“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement” – Albert Camus

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This post is going to offend some.  It is going to make people uncomfortable.  It is going to make them questions things that have said to me.  This blog is hard to write but it is the way I am feeling right now in this moment.  I don’t want people to be uncomfortable around me.  I don’t want anyone to overthink the things they have said to me, I’m very hard to offend.  I don’t want to avoid the topic of Duane, of marriage…  I want to to talk about Duane, I want to ear his name and your stories. I want to answer your questions and hear your thoughts. I don’t want to offend you or make you uncomfortable. But I also don’t want to be judged.

The other night I was sitting on the couch with my bother-in-law and we were talking about Duane and dying and living and ALS and being happy and me living the life that Duane wanted me to. As we were talking I was explaining to him one of the hardest things about this journey – for ME at THIS point.  As I talked he said “I never thought about that”. And then the next night he saw it happen…

Social Situations.

When people who don’t know my story look at my hand and see my ring and ask “…And your husband is where?”  “Who’s your husband?”  Most of the time I delicately tell them that he passed away.  They become so apologetic and sorry that I FEEL bad that my husband died, I feel bad I have to break the news to them.  They don’t know how to react or what to say so they kinda just wander away and I feel bad.  I have tried to answer with humor – “Your husband is where?” “Dead” – that is actually worse; even though Duane would have laughed.  (Our sense of humor maybe a little off).

This has become stressful for me.  I really don’t want people to be uncomfortable and I know I can’t live worried about offending people.  I also don’t want to force myself to do something I’m not ready for. I also can’t live worried about what people will think of me based on my decisions at this point.  I do not need to be judged. I need to to do what is right for me in the moment and figure out what I am comfortable with.  It may change everyday and that is okay. 

The truth is I don’t know what I am doing.  I don’t know what I am supposed to do.  I have read a 100 books and articles, on being a widow, grieving, “moving on”, knowing when the time is right and the only conclusion I can come to is there is NO right answer.  There is no timeline.  It’s okay to make a decision and then decide that the time isn’t right.  It’s okay to change your mind daily.  

Moving on, moving forward, getting settled, getting on with life… All of those statements have such a negative vibe to them when you are talking about the death of a loved one.  When I make those statements to people I offend wonder if they think I am moving on, forgetting Duane, being disrespectful.  It is hard to put into words. It has only been 68 days.  68 days since Duane passed.  But it has been 35 months since Duane was officially diagnosed with ALS, 26 months since I became a full time caregiver. I was as prepared for Duane’s passing as I thought I could be. We had conversations and “come to Jesus” meetings, lectures and lessons. I have been grieving and going through this process for years and now I am taking a deep breath and settling in. 

I need to protect my heart and my sanity and worrying about offending people and making them uncomfortable hurts my heart.  I don’t want people to look at me like a broken person.  I want people to understand its ok to joke and laugh with me, Duane would want that. 

Say what you want, joke with me – it’s okay to laugh, its okay to be happy.  Just don’t judge. 

– xoxo Victoria

 

 

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5 thoughts on ““Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement” – Albert Camus

  1. That is very hard. While I do not know your situation specifically, I do understand. I hope you are finding the Peace, you and Duane both wanted for you. I know that Duane would not have wanted you to retreat from life due to the social idiots out there. Live for both of you. One glorious, happy, sad, uncomfortable, enjoyable moment at a time. (And I know the feeling flip flop’s just like that) its ok. Just do you. Your one of the strongest women I know of. Just do Victoria. Thats all you HAVE to do now. And that is quite lovely itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Victoria,
    My name is Renee’, I am Duane’s cousin from Seattle. I have not been sure the best way to reach you. I don’t have an active facebook page, twitter account, etc. and don’t normally post things online. I am so very sorry for your loss and also sorry that I have not reached out to you sooner. I have never had the privilege of meeting you, and yes, it would be a privilege, it is clear from your posts that my cousin Duane could not have had a better person by his side. The love you share shows in every picture and every post. I deliberately did not use ‘shared’ because I believe that love goes beyond death and is not bound by this earth. Thank you for taking such loving care of Duane!

    Thank you also for having the courage to open up and share your experience. Life, Illness, Death, Grief – it is difficult and messy and hard to make sense of at times. In my opinion, the brutal reality of illness, death and grieving is not spoken of that often in our culture. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing what is helpful for you. So here is a memory from a summer when we were kids.

    Duane=Fishing. Duane spent a summer with us (I think he was around 10 or 11) and all he wanted to do was fish. (I thought it was the most boring thing ever!) But he would walk to the nearest lake with his fishing pole and tackle. The answer to “where is Duane” was almost always “he’s fishing!’. Our grandpa lived on Martha Lake at the time and he and grandpa Felix would spend most of their time on the dock fishing! (I think he may have even walked there one time and it was far, over 6 miles.) Duane had a zest for life, he laughed a lot and was constantly joking around. I completely get the humor you described in your post about how to answer people when they ask where your husband is – Duane would have laughed!

    You are and have been in my prayers. May God hold you and comfort you as you grieve, may He fill you with His peace and unending grace.

    Love,
    Renee’

    Liked by 1 person

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