Today marks 1 month since Eddie died. Today is no different than May 28th. It does not hurt any less and is not any easier.
But life does go on and summer is in full swing for us. Kade is moving into a new house with Zachary and his roommates this week. Zachary is preparing for a 1200 mile bike ride from Wyoming to New Mexico from July 15th - August 24th. (I am a liitle nervous about this one), Then my brother's family is meeting Caryn's family, Mom, boys and me in Colorado for a week. This is a trip we planned at Christmas when we thought Eddie was cancer free and we are so excited about it. Life is moving forward...
I never realized how grief could overtake your whole being. I watched my mom go through this and I remember thinking all she needs to do is get up. That seems to be getting harder as the days go by and I am sorry I was not more understanding with Mom. Throughout Eddie's diagnoses, surgeries, treatments and death my migraines stayed under control but fast forward one month after his death and I have one almost every day, pain in my neck and everything is more severe. I have heard people talk about this but I have never experienced it first hand. I am at a loss on what to do to make it better. Mentally, I think I am coming along, good and bad days. Physically, I am struggling. I have tried massages, chiropractor, meds and nothing seems to work. Every part of my neck and head hurt almost 24/7. Truly relaxing is a daily struggle. I would love to stay home and sleep but I won't let myself do it. For me, part of moving forward is getting up everyday just like always, making plans and doing the small things. I know the day is coming when my body will say enough...no more. All of the meds that I take wreck me emotionally as well as physically. So I am working on letting myself heal, mentally and physically as well as allowing myself to grieve and giving myself permission to have bad days and stay home if I need too.
I know that part of the problem is this weekend coming up. It is a hard one for me. Eddie and I always surrounded ourselves with the boys friends on the 4th of July, hung out at the house and relaxed. Last year, this was the weekend Eddie started feeling bad and on July 6th our whole world changed. I remember how normal our weekend was before and how crazy the following week was. I am so thankful for the symptoms that he had and that he did not make the trip to Haiti with our youth group and that we got 11 months but at the same time, I hate that we only got 11 months.
So I am focusing on surviving 1 month and 1 day without Eddie. Thanks for reading and loving us.
Let's face it death makes us uncomfortable. There is the sadness that surrounds those left behind. No one knows what to do or say. I have felt that way. I have used every excuse in the book because I was uncomfortable around the family of those that have died.
There is the awkwardness when someone does not know that he has died and ask how they are doing.
You don't know what to say so you say nothing.
You want to give space and before you know it life takes over and months pass.
You don't want to call because it might bother them or they might be having a bad day and it will make it worse. Or they might be having a good day and it might make it bad. Every day is a struggle so always call. Who knows that maybe God giving you a nudge that that person needs you.
God is showing me that being uncomfortable is ok. It stinks but it is ok. I remind myself that God, Mary and Joseph were not comfortable watching their son die on the cross for me. So why should I think Eddie's death would be comfortable. Nothing about Eddie's death was comfortable. Nothing about his illness was comfortable. Nothing about living without him is comfortable.
I don't want anyone to think that people are not reaching out to me because they are. But there is almost always a note attached to the text or voicemail that says something like...I have been thinking about you but just did not know what to say or sorry I have not called but I...
I promise that most people in my position have not noticed who has not called or how long it has been since you reached out. I am just thankful that you continue to reach out, that you continue to remember me and that you continue to love me. Grief does not come with a handbook and it does not come with a time table. It just takes over your life and becomes a part of who you are.
So the next time one of these excuses comes to mind, remember that doing nothing is not what I need. Most days all I can do is make a decision on what to wear to work and everything else gets decided on or not. I read every text message, every facebook message, listen to every voicemail and I love everyone of them. Some I answer and some I don't. But I can promise you that if I can or if I want too I will answer but know that I am feeling your love no matter what. Don't stop because you think it is a bother, some days it is more than I can handle and others it is not.
Have a blessed day and love those around you.
I knew it would happen one day. I tried to mentally prepare myself. 24 days after Eddie died, I left work and picked my phone up to call him just like I have done for 24 years. So I pressed his number and listened to his voice and cried out for my husband. Wishing with everything I have that he would pick up and talk to me about nothing and about everything. Oh how I miss Eddie. The little things that I took for granted are what I miss the most. Each day has its own struggles but each day has its own victories. I long to share my thoughts, my days, my nights...my life with him.
Wouldn't you know that the first holiday that we have without Eddie would be Father's Day? It has always been a hard one for me even after 26 years but celebrating Eddie and my grandfather made it easier. Now with both of them gone too, it will be even harder. The boys and I made the best of it but it just was not be the same of course. We never really made a big deal out of mother's day or father's day, just spent the day together as a family and that is what we did. The boys are going to celebrate a little late by going to watch the USA men play Argentina Tuesday night. Eddie would have loved to do this with the boys. He would have complained about the money being spent but he would have loved it.
Life is continuing and memories are being made. I think that is what I am trying to learn.
I wrote this and posted on my FB page last week and wanted to share on here.
I have been asked to continue sharing some of my thoughts as I continue my journey through this "new" life. I never asked to walk the path I am on but most people rarely do. Learning to live without Eddie is challenging and quiet honestly not something I am very good at. Since our first date we have been pretty much together except when we were at work and even then we talked or texted multiple times a day. That is one of the most challenging things right now for all of me.
Our family has been blessed in so many unexpected ways during the 10-month journey. People have showered us with God’s love, mercy and grace. One of the most beautiful things happened every night during our last week with Eddie. Our boy’s friends showed up every single night for 6 or 7 days to sit on our back porch and love on us. They sang, worshiped, played games, talked, helped us eat the huge amount of food we had, took the trash out and basically just showed up to do whatever we needed and to just be present for us. Some nights there were more and some nights it was a certain group of guys that came every single night. I also had a friend that showed up even when I told her to stay home. She left her family and job to be with us, to love us. There were so many others who came and went quietly with hugs or supplies during our darkest hours. And they are still showing up quietly just to make sure we are ok.
For the most part, Eddie and I lived quiet lives with our boys. Loving on each other and showing up to love on others. No grand gestures but showing up when we could. I never really understood what that could mean to someone until now. So I say thank you for continuing to show up through calls, text or person.
As the hours turn into days, days turn into months and months turn into years we will always remember what you have done. But life does go on and I am making a conscious effort to make new memories and I am not waiting on some day to do that. I am planning trips with my boys, my family and my friends. Each trip will be hard in its own way but they are needed steps to heal even if the scab keeps getting ripped off time after time. I am learning that it is ok to be alone in my grief. People are not going to understand, they can try, but let's be honest...I really pray that they don't. Walking in my shoes is not what I wish on anyone, understanding is not what I want.
Grief is a funny thing. I have talked before about how hard it is to breath sometimes. I find it comes at the most unexpected moments and out of know where. It can be all consuming or a dull ache. Life does not stop for it and sometimes it can be visible and other times you look perfectly normal. I am not an exception to it or an expert, others have come before me and more will come after but I am learning how to live with grief. It is now as much of who I am as any other part of me.
So here is my profound thought for today...Grief can bring you to your knees when you least expect it, which is exactly where God wants us.
I am so thankful for the journey God is allowing me to travel. Knowing how this ends, I would have still chosen to follow the same path with Eddie that lead to our family. Walking beside Eddie and the boys that past 10-months is more than some have. We are blessed to have had that time. We loved each other and held on extra tight, grateful for every minute.
Loving me through this and showing up even when I can't ask is all I can hope for these days for myself and my boys. So I will make plans and get out of bed even when I don't want too. I may not ever get used to this but I am going to try. May you feel God's grace today and may you give it just as freely...Susan
My heart hurts for my boys. I know the pain they will feel as they watch other people celebrate their fathers. I so wish they did not have to walk this path. There is no getting around it. We will have to march into the pit and feel every ounce of pain and remember the joys through our tears. People will try and help by telling us to remember the good times, at least he is not hurting, try and stay busy...well that is a bunch of crap! I have been where they are and nothing and I mean nothing will make it easier or better. Eddie is gone and they don't get to celebrate him this year in the same way. So, we will be together, we will love each other and we will make it through the day. We have made plans for some exciting trips in the coming months to finish out the year.
Huge your people and tell them how much you love them!
My story began 49 years ago on a farm in Petersburg, Texas. I grew up in a loving family that had it's hardships like most but was rich in love and community. I was surrounded by loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors and parents who loved each other. My dad began having heart issues in his 40s and died at 50 years old. My mom was 49 years old. I was 24 years old.
Two years later I met the love of my life, Eddie. We began dating and quickly married and started our family. Eddie grew up in a military family and lived all over, including many years in Spain. He longed for a family and roots. My family embraced him and he embraced them. We can be overpowering, loud but so much love. We were married in October 1992 and because of health problems we quickly added to our family with Zachary in May of 1994 and Kade in October 1996. Our family was complete!
Years went by with Eddie passing his love of soccer to our boys, modest living, building of 2 homes and loving each other. The 4 of us were rarely apart. We have been a part of 3 amazing church families. We have and were embraced and loved on by each one at different points in our lives. Eddie and I felt our relationship changing as the boys neared graduation and we were all excited about the future. 2015 held a lot of promise and excitement for us. Kade graduated and Eddie and Kade were heading back to Haiti with the youth group. Zachary had been twice and on his second trip the summer of 2013 all three, Kade, Zachary and Eddie went to do mission work. It was a life changing trip for all of them and me at home. Kade and Eddie were eager to return in July 2015.
They say when your life changes course you will always remember how life was before and after a certain day. July 4, 2015 is that day for me. That was the day Eddie really started feeling bad. If you want to read about the whole journey, you can find it on caringbridge.org/eddiemcmahan. In a nutshell, Eddie was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and it began our 11 month journey. We fought hard, loved hard and lived for each day. We all thought we had it beat and then in April 2016 we found out the cancer was back and as much as we hated it we saw the end coming. So, after 2 trips to Dallas for surgery, radiation, 2 rounds of chemo, multiple stays in the hospital and 12 days on Hospice our journey came to an end.
So, like my mom, I am a 49 year old widow. I have a lifetime to live without Eddie. My boys have a lifetime to live without their Dad. We are learning each day how to do that. It is not easy and each day has it's own challenges. It is all fresh and hurts.
I have written throughout our journey with Eddie's encouragement and blessing. I poured our hearts, fears, joys and sorrow out for anyone to read. We always felt we wanted to be able to look back and see where we had traveled and hopefully share our journey with all of you along the way. So that is where this blog comes into play. I needed a place besides Facebook, instagram and Careingbridge to post.
I will warn you, I don't sugarcoat when I write. The emotions are raw and I try to be as honest as possible. This will be my journey, about my life and I hope you come along for the ride.