I never thought I would be able to come to the point that I thought there was a gift in grief. After all, grief is nasty, ugly, unplanned, untimed, and unwavering. Grief belongs to the only person that possesses it. There is certainly no “normal” in grief. Even those stages of grief people talk about–not true, not always, not ever.
Grief is a journey though. It lulls some days, and other days it swallows you whole to the point you cannot breathe, think, or even exist. Those days, those days are days I am certain I cannot go on. Even after two-plus years of losing my husband, I have those days more often than I do not. I could never foresee how awful grief could be, the guilt that accompanies it as it’s finest guest, and the loneliness that tries to steal the spotlight of the show. It is my grief, my journey, and society, statistics, and research simply cannot tell me how to walk through it.
Yesterday, I experienced a gift of grief though. Yesterday, March 3, 2017 was National Wear Blue Day for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Day. A day that we can nationally make a statement to get screened, listen to our bodies–no matter what age– and know our family’s medical history to prevent one of the most deadly cancers out there: colorectal cancer. As I declared and solicited my family and friends to wear blue in honor of my best friend and husband, and to bring awareness to this disease, social media proved one of it’s positive impacts in our world today. My social media was blown up from all of those that care enough about me, our babies, and Joe that they wore blue to bring awareness to colorectal cancer and the lives it has impacted. Friends and family gave us shout-outs to tell us they REMEMBER! They smiled, they sent undeserving compliments to me, and TALKED about Joe.
The latter, talking about Joe, is exactly what I’ve wanted for the past two years and four months since my husband passed away. They talked about his wit, his smile, his courageousness, what a fighter he was until the end. They talked about what an amazing daddy he was to his babies. Friends and family poured in that he would be proud of me, as his wife.
That’s all I’ve wanted. That’s all any of us want, when we lose someone we love. To talk about the one we love; to allow them to continue to live, their spirit, their story, their love and compassion to continue to seep through to everyone they impact. Just talk–tell me stories, tell his children what a great person he was, tell us what a crazy, fearless dare-devil he has always been, tell us about that “one time” when you guys were testing faith and chance. Just tell us.
Will I cry? Probably. But please, don’t let that scare you off. It’s just that I miss him so much, and wish he could be sitting next to me and the kids to hear these stories. I want to see him laugh, and add in his version of things. I want him to shake you off, and tell you to stop before you get to the really good part of the story. Don’t be mistaken–those tears are not all sad. They are happy, because you are fulfilling my wish of talking about him. You are making my dreams come true that he never dies. You’re filling my life’s mission that his kids and I get to know him better than we already did. You are allowing me to experience a piece of my husband that time did not allow me to have.
Any grieving person or blog I have encountered since I lost Joe, has all shared one common request: to talk about them. Yesterday, March 3, 2017, gave me the greatest gift of grief since Joe passed. You talked about Joe. All of you. So many of you, that I had over FIVE HUNDRED interactions, of posts, pictures, texts, calls, and emails that honored Joe and his fight in colorectal cancer. You reminded me that I WON! You reminded me that I was the lucky one–God and Joe chose me to be Joe’s wife. You reminded me that through all the nastiestness of grief, that the two greatest men in my life chose me to be their warrior, to share their love and their story with this world.
Thank you for talking about him! Thank you for keeping him alive. Thank you for giving that invaluable gift to Joe’s parents, his children: Lilly and Porter, and myself, as well as the rest of his friends and family. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. May his light shine bright, and God’s love shine even brighter through our story and all of those we reach! May the power of blue save many other’s lives–just like the blue of his eyes saved mine by the love he showed me!
Joe’s Champion and Warrior, His wife, Kristina