As I read everyone's posts I can feel your pain and anguish...I guess I am still living it too.  For those who have had multiple losses, my heart breaks for you and all of your losses.  You are all so strong for continuing on.  It has been 26 months for me and so much of what everyone mentions I am still feeling.  I have a hard time with people trying to compare my loss to their trivial drama.  One person in particular has one self-pity party after another and is constantly whining to me about how horrible his life is.  At first, I tried to be sympathetic, now I simply tell him everyone has issues, it's all in how you handle it.  I had one of the moms of one of my daycare kids try to compare my loss to a divorce (and she has never been divorced either), needless to say I wasn't very pleasant in my response...there is NO comparison.  I have had people say things to me that were so far off the mark and I would just try to remind myself that they really have no clue as to what they are talking about...they have not lived this life.  What these comments do for me, is to make me very aware of what I say to others who have lost loved ones...I try not to say things that are insensitive.  I suppose I probably do without realizing it, only because I sometimes speak (or type) without thinking...things just come out.  So, if I have offended anyone at any time, I do apologize. 

There are so many things that still get to me.  I am so jealous of couples holding hands, especially older couples, because we were to be that older couple one day.  I feel so cheated and our kids have been so cheated, especially our son who was 13 when Tom died.  There were so many things that he had yet to learn from dad and it really stinks that he will never have the special time that every teenage boy needs from their dad.  I did have someone tell me today the Nick (our son) is a really good boy...and that I have done a really good job raising him.  I really didn't do it alone, after all he did have Tom for those 13 years, so something must have rubbed off, but I have really tried hard to keep life in perspective and keep Nick moving forward in a positive way.  It was really nice to hear that Nick is the boy I always hoped he would be.  We are grandparents to a one year old baby girl and she is being cheated out of having her grandpa to love and spoil her...and I feel cheated out of playing Grandma and Grandpa as a team, but Lily will know who her Grandpa is through pictures and stories.  I think of all the future plans we had and how they will never be...sometimes it is hard to envision the future when my whole future was filled with Tom.

I am like so many of you, I still have all of Tom's things.  I haven't moved them and have no intention to do so any time soon (even his toothbrush is still in the holder).  Even though he is no longer here, he is such a part of my life and this house I cannot eliminate him from it...I know he is not coming home, but I think I still live our life like he is just away at work.  He worked for the railroad and spent a lot of time away from home.  I now realize that his working away from home was getting me ready for this new life; it has taught me a certain amount of independence.  No matter how long Tom is gone I still feel very married.  I still wear my rings and probably always will.

I have just realized that in the past 26 months I have not stayed away from my house for more than a few hours at a time and I am about to take a big step for me.  I know that in the beginning I intentionally stayed home.  Even when I was invited to go places, I couldn't bring myself to be away from our home, but as time went on I was doing it subconsciously, not realizing I was staying here because it was comfortable and easier than having to do something without Tom.  Well, this weekend will be the first time I have actually stayed somewhere besides my own bed...I know how silly that must sound, but it feels like a huge thing right now. 

After losing Tom I decided I had to do something to become financially independent (something I have never been, I was always well taken care of by Tom)...I had been an in-home daycare provider and stay at home mom for the past 10 years, before that we owned our own meat/grocery/deli store...I haven't been in the real workforce since 1997.  After Tom, I decided to go to college and earn a degree in Medical Administration.  This weekend I will graduate with a true degree, something I never thought I wanted or needed until this new life.  I have been so blessed (I know, how can I say that when I have lost my Tom) I not only made the decision to go to college, but I was lucky enough to earn a full scholarship by sharing our story, I held a 4.0 and was on the dean's list each semester, and then, I was also featured in the LA Times, again because of our story.  I do feel blessed for being able to get through school, it wasn't always easy, but it was a great distraction sometimes from the pain I was going through.  Taking classes gave me something to focus on besides myself.  Now that it is time to graduate, I am taking a BIG STEP and going to my graduation where I will actually spend two nights away from home (our kids will be there for moral support).  As pathetic as that sounds, it feels huge to me...like it is one step toward my newfound independence and maybe a small part of moving forward.   

 

I wish everyone here peace and comfort to ease the hurt...hugs to all!!

 

I thought I'd share the links to my essay and the LA TIMES article: 

 

http://www.elearners.com/careerstimuluspackage/scholarship-recipien...

 

http://onlineblog.bryantstratton.edu/following-tragedy-one-mother-f...

 

Views: 177

Replies to This Discussion

Congratulations Marlena! How wonderful for you! In many ways I identify to you and your "story." We share several similarities, although I do envy the time you had with Tom which was much longer than what I had with Larry. But as you may recall, Nick was about the same age as my stepson when their Dads died, I have a 1 year old granddaughter also, and I too attend college. Many of the feelings you express are my feelings. I am very happy & proud for you to have persevered with obtaining your education so that you can provide a better life for yourself and your family. You also are setting a great example to them. I tried to follow your link but this c'puter won't let me. I will try again later. Again~ CONGRATS!!!! :-D
Marlena, Congratulations, I think it is wonderful that you did this and am very proud of you. It is a big step and a great step forward and I wish you all the best.Hugs to you.
Marlena, that's great! I just read the article. I attend through online classes as well. It takes self discipline & committment. I wish you well in all your future endeavors.

Kathy,

Ha...if she did that at 82, think of all we can still accomplish...we are not even close to 82 yet!  Thank you for reading my story...I love to be able to share Tom with anyone who will listen.  My graduation was Friday at 4:00...sorry, I didn't get your post till just now.

It is amazing what the accomplishment of that degree can do for us...I can completely understand now how proud both Bill and your daughter were of you on completing your degree.

Thank you so much for the kind words and thoughts

Hugs!

 

 

Kathy King said:

I wanted to share a funny. At my graduation there was an 82 year old graduate they honored for being the oldest and she was getting her MASTERS. Keep on keeping on was her motto. I felt old at 56 til she walked. We all gave her a standing ovation. I graduated in May of 2005, met my dear Bill in June and we were married in September and never stopped. It was a busy life but I knew I was ready for Bill because I had found myself through all those classes and all the friends I made. I had been divorced and knew I needed get my life on track so school helped me get out and about. It was wonderful. Bill liked to tease about his college graduate wife..Do good girl and know that we are with you. What is the exact day and hour so we can be thinking of you?? Hugs friend

 

Marlena said:


Kathy,

Thank you...and congratulations to you on yours a few years ago.  It will be exciting to walk, it is something I never thought I would do.  I laughed when you said you still haven't used your degree because everyone keeps asking me when I am going out to get a job.  I laugh at them and tell them that telling me to find a job is like swearing at me, they better wash their mouths out with soap, hehe.  I might look for part time (a day or two a week), but I really don't want full-time until Nick goes off to college.  I feel like I need to be here for him as much as possible right now.

I'll give you updates when I get back.

Thanks again...Hugs to you!


Kathy King said:

Marlena, thats a very big step and we are all so very proud of you. Good for you. You need to walk that graduation walk and know that your dear one is right beside you cheering you on. I just graduated myself in 2005 from college and it felt so good. I still haven't used the degree for anything but I know its there and just earning it was a triumph. I made sure I walked too just because I needed to recognize myself and what I did for me. My children were very supportive and I'm glad yours are too. We will be waiting to hear all about it..

Christy,

Thank you so much!  It is very exciting to have accomplished something I never thought I would have to do.  It feels good to say I have done this on my own...well, with lots of family support anyway, but the fact is I did it!  Thank you for reading the article...I felt so honored to be asked to do a story and share our story and my online experience.

I think we connected immediately, too.  We are close in age, the boys were close in age when they lost their dads and both of our Loves left us so suddenly and without warning...and I didn't realize that you had a 1 yr old granddaughter and go to college (or maybe my scrambled brain just didn't remember)...we definitely have a lot in common!  I am so glad to have the connection! 

So, now it's your turn to keep plugging away on those classes and keep us informed when your graduation times comes.  Best of luck to you and I can't wait to hear more.

Lots of Hugs!!!

Christy said:

Congratulations Marlena! How wonderful for you! In many ways I identify to you and your "story." We share several similarities, although I do envy the time you had with Tom which was much longer than what I had with Larry. But as you may recall, Nick was about the same age as my stepson when their Dads died, I have a 1 year old granddaughter also, and I too attend college. Many of the feelings you express are my feelings. I am very happy & proud for you to have persevered with obtaining your education so that you can provide a better life for yourself and your family. You also are setting a great example to them. I tried to follow your link but this c'puter won't let me. I will try again later. Again~ CONGRATS!!!! :-D

Debbie,

Thank you so much!  It has been a whirlwind, but I'm so glad I took that step to do something positive.

How are you doing?  We haven't connected in a while.  I hope the roller coaster ride is getting a little less bumpy or at least there are a few more ups than downs these days.  I hope you are doing okay...thinking of you!

 

Debbie Treadway said:

Marlena, Congratulations, I think it is wonderful that you did this and am very proud of you. It is a big step and a great step forward and I wish you all the best.Hugs to you.

Well, I did it!!! I am an offical college graduate!  Never in my life did I think I would say those words.  And I survived staying away from home overnight for two nights, actually it wasn't bad at all.  I think having the kids there made it so much easier.  I haven't had them all to myself and all together in such a long time...it was a perfect weekend!!!

The online students had a graduation dinner Thursday night and some of us were recognized for our accomplishments...mine was Honor Society and Summa Cum Laude for my 4.0.  Graduation was Friday and the online students graduated with the rest of the campuses.  The school gave out a special Director's Award for one student at each campus and one to an online student for that student's grades, participation, involvement, and dedication and I was chosen from all the online students (about 60) for this award.  I was sooo shocked...what an honor to be chosen by the faculty and staff!  I had to walk up on stage alone for this before they passed out our degrees...I was shaking and of course I started crying (which I do a lot when it is something I wish Tom was there for).  I had no idea it was coming!  Then, to have that degree in my hand was a huge moment...all I could think was that I wish My Bunzy was here to be a part of this, but then again, I know that if he was still here I wouldn't have gotten a degree because there would have been no need for it.  I really missed him being there this weekend...

I guess I can say that I accomplished two things...I really did finish my degree and I finally was able to sleep away from my bed, something I have not been able to bring myself to do in over 26 months.  I call that progress.  I know Tom is there nudging me along in everything I do...he has helped to put these opportunities before me so that I can get through this life.  With Tom by my side and God giving me the courage to face each day I will get where I need to be.

Right now, I have no idea where this life is leading me, but I am following it wherever it takes me.

Thank you so much to everyone for your words of encouragement and support...You have also helped to hold me up and get me through these dark times...You are my saviors! 

Blessings and comfort to you all!

 

HooRay!! Way to go! You are doing it lady, one step at a time & look how far you've already come. This isn't the life we would choose, but we owe it to ourselves & our loved ones to make the most of the hand we are dealt. Like it or not, you are a role model of perseverence~ Smile! :-D

Marlena said:

Well, I did it!!! I am an offical college graduate!  Never in my life did I think I would say those words.  And I survived staying away from home overnight for two nights, actually it wasn't bad at all.  I think having the kids there made it so much easier.  I haven't had them all to myself and all together in such a long time...it was a perfect weekend!!!

The online students had a graduation dinner Thursday night and some of us were recognized for our accomplishments...mine was Honor Society and Summa Cum Laude for my 4.0.  Graduation was Friday and the online students graduated with the rest of the campuses.  The school gave out a special Director's Award for one student at each campus and one to an online student for that student's grades, participation, involvement, and dedication and I was chosen from all the online students (about 60) for this award.  I was sooo shocked...what an honor to be chosen by the faculty and staff!  I had to walk up on stage alone for this before they passed out our degrees...I was shaking and of course I started crying (which I do a lot when it is something I wish Tom was there for).  I had no idea it was coming!  Then, to have that degree in my hand was a huge moment...all I could think was that I wish My Bunzy was here to be a part of this, but then again, I know that if he was still here I wouldn't have gotten a degree because there would have been no need for it.  I really missed him being there this weekend...

I guess I can say that I accomplished two things...I really did finish my degree and I finally was able to sleep away from my bed, something I have not been able to bring myself to do in over 26 months.  I call that progress.  I know Tom is there nudging me along in everything I do...he has helped to put these opportunities before me so that I can get through this life.  With Tom by my side and God giving me the courage to face each day I will get where I need to be.

Right now, I have no idea where this life is leading me, but I am following it wherever it takes me.

Thank you so much to everyone for your words of encouragement and support...You have also helped to hold me up and get me through these dark times...You are my saviors! 

Blessings and comfort to you all!

 

Christy, Thank you!  It is hard to keep plugging along somedays.  You are so right, we have to make the most of it and just keep moving because the universe says so.  My goal everyday is to make Tom proud and honor him in everything I do...that is my motivation.

 

Thanks for all you love and support!


Lots of hugs for you!

 

Christy said:

HooRay!! Way to go! You are doing it lady, one step at a time & look how far you've already come. This isn't the life we would choose, but we owe it to ourselves & our loved ones to make the most of the hand we are dealt. Like it or not, you are a role model of perseverence~ Smile! :-D

Marlena said:

Well, I did it!!! I am an offical college graduate!  Never in my life did I think I would say those words.  And I survived staying away from home overnight for two nights, actually it wasn't bad at all.  I think having the kids there made it so much easier.  I haven't had them all to myself and all together in such a long time...it was a perfect weekend!!!

The online students had a graduation dinner Thursday night and some of us were recognized for our accomplishments...mine was Honor Society and Summa Cum Laude for my 4.0.  Graduation was Friday and the online students graduated with the rest of the campuses.  The school gave out a special Director's Award for one student at each campus and one to an online student for that student's grades, participation, involvement, and dedication and I was chosen from all the online students (about 60) for this award.  I was sooo shocked...what an honor to be chosen by the faculty and staff!  I had to walk up on stage alone for this before they passed out our degrees...I was shaking and of course I started crying (which I do a lot when it is something I wish Tom was there for).  I had no idea it was coming!  Then, to have that degree in my hand was a huge moment...all I could think was that I wish My Bunzy was here to be a part of this, but then again, I know that if he was still here I wouldn't have gotten a degree because there would have been no need for it.  I really missed him being there this weekend...

I guess I can say that I accomplished two things...I really did finish my degree and I finally was able to sleep away from my bed, something I have not been able to bring myself to do in over 26 months.  I call that progress.  I know Tom is there nudging me along in everything I do...he has helped to put these opportunities before me so that I can get through this life.  With Tom by my side and God giving me the courage to face each day I will get where I need to be.

Right now, I have no idea where this life is leading me, but I am following it wherever it takes me.

Thank you so much to everyone for your words of encouragement and support...You have also helped to hold me up and get me through these dark times...You are my saviors! 

Blessings and comfort to you all!

 

Marlena, You did it! Congratulations!!! That was a very big step. Keep on walking down this new path, and your confidence will grow with each success, and Tom will be watching with a smile in your heart.

Thank you, Maggie!

I feel like I have grown and progressed while going to school.  I have gained back some of my confidence and independence, too.  I like to think that Tom is by my side nudging me along on this new path.  I want so much to make him proud!

Hugs!!
Maggie Poxson said:

Marlena, You did it! Congratulations!!! That was a very big step. Keep on walking down this new path, and your confidence will grow with each success, and Tom will be watching with a smile in your heart.

Hi Marlena,

For you to have gone through school and obtained your Degree and special Director's Award and maintaining a 4.0 average and staying overnight and for accomplishing all that you did after your spouse passed away is such a tribute to you and the love you obviously shared with your husband you really deserve all the special attention you received with your children by your side.  This has been a huge step, and I am so happy for you.  I really don't think I could have done all that after my husband passed away.  I received my Associates, had a few clerical positions but being unable to work, I think God needed me to use the skills I learned for the time I ended up having with Danny, being his nurse so-to-speak, his secretary, his caretaker etc.  Now that I have gone through losing him I honestly don't think I could have done what you did.  The news stories about you and your essay are so moving.  I know I don't know you very well personally, but in the midst of your grief you have even come on legacy to give and receive support from others so I just wanted to let you know how remarkable, compassionate and intelligent you are as well as being a great Mom and one super lady. 

I also have had others compare my sorrow to divorce and separation from their spouse.  As someone else mentioned here that they really don't understand, but then again, how could they?  So, I try so hard not to let it bother me, but it still does.    

Last month I went on a retreat and I also felt a sense of independence for having spent a weekend in a hotel and sharing prayer meetings and meals with basic strangers.  I don't know what got into me.  I can't believe I actually did that.  Without Danny?  In my own small way, not to be compared with your accomplishments, but I have a sneaking suspicion that God and Danny had a little something to do with pushing me into going away and not even telling 'our' 2 sons until I got back.  Their Mom never did anything like that before, and even though they're in their 30's, I surprised myself and they were more surprised when I told them 2 weeks after I came back, which was when they asked me, "What's new?"  LoL

But, just to let you know, I believe God is with you and is blessing you, and whatever your endeavors, you already are fulfilling His plan.   Congratulations on everything.  Take care.

God bless,

Suzanne 

 

 

 

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