I don’t write about this much, but today will be the exception because I feel that I need to get this out there.
Today is the 6th anniversary of my husband’s very unexpected, very sudden passing. While I still miss him daily, I am finally getting back to being in a pretty good place. Happy. Content.
Out of all days, yesterday my oldest was home early from school and decided to watch one of her favorite movies…..Christmas Shoes. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the short version…..the mom is dying and the little boy is anxious to get her a pair of shoes so that she looks beautiful when she meets Jesus. Anyway, there are some heart-wrenching scenes in the movie.
Her little boy asking her not to go.
Her husband sitting by his very sick and near death wife and her asking him to dance with her.
It put me right back.
I didn’t have any heads up that my husband would die. I didn’t get to say any final things. I didn’t get to hear any of his last wishes for his family.
Knowing what comes after the death of a spouse/parent, I started to wonder what it would be like to sit at the side of your loved one knowing that their time was near. I started to wonder what we’d have said, what we’d have done. Would we have made videos, written letters, talked about what we should do going on from there?
I don’t know because I didn’t have that chance. Part of me is glad. Part of me feels robbed.
What I do want to say is this……..we are all dying. We may not know that it is imminent, but we are all terminal.
When you are in this situation, or when someone close to you dies, it changes things. It puts things into perspective. All too often, though, it’s a temporary change.
You get back to normal life and get back into rhythms and the craziness of life and we forget that our days are limited. Fleeting. So short.
I am in quite a few different widow/widower groups on social media. The other day one of the men in one of the groups posted a video of him and his late wife dancing in the kitchen. They knew that she was going to die. They chose to record memories for those left behind.
The video opens up with her turning on the music and motioning for him to join her. It was about 7 minutes long. I maybe watched 2. I just couldn’t do it. But how amazing is that for him to have?
I guarantee when he watches it that he can feel her head on his chest, his head on the top of her head, her arm around him, their hands clasped together. He can smell her, hear her laugh, feel her heart beat against him.
What a gift.
I am absolutely a proponent of recording memories. Taking pictures and video, but don’t forget to be present in the moment.
Don’t get so caught up in documenting everything that you forget to just be present. They took the time to set up the camera, but they also forgot about it being there and just soaked each other in.
This fast-paced world that we live in is making us forget that our lives are so fragile. I am absolutely not saying to walk around in bubble wrap and fear of what your next step could bring, but I am saying to remember that you only have right now.
My husband and I spent a ridiculous amount of time together. Most of his adult life, he was an ironworker so his work was sporadic. We heard many comments when he was off that he should be working, but we absolutely loved it when he was off. We were pretty much dirt poor…..but we were so happy. We spent money we didn’t have, we made decisions that no one agreed with, we did things that some didn’t understand……but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Stop putting things off. Stop fighting about little things. Stop fighting to be right. Give more than you get. Go the extra mile even though they may not do it for you. Take the trip. Take the time to watch nature.
If I would’ve had advanced notice of my husband’s passing, I’m sure I’d have a lot more things to physically hold but I didn’t have that. You don’t know if you will either. Plan accordingly. Have enough documented to look back on but be present enough to have enough memories burned in your soul that even if that’s all you have, it makes you smile.
I miss him something fierce, but I can almost come up with a memory for everything that happens to us now. Something that we did, something he said, dumb things he made the kids do, special “just between us” laughs.
I know that everyone says that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. It’s sort of become cliche. But when tomorrow turns your life upside down, you remember all the times that people told you that.
As I look back and honor what was, watch movies that make me live loss all over again, and watch beautiful videos that preserve a love for a lifetime I am put right back to that day.
If they didn’t come home tomorrow would the thing you are mad about or frustrated over matter? If you knew that they only had limited time left, would you let things go?
We all have limited time left. My challenge to you is to live this daily because you truly do not know what the next phone call or knock on the door could bring.
I am eternally grateful for all the time we “wasted”. All the time spent glued at the hip. All the money we didn’t make. All the money we spent that we couldn’t afford. All the doubts of us being together at 15 and 17, married at 18 and 20. Babies at 19, 21, 26, and 28. Being best friends and “missing out” on boy’s nights and girl’s weekends. I am grateful for it all and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
In fact, I am doing it again. I was blessed with another amazing husband. We are besties. We do pretty much everything together. I do his activities, he supports my crazy ideas. We create intentional downtime. We have tons of family time but are very careful to have at least as much couple time.
We carve out little moments to just chat. Short runs to the store or to pick something (or someone) up. We strive to not argue about little things (maybe a little spat, but we don’t drag out things that won’t matter in a week).
We don’t have it perfect, but we try. We are intentional. We know that life changes in an instant and that we need to make the most of the boring, everyday things.
Take a little time to think about what you would regret if tomorrow didn’t come for someone that you love. Fix it before it’s too late.
We are all terminal and we don’t know when our last heartbeat will be…….make this moment count.
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