Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Slow Leak

Monday, January 2, 2012
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I have a problem.

Of course, there’s the obvious problem – a dead husband – and the secondary problems that accompany that.  Kids to raise, bills to pay, home repairs, choices to make… you know the drill.  The secondary problems seem endless, don’t they?

But that’s not my current problem.

See, my current problem is that I think I screwed this grieving thing up pretty badly.

Now, we all know that there is no “right” way to grieve.  But, I was determined to get through this quickly and without chaos and unpredictability or severe disruption to my life.  I wanted to be a model widow.  I wanted to be the very best widow there ever was. 

Crazy, I know. 

Let me explain.  I was very lucky in my life before “this.”   Very, very lucky.  My life had been comfortable – dare I say, easy.    I am also a people-pleaser… known in elementary school as a brown-noser.  I want to do well, and make everyone proud.   

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, tragedy strikes and my life is turned upside down.   My 31-year-old husband drops dead, out of nowhere, right in front of my eyes.  You see it in the movies – upon hearing the news that her husband has died, the new widow drops to her knees, howls at the top of her lungs and screams, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

I didn’t do that. 

Well, truth be told, I did actually drop to my knees.  For one second.  Literally.  For one split second, I let it hit me.  And then I got back up, and went to work trying to be a good widow.

I prided myself on my behavior in those early days, weeks, and months.  I thought I was so tough.   I figured Kevin would be so proud that I didn’t fall apart, as he always predicted I would if something unimaginably horrible happened.   I never lay in bed and cried.  I never walked around in a daze.  I didn’t scream, howl or wail.  I did everything as I had before.  Maybe even BETTER than before  - after all I was in charge now, and I had no choice. 

And now here I am.  Nearly two and a half years later.  And, to look at me, you’d think I pretty much have it all together.   The house is in good shape; the kids are happy and well cared for.   We laugh, we smile, and we can enjoy many moments in our life.

But pain is funny.  It doesn’t just fade into nothingness.  It has to come out.  Sometimes it comes out as a wail, a howl or a scream.  Sometimes it comes out as you lay in bed, unable to face the world without the person you loved the most.  And when you don’t allow it to come out in any of those ways, it feels like a slow leak.  Persistent and draining.  It is always there.  It sits in the back of your mind and you hear it hissing– even in the moments of happiness. 

I didn’t allow an outlet for any of that.  I was a model widow in those first few months, and have tried to continue to be one.  And the hissing of the slow leak isn’t going away, as I’d hoped it would.   So now – nearly two and a half years later, I am letting the air out of the tire.  Feeling it.  Remembering that sadness, and allowing myself to wallow in it sometimes. 

Because once the tire is empty, you can begin to re-fill it. 


Laura, you have been so strong through all of this, I really have no idea how you do it. I know Kev is so proud of the amazing woman and mother you are. And I hope you know that we are all here for you if you ever need anything. Love, Sarah

You are amazing Laura.

Hi Laura, Saw this article and my heart aches for you right now. I wish there was something that I could do - or that anyone could do to help you through all this. I think about you and the boys so often and you are always in my prayers. Love you!

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