The other night (over cold Bud Lights and the beautiful ambiance of Wings Sports Bar) Heidi and I had a discussion. I love that I can tell my "sister-wife" anything....and so I do.
Somehow a discussion of strength came up. I told Heidi that I didn't like when people say things like, "You are SO STRONG...If I were in your shoes I would have curled up and died." Or, "You are SO STRONG... I still wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning.." Little comments like this hit my heart painfully. Not because I truly believe anyone means harm by this, or even judgement, however it often feels that way.
It makes me feel like I didn't properly grieve my husband. It makes me feel like people think I am not still grieving him.
Dan was my best friend. He knew the good, the bad, the ugly, and loved every part of it. There are few loves like that in the world, and I was lucky enough to have had the chance to experience it. That being said, that doesn't mean, I'm not going to give love another chance. It doesn't mean that I am going to say that my best years are behind me, and it's all down here from there. I truly don't believe that. There is a plan for me, and I am excited to live it.
I put live in bold because that is what Dan would want me to do. It's what my sister and family want me to do, it's what my friends and those who love me want me to do, it's what I want to do.
The other night, I opened one of Dan's dresser drawers to grab a pair of his boxers, which I often still wear to bed. I looked at some of his clothes and thought: Tiffin: You can do this. Tackle this one drawer, and you will have jumped another hurdle on this road. So, I did. I took out the boxers, the t-shirts, the socks, and few random shorts that Dan must have stuffed in there. (And he always called me the stuffer.) I made a pile of t-shirts I wanted to keep and ones I could donate. As I pulled each t-shirt out of the drawer, each and every one was a memory. I could picture a day that Dan wore that shirt, what we were doing, where we were, his always grin...
Yes, I cried. I cried really hard as a matter of fact, but when I was finished, I wiped my face and started to giggle. I looked at myself in the mirror and stared at the hot mess standing in front of me. I remembered the first time I cried in front in Dan. He stroked my hair and kept telling me that he had never met anyone that looked beautiful when they cried. He said, "Everyone has an ugly cry face, except for you." Whether he meant it or not, it got me to stopcrying and I even got (one of my many) nicknames out of it. He called me Stormy, because he said my eyes looked like the sky right after a storm.
I realized after I bagged the clothes, washed my face, blew my nose, that dealing with my grief has definitely gotten easier. I don't cry as often anymore and when I do, it doesn't last as long as it used to. When I think of Dan it is to smile, not cry.
I received an email today from someone I've never met. She is a friend of a friend. The email was titled "Getting Up" and it brought tears to my eyes as I read it. It wasn't an email that told me "You are SO STRONG....because I wouldn't be able to...." It was an email that just said, "You are SO STRONG." Thank you, my new friend, I appreciate those words so much.
My advice to anyone who might be inspired by someones strength: Don't sell yourself short. Don't compare yourself to someone else's strength, especially if you have not experienced their situation. Be undaunted in the fact that you can and will tackle whatever life has to throw at you. Be confident that God has a plan for you, and "Getting Up" in the morning is half the battle.
Thank you for all of you who continue to pray for me and my strength, it's working! I am living again, and loving every minute of it. I love when my real smile runs across my face. Just knowing that I am not faking it, makes me smile that much bigger!
Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them. ~ Washington Irving