I recently read an article that hit me from the very title, You went to a funeral and then you went home. I hadn’t even finished reading it before I started typing away…

When my husband died, I was so grateful for the love and support that I received from friends, family, coworkers… Everyone. I have never felt anything but love and gratitude, and even a little bit of peace, from all of it. So many people came to the funeral, and it was beautiful. They spoke, told stories, made fun of his flip flops and terrible golf game. We laughed and cried, it was perfect.

And then everyone went home. Everyone except me.

I never felt as though I went home from that funeral. He was my home, I felt homeless. I was a wife without a husband, a left without a right. I will never forget how strange my house suddenly felt without him. It went from a home to a house. My life was upside down and backwards, and it felt oddly like a prosthetic life. It was mine, I knew it was mine because when I opened my eyes there it was. But it didn’t feel like mine, it didn’t look like mine, it didn’t move when I told it to move. It wasn’t mine, but it is what I was left with after mine was ripped away.

I never went home from my husband’s funeral. Not to the home that I once knew. Instead I had to learn how to build a whole new home from the scraps of the old. I’m still building, I’m still scraping, but now I have a home again. It is a smaller home, a more humble home, but within the walls of this home I now live in is an echo of the home I once knew. And though it is not the same, there is something warm and comforting within these walls that comes from knowing what I had within the old walls of that home that I once had. The home that I lost the day my husband died.

The life I had started with him ended before I had the chance to settle into it. I miss what was, but more than that I miss what could have been. I miss the life that I was supposed to have. I miss the anniversaries that I will never have with him. I miss the children we will never have. I miss the years of bickering, compromising, laughing, playing. I miss arguing about his ridiculous drive to his barber every two weeks when he could be helping me with the baby. I miss the inside jokes about the cat that will fall flat with any other audience. I miss hearing about his day at work. I miss texting him all day long about every little thing in my day. I miss his jokes. I miss his laugh. I miss the sound of his voice when he’d tell me he loves me. I miss him.

So to everyone who came to his funeral and then went home, I am glad you came. I am glad you were there for me. I am glad you were there for him. I am grateful for all of it. I struggle to find the words to tell you how much you have done for me by being there for him, and then me. And I hope that you never stand in my shoes. What I want is for you to be grateful for what you have. Honor what I have lost by being grateful for what you have. Love completely, fight less often, find more opportunities to show compassion and love to someone who needs it. Look at your families and know that there is someone out there who is missing theirs. You went to a funeral and then you went home. Don’t take that for granted.

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62 Comments

  1. Tears, which I was able to hold off until you wrote what it was like to hear his voice telling you that he loved you.

    Thank you for this. I shared via my blog and elsewhere. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true. When my husband & daughters 11 & 7 were killed I was still in the hospital when the funerals took place. A part of me died with them. It’s been several years but the pain remains. I will always wonder why God just didn’t take us all. Thanks for allowing me to know I’m not alone in my feelings.❤

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    1. I’m so sorry for your great losses.. I wish I could hug you. My husband died at 52 22 months ago and my only son died almost exactly 3 years before him on Thanksgiving morning. I don’t know why God allows such things either. Your loss is great and I am so sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your loss is similar to mine, I lost my only child when he was 16 . He turned 16 on Fri. got is D.L. was killed in a wreck on Monday.
        Five years later on Mothers Day My husband died of lung cancer.
        That was 21 years ago. I still miss them. You have to move on, but that pain never leaves.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I felt all of it when my husband died but you have captured in words what it is like. I have never been able to go to that home again, to feel safe and whole. Sometimes the tears fall and I miss that home, that life, even after several years. Thank you for sharing~

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My husband passed away 5-8-15 from cancer. Near the end he would say to me this is not the life we were supposed to have. Your words are so true. We are never the same. The person i once was it’s gone

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so true. You have to almost reinvent yourself and no one quite understands why you can’t move on and do better. Half of me died the day I lost my husband and nothing can ever change that. Death is the gift that keeps on giving.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I became a 28 year old widow last month. I’m continually asked how I’m doing and how I feel, but I haven’t yet worked through my own thoughts enough to verbalize them. Thank you for putting into beautiful words what’s inside of me.

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  6. We lost our son Vaughn on 25/08/2015 after 16 days spent in ICU where he was critical. He was vomiting blood and (mis) diagnosed with a bleeding oesophageal ulcer. 4 days prior to his passing the surgeon performed an emergency op only to find a bleeding artery behind Vaughns diaphragm and stomach. 4 days later, heavily sedared, he slipped away quietly…
    I feel sad and I grieve deeply for Vaughn. But I am also angry. Angry for the life that my son was robbed of. Angry that we will never meet his wife and children. But my anger is not towards God. I am angry because the surgeon saw no urgency to investigate the bleeding further and his apathy and arrogance let Vaughn deteriorate over 16 days. We asked for a 2nd opinion and thats when the surgeon operated after being told something else is wrong. Vaughn should be alive and with us today … Vaughn fought hard to stay alive – he didnt want to die – he had so much to live for – you Mr surgeon robbed him of his life! And you robbed my family of the life we knew and treasured together …

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That’s exactly how it feels. For a long time it felt like entering a cold, empty box which isolated me from the rest of the world each day when I returned to it. It still doesn’t really feel like a home. At least not in the way that it did before my husband died in an accident over a year ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I miss the life I was supposed to have……that’s it for me. I feel cheated of growing old with my husband. He passed away in May of this year. We’d been together 24 years and he was only 57. We had so many plans for his retirement….where we were going to live, the type of house, the trips we’d take. All gone. My house is not a home any more. The empty sofa where he used to watch the TV from. The seat at the dining table. The lounger in our garden. The empty bed. Beautiful writing from you and I wish you love and peace. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My husband died last year after having cancer for a year and a half. He was the light of my life. Always kept me laughing. We were looking forward to retiring and taking more beach trips. I miss him everyday, his voice, his smile those twinkling blue eyes. I’m grateful he isn’t suffering but I’m having trouble finding my way. God bless all of us on this grief journey that we didn’t ask to go on..

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  10. Thank you for sharing this. I felt exactly like you when I lost my husband. And everything was bottled up inside – I was alone – my best friend had died and now I feel emptiness inside my heart. People say to me – you should be over that by now and continue with your life. No, I don’t. I miss his hugs and kisses, I miss his arms wrapped around me and to this day – the last thing he said to me – was – ” I Love You”.😢

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  11. Eight months ago this date was my husband’s funeral. This is MY story, how did you know, we’ve never met? Bubba was my Soul mate, Love of my life, my BFF. September will be our 47th Anniversary. Friends are saying move on its in that past. How can I move forward from the past when my present and future is gone. Thank you!!!!

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  12. A friend sent me this article and I feel your pain all too well. My 37 yr old husband died of a stroke almost 2 months ago leaving me and our 2 small children 5 and 9 yrs old behind. This has been the worst thing to ever happen to us in our lives. We miss him more than ever! Day to day life has changed in a way that I can’t even put into words. We are just, lost. …. Everyone says time will heal and how “sorry” they are for our loss but NO ONE will understand the pain we feel. We put on our fake smiles and try to face the world but deep down I want my husband, my best friend and my children’s daddy back.

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    1. I lost my 37 year old husband in 2012. Our kids were 4 and 9. I cants say it is easier, because I’m no longer numb so I feel all the confusing feelings now. But it is different. It helps to see my kids laugh and play and grow. Everything has completely changed. I am a different person, my personality is different and its work to be light and happy and positive, but it’s worth the work. I’m finally getting the hang of planning a new future with different dreams with a new family in our lives. One really great thing is I am so much more in touch with my well being and know everything that my kids think and are doing. We are tied tighter!

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  13. Beautiful…a carbon copy of my life. I have began to move on, because I know this is what he would want for me. I took v our 30 years of marriage and tucked it in my heart. Our love is forever.I know that and I was truly blessed to have it. Life will go on, I will not have his presence, but I will always have his love!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank You for sharing this. My Mom has been going through the loss of my Daddy. Whom she was married to for 64 years! The best line to describe it to me?..”a left without a right”.

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  15. My husband died almost 4 months ago. I totally understand what you mean. The house was mine before him but for 22 years he was my home. Not sure how to move forward.my world was distroyed

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you for letting read this.That story is mine.It is exactly the way Ifeel.Its been 9 years that he passed away from cancer.He wanted to die at home so my daughter and I brought him home.I picture him laying in the room with his doggies and familyg athered .He passed 1 week later.It was the worst day of my life.I’m now 80 years old.I live alone and miss 24 hours a day.I ha

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  17. THANK YOU I LOST HER 8-11-2016 DO THE TEARS EVER STOP ? IT’S GOOD TO KNOW WE ARE NOT ALONE. AND WHEN DO PEOPLE STOP ASKING HOW AM J DOING? I LOST MY WIFE HOW WOULD YOU FEEL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This just happened. You haven’t had the chance to process this yet. The tears will flow, let them flow. It is OK to be broken right now. What else would you be but broken? You just lost her a moment ago. Healing will happen, but not yet. The tears will keep coming, let them come. No, they won’t fall forever, but right now it is ok that they keep coming. It is ok to let them hit the ground. No, they won’t fall forever. Down the road a time will come when you will realize that you don’t cry the way you used to. This doesn’t mean that you care any less, that you miss her any less… they just mean that time has kept moving, and you have decided to join the world again. You don’t need to rejoin today. You don’t need to rejoin the world in a month. This will just happen when it happens. The beginning is the hardest. The first year. I know a year seems like an eternity right now, how will you ever make it through a year of THIS pain? You just will. You will get stronger. You will start to smile. You will find peace in knowing that though you lost her, YOU HAD HER! Nothing can ever take that away. That is always yours and you will hold that in your heart until you breathe your last breath because that is forever yours. She is forever yours, and you are hers. This was true, and this will always be true. I am so sorry that you have experienced this loss. When I lost him I didn’t know if I could survive the pain. It was too much. I didn’t want to live my life knowing this was my reality. But I live. I live in his honor. And the pain, it does’t stop, but it changes. It’s not like it was. It is NOT like it used to be. When I was just days out I was not alive. My heart kept beating, but I was so aware that his did not that I was not alive. I can’t tell you it is easy because it’s not. It is a process and a struggle… and a lot of work to heal. So you work at it. It takes intentionality to make it through this pain. So you fight. First, you fight to survive. When you know that you will survive, then you fight to be happy. It takes work. This life is not fair. But if you keep working, don’t stop fighting, you will find that you will start living again. I wish you peace and happiness in your future. In time.

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    2. Do what you need to do, every loss takes time to grieve. Remember that you were loved, and that you were blessed to be able to give love. Fall apart. Breaking down is a necessary part of beginning to put your life back together. There will always be a missing piece, but the hole will not always seem as huge. {{{hugs}}}

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I have nightmares of how my life will be once my husband is gone. I struggle everyday with our financial situation and realize it will only be worse when one of us is left behind. More than likely it will be me. My health is better than his. We’ve both lost our parents in the last 5 years and been estranged from our siblings in the process. Go tact with out children and grandchildren is rare. It’s just us now and some day … Sooner than we want … It will be only one of us. I know God is with me every step of the way! For this I am grateful ! I am grateful for the good life we’ve shared together.

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  19. This story hits on an emotion about my house that I couldn’t really put a finger on until now. My husband died in April and I feel so disconnected with my surroundings. I get it now. This story nails it. Thanks for the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I went to three funerals and never went home ,My late husband, My Son and my daughter. I have missed so much in my life. But I have been blessed and so thankful for everyone I have., Wanda Dollar.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I just lost my husband on our 44 year Anniversary to Cancer August 11th-2016 he got from the Vietnam war.I keep saying where do I go from here I came back lost he took care of me he was my world now I feel empty.So I know how you are feeling!! Thank you for sharing.Like everyone tells me stay strong and take one day at a time!!Easy to say but very hard to do!!!Take care and God bless you all..Healing Hugs for everyone!! Amen..

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  22. Wonderful to hear of such love in this day and time when there are so many problems in relationships! You sound like a strong woman and I pray God will bless you to heal.

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  23. Beautifully written and so heartfelt of the feelings that I Have felt. My husband died 2 years ago. Thank you for sharing. Love is in my heart. Hugs to you.

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  24. I don’t personally know you, but as a writer, myself, I am torn apart reading this. So much love to you. I have never been in the exact shoes as you, but I know the feeling of coming back to a home that isn’t home anymore, but a house, because the life that was once there is gone. Thank you for sharing.

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  25. As a father, I lost my only daughter who was killed in a vehicular homecide as the driver kidnaped her while she was asleep in a friend’s ride. They were returning from a birthday party. It has been twenty nine fours since we laid her to rest. The pain,the hurt, and question of why me? Those I never recovered from but over the years I carried the pain until she returned to me in a dream. I was at a university that I attended and was looking on at a. Social event and I saw her standing behind the bleachers as well. I walked up to her and called her name, as she turned I saw her smile as she remarked,”dad I was looking for you.” She told me she came back to pick up some of her personal belongings. We went around in all four directions as I helped her with her things she love to do. But after she gathered her things she walked towards the east where she disapated and was gone. That dream ment so much to me, as I stood dumb founded, but deep inside I knew we would visit again.

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  26. This is perfect. I identify, down to the very last word (except sub “dog” for “cats” – haha!) It has been 6 weeks now since my son and I lost the best husband/daddy around, suddenly and of natural causes that we still don’t understand. He died the week before our 11th wedding anniversary and our son’s first birthday. He was 33 and healthy, and home will never – and cannot ever – exist as it once did. Thank you for this message, and for putting such true words on raw emotion. You two will be in my prayers – goodness knows we all need em, don’t we?

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  27. Following my husbands’ death last December (11 days after our daughter was born) I read many blogs on this subject, but none of them resonated as much as yours did. From the very beginning I felt homeless as home used to be where Jeroen was. Now he’s gone and our home is only a house… Since then I have moved, not only house but also to another country to give our daughter the best life possible. Like you I feel robbed of our future, all our hopes and dreams were gone the instant he was murdered. It’s hard to go on, but I have to go on for her, be strong for her and I smile to cover the heartache inside of me.
    Thank you for taking the time and writing this so honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Together for 42 years, 4 sons, 3 grand children , and a life time of memories, later, we lost him to ALS Lou Gehrig’s Disease. February 2,2015. Your words are spot on! I still struggle to figure out my life without him, but people like you help me through.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I am so thankful a widow friend of mine shared your blog tonight. Reading these entries are like a gift. I feel alone and misunderstood. Sometimes forgotten. Reading your words has helped me understand how we all are living the same reality and we are not alone. It’s a big comfort to see my thoughts I’ve had being eloquently shared. It’s like all my feelings have a voice tonight.

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