Long before Bob got cancer, long before we thought about our mortality with any seriousness, we did things that have made the logistics of Bob’s passing a little smoother?…I guess that’s the word. When our kids were born, I insisted we have a living trust done. We had life insurance. We had a will and an advance health care directive that guided our decisions in Bob’s final days. For his funeral, Bob specified how he wanted things handled. That was a benefit of knowing he was going to die…he was able to articulate what he wanted, make sure his wishes were known so that I could honor them. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be guessing at those things at that time. I’m still in a fog. Having to make the simplest of decisions is difficult. I couldn’t decide whether or not to toast bread yesterday. (I went with crackers.)
Other things we had in place already were our mental healthcare professionals for grief counseling for the kids and me, an accountant, and a financial planner, all of whom are people we’ve known for years, some of them close friends of ours who want nothing more than to make sure our family, Bob’s family, is taken care of the way he would have taken care of us. This is an enormous blessing. Huge!
And still? It is still really fucking hard.
My husband is still dead.
My kids still don’t have their dad.
I still climb into bed alone, wake up alone, and plan for a future alone.
I still walk past the Father’s Day card display at Target and cry.
I still drive past a dad pushing his son and daughter in a jogging stroller and remember how Bob used to push our kids down that same street when we’d go to get ice cream at the Foster’s Freeze on summer nights, and I will drop my head to the steering wheel and cry.
I watch Bob’s favorite movies with our son and laugh through tears while he laughs at Daddy’s favorite parts.
I still have my heart broken every time I see my daughter grab for her Green Bay Packers hat in a panic in the morning when she wakes because it was Daddy’s hat, and she cannot bear the thought of not wearing it, much less losing it.
I still sleep with the Ugly Doll he gave me the Christmas before his diagnosis when he had to do the Santa shopping because I’d had a hysterectomy on the 23rd because it makes me feel like a piece of him is with me and cushions that excruciating, searing pain that’s in my heart.
I still write our story, even when it hurts, even when it’s unpopular, even when it makes me cry, because he was my biggest fan and any time I even considered pulling down a post or giving up, he was the one who said, “Fuck no you won’t! You’ve changed too many lives. You have to write.”
I miss him with a largeness I cannot explain. Too big for any keyboard. Too big for my chest to contain. And so, I will keep writing through it. For me and for him.