It wasn’t so long ago that I was that smug woman! You know–the one with the gorgeous husband who she couldn’t get enough of, two beautiful children and later came a crazy dog. Carefree and oblivious to the fact that change was coming.
Because we as two strangers accidently bumped into each other one night, I had long enjoyed a life I had always dreamt of — with Brendan John Maloney, and couldn’t have been happier. How do people get that lucky? I don’t know! Sometimes good things happen to good people.
Today I am a widow whose incredible husband passed way too early from an aggressive cancer. He was only 45. My life looks completely different to that smug woman’s now. I miss him like crazy and her a little too, but I know at some point, up there in the cosmos, we chose to come down and do this dance together, as it was. Not being able to imagine a life on earth without each other, we took what we were given — a short time together over no time together. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
My grief started the moment Bren was diagnosed and up until August the 31st, the day he left us, I shared that grief with him. We worked on it together and as always we were quite the team. He supported me and me him throughout the whole rollercoaster ride cancer put us on. So in answer to the ‘are you Ok?’ question that I thank everyone for asking from the bottom of my heart — I will say Yes, as OK as we can be at this point. The grief is not new to the kids and I, it has been a work in progress, a part of our everyday life since Bren’s diagnosis. We have lived and breathed it, together, every step of the way.
Losing Bren wasn’t shockingly quick like an accident, leaving us to flounder; it was shocking over a long period of time and so he carried us this far, showing us by his own actions how to have the strength we would need to move forward, even when all we want to do most day’s is look back. And we do that too, a lot, because our memories are amazing.
One of the most important things we wanted to make sure the kids understood, when the time came, was even though dad was gone it was still OK to laugh and be happy about things. That they didn’t have to be sad all the time to prove how much they loved him — they and I had shown him through our actions our whole lives together how much we loved him. The four of us carry that love eternally, we are forever linked heart by heart. I assured them that daddy didn’t leave us wondering about our love, and that when he looks down and watches over us as we laugh it will make him laugh too. Our happiness will make him happy. It always has.
I supported my husband in everything he did throughout our twenty two years together. I would never have held him back in life and refuse to now in my grief. I will not chain him to that grief. He has been through enough. He needs to be free of earthly worries now so he can enjoy the peace, beauty and lightness of being that he has earned and deserves. If we are OK and can be happy down here he can be happy up there.
I talk to Bren all the time and feel his gentle guidance clearly…knowing that he trusts the choices I make, especially where the kids are concerned. We have a strong foundation of solidarity that we built over many years together, especially when it comes to our little family and so I still have that to work with. Even so, I continue to miss having him right next to me, physically, and think I always will. However, he has left those of us he loves down here in no doubt that he is with us all the time…in not so very subtle ways.
It seems life on the other side might be pretty good! With Bren up there, it couldn’t not be.