This is how I do it

So many people ask me this… “How do you do it, being a widow?”. I guess at 30, married 7 months, with a 19 week old alien growing in my belly, the question would never have entered my head. I didn’t know any young widows. I had no experience of it or no book to read. It’s quite a hard thing to explain to be honest. I hate the word widow for starters. People just think of black clothes (never liked black), take to the bed for a year (erm, I had a baby to feed), look sad all the time, (well there’s conflicting feedback on this!) sit by your spouses grave and cry (ok fine I do that, but very very rarely now). I am the exact contradiction of what the traditional widow is.

But being a young widow (or old one) can be exhausting. Instantly you start to consider everyone around you. My biggest struggle is trying to consider everyone’s feelings, taking every possible outcome into consideration. What will people think? How will they treat me? What are they saying behind my back? His family, my family? How do I keep everyone happy? Is this or that the right thing to do?! Sadly, it’s caused the breakdown of new relationships. I focus on doing the right thing by everyone else so much that I neglect to enjoy what’s right in front of my eyes. The judgement is real. You get into another relationship & all you hear is “it’s too soon”, “she’s not ready”, “she mustn’t have loved her husband very much”. If that relationship breaks down, for whatever reason, all you get is “it was too soon”, “she wasn’t ready”, “she obviously loved her husband so much she can’t move on”. Why does anyone feel the need to comment on someone else’s life, or how they do things? I am fully capable of loving another human being with my whole heart. It may be the same feeling as I had before, it may not, but how is that different to any other relationship? I am the only one who knows (well maybe my counsellor too) if I am “ready”. I have learned in the last few weeks that it’s time I stopped caring so much, and start doing what I know is going to make me smile.
My next struggle, and it’s a massive one for me, is feeling like I can’t talk about my husband. If I bring him up people get all weird and awkward. If I write a blog about him it’s unfair on other people. I honestly don’t understand why. When he was breathing I talked about him all the time, now if I post a picture of him, it’s too upsetting for people?! (I do get that, but consider for a second having his mini me, living and breathing and following you around all day? A pic doesn’t seem so bad now does it?!) Well…. he was my husband. He is the Father of my little girl. I am literally incapable of pretending that he never existed, and it’s so tiring feeling like you can’t post a memory that once made you smile. People do it all the time on Facebook now, but I feel like I shouldn’t. It doesn’t mean I am dwelling, or not able to move on, it simply means he was a huge part of my life, as much as any possible husband will be in the future and I’d like to be able share a wonderful moment we had together without feeling conscious about it. Just like this one… 

So like I said, I have one, very delicious tiny human. She is the centre of my universe, and to be quite honest, my reason for doing everything I do. It was bloody hard at the beginning. Even being pregnant and not having him around towards the end when he should have been here rubbing my feet. Delivering her  without him was one of the worst experiences of my life, when it should have been exciting. I had never been a Mommy before, and had zero intention of ever having to raise a child alone. I was absolutely petrified, but I have a seriously sturdy support network around me, and with my Mother/Father/Siblings & incredible friends, we literally raised her together. She is almost 5 and has turned out to be quite the perfect tiny human so far. Yes she’s a diva, yes she screams at me when things don’t go her way (I swear she doesn’t get that from me 🤔) but overall I am so lucky that she is so placid, just like…. her Father! 

I have a new found dependance on people and have realised that asking people for help isn’t as shameful as I once believed. I depend on my brothers to do some of the man bits, I depend on my friends & cousins to hang out with me and ask me to do things so I don’t feel so incredibly lonely all the time and to continue to keep me sane and glued together, and to listen to my worries & moans. I depend on my sister to get to Dublin from Belfast so Lily can hang out with her 3 cousins, and to come on holidays with me every year, again so I don’t feel so alone. I depend on my Hockey girls, the ones who just accept me for who I am, and treat me no different to every other team mate, they make me feel “normal”!  

And I depend on my Mom. My incredible, wonderfully understanding, supportive Mom. She has let me shout, cry, laugh inappropriately… Without her, life would be a real struggle. All of these people together, make life bearable. 

So how do I do it? I just do. I take each day as it comes. I take pictures, lots and lots of pictures, so when I’m feeling sad I can look back on the days that made me smile! I am so lucky in so many ways. We (thanks Mom & Dad) have a roof over our heads and food in our mouths and I get to make amazing new memories with a very beautiful tiny person. No, life isn’t or will never be the same, it can’t be. Yes there are days when I literally feel a pain in my chest because of the new life I’ve had to embrace. I hate what happened to us, but overall, when I take a step back, and think of how much worse things could have been, I feel…. content. 

I’m still breathing and getting to enjoy (most of) my life, which is something a lot of people never get the chance to do 💕

Huss X

Remembering them 

I make a conscious decision to not mention his name too much throughout the year, (yes, I sometimes fail, it’s hard not to with a tiny version of him as my little shadow) but one month, I can’t help it. July has come around for the past almost 5 years now, and the second that month shows it’s face, I think of him more. I simply can’t help it. To me it doesn’t mean that I am slipping back into grief, (although some days I feel like I am) it doesn’t mean that I am dwelling on it, it just means, that for that one month, I feel it a little more, I remember dates, days, moments, even more than I normally do. 

I have also made a conscious decision to get on with things, to live my life as best as I can, to the “fullest” as I have now trained myself to do. You see, we didn’t break up…. he died. They are two very different things, two very different feelings. The love is still there, the nice memories, the feeling of loss, all still very strong in my mind. We all seem to be experts on how someone is meant to cope with such loss, we all like to tell people how to be, how to feel. The best way is to just forget, to get on with it, well that may be so in your mind, but not mine. I’m simply not able to. It’s not in my make up.

The best way I cope, is to allow myself to feel. I go through all the emotions, bit by bit. I often feel guilty. Guilty that I am here, but he’s not. Guilty that I have met a new man and feel happy with him, guilty when some days I moan because some days are just hard.

This year it’s especially pinchy on the heart strings. Due to 2 leap years, the date, the 31st, falls on the exact day, the Sunday. To most people that wouldn’t mean much, but until you’ve experienced it, please try not to tell me how to feel. 

I know I make people feel uncomfortable when I mention his name. I know I make people feel uncomfortable when I tell them I’m a widow. (My dark sense of humour does however keep me highly amused when I see their face). But I can’t help it. Just think for a moment of how hard it is to go from having someone in your life every single day, to feeling like you shouldn’t mention their name anymore. Even 5 years on. I would like to think that if I died, that you wouldn’t be afraid to talk about me, to remember me. I like to think I’ve “touched” all of the people who know me enough, that they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable when they mention my name because of what people will think of them. It’s like if you mention their name, you’re guilty of dwelling, of wallowing. I am not dwelling. I am living. But while I do that, I will remember my husband, the father of our daughter he never got to meet. I get out of bed every day, I work full time, I go for walks/events/weekends away with my boyfriend, tiny human & husky & family, I play hockey, I go out, I go on holidays (a lot, it’s what I look forward to!). Does that sound like someone who is wallowing? Nope, not to me!

So all I ask of you, is that you don’t waste another moment worrying about how I’m doing this, and just focus on the fact that I very much am, even if you don’t necessarily agree with how I go about it. 

Huss X 

The Fatherless Father’s Day

He never got to be a Dad, and the tiny human never got to meet him. Not one single photo of them together. Sometimes I find that the hardest part, imagining what she would have looked like in his arms. 

One day every year, there is one dedicated day to spoil the Fathers with cards & treats. Every year, for the past 4, I have a lump in my throat when I receive a laminated version from her crèche, so we can place it on his grave and hope it lasts a couple of weeks in this Irish weather of ours! The girls in the crèche are incredible. They, from day 1 have been amazing about the fact that she’s a little bit different, she’s just not quite like the other kids, she’s Fatherless. I hate the labels (I know I know, I’ve just given her one), but this is one day a year where it’s really drilled home. I have this very romantic idea of what we would do every year, breakfast in bed, running through the meadows in the sunshine all holding hands… (What?!? Is that not what families do?!?)  😉 

I have no idea what it’s like to be Fatherless, I have one, and have had every day for my 35 years, so this is the part that I find so difficult. There are no books, no guides as to how to do all of it. How to explain to the tiny human “well you know, you do have a Father, he’s just not on earth”. I know as she starts to understand the birds & the bees she’ll realise she wasn’t an immaculate conception, but right now it’s quite hard to explain. So I just go with it, I try to as best as I can. Some of the stuff I come out with is so ridiculous sometimes, and I’m pretty sure I’d be admitted if I actually believed all of it myself, but she’s only 4 so butterflies and fluffy clouds are all quite acceptable! 🙂

We have a wonderful new man in our lives now, he is great, and I’m sure some day when we all live in the same house, and as life goes on, things are going to be very different, but for now, it’s still hard to walk past the Fathers Day cards in EVERY shop we go to. I won’t be buying one. (In fairness with the cost of cards here it’s probably saved me a few bob over the years €€!) As she gets older I’m sure more questions will arise, more frustrations, but I know we’ll roll with them, just as we have done since she started to talk… 

On Saturday night I shall be raising a glass for all the Father’s who won’t receive cards, the children who have no one to hand one to, and this Sunday I will be sparing a thought for all the other Mom’s out there that will have a lump in their throats, not really knowing what we’re meant to do on Father’s Day without the fathers…. for whatever reason it may be.

Huss x

Please don’t think I miss him less

Please don’t think I miss him less, with every passing year….

Please don’t think I no longer take the time to shed a tear….
With each passing day and month, 

Life does continue on…

But please don’t think I’m all “Ok”…. 

I’m still trying to be strong…
I have my ups and downs you see, 

my happy times and blue….

Please don’t think as the years go by, 

That I no longer need all of you….
I try to keep things positive, 

I try, but sometimes fail…

For sometimes I can’t help it, 

I often feel so very frail….
My heart was smashed to pieces that day, 

And as the years go by, 

I’m piecing it back together…

Little by little…. That’s no word of a lie…
I have things to look forward to, 

A tiny human to guide on her way,

But please don’t think I need you less…

I need you all to stay. 
To wrap your arms around me…

Tell me it’s alright to feel this way…

But please don’t think I’m over it…

Just stay beside me and I’ll be ok  
Huss x