With And Without Experience

People ask me how I’m doing.  I don’t know whether I should tell the truth or not.  Usually I make up some kind of mixture of truth and tact.

My husband, Andrew, died in July.  This July.  July 6th.  He had a heart attack.  He was only 55.

So as of today he’s been gone two months.  I think I really thought he would never die.  That sounds strange, I know.  But now the totally unthinkable has happened, and I’m learning how to live without him.  In a way he’s still here…..in us, in the love for our new house, in the stuff that he loved that sits around here…..

But mostly, we’re without.

Now it’s just my daughters and I.

I don’t mind when people ask how I am.  I’m glad people reach out in any way at all.  I’m not an extrovert.  That was Andrew, the first to knock on a door and make a friend.  For the most part I’m not comfortable knocking on doors or picking up the phone to ask for company.

So if you asked how I am, and I gave you the straight answer, I would say that I am having a hard time because this is not the experience I signed up for.  I’m not pitying myself; I realize that no one receives the grand experiences of their wildest dreams.  My husband had some grand experiences in all his travels but he also lived and loved the experience of every normal day….finding a penny on the sidewalk, finding out something new about another human…..

But even with that I KNOW that this new experience I’m living is not the adventure he would have wanted for me.  He would not have wanted there to be no choice for me, this life without.

Still, this has to be my experience, even though I have no experience…..

He would want me to do this well.  I owe it to him.  All the love he gave, all the days he worked, all the early mornings he worried….I have to take what he gave and keep giving.

So that’s the challenge….to do well what I have never done, what I never intended to do.

I am not alone.  I realize that everyone I pass by every day is probably fighting his or her own battle to meet challenges and succeed.  I am not alone in that I have some wonderful people in my life.  I know that their strength and knowledge will help me.  I am not alone, too, because I have my daughters here with me.

It feels like mission impossible.

But…. Tomorrow will come, and I will do what I need to do.  It is what I want to do.  And I want to do it well.

If you are a friend reading this, thank you.  Please ask how I am.  Please tell me if you’re OK.  If you are someone who has lost a spouse I hope you find the strength to do what you need to do.  Whoever you are I hope you can “do today” with or without experience and do it well.

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17 thoughts on “With And Without Experience

  1. I think of you and the girls so much . I knew it would be hard because Andrew was just such a great dynamic personality … Take that out of a family and there has to be hole thats unfillable. But all of you are dynamic personalities too each in your own way. Darcy you are just so filled with talent and sweetness that you shine ! Each if your girls have their own talent and sweetness .. A littlle of you and Andrew both . I have to say that I get a little angry with God for taking Andrew so soon. I am dealing with so much here right now but we are old and not going to leave an unfillable hole …. I wish so much I could help or say something to make it better. Please hug the girls for me … Please keep sharing your talents and your smiles with the folks who know and miss you .. Stay close


    • Mary Ann,
      All your good thoughts are very much enough. Thank you for your friendship, too. I believe you will leave an “unfillable hole!” Please don’t underestimate your loving and musical mark on the world.


  2. I think of you often Darcy. Keep taking it one day, even one hour, at a time. Let the emotions come and talk about him. I had two miscarriages about 6 years ago. Not the same as you by far, but they were losses. I discovered that people don’t like to talk about loss to those who have lost. They talk around the loss, but when those emotions were so close to the surface, I wanted people to ask me about it. I needed to talk about my feelings. No one did and I felt so lost. But….it’s hard to go up to people and say, hey, I need to talk about the children I lost and the lives I had planned out in my mind for them that will never be. I remember going with friends about 2 or three months after the second one. We went to the beach. It was winter, but we went anyway. I can distinctly remember looking out at the ocean and just feeling this wave of peace come over me. I looked out at the endless ocean and just felt that the world was so much bigger than me. For some reason that’s when I started to heal. I felt as if a weight was lifted. I don’t know why, and it came so unexpectedly. I hope you find your moment too. I admire you for posting this. You are going to make it through this. A life “with” is there somewhere. It will slowly become part of your experiences and then you’ll be living it. A life with joys. A life where you feel like it’s ok to smile and laugh. A life with a future. A life with adventure. A life with happy memories. Hang in there…..


    • Dear Chris,
      I am so sorry for your loss. I think I understand how you feel about needing to talk about personal loss. I think, as listeners, we just don’t know what to say when someone is grieving…..and it’s easier to avoid the awkwardness. I love your ocean story. Thank you for your kind words and for your honesty.


  3. That was beautiful, Darcy. I do wonder how you are doing and I am sure it is a lot easier in a way to make people feel comfortable. But real friends can share the truth of a bad day with you. You and I have never been really close, but I do pray for you every day.


  4. Beautifully expressed. I think of you all every day. I wonder if you know how many people do think of you all each day…people like me that your family touched in what seemed like a small, temporary way, and yet you all linger with me as you do with others. There are so many of us that think of you and Andrew and the girls. I am glad that you are doing. Keep doing.


    • Hi Brooke:
      Thanks for writing here. Everyone’s support has been so huge and slightly overwhelming. We feel very fortunate to know so many wonderful people, and I’m sure I really have no idea how many people do think of us…. I am thankful for each one, and I know without you all I’d be having a totally different experience…..


  5. I hope you keep on doing what you didn’t think you’d have to do, Darcy. It’s the only way to trudge through the mud of time following this thing called loss. The amount of time that we trudge is different for each of us, but we drag our feet through every day for however long it takes. I don’t like having this in common with you, but it’s a commonality on levels that hadn’t even occurred to me. Andrew was 55, Denny was just shy of 55 by 12days. Cardiac arrest doing what they both enjoyed. Your house purchase was more recent, but we were still making our 1 1/2 year old home purchase just the way we wanted it on that Good Friday. Denny and Andrew were both outgoing, fun guys each in his own way. We, their fun, but possibly slightly less outgoing spouses who supported their adventures and loved them through everything good and bad in our lives. And, like you, I remember making myself leave the house, so that I could give the best of myself I could possibly give to every stranger I’d pass to brighten their day. This, too, because the new level of empathy that I developed through my loss was prime to use. Needed to be used. For them. And for me. Darcy, I do think of you. So much time and space has slipped between us. But you are thought of and prayed for often.


  6. Darcy, I’m Andrew’s first cousin, Cathy, in Colorado. I saw my mother go through the same thing you are when my father died of a sudden heart attack at age 52 on his way home from swimming laps. One thing I would advise is do not make any big decisions, big moves, big anything for at least a year. My mother bounced all around the country, and no matter where you go or what you are doing, the mourning process is hanging there, waiting for you. I think it is wonderful that you are expressing your feelings to your friends – this will help the process. Also, please give your kids as much attention as you can. They are hurting, too.

    Hang in there. It’s something you have to go through to heal.

    Andrew was a great guy!

    xoxox Cathy


    • Dear Cathy,
      Thank you for your sound advice, and sharing a bit of yourself. I find comfort in hearing even a little of your story, and it helps me to feel less alone. I’m glad that I can be connected to Andrew’s family!


  7. Darcy, I have read your stream of real thoughts about 6 times. And I have read the comments from others that you have triggered. Just know that this is a huge bump in the road for your family, but Andrew would not want you to do anything less than what you are doing. And you are so on target when you say you are not alone. The pain in your heart is real but the love that all your friends and family are sending to you and the girls is just as real. Your close neighbor…


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