When I sat down on that hospital floor the night Howie died, I felt like I wasn’t really there, that this wasn’t really happening. Logically, I knew it was but it felt almost as if I was watching a bad movie that I was starring in.
This feeling stayed with me for a while, although never as bad as that night. My therapist later told me that this is a common feeling during a traumatic experience because your body is almost in shock. Your brain is trying to protect itself by not letting you believe what is happening all at once because it is too painful. It only lets a little in at a time.
In the Jewish religion we sit shiva when someone dies. I wanted to do this for a full week even though I am not religious. Sometimes people will only sit for a few days but I was afraid to be alone. I wanted to be surrounded by friends and family so I wouldn’t have to face what was going to come next. I wanted my kids to have friends surrounding them so that they would feel happier, even if it was temporary.
And I certainly had friends and family. There were so many people coming and going that week that I couldn’t keep track of who was there and who wasn’t. My girls and I now joke how after the funeral our kitchen was so crowded that it took an hour just to get through it.
People came from all over. There were those that didn’t know me but knew Howie. There were people that didn’t know Howie but knew me. His coworkers and clients came. My in-law’s friends were there as well as my parent’s friends. I saw people I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years.
It was so touching and I was so grateful. I loved to see how many people loved us, and all of the lives that Howie had touched.
Someone said to me during those days that while it is so nice that people surround you in the first few weeks, after a while they all get back to their own lives and that’s when you’re really alone. I am sure that is the case a lot of the time. But this is where I was lucky – that did not happen to me.
I said it then and I still say it now – I have the best friends and family in the world.
They stood by me then and still do to this day. I have so many stories of how they have helped me and the amazing things they do for me.
As much as I didn’t want it to be, this was really happening…
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.