When you get married or are in a committed living together relationship you rely on the other person for so much more than you even realize. You figure they will be there when you're sick and when you're old and when life knocks you down.
But what about when they leave? What about when they suddenly die, or tell you they don't love you anymore and walk out the door? What do you do then?
Do you secretly wish to be rescued? Have you had someone you loved leave you and when they left they left you in shambles, in pain, with a broken heart and a life that was in flames? Did you feel like you got dropped off in the middle of the desert and you had no idea how you were going to make your way back home?
I've been there. The day....the very day that my late husband shot himself in the heart I thought..........Holy shit. How do I breathe without him? How do I sleep without him? How do I raise our children without him? How do I grow old without him? If he's dead then where do I go? What do I do? Who's going to comfort me when I'm sad or take care of me if I'm sick or share life with me? Who?
I dreamed of a rescue.
I dreamed of someone......anyone showing up and saying......."It's ok. You go cry in the basement. You go running down the street screaming and come home later. I'll take care of the children. I'll cook dinner. I'll walk the dog. You rest. Everything is going to be ok."
And yes, people did try to reach out and help but of course everyone has their own life, their own families, their own children to raise.....their own tragedies to deal with.
There was no rescue.
No one stepped in and took his place.
No boat showed up to whisk me off to a life somewhere far, far away where I could be someone else and pretend my heart wasn't dead.
I secretly wished to be rescued. By anyone. By someone.
And you know what? I guess I rescued myself. For the past 937 days it has been me that shows up every single day to get me through all of it. I'm there to cry myself to sleep. I'm there to pick up the pieces of the blown apart life. I'm there taking care of our children. I'm there figuring out my future. I'm there taking care of the house and I'm there when our children ask why their Dad had to die.
And I guess I'm pretty good at it. I'm good at being here in this house and keeping on with my life, finding the joy again, healing my heart, and learning how to move forward. You get used to it after awhile.....maybe? You get used to trudging on and putting on your mud boots and stomping through life without anyone to hold your hand along the way.
And I still sometimes dream of that rescue boat showing up. Am I am damsel in distress that needs a man to take care of her? No way. Do I need someone to love me and pick up all the pieces because I'm not strong enough to do it myself? No. Do I need someone to take care of me financially or to fill me with love because I'm broken? No. I've already been doing it. I'm my own damn rescue boat since that day....937 days ago. I've never walked out on me, on my children, on my life.
But do I still dream of someone saying .........."It's ok, Nik. You don't have to do it all alone. I'm here. You be here for me and I'll be here for you." Yes.......sure I have dreams about that. My future was wiped clean the day my husband died so I've had dreams of packing it all up and moving to the country.....to the sticks....to the boonies. I've had dreams of when my children are grown that I would move somewhere far away. I've had dreams of selling my house and never coming back. I've had dreams of falling in love again and I've had dreams of living alone for the rest of my life. Suddenly being a widow can leave you kind of at a loss of which road to choose. So what have I been doing? I've just being going with my gut, following my heart, watching for the paths that the universe opens up and reveals to me.
It's tough being tough for so long. You just want to take a nap and have someone else clean up the mess, the tears, the pieces.
Do you dream of being rescued but keep it to yourself? I understand. It's not something we talk about....do we? We think it means we are weak when really? It takes a very strong person to say out loud.....Hey, I can't do this all alone. Most of us who have been knocked down by tragedy and had someone walk out and leave them behind.....most of us just keep on trucking. We keep on living. We are in survival mode sometimes but we're getting shit done.
This is where self-love comes into the story. We must teach our children about self-love because when your spouse dies? Or your lover leaves? Or your life is burned to the ground? A rescue boat just might not show up. You just might have to power through the storms by yourself and hopefully with the offering of help from close friends and family. But they can't do your life for you. It's up to us to heal our hearts, pick up the pieces, raise the children, and keep on moving forward.
And still? And still it's ok to dream of a rescue. To dream of someone showing up in your life and holding your hand, looking into your eyes, and telling you that you're not alone. That they will help clean up the mess that they didn't even create. That they think your scars are beautiful. That they are so sorry that this tragedy and heartbreak happened to you but they are grateful that you came into their life and they aren't going to let you go.
It's ok to be strong, to want to do it all alone because you like it that way or because you are afraid of being hurt again, and it's also ok to wish sometimes to be rescued. You can be both. You can feel both. It's human. It's so damn human.