Losing a child is not something that is easy for any parent. Conversely losing a parent is not any easier. Throughout our marriage Kevin lost his mom to cancer. I lost my dad and grandmother. These losses showed us how we each dealt with loss.
Kevin seemed to deal with loss by avoiding the emotions of it. I had seen this in the losses of both his grandmothers before we got married. Being there for him was always hard because he never really let me in.
This was no different when we learned about Kevin’s mother. She started off in the hospital for some testing. I am not sure of the leading events, but she went into cardiac arrest. This was most hard for Kevin’s brother as he was in her room when it happened.
Following her cardiac arrest, we all visited her in the local hospital. She was unconscious with a breathing tube and lots of IV’s. The doctors determined that she had advanced stages of small cell lung cancer. Their plan was to transport her to the primary hospital downtown that could handle these types of cases. When I was sitting with her in the local hospital with all of our family around, I could feel her still in the room. Her sister was reading to her, Kevin and I were talking with other family members. When I saw her after she was transported to the downtown hospital, I didn’t feel her anymore. I just saw a body, no sense of her spirit.
My heart broke that day. I knew Kevin was losing his mother. Although he had his brother and stepdad present along with me, he still remained closed off. He never let me in. All I could do for him is be there and support him and his family the best I knew how.
Kevin was just as closed off when I lost my father. The first time I saw Kevin cry over a loss was when my father died. I am not sure if all that emotion was strictly for my father or if it was years of emotions that he had kept in because of previous losses.
The difficulty I had learning of my father’s cancer was my relationship with him. I had always felt rejected. This feeling was no different when Kevin and I married. My dad always seemed to be more connected with Kevin. I always felt unwanted.
Going to see him for the first time after his diagnosis was the scariest for me. The day was August 8th. I struggled with my feelings for him and I didn’t know how he was going to respond and I didn’t know how I was going to respond.
We were two miles from the house. The back roads of Kentucky were windy and thick with trees. As we got closer to the right turn down to my dad’s street I started feeling nervous, scared, hurt, every emotion that I had ever harbored about my dad came up. I took a deep breath when we pulled into the driveway. At that moment I chose to just love him, just be with him.
I walked in the door, he was wearing a white t-shirt and shorts and put his arms around me and didn’t let go for a very long time. I had never felt so much love, so much regret and so much emotion toward me from this man in my life. I will never forget that feeling of his arms around me. I hold on to that moment whenever I feel sad, lonely or hurt.
Thanksgiving would be that last time were were all together as a family. Our first family thanksgiving in a very long time. My dad got to see his grand-daughter for the last time. My brother, me and my dad got to do the two things my dad loved, hunt and fish.
My dad took me and my brother on one last fishing trip together as a family. We had not done that in so many years. I knew his intention. He wanted to make amends, to apologize. He did it in the best way he knew how. But that is not the memory I cherish. The memory I cherish is me talking with him before he went to bed for the evening. I told him to promise me that he would watch over my daughter.
My dad passed about a month later.
During these times of loss, I never felt that Kevin was there for me. He wasn’t there when my grandmother passed. He wasn’t there for me when my dad passed. When his mother passed, he didn’t allow me to be there for him. He was always closed off and distant. This made going through these losses very lonely, for both of us.