One of the most painful realizations that came to me in the moments after my husband passed away was that we would never have children together.
The finality of that reality, just like his death, was inconceivable and yet I felt every ounce of the weight of it’s truth. It ripped my heart to even smaller pieces.
When I talked to people after his death, some people would suggest that if we had children it would have been better because he’d live on in our child. Some people said it was better to not have children so he or she wouldn’t grow up without their father. Some even said they were glad we didn’t have children. At the time, that felt like a knife twisted in my heart. I did grieve for what would never be. I always thought we would have children and we were about to move into a new home where we could do just that when he died.
I didn’t know, and still don’t know, what would be easier, but it didn’t really matter. I would say probably neither is really easier. In the end what I knew for sure was that our entire future together was wiped out in a moment, including children, and it had completely devastated me.
This Mother’s Day leaves me with a lot of mixed feelings. Not just for me, but for his mother, and my fellow widows with and without children. While it is a day of celebration and appreciation for many, it is also a day that can conjure a lot of pain for others. Consider those missing their mothers that are no longer with us, mother’s who have lost children, husband’s missing their wife and children’s mother, and those that grieve for the children that will never be and a life that will never be realized.
The pain of losing my husband and our future, wore a deep wound into my heart. It took a lot of work to get to get through the grief and sadness, but eventually I was able to accept that I would never have definitive answers to my questions and that life as I knew it had changed forever. I came to put all my value and focus on the time we DID have. On the love and life we did get to have.
I realized also, that my time wasn’t over. I didn’t know what my future did or didn’t hold. I learned to adapt. I learned more than ever that life is synonymous with change. I believe that is one of our most important life lessons and one of the most difficult to accept. Holding on to the familiar, the expected, the routine, and the cookie cutter idea of what your life will be like, will cripple you. Especially when life goes WAY off course.
My greatest strength today came out of all of this pain and chaos. My greatest strength is awareness. I am aware of my blessings, I am aware that they are not guaranteed, and I am able to enjoy them in the current moment. I learned to live fully in my everyday. Additionally, my greatest challenge is now my greatest victory. I embrace my unique path in life. It is anything but expected, but I have learned to live it fully.
Will children ever be a part of my life? I am not sure. It would be silly to say definitively either way after all I have experienced. I do have my animals and it is entirely possible for them to be clinically labeled my surrogate children. I’m okay with that.
For what is motherhood, but a nurturing relationship?
We can define it for ourselves if we choose to and perhaps it will always looks different to each individual regardless of the biological connection. Again, don’t let that cookie cutter image force you into despair if you can’t attain it. It’s not real anyway.
On this Mother’s Day my heart goes out to all my fellow childless widows, struggling with their new reality and the unknown.
My respect to the widow/ers with children doing it all on their own.
To that struggle on this day no matter the reason, please know you are not alone.
Never Give Up,