Working Moms: Series on Grief
Yesterday, I wrote about the deaths in my family, especially my fiancée. I haven’t talked much about what I went through. My family isn’t very close, and it’s hard to make friends since my life is about balancing work and my family…. not to mention that HUGE problems I have with trusting people.
While I was cleaning the house, Mike walked outside to smoke a cigarette. After a few minutes, he walked into the house and told me he’d fallen and was sure he had a concussion. I looked at the back of his head and began to panic. There was a lot of blood… but no cut. Natasha Richardson, the actress, had died not to long before that due to a similar injury. I told him we needed to go straight to the hospital. He refused to go. Begging him did no good. By the time I gave up negotiating with him and went to call an ambulance, he’d hidden my phone.
My mom showed up (which was a blessing from God because she very rarely came over), and we were able to call an ambulance. I thought I ran out yelling that Mike was hurt and we needed to call an ambulance, but she told me later that I came out yelling that I couldn’t find my phone. Even to this day, the whole period is a blur.
I do remember the ambulance coming. One of the paramedics was one of my good friends. I can never thank her enough for being there for our family that day. Yes, I know it’s her job… but I always felt the emergency response team went above and beyond that day.
I truly thought he would be in the hospital for a few days, and that would be it. He’d come home and the cycle of supporting him through alcoholism would start over again. This denial lasted for days. However, when the neurosurgeon told us a week later that there was no hope, we knew we needed to make the decision to remove him from life support,
I thought the doctor was being cruel and cold-hearted. People are in comas for years and then miraculously wake up. What if there was a chance that could happen? It was a week before Christmas… surely our life wouldn’t end like this. God wouldn’t let him die right before Christmas. It didn’t matter how many times I was told there was no hope… I could NOT accept it.
Hidden amongst the feelings of denial, was the feelings of INTENSE anger. I was so mad at Mike for starting to drink again. I 100% believed that he’d quit drinking after his last hospital stay. It never dawned on me that he’d started again. We lived out in the middle of nowhere and he didn’t drive. He had no way to get to a store. When I was searching for my phone, I found beer hidden EVERYWHERE. I found out later that one of my brother’s friends was bringing it to him behind my back. To this day, I still haven’t forgiven him.
I was angry at Mike for leaving us… for leaving our son (who was only 10 months old), for leaving my other children who loved him… for leaving me. I’d been through so much with him. How could he do this to our family? I was even more angry at my brother’s friend. I’d specifically told him not to buy Mike any alcohol… that the doctor told him he would die if he kept drinking. The rage I felt during this period was really intense.
I was angry at my family for not being there more for us. Though I was grateful my sister lent me her car to drive to the hospital, which was an hour away from my house, I came home to a house that looked like a tornado had ripped through it. I felt so alone (isolation is another part of the denial stage). Shouldn’t my family be there… shouldn’t they be checking on us and supporting us. How could they let me do this all on my own? I still had six children to care for… and I was still working full time. Couldn’t they at least come over and make a few dinners for the freezer? That’s what they do in the movies.
I felt guilty if I was at work, I felt guilty if I was at home, and I felt guilty if I was at the hospital. After Mike died, I felt guilty that I hadn’t been able to stop his drinking so my children didn’t have to be suffering his loss as well. The anger I felt with everyone was overwhelming. The weight on me was so heavy that I felt like I was drowning.
If you missed Part 1, click HERE
Come back tomorrow for Part 3