Today marks a milestone in the Davis family. It is hard to believe that 10 years ago was the day my husband took his own life. As I look back over the last 10 years it is bittersweet. I can still remember that day 10 years ago and every detail of it. If I choose to think about it I can remember everything. On that day my world fell apart. Everything I knew was suddenly ripped from me and I was thrust alone into this seemingly dark world of going it alone.
What I’ve found over the last 10 years is that I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be. I am more capable than I ever knew. I am able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. Oops…confused myself with superman again. I have found that no situation is so hopeless that you cannot find some reason to find humor or a smile. I’ve found life is hard but if you persevere you can get through it. I’ve found that grief isn’t neatly packaged into the six steps in order but they go back and forth, you skip some, you revisit some, you think you’re past it all and them one stage sneaks up and slaps you in the face demanding more time. I’ve found I am a better parent than I thought I could be as well as the worst parent that ever tried to parent.
In the last 10 years, we’ve stayed home, homeschooled, traveled, met people, volunteered, adventured beyond our wildest dreams. We’ve explored Viking towns and kayaked through ice caves!
When I meet new people and all the pleasantries are exchanged and they find out I’m a widow the response is always the same. “I’m sorry”. Which is a normal response but the truth is, I’m not sorry. Because of my husband’s death or maybe in spite of it, the kids and I have done more than we would ever have done if he had not made his choice. It may sound cold-hearted but it isn’t. He made his choice. He chose not to live, he chose not to love. If he had chosen to stay with us I would have continued to try to be the good wife. But when he took that option away, I had no choice but to be, to continue to live my life and I choose to live my life looking for joy when and where we find it. I choose to live my life loving others. I choose LIFE!
When people meet my children and they learn they are fatherless, they express sorrow and most of my children have come to the same conclusions I have and they usually respond that they are NOT sorry. They have chosen to embrace life and live it.
When I look at my children I see strength in them they wouldn’t have found with their father still here. I see compassion they didn’t have before. I see their ability to tackle hard things and to find humor sometimes when perhaps others would only find tears. This year four of my children have lived more than half of their life without a father. Two cannot even remember him.
And as this Valentine’s day or V day as I called it for years comes I realize…it no longer holds the dread and pain that it did. The first few years I couldn’t go into any store once V day decorations started popping up. It was taunting me, reminding me of that horrible day. Little by little, I noticed the decorations stopped bothering me as much and now, they no longer hold any power over me. I no longer want to crawl into my bed at Thanksgiving and not come out until March.
For all of you struggling this year with something difficult. I hope and pray that my story encourages you to just keep going. I hear that little icy wizard in the Christmas special when he sings, “just put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking cross the floor. Just put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door.” Don’t look at the big picture and all the things, just take the next right step as they say. Just keep moving. Make it through this minute and you’ll make it through the next hour and then the next day, week, month and before you know it you will have survived an entire year. And I pray when you look back you wlil see that you are stronger than you ever knew.