The one mistake that I made is thinking that no one understood. This mindset is what sent me spiraling done,one thought at a time. As my pain deepened the more alone I felt. No matter how people said they understood I didn't believe them. I could not imagine anyone else understanding my kind of pain. This is a common thought pattern for those of us going through grief. It is more important than even I can articulate, that this kind of thinking is toxic and just wrong.
So today I am adding someone else's story, a man who experienced the pain of losing his wife unexpectedly and raising his daughter's alone. Please read and comment.
A Fathers Story
In May of 1995, I suddenly lost my first wife and mother of my two daughters, Jody to a very rare illness called a pheochromacytoma. All of this transpired within 24 hours. It felt like a horrible dream.
Robert Frost once said “There is a time for departure, even when there is no certain place to go.” The girls and I had no choice but to take a new direction in our lives. I’m not ashamed to tell you I was terrified. I was always a pretty good father but I needed reinforcements, this was new, scary territory. I tapped into a spiritual strength I never knew I had. I spoke out loud to God whenever I was alone, in the shower, in the car, at night in bed. I asked to be blessed with divine guidance, courage, strength, and to say and do the right things for my girls. I began meditating daily for about 20 minutes, which I still do to this day. I visualized my girls and I doing things together and I saw them thriving. Those were my daily images, only positive outcomes. I found comfort in books like Kubler Ross’s “On Death and Dying,” Hope Edelman’s “Motherless Daughter’s” & Cosby’s “Fatherhood.” I learned first hand what being grateful for life and those we love, truly means.
I worked very hard at balancing what was normal for my girls and not ignoring the death of their Mother. Julia, Lauren and I hugged and cried every day. I made certain that they knew emotionally, that we had one another. If I sensed they were going into a shell, I would try to interact and relate to them by asking them questions about friends, clothes, school etc. I made it a point to do everything as a family. We went grocery shopping together, out for ice cream and had them help make dinner on a regular basis. I wanted them to feel secure and know their Dad wasn’t going anywhere.
I had developed insomnia. Every night for weeks, I would sit on the floor of Jody’s walk in closet, pick out one of her blouses and wrap it around my neck and shoulders. Breathing her in, I’d cry myself to sleep. At first I didn’t tell the girls about it, but something told me to share it all with them. I think it helped the girls feel okay about their own experiences and sharing them with me. After a week home, the school counselor and I agreed that my daughters’ lives should get back to normal. So, Lauren and Julia went back to school. I remember it being a beautiful sunny day. I decided to walk the 200 yards to the bus stop to meet them. I could tell they were upset as they got off the bus, which I’d expected of their first day back. We walked in tense silence, once we entered the safe haven of the house, both girls burst into tears. After a few moments of a much needed emotional release, they shared their day with me.
Amazingly they’d discovered a pair of sisters, one in Lauren’s class and the other in Julia’s who had lost their mother to breast cancer, one week after our loss. I remembered thinking to myself “I need to reach out to Kevin (the father) and just let him know he's not alone.” Immediately, the thought of creating a Support Group for fathers who'd lost their wives entered my mind and was put into action soon thereafter. And thus began my journey toward becoming a Life Coach.
I started looking at everything differently, I turned down a promotion at work promising more money and more travel, and accepted a lower level position to be closer to home and more available to my girls. My self-reflection eventually led me to completely walk away from corporate America to focus on my Life Coach career. As my priorities shifted, I’d become aware of the joy, peace and love that are possible in the simple every day things. My previously conceived notions of what I wanted for my life fell away. I know that when life closes a door another one always opens. It is my deepest desire to help others find the best path to their open door.
Larry Agresto is happily married and lives in Boston Massachusetts. He has written several e-books including; The Principles of Success, What's Stopping You, The Journey and The 21 Day Breakthrough. Presently, he is writing his most recent e-book entitled “Magical Thinking- A Fathers Story of Love, Hope & Courage.”
Life & Success Coach
Peak Performance Coaching