It’s really hard to remember the first couple of weeks after we left the hospital… just the two of us. I remember waking up in the morning and thinking is was just a dream, then I would walk to TC’s room and find it empty, and then, my heart would sink and my head would spin. I would go and lay down on her bed and smell her blankets and her clothes, I don’t think we washed her stuff for months… we would just sit there at times, holding, smelling and crying.
At the time I was taking some college courses, I took 3 weeks off and then returned to school to finish up. I thought maybe, the change of scene would ease my mind and heart. Somehow it did. When I went to school, I fell into some weird sense of denial. It was like I could remove myself from the situation and pretend it wasn’t real. When I came home, I found it really hard to talk to Honey, I would shut down and just not talk, and if I did it was minimal. She would spend most of the day at home crying, and being all alone. I had the luxury of leaving and having people distract me. While at school, I started hanging with this girl, we would spend lots of time talking and joking around and it felt nice not to be reminded of what was real. After a few weeks, and a few coffees together I realized that this relationship was getting a lot more friendly. Every night I would go home and Honey and I would be drifting further apart. Then came the day that I knew something was about to change. I knew that if I met with “the girl”, it would turn into something more that just flirting, it was going to get real…
I had to do something, I had to say something… Every time I came home, I would drop emotionally, I crashed and shut it all down. I would come home, she would still be crying and I was just angry about being there. I knew this relationship at school was going to move to the next level, the following day, I also knew that I loved Honey, and that I loved her enough to tell her my feelings were changing. So, we sat down and I let here know.
“I know that you don’t want to hear this” I began, “but I have to let you know”. I told her about the girl and how my feelings for her were growing and how I just didn’t want to come home anymore. She cried, I cried, we kept talking for hours. Finally I left the house and got in the car. It was over. I sat in the car for a long time, it felt like hours and hours. I sat and thought about what I was doing. Here is the woman I love, and I can’t be around her. Every time I see her face it causes me pain. But, I love her. Then, a small part of me realized finally that she was suffering too. I hadn’t really thought about it. I was so busy dealing with my pain that I no room for anyone else’s pain. I went back in and I think we talked all night. I really don’t remember. I know that over the next few days we talked about the pain, the sadness and that we needed to support each other in what ever we were suffering through.
We compared ourselves to a couple we met at the children’s hospital. C and R, surprisingly they lived up the street from our house, and they had lost their son while we were at the hospital. While they were morning, she wanted to put pictures of her son everywhere in the house, so that she could see him all the time. Her husband on the other hand wanted to get rid of all the pictures and pretend that he never existed. When Honey and I looked at their morning form an outside perspective, we came to the realization that we were morning in different ways too. But, C and R never came to compromise, one that would simply allow the other to morn in their own way. They began to fight constantly, and soon their marriage was over. So, that night and over the week, we worked on helping each other, and the hardest part was just talking about everything, it was also the biggest part of our healing. It didn’t really ease the pain, it just eased some of the symptoms.
If you’re suffering from a loss, find someone to talk to. If you’re dealing with what we dealt with, find a way to open the communication with your husband or wife. Let each other morn in your own way. Talk, support, love, be there, even if being there means just sitting silently or holding each other. There will come a time when things get easier and you’ll move forward. You’ll never truly move on, but you will move forward. You’ll just have to give each other time. Just remember that talking is your greatest weapon.
Next post we’ll talk about PTSD and how it took us 15 years to figure it out.
Chip and Honey Toodee