We expect to lose grandparents and even our parents as we get older. Death, after all, is an inevitable part of our human existence. But the unexpected death of a young loved one is always hard to comprehend. Our human nature makes us ask why. We question God. We shake our fists at the sky and scream out at the unfairness of it all.
The last thing I would have expected is that I would become a widow at the age of forty. Julian and I made so many plans. We talked about our future. We laughed about growing old and what kind of senior citizens we would both become. But we never talked about what it would be like if one of us died unexpectedly and so young.
Looking back now, I feel that I was selfish to think that death couldn’t affect our little family. I took so many things for granted. I had that “I can tell him tomorrow” attitude. My last text to Julian simply said “Ok”, because I thought, I can tell him I love him later. I didn’t say “good-bye”, because I didn’t know it was good-bye.
I wrestled with so many could haves, would haves and should haves after Julian died. I struggled to understand how he could have deserved to die. I wanted to slam my fist into something solid when I thought of how he should have waited one more day to come home. I thought of different scenarios of our life today if he would have survived the accident.
Over the past several years since Julian died, I've gone from acceptance, back to bargaining, to anger and come full circle to feel all the emotional stages of grief again and again. Sometimes, they can all hit me in the same day – like a merciless tidal wave that knocks me to my knees. Guilt creeps up from my stomach into my throat and nearly chokes me to death some days. On other days, I share happy moments with my children and only happy memories of Julian cross my mind.
If I can only learn to live with this grief, then I can learn to live. It’s so crippling some days that I just don’t want to go on another day without him. It’s so unbelievable on other days that I’m sure I am stuck in a horrible nightmare that surely has to end soon.
Julian had an incredibly upbeat, loving spirit. He lived each day as if it were his last. He forgave easily. He spoke kind words about everyone – even his enemies. He always told the children and me just how much he loved us. He wasn’t a “glass half full” kind of person. He was the kind of person to say “Even if it’s only a drop, I have something in my glass to work with.”
Julian was a beautiful person and I want to share the beauty of who he was with the world. His story is simple, but he deserves to be remembered.
(©)Copyright Stephanie Gomez 2014