KitKat has always been prone to temper tantrums. It’s just the way she is. I used to joke to John that she is more stubborn then the both of us combined and that is dangerous…and it became clear that it wasn’t such a joke after all. We learned early on that getting upset when she is having a tantrum doesn’t work. She can’t think or talk. Her storm has to pass and we have to be the adults and be there for her. Of course, I talk to her about it when she is calm and give her ideas when she gets upset. Sometimes, it works, most times, it doesn’t…
Today, she was tired and had a few small tantrums. At dinner, she was tired and hungry and when I made the wrong mac and cheese, she threw an epic tantrum. When I realized I was going to have to make another batch of it, I looked to John for support and I had an “Oh shit” moment-that he was dead and it was on me. It was always going to be on me. I got up and calmly walked to the garage, got in the car and cried. I couldn’t be in the house. I couldn’t be with my kids.
I went inside and made another batch of mac and cheese and KitKat happily ate. I couldn’t sit at the dinner table with them. I sat on the couch and I waited for them to be done. I wanted them to go to sleep. I wanted to be alone. I just wanted to cry and then, I did and I couldn’t stop. I tried. Izzy came over to me. I never want her to become the caregiver but she does. “Give me a minute. I just need to be sad.” It was more than a minute. I cried the whole time they were getting ready for bed. Izzy wanted to cuddle in the bed with me and when I got in, I cried harder, she held me and told me to breathe. I wished them good night and went downstairs.
I didn’t cry about John. I didn’t cry over his death. I didn’t cry for Izzy or KitKat. I cried for me. It’s not that I CAN’T do it alone, I HAVE to do it alone. I AM doing it alone. I don’t WANT to do it alone. I don’t want to be without John. Widowhood isn’t a journey, it’s hell. I don’t wear a badge of courage, I wear my grief and there is nothing wrong with that. Do you know how many times I have been told to be strong? Every night when I get in bed, I believe I am strong-I made it through the day without John. How is that not being strong? Do you know how much pressure I feel from society to “move on”? For me, moving on means waking up EVERY morning and knowing my day won’t have John in it and having to deal with that. It’s so hard. Right now, I am not a wife, a mother, a widow. I am Laura and damn it, I miss John.