Parenting after Losing a Spouse.
My husband committed suicide more than a year ago, leaving me as the sole parent of our three kids, ages 10, 5 and 2. I’ve been trying to follow that sage advice, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Trying and, lately, failing.
I’m sick of my own damn self, to be honest. And truly, I’ve no reason to be so full of self pity. But I am. And I loathe it. I’m always feeling one man short.
It’s dawned on me, repeatedly, during the last few months that this is it. Truly, this is indeed my life. And it’s always going to be a struggle. And I’m tired. I want to cry. Or kick myself. Or scream and shout. Or go to bed. Or run. I don’t know what to do anymore. Because I feel my life is hard, and the hand I’ve been dealt unfair.
I don’t like to be such a ninny. I don’t want to feel this way. But I do.
I love my kids so much. They are truly wonderful, adoring, innocent, loving creatures. I’m so blessed with them. They are good children. Parenting them alone is so HARD. I’M SO TIRED. And I’m tired of myself for even feeling this way, but I can’t and even shouldn’t apologize, because it’s the truth.
Did you know that if your husband is DEAD he does not EVER do the dishes, does not EVER put gas in the car, does not EVER cook supper, does not EVER bathe the kids, does not EVER discipline the kids, does not EVER help with homework, does not EVER pick up milk or bread on the way home, does not EVER do yard work, does not EVER fix things, does not EVER give you even a teeny tiny break, nor a morsel of support or love or caring or respect. Nothing is what you get. NO THING.
This is a hard life, even for me and I don’t mind saying I’m a bit of an ass kicker. I’m smart and organized and spiritual and reflective and patient and kind and loving and all that. I have it together is what I’m saying. And despite that….I am overwhelmed. I constantly feel one man short. Man down. Man fucking down.
So now what? I have a child not even in elementary school yet, so I won’t even bother to calculate how many more nights of homework I shall assist with in my lifetime. I will live way more years without Dave than with him.
I’ve no idea why this panic has only now set in. I’ve no idea why I was fine, and now I’m not. I don’t know if this will go away or what I even need to do to make it go away.
My voice is the only one that disciplines now. No backup. No support. And I feel they are deaf to it. I think about their teenage years, when this stage will seem like a total cake walk, and the tears just start to flow. I’m scared. I’m tired. I hate this. I hate everything.
Except them. I love them.
This essay originally appeared on the blog Diary of a Mad Woman, and was reposted with permission.
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