My husband was killed in 2015. There, we got that out of the way.
He was a few months out from turning 34 years old. I was a few months out of turning 30 years old. Our daughter had just turned four years old. Our twin sons were about to hit the one-and-a-half-year-old mark.
We were three weeks out from signing the closing paperwork on owning our first home. It had been almost ten years since he came home from his military tours to Iraq. We had been together for six years. We had been married for three years.
On May 22, 2015, while riding his motorcycle to work, a man assumed there was space between two on-coming cars and turned left.
That space was my husband.
There are a lot of things I choose to believe now. A lot of pieces of me that changed and cannot be unchanged.
When someone dies in such a sudden fashion, you have no choice but to create scenarios and assume answers. Unlike losing someone to cancer or old age– there is no period of knowing death awaits you. You do not get the chance to sit down and say, “I Love You” or ask, “What do I do now?” Even trivial things like computer passwords and the knowledge of where they store important documents is lost to you.
The only thing that spontaneous death leaves the living is a sense of utter and unimaginable loss. Your sternum attempts to become concave, your eyes widen, your throat seizes. It is as if your physical self is imploding and exploding all at once– expelling every last ounce of energy and using every sense it has to try and find the person who is now gone. This is when you cry the most; the tears that come are violent and they cause pain to your whole body. They weaken you to the point of almost killing you. You scramble, both physically and mentally, to find someone or something to hold onto– a desperate hand grasping out in the blackest night and finding that there is nothing there but more darkness.
I’ve written about my husband many times. At the one month mark, the six-month mark, and the random day for no reason. On our children’s birthdays and on Christmas, on our anniversary and on his death-aversary. But I very rarely write about grief. How it can consume your every single breath and how you will do literally anything you can to escape it. I once remember telling someone that had the children not existed, I very well might have cuddled up next to him in the hospital and died if I could have forced myself. Grief does all that it can to take no survivors, but the biggest joke of all is that we are the survivors in a void where all we want is not to be.
If I look back now at the woman that stood up at that funeral and spoke so calmly, at the woman who managed to do her hair and make-up that morning, at the woman who smiled when she heard the roar of a motorcycle outside timed just right during a moment of silence, to the woman who took the deepest breath and sang acapella to the sky—that woman is my hero.
That woman is me. I have survived and I will continue to survive every single moment of every single day for the rest of the life I am so fortunate to have left. I will survive for my children and I will survive for him.