I did everything right.
I followed the steps in life that you are supposed to take to get where I was. I worked hard in school. I earned my college degree. I got a big girl job with big girl responsibilities. I lived in my own place. I gave back to the community and treated others with kindness and respect. I focused on me and my own happiness for years. I was in a place of peace with who I was, even though I longed for a partner.
I met Luke and followed the traditional path of dating, engagement, and marriage. We had dual incomes and made major strides into our dreams of being a debt-free couple. We worked our tails off, and the whole adulting thing was finally coming along quite nicely. The cards were all laid out in the order they were supposed to go. Happy, married, and oh so optimistic.
So what order are things supposed to go in after you lose your spouse at 25? What are the next chronological steps? What do you have left to do when everything you did before is now gone?
I understand that the answer to the first question is “there is no right order,” the second, “there are no chronological steps,” and the third, “there, there… it’s not all gone.” Right?
Grief is never in the cards, and grief has no timeline. Loss comes along like a tornado, tearing through anything and everything in its path, without slight remorse of the destruction. No matter how prepared you think you are for the unexpected, nothing…and I mean NOTHING can prepare you for this kind of damage.
I remember doing all sorts of drills in school. We did these so we were prepared for when disasters were in store. Tornado and fire drills, code yellows and code reds, even active shooter drills (*shudder*)… all important so we would know what to do when the unexpected came our way.
I wish grief had a drill — The kind where you can go into a bathroom with a bunch of your friends and hold your hands over your head in the fetal position to protect yourself from flying grief debris. Or, I wish we could stop, drop, and roll the flames of grief right on off of us.
Instead, there is no drill. There are no practice runs. There is just immense loss, followed by immense heartbreak, and immense grief.
Code red, everyone. Code dark, dark red.