Monday, March 21, 2011


I have never in my life wished a weekend away as much as I am now.  A nightmare of a weekend to end a horrible week; it all seemed to match so nicely.  And yet, I feel like our life is in shambles, crumbling around me.

I thought I must have imagined the noises muffled by the opening and closing whoosh of the laundry room door.  I stopped my reading to listen a little closer, heard sniffling, and demanded someone to make it go away.  I knew something was wrong, and when I saw my husband's twisted face in the doorway, everything was confirmed and my heart sunk.  It took him a moment to compose himself enough to tell me.  "Dad died."  I have never been so dumbstruck, so heartbroken, and so desperate to take away someone else's pain and make it my own.

He disappeared to talk with his brother for what seemed like an eternity.  I panicked, called my mom sobbing and just kept saying, "I don't know what to do.  I don't know what to say."  And Ruby sat in the other room, confused at the chaos around her, saying, "You okay, momma?  It's okay."  I didn't venture to the office, where they were because I was fearful of intruding on extremely private moments only brothers could share in a time of such grief and heartache.  I sat pacing for awhile before settling into the couch to hold my babies.  I begged, silently pleaded, for anyone that might hear my intermost thoughts to please take this all away.  To make this only a misunderstanding; he wasn't dead.  Maybe it was someone else, or maybe they had thought him dead but he wasn't.  I wanted to badly to be shaken awake and for no one around me to have any recollection of such horrendous, vivid thoughts.

That didn't happen.

Jimmy finally came into the living room, where I sat holding girls, feeling like I was clinging to innocent life around me.  Ruby cautiously stroked Jimmy's arm, repeating her own terms of condolences and affection.  Jimmy whispered some tearful I love yous to all of us after telling me his died of a suspected heart attack.  Tossing out various decisions that had to be made, plans that needed to be discussed, and that was it.  The silence was deafening, and although it wasn't awkward, I felt desperate to fill it with something - anything - that would take his pain away.  Or at least dull the ache.

And there is nothing.  Nothing to say; not even the cliche stuff like, "He won't have to suffer pain here anymore."  He wasn't suffering; he wasn't even sick!  Jimmy blames himself for not calling to check on him after his dad complained of heartburn on Friday afternoon, but there wouldn't have been a different ending, unfortunately.  He did feel better that night when Jeremy had called to tell him about their baby.  Had Jimmy called, he would have told him he felt better and nothing further would have been said.  It's almost like he knew the outcome because he called several relatives there and asked for the same thing - that they check on him.  And when one couldn't reach a morning person on Saturday morning, he went to his house and found him peaceful in bed.

So instead, we held hands around our girls, and I told him that I loved him; that his dad knew he loved him too and that now his dad would get to keep watch over all of his grandchildren from Heaven.

It seems so unfair to have to watch my rock, my best friend, look so fragile and heartbroken and for me to be completely unable to make anything better for him.  To bury your dad at such a young age; I can't imagine, and I don't want to imagine going through it myself.  Because I am selfish.  It's hard enough having to do it with my husband.
I'm selfish thinking about plans that won't be carried out now.  I'm selfish wondering if our lives will ever be the same, or even resemble our "normal".


The last 2 days have been so unbelievably difficult and heartbreaking.  But we're plodding through, little bits at a time.  I have such an admiration for my husband.  In a time where he is so vulnerable, he plays with his children and expresses his love in between tearful recollections of various exchanges with his dad in the last few weeks.  He fights the difficult battles with decisions having to be made, he has executed travel plans, and we have cried together over various quirks that will be missed about his dad.  

Watching him tear up as he did a double take of our wedding photos as we went upstairs for bed.  Hearing my mom reference my dad as Papa to my girls, and knowing how hurt he was.  Hearing him already tell past tense stories about his Dad to his girls while I was in the other room completely rips me apart.

I feel so helpless with everything; I never want to go through such a thing again, and yet I know that's naive to wish.  We are bound to experience heartache again.  And I know we will continue to get through things just as we are now.  I am so thankful to have an amazing husband; someone that can share smiles in the face of tragedy, someone that loves his wife and children absolutely unconditionally, and someone that prides himself on taking care of his family - putting them first.

We will get through this; there will be tough times, and there will be easier times.
We leave Tuesday; I'm flying with a newborn and a toddler on a 50 passenger plane.  To say I am nervous and anxious would be an extreme understatement.  But I'm going that far, and will be that close to my own grandparents, so I'll be making a short trek to visit them, and I know I will make their year.  We aren't guaranteed tomorrow, and I don't want to take their existence for granted.


Erin said...

I cannot imagine how you must be feeling right now, having to cope with taking care of a newborn on top of your own grief. You have my prayers.

Sheena said...

my prayers are with your family!

Hillary (Mrs. Einstein) said...

Oh, Hillary. I am so sorry for you and your family! You all are definitely in my prayers.

Jean H. said...

Oh my gosh, I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. went through this 12+ years ago when my father passed at 59, after his first round of brain aneursyms at 49. The hurt gets better, but the aches is always there. Blessings while you all travel.

Hannah said...

I am so sorry, Hilary. Like you said, I can't imagine burying one of my parents this young. My prayers are with all of you. I hope you have a wonderful trip to see your grandparents.

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I will keep your family in prayer.

Unknown said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your husband and his family.

Stephanie Hargis said...

Please know that we are praying for you and your family as you go through this. I hope the time spent with your family can start the healing process. I'm so sorry for your loss.

LaVonne said...

Wow! I can't imagine losing my father. I am praying for you and your beautiful family. I realize that it is not easy to fly with such a young baby. Kind of scary too. I will think of you tomorrow as you fly and say another prayer.

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