In the first few weeks after Kyle’s passing, I would ask myself (or God, or just whoever was standing the closest to me at the moment) all the “big” questions. Questions such as : Who will teach Hamp how to throw a football and who will teach him how to hunt? How will Myla ever feel secure again without her big strong daddy? Who will teach them to drive? Who will help me discipline them? How will they learn to be in a committed and loving relationship themselves one day if their daily examples no longer exist?
The “big” questions were so overwhelming, it almost felt as though I was being suffocated. I could feel the weight of the elephant sitting on my chest. As the weeks have passed, and the world continues to spin, I have come to realize it’s not the “big” questions. Those will take care of themselves. I have so many wonderful men in my life – from family members to Kyle’s closest friends- who I feel certain will step in when they are needed to fulfill some role for my children. I have already seen it happen several times, and I know these men will honor Kyle by helping out me and my children when the time comes.
16 weeks into grief, I now know it’s not the ” big” questions that blindside someone going through grief. The “big” questions don’t slap you across the face. It’s the LITTLE things. The little details of the everyday life can hit so hard, it will knock the breath out of you. Nobody ever thinks of the little things. Since December 1st, I have felt an enormous weight on me most every day. I think mostly it’s the sentiment of our first Christmas without Kyle as well as just being different from our everyday routine. For example, I couldn’t find my Christmas decorations for 3 days. They weren’t in the 2 obvious places I first looked, and the ONLY other person who would know their whereabouts was Kyle! I wanted to call him so bad and ask where in the world he had put them! That initial instinct of wanting to call him really upset me. I had a huge knot in my stomach for 2 days every time I thought about my lost Christmas tree and ornaments, until it dawned on me to look in our attic crawl space. We have lived in this house almost 2 years, and I have never even seen what is in there. Kyle put the decorations in there without telling me, only because HE knew where they were and next year, HE would be the one getting them down anyway. They were so high up and so far back, that there was no way short little me could reach them. I had to call one of his former 17 year old football players to jump up in there and shimmy them down!
Another little thing that I still haven’t faced is our stockings. I hand made all 4 of them. Mine and Kyle’s first, and then we added the kids as they came along. I just haven’t been able to hang them yet. They are currently on a table in my foyer, awaiting hanging. Almost every time I walk past them, I get a little teary.
And the dreaded Christmas Card! Oh, this little piece of paper took me over 4 hours to create online. It’s extremely difficult to pick what picture to use, as well as the card type. Everything available was just a little to “merry and bright” for our family, but I didn’t want it to be a sad card either! I settled on something religious and simple, which is totally not my typical brightly colored, happy choice. Of course, I could’ve scrapped the whole thing and not have even put myself through that misery, but the alternative of not sending one at all was just as sad to me.
It’s the little things that cut the deepest. It’s the little things I wish I could scream out to the people who I can tell just don’t understand what grief is like. Every time someone casually says to me “hey, how are you?” with a big smile on their face, I almost want to stop and scream “how do you think I am?! My husband is dead!”. For me, grief is not an all-consuming, looming raincloud type of depression. My grief is sharp, excruciating stabs. They only last a short time, but they hurt so bad.
Anyway, as I continue to use this forum to flesh out some of my feelings, I hope that maybe I can help someone in the future. Maybe I’ll be more empathetic now since I’ve been on this side of grief and maybe I’ll help someone else who just doesn’t understand what their friend or coworker may be going through. Be sensitive of the little things. Because in the reality of the survivor, those little things are actually the big things.