So many thoughts and emotions have been in my heart these last few days as the first anniversary of my husband Roy’s death comes near. So many that I don’t know where to start but I want to get them out here in writing so I must start here. I’m sure they will start spilling out as my fingers type what my heart wants to say.
On September 1, 2020, Roy’s sudden death changed my life in ways I couldn’t understand then but have lived through every day this last year.
Let me say from the beginning that I accepted Roy’s death as God’s plan for his life. It was “his time.” I also accepted it as God’s plan for my life. Neither of those two acceptances meant that I didn’t beg Roy to come back every day for a while, understood his immediate death the way it happened, or was anything but deeply sad that I was facing a life without the man I loved by my side.
The “us” that Roy and I were for 47 years ended that day. My lifelong companion and husband, partner in crime, fellow adventurer, father of our sons, confidant, helper, lover, best friend, and soulmate went to live with his Lord and Savior in Heaven that day and my life here on earth continued in a way I could not fathom.
This journey of learning to live without my honey Roy has been deeply difficult, heartbreaking, lonely and the grief I’ve experienced has been excruciating at times. There have been days when I go around in private on the verge of tears the whole day. I’ve kept a brave smiling face on when I am in public and when someone asks how I am I always say “Fine” or “I am doing okay.” I can finally say I really am doing as fine as someone can be that has had a loss like this.
The me that I had to become after his death is someone I never wanted to have to be. Our lives were so connected every minute of every day that without him I didn’t even know how to function. While I crumbled often at first I have become a much stronger woman as time has gone on. I’ve pushed myself to do things I never would have had to push myself to do before.
Yesterday was one of those days. I drove to Metairie by myself, something I should have been okay to do since I know exactly how to get there going down I 15, then 1 10 to Metairie. My GPS got me lost and many, many things went wrong bringing me to tears, sobbing as I drove across the Lake Ponchatrain 24 mile bridge (which is not a way I am comfortable going) in the middle of storming rain knowing that had Roy lived I wouldn’t have had any of that happening. Finding a way to get past this “had Roy lived” pain and sadness is something I am dealing with on a daily basis, still.
I have always been a very strong independent woman yet I depended on Roy to take care of everything that was broken, needed mending (not sewing mending though he could do that too), research all purchases (he was amazing at that), put new things together, do anything the car needed, fix all my technology booboos and any technology questions in general, he’s reviewed my blogs before they were posted, dug holes for every bush, tree and plant my crazy gardening obsession required, he shared in all the great times and adventures we had, and comforted me when I was sad, upset or did something bad or stupid. In recent hears he made sure I was taken care of when my brain was lacking, driven me almost everywhere because he didn’t feel it was safe for me to do so, read the Bible with me, and handled problems related to my brain.
He went to every doctor’s appointment for whatever the problem and listened so someone would remember what was said. He and I needed each other for support, to laugh together, be silly, enjoy shopping, and all our adventures together. We were getting old together and we learned to laugh at some of the increasing numbers of health issues we both experienced.
None of that happens anymore. “We” are no longer and I am so very different now. I pray I will continue to grow stronger, grieve less, and enjoy life more as time goes on.
The loss from Roy’s sudden death sent me into shock for a while which I believed protected me from totally falling apart at first. God was and always has been my rock that I’ve gone to in my weakest and strongest moments since Roy’s death. I can’t imagine having gone through this without Him constantly by my side.
I just moved into my first home alone for the first time in my life. I lived with my parents for 18 years until I married Roy and we lived together for 47 years after that. Chip has lived with me since Roy’s death and now I have chosen to move to a home by myself. I feel that is progress.
This house move is the first big step in what I hope to be the beginning of a stable, happy new life on my own. Chip still steps in to help me with the things I really can’t do but I am learning to try to take care of most everything on my own if at all possible. Something that Roy had a vast knowledge about (everything!) and could fix in a few seconds or minutes might take me a whole day but when you have no choice you learn to do it or do without.
I am driving myself almost anywhere I want to now. I’ve even driven a couple of times in the evening after dark but that’s not something I really like. I took care of having Spectrum television and an internet connection here. They don’t do that for you any longer. They send the equipment with some instructions. Wow. It took three phone calls to them for help but I now have television and internet which makes me very happy and proud. I can now list dozens of things Roy would have handled with ease that I’ve tackled and, not with ease, conquered each of them.
The love and support of family, church family and friends, and the love of my God has gotten me through the last twelve months, one day at a time. I am looking forward to whatever the future brings for me. I’d like to believe that Roy is looking down on me now saying “I knew you could do it, honey.”
If you are blessed to still have your spouse living, love them and let them know it in any way you can, EVERY DAY of your lives. Don’t take the things they do for you for granted. A big one is not to get upset or mad over the small stuff and work through the big stuff with love and kindness.
I am going to post this now since I don’t know how I’ll be doing on September 1, 2021 as the memories of that day in 2020 come back to me. Roy will never be erased from my life but as time goes on I have to have my own life and learn for that to be without him. Please pray for me as I move forward with my life.
To end on a much lighter note, I am finding I don’t like to be alone in life. If you know of a kind Christian (preferably Baptist) man who has or can buy us a motorhome and will take me traveling again, send him my way! Made you smile, I hope!
Please be in prayer for all of the people in southern Louisiana as Hurricane Ida is anticipated to be a Category 4 when it hits our state this weekend. I have lots of food and will be staying home with Buddy.