The first year following the loss of my husband I was in complete shock and survival mode. I honestly don’t remember much changing in our day-to-day lives except that Ryan was no longer there. The only thing I cancelled was our yearly vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Is this a normal reaction? Is this how everyone who suffers an unexpected loss reacts? I wish I knew the answer. All I know is this is how it went for me.
Immediately following the craziness of the week and ending with Ryan’s funeral, my house had a constant flow of people in and out. I actually hated it. I hated that I had to be around people and see them look at me with such sadness. See them look at my children with such sadness. It was like we were dying too. There were days I felt like I was being treated like a child…did you eat? Did you sleep? I know it was all out of concern especially with the eating because I literally melted away. Within 10 days I had lost 12 lbs. I joked that I had finally lost all of my pregnancy weight and then some. But the truth was I had no appetite and I was lucky if I slept an hour a night.
But slowly everyone went back to their normal routines. Not as many pop-ins to see how we were doing. Not as many texts. Life went on. I think a lot of people felt that I was doing very well because I hid it very well. I continued to got to school functions. Ella and Hunter played soccer and I was there for 2 hours, 2 x’s a week ,with a 15 month old in tow. Ella went to school and I still had her very 1st friend party~talk about uncomfortable~ 2 weeks after. I barely knew these people and I knew they were not going to leave me alone with their girls for 2 hours. I just remember I just kept going on with literally no sleep. But my kids were happy and that was all that matter.
We went camping, we went to birthday parties, I hosted a Memorial Day neighborhood picnic (see I was in complete shock), holidays came and went, I never declined an invitation to do anything, and I just continued to live and make memories with my kids. I feel the first year my kids were not really showing any effects of their loss. I look at pictures of them during that first year and their smiles are the brightest they have ever been since losing their daddy. Me….I looked wiped out, pale, my eyes had no life in them. I was just existing.
The first year was a blur. My body was in total shock and all my emotions were hidden and may still be. But when the shock wore off, everything changed.