A special message for you. Yes that means YOU!

Tonight will mark 365 nights I’ve slept without my husband next to me. It’s been a year since he left this earth taking a Chris shaped piece of my heart with him. I relive those final moments with him more often than I’d ever admit.

The house is so quiet…if not for the shuffling of the dogs and cat I’d lose my mind in the silence. As the realization hit that I’d survived my first year without him the sadness pulled me down yet again. How could it be? How can I still be breathing? My heart still beating? I thought about him all the time while he walked this earth so it should be no surprise how much he still remains on my mind. Memories are both a precious gift and a tortuous curse.

My loved ones have asked me how I do it and manage to keep going through my pain. I’ve sat and wondered just that. They compliment my strength, which is a hard thing to believe when you feel so torn apart and completely lost inside. Good or bad, you can’t see inside my head–the struggles, the thoughts, the memories, the things that make me smile, or the things that make me wish for death. A year is such a short time and yet it seems so long.

I’ve spent many nights praying, many nights wondering how I keep surviving day after day. And I’ve realized it’s you. Yes, you. It’s your prayers, your thoughts, your warm wishes. I feel them, the love and the power within them every day but most especially I’ve felt them this week.

In the random Facebook messages from old classmates, an unexpected text to see how I’m doing, a phone call, an invite out, a hug, a shared memory, a smile from stranger, an e-mail from a reader, a conversation with a student, and oh so many more instances than I can count you manage to share your love and support. I cannot deny the higher power working behind the scenes and how each of you makes me feel loved at the most desperate of times.

Since my unwanted quest into widowhood, I’ve learned many things:

People say really stupid, inconsiderate but well meaning things. (Any sentence starting with “I know how you feel” never ends well.)

Tears can literally burn.

Grief is a crazy witch with a ‘B’ that sends you into dark places.

Memories are beautiful and incredibly bittersweet.

I’m not the only one who’s lost someone so precious.

There is so much more to this world than our eyes can see.

And I hate taking out the trash. (Sometimes I “forget” to take it out to the curb on purpose.)

But the greatest lesson I’ve learned is I am blessed. I am blessed because of YOU. I keep going because of YOU. YOU are watching me. YOU are cheering for me. And I can’t let YOU down.

Some mornings getting out of bed is the most difficult of challenges but I still get up.

Some nights all I do is cry and pray for help but I make it through.

Some days it takes all the strength inside to remain upright but I still stand.

And when I’m lost in the darkness of loss and pain, you find me. You pick me up and share in my heartbreak.

It’s still a struggle, putting the pieces of my life back together, understanding the person I am without Chris, tending to my wounded heart, and trying to find the motivation to dream again and find a new life. I’m a patient person but being patient with myself is maddening. I want to be happy. I want to be the way I was before. I want so many things. I don’t know if I’ll ever be any of those things again but I do know I can’t give up and I have to allow my heart the time heal and grieve. Boy, is that ever a challenge!

But through it all I have you. Thank you. From the depths of my soul, from the recesses of my broken heart, and with every fiber of my being, thank you. Thank you for giving me a reason to fight when I want to give up. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for taking the time to let me know you care in your own special ways.

I hope that one day I’ll be able to live for myself again but until then I’m eternally grateful that I have YOU to live for.

I love you more than words could ever convey.

And to my husband in heaven, I’ll always miss you, I’ll always love you. I’m doing my best to try to LIVE without you. Til it’s my time, I’ll do my best to take care of everyone here who feels the same as I do. </3