Two years ago today, the Baltimore Ravens played the San Francisco 49ers in Superbowl 47. All I remember through the haze was that the power went out during the game. I think the Ravens won, but I couldn’t tell you with certainty. I couldn’t tell you a lot from that day, except it was the day Ed passed away. Superbowl Sunday. We were both football lovers, and I suppose there is some irony in the fact that he passed on this particular day. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to watch a Superbowl again. My husband would never have wanted that for me; he would never want me removing anything from my life that made me happy. Football makes me happy, and last year, the Seattle Seahawks won the Superbowl, removing the sting of that one year anniversary through distraction and excitement. This year, the Seattle Seahawks played again, in probably what will go down in the most historic Superbowl in history. Unfortunately, the Seahawks lost the game, but the excitement was there. The happiness of them making it to the “show” was still there. Spending the day with “framily” – friends that have become family – cheering on the home team, making great memories was there. The Seahawks lost this time around, but the stinger of the anniversary was kindly distracted by the love of football and all of the fun that goes along with it. Football is something that Ed and I shared and enjoyed together. It is a happy memory for me and a way for me to try and add a happy space to this day. I can honor my husband by still having that love of the game and thoroughly enjoying it…and I do every football season and will continue to do so.
I often try to describe put into words how life has felt over these past two year, and as I reflect on this day, the two year anniversary of Ed’s passing, I think back to our wedding for such an analogy so that others might understand.
When Ed and I got married, the reverend who officiated our ceremony did I a wonderful job of bringing both the Catholic and Jewish rituals together, and Ed was excited to “break the glass” as part of the Jewish tradition. He thought it was just kind of cool, and I never really knew the meaning behind this ritual until our ceremony as it was about to happen. Reverend Jim stated to Ed, me and our friends and family that surrounded us, “the breaking of this glass represents what would happen if this marriage broke. The shattered shards of glass cannot be put back together again no matter how hard you try. This is why we cherish marriage and treat it gently, so as not to shatter the glass”. Okay, I paraphrased a bit here, but you get where I’m headed.
On this day two years ago my heart shattered. At precisely 11AM PT, I watched my husband take his last breath. It was the most painful, yet peaceful moment I have ever experienced. The pain and devastation that comes from the true heartbreak that followed is nothing I could have ever imagined. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one understands this, yet we all know that it is not the same for any two people. We just “get” it. The moment Ed took his last breath was the day my heart shattered into those un-repairable shards of glass. Life, nor my heart will ever be the same. It will mend and be scarred, but it will never be the same.
Life looks different to me now. Like a kaleidoscope, at each turn the view is different, some views better than others, but always different including how I view the passing of time. My year now tends to start on Feb. 3, the day Ed died. Memories correspond back to before Ed was sick, after he was diagnosed, during treatment, during which specific treatment, hospital visits, and of course, after he passed away. Superbowl Sunday is definitely on that calendar; perhaps a holiday of sorts.
Looking back to my last “calendar year”, 2014 was what I describe as a complacent, “level setting” year for me; recovery in the off-season? Maybe and here’s how I think of it. I often described life after loss like being a weeble toy that wobbles back and forth trying to steady itself. I felt like this often, and 2014 was the time in which I stopped wobbling so fiercely. I went back to work, got into a routine and just got back to a resemblance of life. What I realized was I was living my old life but Ed just wasn’t there. Now that we are two years since Ed has passed, the wobbling might have steadied, but I have also realized that last year was spent getting back to “center”. And that’s okay, but now, I do feel as though it’s time to live happily and healthily – present, honest, vulnerable and true to myself – even if I don’t completely know what that means.
So with the start of my year, I have promised myself that in 2015, I will continue to grow and live again. Create a life that is mine; the life I knew as ours is never coming back. It can’t. He’s never coming back. And I know this. I have always known this but I don’t know if I have really lived it. I am embarking on doing things that I want to do for me, and I hope to uncover my passion in life and make a difference in others. Part of this including creating a new blog site just for me, and if you’re reading, you’re already here. This is a place where I can expand upon my writing, connecting with others, and just putting things out there. New Year, New Me, New Space – small steps to living life…at least the path that I am on right now. That could change tomorrow. And that would be okay. It’s all up to me now.
So on this day, please raise a glass in honor of my beautiful, amazing husband, Ed. Remember him, talk about him, share stories about him. This is how we keep his memory alive. And if you’ve never met him, ask me to tell you all about him. Sharing him and the positive memories of our life together is my greatest honor.
By the way – Go Seahawks. Thank you for not only giving me and all of the 12s some great football this year, and a championship team to be proud of, but for also delivering some fun, excitement and happiness to balance out the sorrow that I feel on this day. As a native Chicagoan though, I’m oh-too- familiar with the phrase, “there’s always next year” J
Strength, Courage, Wisdom….Faith, Love and Hope – it’s all I need to get me through every day.