After Oscar and I became parents, (while still attending SDSU) our evenings started to revolve more around videotaping our daughter, Isabella learning how to roll over, and less about partying.
We had been best friends for years and our relationship had finally flourished into a little family. We didn’t care that our home was a small room in my parents’ house, or how sleep deprived we were while still holding down jobs and school full time. We were happy.
One hot July night after a long day of taking family pictures and a BBQ, we came home very tired. I put Isabella to bed and as I turned around to get dressed, I saw that Oscar had crashed on our bed while watching TV. I took his glasses off and put them on the nightstand and went to bed. As soon as I started to drift off, I heard him snore. Ugh! I thought… But quickly realized something was wrong. As I turned on the light to look at him, I saw he was turning blue and gasping for air.
Quickly I had 911 on the phone asking me various questions, and as I stood at the foot of our bed… I saw him take his last breath.
I spent an agonizing 7 minutes breathing for him, desperately hoping to revive him. I tried to suppress the panic surging from every cell in my body and keep my composure. After all, there was our little baby girl too.
Soon our room filled with emergency personal and the house became so crowded. I walked outside to catch my breath… my neighbor stood there in her robe, and all she could say was, “Pray, pray to God that your husband will be okay.”
So I did.
I prayed with so much fervor, desperately. I prayed in my heart, my soul, out loud, asking for a miracle. I had never asked for one before, surely God would concede me this one.
Chaos followed… starting with a cop car ride to the hospital, ER waiting room, doctors talking, someone screaming. Even now it all seems surreal, as if I had hovered above this watching it, not living it.
In an instant my life changed for ever. I became a widow and a single mom.
I was ANGRY!
Angry at the pitiful looks people gave me at the hospital, and how they wouldn’t make eye contact. I was angry at the doctors for not reviving him. I was angry with myself for surviving, for not being able to save him. Angry with everyone, angry with life in general.
After the wake, and the many “I’m sorry for your loss” hugs, tears and comfort that everyone gave me. Reality HIT. It seemed silly to me that people around me could go on with their lives. How could they? I couldn’t… I was mourning my husband, I was mourning an entire life that wasn’t, that didn’t get to be. A life full of dreams, hopes, and plans for the future. I was half of one, because when we said our vows we became one… and now, now I couldn’t be half of one. I was broken and I had to mourn who I was too.
One of my favorite bible verses growing up was Psalm 23
I was living in that valley, I had set-up camp in there and I didn’t see a way out.
Months later I found myself in a hospital bed. I was depressed, suffering from constant migraines and multiple anxiety attacks, and I was still angry. This was the breaking point for the people around me, for my parents. All they could do for me was pray and take me to see a professional. During the first few months of therapy I learned that grieving was a long process and different for everyone. That I would have to “work” through it, to see the light. A breakthrough happened one day when I told my counselor that I was angry. It was the first time that I didn’t just FEEL it, but I thought it and I said it out loud. I WAS ANGRY WITH GOD!
That was the beginning of my healing… Admitting my anger, letting it go, and learning to live a new life.
Having to survive your spouse, especially at such a young age, makes you lose hope and faith. I had prayed for a miracle, and HE hadn’t answered it. I lost my hope for life, and my faith in God. Yet God hadn’t lost His hope in me. Because everyday that I woke up, that I took a breath, it was God’s way of letting me know that He was still counting on me. That He had more for me to experience and live. While I mourned and healed, He allowed himself to be my punching bag. He brought people closer to listen and comfort me.
I might of not seen it at first, but as the months passed, I started to see life in a new way again.
Every time I looked at my daughter, I saw Oscar. And while it was sad to see his eyes in hers, I realized it was also a privilege to see her walk, talk, laugh, smile, grow! One day I laughed, and it was OK, because I didn’t feel guilty. I didn’t feel that achy anxious pit in my throat.
One day I woke up feeling hopeful.
Gosh do you even know how that feels? To feel hope again…? I made plans, plans for the future, vacations, to see places and experience life. Because I was blessed to have one.
I can’t say that things happened over night, or that somehow I “magically” felt better. Because it didn’t happen that way. All I know is that salt didn’t have a taste in my mouth, and then one day it did.
Life didn’t make sense without my husband. I had to learn to become a WHOLE person again. To let go of the anger I felt and be hopeful of the future I didn’t know. The process of doing so has been long, sad, hurtful and sometimes too overwhelming. But as the years have gone by, I’ve looked back at the times God put someone near me to help me. How He kept giving me opportunities. And while my faith has been lacking at times, His faith in me remains. I’ve seen all the wonderful things that have happened in my life since; surviving depression, finding love again, my children….and I can’t be angry about that.
Thank you for reading