To the Surviving Spouse who made it through Memorial Day,
Whether you came out of your bubble or stayed engaged in all of the events throughout the weekend, you can let out that breath you’ve been holding in these past few weeks.
Wondering if people would say “Happy Memorial Day” or say nothing at all.
Wondering if people would remember your fallen hero even though you’ve forgotten a few things about them.
Hoping that if you choose to say their name or tell stories about them, that people would join you and share their own. And that the would be comfortable with the tears that may accompany those stores.
Hurting because no matter what he was like when he was alive, no matter the status of your relationship, they were a huge part of your life.
Breaking apart inside because of the impact that it has on the children. It’s so difficult to know how best to show your emotion. Too much and they feel they must become your protector and too little and they don’t know how to release their feelings in a healthy way, staying bottled up inside.
Fending off organizations, news reporters and people who only check in with you during this time of year.
Angry because your life doesn’t look like you thought it would.
Wounded because people you love and care for didn’t check in to ask after you or your child.
Avoiding sales and commercials because they seem to gloss over any real understanding of what this holiday weekend is all about.
Unfollowing feeds who you’ve shared this loss with yet they continue to share despite your outpouring or who didn’t even acknowledge the holiday at all.
Doubting yourself because last year you responded very differently than you did this year.
Maybe you’ve met a man that can take up space in your heart and help you heal some of the hurt you’ve carried, but it’s a new “dance” because you must take their feelings into consideration too.
Triggered when people attempt to mesh Memorial Day and the loss of your loved one with a political statement that moves their agenda forward.
You don’t want people to stop BBQing and boating and sit around in a circle somber and serious all weekend, but you want them to understand. To carry some of the load, to try to empathize.
Your children are growing and coping and you’re not sure of exactly what’s happening inside of them, but you know something is; you’re not sure if it’s healing or something else.
You feel judged by some of the widow community because of the way your spouse died or didn’t die and you’re not sure why there has to be another method of disunity and isolation applied to this already challenging community.
And can feel scorned by former friends of yours who are sure they are justified in their distance or lack of communication towards you because they are certain they would have handled “it” very differently. You’re no longer friends, which is another loss you grieve.
You are feeling such relief that this holiday weekend is over, but still holding your breath because of the permanence that impacts your daily life all year round.
Sweet friend, you’ve made it through another Memorial Day. I’m proud of you.
And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t necessarily get better, but you get better at it.
You did it! Whatever it is – you’re still here. Now breathe. And cut yourself some slack. Perfect was off the table as soon as you were born and grace is available to you. Grab hold of it and offer it in truckloads to all of the above.
I’m cheering you on as you navigate this next year, in the in-between.
One who gets it