Tuesday, June 16, 2015

surviving the unimaginable

You always think you won't be the one that tragedy hits. At least I thought that. Sure, hard things happen and life gets hard. But those really hard, tragic times. No, it'd never happen to us. Please God don't let it be us. But one month ago today, our family was hit with the greatest tragedy I hope any of us ever have to go through. 

My father-in-law passed away very young and very unexpected. I will never ever forget how that morning played out, the moment my brother-in-law called my husband to tell him, watching his reaction out the window while he was on the back deck, running out to see what happened, and taking the phone from him talking to my mother-in-law. I will never forget any of it. And from that moment until today, one month later, life has been beyond hard. Completely unimaginable. I can't wrap my mind and heart around it and many days I feel like it is not real and somehow he is just gone or away for right now.

I fear the future for our whole family. My mother-in-law, my husband and his brother, my kids, myself and my sister-in-law. Life is going to be so different. There will be no more memories with him in it. I've only known him for seven years. Seven way too short years. But some how, he filled those seven years with so much love and kindness and so many memories for me, that I too felt like I lost a lifetime of love. Sure it in no way compares to the feeling of loss my mother-in-law, husband and brother-in-law, but my heart still aches with incredible pain. 

My little guys only had 2 years with him and Zelie less than a year. He knew about Button and was so excited for another grandchild. I am so, so grateful they were all so close with him and loved him so much. There was no one quite like their Grandvater. Some of us worry they won't remember him, but they are smart little ones and by us telling them about him and reminding them of the memories they made with him, they will know who he was. 

My mother-in-law, though completely broken from his loss, is the strongest and most faithful lady I have ever met. In HER time of complete grief, she was our rock of strength and our pillar of faith. She is amazing and never failed to blow me away during the three weeks we spent with her. I pray that if I were ever in her shoes, I'd be half the woman she is in dealing with the tragedy.

Watching my husband grieve the loss of his dad has been heartbreaking and a tragedy in and of itself for me. Helping him walk through these difficult weeks has been so incredibly painful for me. I don't have the best words, I can't do anything to take the pain away or even lessen it. There is absolutely nothing I can really do to help the situation. I try to wrack my brain for any ways to help him, anything to lift his spirits. But sometimes just being there, so he knows I'm here but have given him the space is what I have to do. He may need to talk to someone other than me, or hug someone other than me. That is so hard for me, but whatever it be that he needs, I do. 

We have lost a husband, Papi, Grandvater, son-in-law, and brother-in-law. He was a blessed man to be part of our amazing family, but we were each blessed to have him so special to us. Please keep his soul and our family in your prayers, but especially our Mami, my brother-in-law, and my precious husband. And If any of you have dealt with a loss so painful and have found helpful ways of getting through each day with this new, hard normal, please pass along your suggestions.

I love this picture of the two of us. It was the night before I married his son. We were family long before, but you can see the love and happiness in our eyes. I loved being family with him. And I will always love our memories and keep them tucked in a deep place in my heart. And I will share every ounce of that love and those memories with his "anklekinder" grandkids. We will drink milkshakes and sit and talk about him. We will dance to Taylor Swift. We will browse Swarovski stores. And we will watch silly YouTube videos. We will always love you, Papi.

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