After being reminded via text to take care of my son’s hamster this morning by someone who isn’t family, I felt compelled to write about this aspect of grief. Despite the clear negativity that is also present.
Jesse and I really became engulfed in the cycle of our lives. Unless it was pertaining to his work, our immediate family, or law school, it was unlikely we were going to have the time for it. We had friends stop by, but a random vacation out of town for 4 days with friends was just out of the question.
Sadly, this ordeal has reminded me how much support we have. Overwhelming support and how many friends we both had. A GoFundMe was made for me by his cousin when bills were the last thing on my mind. My phone almost got shut off and Jesse’s income wouldn’t be coming in anymore. Any assets he has, I still don’t have control over because of various reasons (they have to be probated, the company needs a death certificate, etc). On the last day when Verizon sent me a reminder to pay the bill, I was able to pay it because of the GoFundMe. Additionally, so far we have our mortgage paid until June and I am hoping this week to have the mortgage paid up until December. That gives me a year with our largest and most stressful bill gone. Hopefully I will graduate on time and get a job. I also plan on refinancing the house next year because Jesse and I had knocked out all of our credit card debt, and that should make our mortgage more manageable. My kids have needed numerous “distractions,” ( Okay, so it’s always on our mind, but toys make them forget for a second or an activity), and I’ve been able to get them things they need. I still keep restrictions on it, but like I ordered R an Ant Farm that should be here this week. He’s really into taking care of creatures. I am hoping this offers him some solace as he cares for his ants and hamster.
My previous employer, a personal injury firm, who I haven’t worked for in 3 years has been supporting me without me even having to ask. The girls from my work paid my electric bill and have been in constant contact with me, letting me cry to them at 4am if I need to or vent about whatever it is I feel sad or angry about. My old boss, who is one of the best men in the world, along with his co-counsels and their spouses have made sure I am moving towards grief counseling, even offering to pay for it. Jesse’s employer, again which was already supportive to us, has made sure to help us anyway they can.
My law school has been checking in on me periodically. They have been working on a game plan so I still graduate but are being receptive to my needs. They have always been supportive anyway, just because I have children and am not a “normal” student. But the school and students have reached out offering to help me study, or ensuring I will pass the bar. They are reaching out and finding out who is in my class and who will be able to get me through each class, without any prompting.
A group of friends from middle school, which I probably haven’t seen in 15 years, had custom blankets made for me and children with Jesse’s photos on them. I have had countless people wash my dishes, make us dinner, and just talk to me while I sit on the couch. My house is messy and generally I haven’t showered, but they don’t flinch.
Jesse’s best friend and my children’s uncles/aunts have tried to make the kids feel a little normal by doing things Jesse would normally do with them. Whether it be putting a toy together or cooking something in the oven. My family and closest friends have spent countless hours at home with me so it wouldn’t be so silent here. Extended family has reached out to me offering what they can, a cousin of mine in Ohio sent me a drawing she did of Jesse and I by hand and it was very touching. Jesse’s extended family came down also and it is too bad they had to return home because their company was something I really enjoyed.
Our immediate family is struggling, but is still trying to hold it together. We are all pretty much just big clusters of messes trying to help other big clusters of messes. So having the support from friends is truly amazing. Our family is also doing the best they can to help me, while navigating their own grief. None of us had the “Losing Jesse 101 Handbook,” so it’s a little messy sometimes.
Despite COVID and the restrictions it put on the funeral- it was nice to see how many people came to Jesse’s funeral. I didn’t sit down for four hours because there was a revolving door of people. I wish he could see all of this. He would be upset at the pain but amazed at the people and so thankful to them for taking care of us.
I also get an influx of text and messages everyday. Which I can’t always reply to, but I read them and it offers me a moment to think about that text instead of other painful things. It also allows me to “schedule people out,” so I don’t have to be alone all the time. I was with someone for 13 years and he was just ripped from me in an instant. You don’t realize how deeply intertwined your relationship is with your spouse until they aren’t there. My friends who are very empathetic, have sent me the most poetic of words and understanding. I don’t feel rushed with them and that is nice.
There is a lot more than this too, but I am starting to get tired and I need to try and get an assignment done for school before I slip back into not caring. I think I am making progress, but it’s weird because if I make progress then I am essentially forming some sort of “new self,” one that Jesse doesn’t know about and that feels weird. I guess I will just have to remind myself that he knew me in my core, so he did already know how I would be and what I would do. He actually said if this ever happened I would be fine. He had utmost faith in me, except sometimes I think he was too confident.