blogger Patricia said...

This made my heart ache so much today. I love the quote about never getting over the grief. It's very true. You learn to live with it but there are days that you cannot believe what you have lived through. Hugs to you this day!

At October 29, 2016 at 11:16 AM , Blogger Kelly Booth said...

This is so true reading this and have felt the same things. I too lost my husband in 2000. I remarried in 2005 and although I will always love and remember Richard and blessed to have a new love and life with Dale. ❤️
You are a beautiful person inside and out and I admire you for putting your feelings out there.

At October 29, 2016 at 11:52 AM , Blogger jeanne said...

Beautifully said!

At October 29, 2016 at 1:18 PM , Blogger madelineas said...

Thank you for this Teresa, I am right there with you, I lost the love of my life in February to Kidney Disease and yes I took care of him nd carried him to the bathroom too. I know where you are coming from. We were living in NC at the time and I made the big move back to RI where the kids are, Sold a house, a truck and a lot of furniture and bought a house here . 3 Weeks after I lost him I lost my big dog so it was a double wammy. I keep thinking it has to get better but not sure. Hate the holidays are coming up, not sure how I will handle them. Wish I could give you big hug. Stay strong

At October 30, 2016 at 1:12 AM , Blogger gela said...

thank your for your beautiful, wise words.

At October 30, 2016 at 2:44 AM , Blogger Eklectik_diva said...

What you have expressed here on your blog, has hit the nail on the head. I lost my husband 16 years ago to cancer, he was 33 and I was 31. I met someone new 6 months later and we are now married. My new husband is just like your Brian and he knows how much I love him yet knows there is still a piece of my heart that still mourns for Jamie. I can honestly say that even after 16 years, you will be going along with your day, then WHAM, you have this incredible overwhelming sense of sadness and memories start to leak from your eyes.
I totally agree with you and thank you for expressing your self.

At October 30, 2016 at 10:49 PM , Blogger deb musick said...

What beautiful, heartfelt words. Thank you for being so honest with us. And bless Brian for loving you so much! He is a God send.

At October 31, 2016 at 7:54 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I'm glad you're healing and working through the emotions of grief and past pains. It's so hard at times to move forward.

At October 31, 2016 at 4:03 PM , Blogger Lizzy R said...

Oh bless you and thank you. Such wise and reassuring words. Its going through these things in life that teach us so much. I love reading your blog, it puts everything into place x

At November 1, 2016 at 11:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just want to say what you said, Teresa, and what everyone commenting said, all are so sweet and loving. Thank you all for your wisdom and for making this world a better place. : ) Love, Cheryl

At November 1, 2016 at 9:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody that truly mourns marries four months afterwards. No one believes this BS especially since your daughter blogged how upset she was....

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At November 3, 2016 at 10:07 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Teresa, you are very blessed to get a second chance at love. You have a wonderful family. I lost two brothers 9 years apart and still miss them every day. I do believe that God gives people more strength to go on at these times in their lives because I see what it has done to my mother. She is and has always been a strong woman but it has changed her. She hasn't had the best life and it breaks my heart to see her so sad. I don't want to take away from your story, just wanted to let you know that there are many many people out there that have gone through it.

At December 3, 2016 at 1:52 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I know you wrote this a few weeks ago, but I just want to say how refreshing to have an honest post from a real person who has helpful insight and not just someone writing for sympathy. You can tell when some has gone through the fire of sorrow... They are those who don't have the smell of smoke on them and are the most helpful to those who may be in desperate need of encouragement.

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