“…the next right thing.” (From Angie)
I still don’t know how to respond and often wonder what people really want to know when they ask how I’m doing or family or how any of us are really? Do people really want to know the truth? I know some people do. Do I really want to be honest? Sometimes saying that I’m okay is easier and less painful for all involved.
Do I really want to write this now? I don’t know…it’s 4am.
Do people want to know that panic attacks are a fairly common occurrence in my life now? Or that I rarely get out of bed before noon, and often it is closer to 1 or 2pm, after not being able to fall asleep until 3 or 4 or 5am. That going to bed is the most dreadful part of my day, maybe only next to knowing that I’ll probably have to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. Do people want to know that every night I see flashbacks of Will struggling to breathe? That I have woken up hearing him call for me? That I dream about him almost every night? Most of those dreams involve him being sick and me trying to figure out how to help him. Some dreams, I know I’m a widow and his absence is just as real there as when I’m awake. There is no escaping this reality. So, I spend much of my time going to therapy, thinking, writing, filling pages of journals with questions, and thoughts, and letters to Will… and I cry.
There has been an abundance of love and care and people that have saved me and I am incredibly grateful. I am grateful for every letter, email, call, text, visit, conversation and all the help I have been given. Yes, there have been some insensitive words over these months too. But, that is why I have two really good therapists…and, there is grace. Do any of us really know how to do this? How does the world lose Will, how do we lose Will, and then know what to do? Friends of ours had a quote of Ernest Hemingway in their apartment that read, “The first draft of everything is shit.” I’ve thought about that a lot. Maybe that applies to life too. How are any of us suppose to know how to do this life? I didn’t know how to be a wife at 24. I don’t know how to be a widow at 33. Life can be so hard and we’re going to mess up. We’re going to say the wrong words, hurtful words… I hope more often than not it is unintentional. I don’t know what I would say to my friend or family member if roles were reversed. I wish I could go back and love William better. I wish I could take back every hurtful thing I ever said to him. I learned, we learned, to love each other better over our years together. But, each day was like a new first draft in some ways. We were constantly changing and growing, circumstances were constantly changing. So, we’re always new people interacting with new people, in different circumstances. The closer you are to someone the more you change and grow together, I think. But, do any of us really know how to do this life? I don’t have a clue. I think I’ve said it before, but Will used to always tell me, “just do the next right thing.” I don’t know what the next right thing is. I think loving is always a good choice, but how can I love when I can hardly leave my room. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve had a good day, if I brushed my teeth. Other days I’ve been able to go through hours of Will’s music, get work done, go to therapy, eat a few meals, meet up with a friend. Then the next day I’m back to not getting out of bed.
I am not the same person I was before this and I never will be. Sadness, whether small or great, will be a part of my life for the rest of my life. How could it not be? William died. There is no good, no plan for my life, no future happiness, nothing that will change that. I’m not saying that nothing good will ever happen again…I don’t know. I’m not saying that there won’t be any good to come from this… I don’t know. I am saying that no good will change the horror that has happened. Even with a smile, there is a hell that lives in me every moment of everyday. I have hope…I really do hope…that heaven exists, that God truly loves us, and that one day we will be with Him in a place with no more sadness or tears… a place where love will far outweigh any suffering we experienced. But here…I don’t have hope that sadness will ever leave me. I will always know that Will is no longer here and his last 10 months were filled with excruciating suffering. My eyes have seen a horror that I had only heard about through other people’s stories, but did not know personally. Last year, now, it’s personal. It’s Will’s story, my story, our story.
Elie Weisel, said of the holocaust, “Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.” These are the words I have longed to read for months. The darkness of these words somehow comforts some of the darkness that I feel. This is not a hurdle to get over or a bump in the road. This is not a difficult time that shall pass. My eyes have seen what will never be forgotten. I will personally never know a world that does not involve an unimaginable horror. I will never not be able to cry out with compassion for the many who experience horrors that no one ever should. Horrors that I cannot imagine.
For me, it is not just the horror that we lived, losing Will is a horror in and of itself. I am thankful for the many moments that we shared. There were beautiful moments, really beautiful. Then, there are the moments, that I would choose to be nowhere else but by Will’s side, but that will also haunt me for the rest of my life. Those are the moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. I don’t know how to be a widow, who not only lost my spouse, but my best friend and partner in life. I don’t know how to live with the images I see every day. I don’t know how to live in a world that can be so horrific that it murders my own soul, murders my God, and yet still believe that both my soul and my God exist. I don’t know how to do this. I know we all live this life differently, experience it differently, engage it differently. Maybe I / we need to give ourselves and others grace as we go… the first draft is probably going to be shit and then…all we can do is to try to do the next right thing.
AshleyApril 25, 2014
Thank you for being so transparent. I cannot say I understand, but I empathize. Sleeping is still difficult for me after my loss almost two years ago. I am so thankful you are going to therapy, as that is one of the only things that has truly helped me. My heart aches with you. I wish I could do more. Words seem so fruitless. I remember people saying unintentional hurtful things as well after my loss. It’s so difficult to exercise patience with people who really have no clue what you’re feeling. I admire your understanding, as I simply became bitter over time instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt. All this to say, I’m praying for you as you walk this road. Sending hugs from Tennessee.
RebeccaApril 21, 2014
I don’t know you, but I think about you so much. Thank you for sharing your grief with us. When I feel overwhelmed, like I can’t go on and my grief is worse than anyone else’s, I think about you and the steps that you take each moment.
I pray that each day brings a tiny bit more freedom from the constant ache, while sealing in the beauty that you gained from loving Will.
RebekahApril 17, 2014
I cried new tears reading this, remembering you and Will. I came to your blog because, the other night, I dreamed about Will. I don’t know why. I dreamed that he came back and that he was well. Not sick at all. All the horrible stuff had happened and he knew all about it but it was all changed. And he said that he had so much work to do and he was sitting hunched over some music or writing, I wasn’t sure which. He looked so well and happy in his busy-ness. You were smiling and went to another room to fetch him something to drink. I don’t know if you mind, but I thought I’d let you know that he was alive in my dreams. I am praying for you, dear heart!
EmilyApril 15, 2014
I woke up this morning thinking about you, and am so glad I came here to see this post (and I am sorry I didn’t see it sooner). Wrapping you in love and prayers today.
Kevin Robbins "Superfan"April 12, 2014
I think about you all the time….and i miss Will. Today is a beautiful spring day in Atlanta and im BLASTING Will’s music and spirit into the air and i feel him with me. I hope you continue to feel him with you in everything you do. Praying for your conitnued strength and grace.
Brooke ConnallyApril 7, 2014
Angie the Lord gave me a message for you this morning from his Word. And my prayer for you before you even read it is Ephesians 1:15-21: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
But what I believe his word is for you today is from Deut 30:19-20: 19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
And finally Colossians 3:1-4: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Angie Ive been through my own hell the past 6 months. And Im just now starting to really experience, for the first time in my walk with God, the REAL life and peace that comes in being a doer of the word. Boy has he given you a platform to be a DOER of the word, and not just a hearer. You don’t have to find life again in this world, or purpose, or peace, or happiness. All you have to have is Christ, because HE IS OUR LIFE! When you do what is good, true peace will be with you. Christ must really care for you to have such a message of life for you this morning. His mercy and grace for you is unending. He is carrying you through your darkest hour, and time of great need. Im praying for you.
Anne PrevenMarch 24, 2014
Angie. I think about you often and i am sending you lots of love.
DanielleMarch 22, 2014
Angie, I’ve never met you but I think about you and Will almost every day. I have no idea how someone bears such sadness. But thank you for sharing your story. I don’t think that this is the end for you, I have a feeling Will would want you to go on and live an amazing life…for him, for the dreams you shared together, for the dreams you stayed up late at night talking about. In the most lonely moments, know that there are so many out here thinking of you, sending you love and wishing we could do something to ease the heartache.
Laura and 9 year old daughterMarch 21, 2014
Honestly if I were you I might not be reading people’s comments. I don’t know if it helps you any, or if it is just takes you on a path of pain and sorrow.
My daughter and I think of you several times a week. We pray for you at those times, and at bedtime prayer time.
I relate to your emotions, I feel for you and your grief, and I pray., I pray that as unfathomable this loss you suffererd would have seemed a few years ago, that a content and peaceful future engulf you, a healed you….a complete you, as unfashionable as it seems now, that it shall come to pass.
I pray through your expression, grieving, sharing, reflecting, your heart will feel full of another love, one celebrating the time you had with Will, how wonderful it was, YOU being by his side. He loved you so. You will be reunited.
Angie, I hope so, and pray so for you, for every moment of every day, that the struggle of just being, being on this planet finds you feeling better and with direction.
You are brave even though you may not see it, you are an inspiration even though you didn’t want to be (in this way).
As I close, I pray!
With love, my daughter and I continue to pray for you!
JessicaMarch 20, 2014
Thank you for sharing the truth. Praying for you.
JohnMarch 20, 2014
Angie, thank you for sharing as always. Thank you for incites into your life and heart that so few of us could ever understand. The depths you share from are indeed dark, but indeed rich as well. I love you so much. Thank you for sharing.
BethMarch 19, 2014
Tessica TallmanMarch 19, 2014
Angie, I am Maggy Dillon’s mom and a widow of 14 years. I didn’t know how to do this either. I still don’t. It is new every day. We all do the best we can with the knowledge we have. Learning to give ourselves a break and remember that we are doing the best we can is all we can do. Congratulate yourself for continuing to take another step forward. I congratulate you. I know how hard it is and how I wished that someone could just tell me what to do next. I have followed some of your posts from Maggy and it just makes me want to hug you and maybe give you some kind of comfort. I hope it helps you to know that I am praying for you. God loves you and is with you always, especially in the dark. ((((((HUGS)))))). Love, Tessica
Connie SagerMarch 19, 2014
Way to go on processing. Grief is so hard. I am encouraged to read your words – glad you are processing and not just glossing over. Praying for you and for those physically around you who have the incredible opportunity to BE with you these days.
I am approaching a year on a grief. While I am not the person I was before, I am also not the person I was a year ago either. Even on days you stay mostly in bed – it is still a day that you made it through – and probably processed a tiny bit of thoughts.
Praying that when you don’t know what the next right thing is that you can do the next thing that you CAN do – even if that is just brushing your pretty teeth.
Natalie Dean CavinessMarch 19, 2014
You have experienced more horror and pain in the last couple years than many do in a lifetime. My love and prayers are with you.
ChristiMarch 19, 2014
Thank you for having the courage to put this out into the air and giving all of is a window in. I can assure you that I am better for having read it. Bless you. Prayers and prayers and prayers more on your behalf. May He raise you up.
StaceyMarch 19, 2014
My heart hurts for you. Simply sending you a hug from a stranger…
Praying that light finds you
Harrison CowanMarch 19, 2014
Stay strong Angie. We continue to pray here that the good Lord continues to be with you and strengthens you as you continue on through this life’s journey. Not a day goes by I dont think about Will and yourself. And many of my prayers and petitions to God have been on you and Will’s behalf. You continue to inspire Angie. May your spirits be uplifted with each passing day.
CindiMarch 19, 2014
I don’t know how to pray. But I DO pray the Lord meets you where you are on the dark path you are walking and bears you up, provides for the needs you can’t even speak, and gives you a place of rest and peace during this lonely and seemingly endless journey. Much love to you, Angie.
Jeni GregoryMarch 19, 2014
How does one sit in suffering? What does that dark passage of the soul teach us? Perhaps only how to suffer…and then how to sit in another’s’ suffering with no fear. There is a portion of scripture I have found comforting when having to sit in the deepest most sacred places of my own suffering. It is Psalm 84: …”5: How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion! 6Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings. 7They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.” Honestly, at first, I wanted to slap the person who shared this with me. Then I remembered visiting the Valley of BAca in Israel. It is a garbage dump on the Eastern slope going up Jerusalem, overlooking the Dead Sea. In Bible time, the women would bring their harps to escape the city drama, and would bring the garbage (menstrual rags, rotting meat, the really ugly stuff that no one else knew what to do with) to the garbage dump in the Valley. However, there are amazing fresh water springs in the dump that would get clogged up for all the trash they had. So, they would hang up their harps in the willow tree and start to sing acapella (alone) while they dug out the filth from the springs. M dear sojourner, I know of no other more desperate and lonely place than in the Valley of Baca. Take a “grief vacation” for a few minutes each day to breathe in the blessings of God so you will be strengthened to work in this dark valley you are in. I am praying you have an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence and that you hear His footsteps in the darkest places of your loneliness. I know these places. If you want a companion, feel free to call me. 253-576-8944
Lu CollierMarch 19, 2014
Angie, thank you for sharing your heart and your deep wounds. I’m praying for you and thankful you have good therapists and especially our Lord to hold you in His scarred hands.
MaemoeMarch 19, 2014
A hug from New Jersey, Angie. Keep walking. Truth never changes due to circumstances we face. The truth is, The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Bonni RuckerMarch 19, 2014
I found your words very moving and want to share(more likely repeat) what your therapists are already telling you. There is no right way to feel or mourn. It is a very individualized experience. If you can, WHEN you can give some thought to being of service. The Library or a Day Care, reading to the children. Chaperone a school trip at the local elementary/middle school. Share your knowledge about the music industry with less experienced musician and vocalist. You have experienced a lot of life in just a few short years therefore you have a lot to give and share with others, WHEN you are ready. Remember there is no right way to mourn. No timeframe for when it is over. No right or wrong feelings. No tried and true ways to get through it. Be kind and loving to yourself. My prayers are with you as you find your way through today, and tomorrow and tomorrow…..
Jennifer ChaissonMarch 18, 2014
Hey my dear, first I have to say that I think of yall often and still watch that documentary he put out atleast 3-4 times a month and have shared with the people here in Las Cruces, NM. I speak of yall love, friendship, and STRENGTH often. I hurt for you often and I hate to hear that poor words have been spoken to you or directed anywhere near you because you don’t deserve it. I’d love to talk to you so maybe one weekend I can call if it is ok even if to chat for a minute. If I call on a weekend I can call at a time when I think you will be up but if you are not in the mood at the moment just let it go to voicemail and call me when it is better. I love you my friend and am always here for anything!!!!!
CarolMarch 18, 2014
Angie. Know that we still think of you and your loss. Our loss. You are doing what you need to do right now and it’s important. I love reading your posts and think you are incredible for sharing your personal struggles with us all. Even though it brings fresh tears to my eyes, please keep sharing.