Wednesday, March 16, 2016

6 Years

I dreamed about you the other night. I spoke to you. Finally. It seemed like hours before I realized it was you. Why is that? As soon as I did, as soon as my brain caught up with me and I figured out that it was your face, and your eyes, I panicked. I panicked because I knew you’d leave.

I begged you not to. Wrapped my arms around you, pleaded with you to stay. Please stay this time. Don’t go. Not yet.

You told me you couldn’t. That I knew you couldn’t. Just a few more minutes, but then you’d have to go.

Even still.

Six years on and even still, I want you to stay, need you to stay. I want to tell you everything. I want to catch you up. Even though I know it’s impossible, that there could never be enough time.

I had her, Craig. The most perfect daughter. She’s sweet and she’s funny. Delicious rolls and beautiful blue eyes. She’s everything.

For some reason she makes me think of you. Not reminds me of you, but makes me think about you, and us, and how everything that has happened has led up to her. This perfect little creature.

I find myself mourning you all over again.

For a different reason now. It’s another thing you are missing, another thing I can’t tell you about. And I want to. Because you would understand how long I waited, how hard it was to have her. How much I love being with her and how deeply lonely it can be when it’s just the two of us. I want to see you marvel at how she is the perfect mix of me and her father, his eyes and my nose. I want to hear you say congratulations, that you knew it would happen, that this is what you always wanted for me.

But I can’t.

I want to tell you about how it makes me afraid now. Want to put my head on your shoulder, listen to you listen to me about how I can’t have peace anymore. How I will always worry. Because in the pit of my stomach I know, really know, that I cannot protect her from everything. That no matter how safe I make her, no matter how careful I am, there will always be things that I cannot protect her from, people I cannot protect her against. There could always be someone driving home from a night shift, drifting off to sleep behind the wheel. I lay awake at night, staring up at the ceiling in the dark, and try to convince myself to stop being so afraid.

But I can’t.

I desperately want to be the kind of woman I want her to aspire to. Strong and brave and fierce. Career in one hand, happiness in the other. I want her to be full of ideas and inspiration, to take on the world without pause. To be resilient. I want to show her how to be independent, to thrive, to always find joy.

But I can’t.

I feel as though I am failing already. Because I don’t feel like the hopeful, optimistic mothers I see around me. Their children are their delight and the futures are open. I want to feel these things. So badly. Instead I feel that fear, that worry, that someone somewhere could snatch her away from me. It happened with you, and I couldn’t stop it. No matter how vigilant and careful I was, I couldn’t stop it. What if I can’t stop it again?

All the strides I thought I took over the last six years seem to have disappeared. A few hours in the delivery room and I am back to that scared, trembling creature I was the day you were taken away. In truth it started before that, as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I so badly wanted to enjoy it. I earned that, after everything.

But I couldn’t.

I remember being happy. Do you remember? We were. Not always, but sometimes. Right before your accident we were happy. I was planning your birthday surprise, enjoying work, looking forward to the end of busy season. We had plans. Plans for the next twenty years. Plans for dinner that night. And I couldn’t wait. It felt as if I stopped being vigilant, stopped worrying and then it happened. So when I saw that little blue plus sign that I waited so long for, suffered so much for, I just couldn’t let myself be happy. Imagine what could have happened if I’d let myself be happy.

Instead I worried. And was afraid. And worried some more. I thought if I could just make it to her birth, I could relax. If I could just get her here. And I did and it was hard and it was painful but I did. And I had that one sweet moment of total relief, of joy.

But it didn’t take long for the fear to come creeping back.

And I wonder sometimes what kind of legacy that must be. That the way I still feel you in my life is like a shadow, always hovering near the corner of my eye, that dread in the pit of my stomach. I know what fear is now, know that there are things to be afraid of. That you can love someone and lose them in the blink of an eye.

I don’t want it to be this way.

I want to remember you and smile. I want to think fondly of you, to talk about you with warmth. I want the way you touched my life to be happiness.

These are the things I wish I could tell you.

I think you would understand.

I wish you could.

I love you, I miss you. Don’t forget me.


  1. This post has touched me so deeply. I can relate so much (lost my husband at 25). I go through wanting to tell him so many things... but can't.
    Thank you for this... I needed this.

  2. Dear Emily,

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I feel all of this..all the time. I don't have in that respect, I have no clue how you feel. For now, I feel mostly guilt. 15th of April last year is when I lost mine at 31.

  3. Emily,
    I stumbled across your blog and have been reading it , you see my husband of 38 years died of a cardiac arrest suddenly Aug 6,2013 it's been 2 years and 8 months, I see similar things, Two adult children, 5 grand children, but even if you have family the distance that Grief causes the Division between children... the tears, the being alone, the who am I now.... I don't know! it's been a year and three months I move back into our home , by my self..... so hard , trying to be strong but I am so weak.
    NM Gramina..... I am so grateful for your words, and sorry for your loss.

  4. So sorry for your loss. I'm barely a month out from losing my husband of 33 years - we were married when I was just 19. We grew up together. We married off our youngest daughter and were just really starting to enjoy our newfound freedom and "coupledom" again. There were plans. There were goals. And now I start my new job and finish my master's degree without him to cheer me on. I'm surrounded by 33 years of his things (and boy, did he have things) and am so overwhelmed that I haven't even begun to go through stuff - yet it surrounding me is so incredibly painful. One new grandbaby was born just 8 days after his death and he wasn't there to greet her. Another will be born inside of a month; another baby that won't know Poppy.

  5. I'm so sorry your loss. My daughter-in-law lost her husband(my son) when she was 22 . I really am thankful I ran across your blog. I just lost many husband of 51 years and I'm reliving my son's loss and my newly loss my husband. I read "The Behavior of the Bereaved" I am having so much trouble with close friends and family understanding my grief. I really appreciate your view point of what we are going through. Thank you....I'm not crazy.

  6. Dear Emily,

    Thank you so much for continuing to write. I found your blog 2 years ago during a time when I was internally struggling over a loss of a friendship. No death was involved (I moved), so I did not realize I was grieving. I struggled during for a year before I found your blog, crying daily and feeling like I was crazy, wondering what was wrong with me. You put words to the unnamed pain I was/am experiencing.

    I am now 29. For the past 3+ years, I have put on a mask of "normalcy" while grieving silently on the inside. I never told my family and friends because they would never have approved of my friend. I feel pain daily.

    I visit your blog often to let your words give my pain form and shape. I sometimes feel ashamed that I feel so strongly for a friend, and these emotions are foreign to my logically-inclined mind. There are not as many tears these days because I find that the pain is still there even after crying. The pain sits inside my chest like a constant weight. Yet, oddly enough, your words give me hope. If after 6 years, you can still feel strongly for your loved one, then surely I, too, can make it to 6 years. One day at a time, indeed.

    Thank you so much,

  7. Five years ago my mum passed away suddenly and I found your blog helpful in understanding my feelings. You have a way of describing your feelings in such a way I can relate to them easily. Unfortunately my youngest son died just recently, in a car accident, aged just 17 and I find myself back reading your blog from the beginning again. I wish I wasn't but thank you for putting some of what I'm feeling into words. I'm actually thinking I may do the same this time to see if he helps with the disbelief, anger and inner termoil I am currently feeling.

  8. Dear Emily, I attempted to leave this comment on "Hello Grief" in response to your beautiful story "A Widow answers the questions you're too polite to ask." Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. As a dating and relationship coach for the past 9 years and a widow for the past 5 years I personally and professionally know the dating journey you wrote about. I assure my coaching clients who are widows/widowers they can find love again and I'm so grateful to have your story to share with them. Warmest regards, Christine Baumgartner - The Perfect Catch

    1. Toh go away with your ads about your grief counselling business...people can see you sre only commenting to garner more work for yourself....blah, blah, blah.

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