Strength

Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

When my Love became ill, I became strong.

I researched treatments, became an ‘expert’ on chronic kidney disease, arteriosclerosis, dialysis machines, home treatment, peritonitis, mixed antibiotics at home, calciphylaxis, dietary restrictions, pain medications, alternative treatments, and in-home aids to make his life easier. I was his advocate, caregiver, cheerleader, nurse, driver, appointment scheduler, comedian, wife, and love all rolled up in one.

I am not writing about this to lift myself up. Many people find themselves doing the same for the ones they love, without thought for themselves.

The point is that I had to, so I did. I didn’t mind, because it was for my Love and I really couldn’t imagine living my life without him. I would do it all over again gladly for just five more minutes.

But when he died, my strength left.

That strong person became

weak, numb,

and shattered.

I cried 24/7.

At times, I didn’t want to go on.

I planned my exit.

But I didn’t have the strength to do it.

In the ensuing weeks,

somehow, some way,

from deep inside

and through the grace of G-d

I found the fortitude

to keep going.

The process has been

excruciatingly hard.

I had to reexamine

every part of me to

remember who I was before.

I had to make changes that I didn’t

want to make.

I had to forge a new life

without the one person

whom I didn’t think I could

live without.

I had to figure out who

I wanted to be

for me alone —

not seeking approval,

not worrying about others.

I had to learn new ways

of existing

I had to shift

my whole life

from going to the grocery store

and not picking up his favorite foods

to not calling him whenever I got

in the car, and sleeping alone.

From constant companionship,

having someone

to help problem-solve,

and receive honest feedback

to talking to myself

and overthinking.

I had to go on

lean in

feel the overwhelming pain

then

dig deep

to find

my joy

my worth

my life

my faith

just to see a small glimmer of light

in the overwhelming darkness.

I had to find my strength

when I thought I had none left.

Now 201 days on,

I am becoming me again

and finally starting to heal.

If you are going through grief,

be strong.

You can and will survive,

for you are worthy.

201 and 12/365 XO Lisa

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