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…
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