Today is Friday number 52 since Greg’s death. We have officially made it through every week of the year without him. Tomorrow will be a year. Once December hit, things started to feel real. This month will be a hard one. Even though I don’t want to, I know I will relive the hard days that we had. I have already relived some of them. Since Greg died on a Friday, today is naturally a day that feels more like the day Greg died than tomorrow will. I can’t help but replay the events of December 10, 2021, Friday number 1, and compare them today. On that day, I went to work, just like today. After work, I went to the grocery store to get some ice cream toppings so we could have a fun pizza and ice cream night at home. I brought the groceries home, and Greg was there. He looked slightly pale, but I didn’t think much of it. He didn’t say a word to me about not feeling well.
I told him I would like to talk to him, and we went for a walk. We had our last conversation, a less than loving one. We fought. He left. We texted back and forth, and he told me he was having some pains, but he didn’t think it was a big deal. The kids say he told them he felt like he was getting a cold, and that his back hurt. The kids and I had homemade pizza and started making gingerbread houses. Greg and I were texting less than 5 minutes before I got the call from a police officer that he had collapsed at his cousin’s ward Christmas party, and his heart had stopped beating and his breathing had stopped. They were taking him to the hospital.
I arranged for my parents to come be with the kids, and quickly left for the hospital. I was still angry with Greg, but I didn’t want him to die. I knew that this was serious, and that he could die. As I was pulling into the ER, I saw the ambulance parked at the entrance, and my mind flashed back to the last time Greg had had a life-threatening event. I had had the impression that he would get to come home that time, but he wouldn’t the next time. I felt it, and I knew it, at least subconsciously. He wasn’t going to leave the hospital alive. I told the lady at the front desk who I was, and she quickly escorted me and Greg’s cousins to a private room with a social worker. Honestly, this did not seem off to me, but now, it is clear that they already knew.
After a while (who knows how long), the doctor came in. There was apprehension and sadness in his eyes. I glanced at Greg’s cousin, anticipating what he was going to tell me. He sat next to me and put his hand on my leg. It was awkward to say the least. “I’m sorry, but your husband has died.” Those words. I still hear them so clearly. I wonder if it appeared that I didn’t care. I was in shock, and I was numb to feeling. I definitely cared, but I didn’t crumple into a pile of tears. I stayed composed. They told me I could see him, and I didn’t know if I wanted to. I was afraid to see him. I decided I would, just in case I would regret it later. I regretted seeing him. He didn’t look right. He was gray and didn’t look like himself. This is when I crumpled. I started crying loudly. I held his hand, and it still had some warmth to it, but it was starting to get cold.
My brain would flash back to seeing Greg dead all the time after that. It still does sometimes, though it isn’t as frequent. I regretted seeing him because of this. I didn’t stay in the room long. I wish I could have stayed longer, but it was too much for me.
I drove home with Greg’s cousin. I was still composed but shaking from the shock. She was coming home to help me tell the kids. My parents already knew. I wanted them to know so they wouldn’t be surprised to see me home so soon. I grabbed Greg’s coat to take inside, and Greg’s cousin stopped me, saying it might be best to not bring his coat in the house yet.
How do you tell your kids that their dad is dead? It’s not something anyone wants to do. I gathered the kids together, except for August, who was sleeping. I simply said, “He died.” Some of the kids started to wail, and that’s when I lost it emotionally again. I served the ice cream that I had bought that afternoon to the kids. It helped them calm down a little. My dad gave us all blessings. It took hours to get the kids settled down and asleep.
I never slept that night. I couldn’t stop the tears. They came for days, and my eyes were puffy and red for a while. I had so much to process, and my brain wouldn’t let me sleep. It was the longest night of my life. Thinking back, it would have been good for me to not be alone, but it was late, and I didn’t want to bother anyone.
August joined me in my bed in the morning. He still didn’t know. I told him that Daddy had died, and he said, “OK. Can I go watch a show?” I am still not sure what to think of this. I asked him if he understood what it meant to die, and he said yes. We talked about it, and then he went off to watch a show.
As we all remember Friday number 1, we intentionally make Friday number 52 different. We will have a fun night at home, and hopefully not have any phone calls from the police. We will enjoy each other and do our best to live in the moment. And I will take Ambien tonight, so I don’t have to repeat that sleepless night again. 🙂
We are so grateful for the love and support we have received this past year. It makes a difference to know that we have so many surrounding us who care about us. Thank you.