Before death… and after death…

An excerpt from Emma Hopkins-Curry’s blog, Widow Mama. 

January, 2016. 

So I realised as I was making New Year’s resolutions (for the first time ever), that my life can cleanly be split into the part that happened before Trenton died, and the part that came afterwards. Even though there were 35 years before he died, it is very easily defined by how crap life became once we lost him.

I know most of the wonderful people I have met on this journey since would agree. It changes you significantly….. and you probably spend every day wishing it hadn’t.

For two and a half  years now I have desperately tried to fit the pieces of mine and the kids lives back together like a three thousand piece jigsaw puzzle with many missing pieces….. I have accepted now that this is impossible. You cannot have such an incredible person impact your life daily for nearly ten years, then have them ripped out of it in one 24 hour period and expect to ever live the same life, in the same way again. 

So my 2015/16 resolution was to stop trying to do the impossible. It’s time to recreate a new version, so that we are not setting ourselves up to fail miserably on a daily basis. I have waited for the kids behaviours to change and their anxieties to go away…. thinking that once they are okay again, then maybe I can be a better parent.

Surely once they stop coming to my bed crying at night from the nightmares, or stop abusing me for trying to have some time out from them, or stop begging me not to go to work and dropping them to school holiday program (that they hate), or stop asking me if they will die in their sleep that night, or perhaps if I will die in mine……. maybe then we can have some sort of regular life again?

I have since discovered that this is our new normal. This “is” our regular life. The moment I decided to stop waiting for it to change and become good again, I felt a relief come over me because it means I can stop thinking I’m failing now. I’m not failing…. I may be flailing….. like a fish out of water desperately trying to breathe…… but I am not failing, I am surviving. I “have” survived.

I have beaten myself up daily since Trenton died at how my temper, my lack of patience and my general irritation at the world, and then by default how my kids behaviour has affected my everyday moods. How could they not??? They are my world in every way!

I have watched them go through the worst possible thing a six and ten year old kid could go through, then I have watched on in horror as their worlds crumbled even further, slowly and painfully in the 2.5 year aftermath….. and being the closest thing that they have now, I was the one that saw the worst of it, felt the worst of it, and copped the worst of it.

I see now that it was never their intention to belittle the job that I was doing, it’s just that nothing I did made them feel better. Because nothing I could have done would. It’s an horrendous feeling to watch on, but not be able to help……. like torture actually. You cannot fix a broken heart. And theirs were truly broken.

So at the turn of the year, when I decided to wish for what I’d like to see change in 2016, other than winning tattslotto (a yearly wish we all make I’m sure…)  I made a decision to stop feeling like a puzzle with a trillion missing pieces.

THIS IS MY LIFE. I have to bloody live it, and I have to show the girls that it’s worth living well. I started a 28 day “Tame your Temper” course online on the 1st of January. I think I joined up half pissed in December thinking that just joining was enough to prove that I wanted to make some changes in our home.

But then the 1st arrived and I forced myself to sit through the first session. Then the second, and third…… and as I listened, I realised that I have so much anger built up inside at the fact that the love of my life was taken from me at least forty years sooner than I’d anticipated…. and that the life I had all planned out with him was over. No wonder I had lost control of my temper.

Every day, every argument, every shit thing that has happened since Trent died I have the perfect excuse to lose my shit over it, because I lost my husband. And my kids behaviours are shit, but they lost their Daddy…. so fair enough right? Yup…… for a little while, and then No…. it’s not okay anymore.

Mourning and grieving is not an option we have….. they will continue, and probably forever. But hating on life, the world, all the happy people that haven’t suffered? That’s not alright.

I want to read Facebook posts about wonderful things that are going on in other people’s lives and smile. I want to see happy stories on the news and feel their joy with them. It’s time to start that new three thousand piece jigsaw puzzle….. I have no idea what the picture on it is of, but once I finish it I’ll let you know.

Happy New Year friends. XXX


To read more from Emma, visit Widow Mama


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