Sadness and Love

What can I say?

I just love my husband so, so, so much. I love him all the more when things aren’t easy. And things aren’t easy for him right now.

On Friday night, after struggling with Crohn’s disease and several other conditions for years, Ben’s dad passed away in his sleep after having been hospitalized for the last couple months.

“Knowing that something is going to happen” doubtlessly makes a difference when mourning the passing of a loved one, but it probably doesn’t do much to assuage the feeling that a part of your life came to completion the moment that person left. Time is passing, you’re not who you used to be, and you need to re-calibrate your life – a new life without the person who played a decisive role in making it the way it was.

B was really similar to his dad in a lot of ways. They were both pensive and willing to sacrifice for their wives but still devoted to their private interests. B creatively expresses and edifies himself in a lot of ways. He plays chess, is an avid reader, and loves to make image macros, among other things. Whether he knows it or not, his maintenance of his independent interests contributes to him being such a wonderful husband. Some of these are obvious and practical; being able to come home and unwind with his hobbies clearly relaxes him and makes him pleasant.

But he also integrates what he does and his attitude for constant exploration and critical examination into his relationship with me. For a long, long time, I’ve had a lot of insecurities about what I’m capable of. I’d try doing something for a brief period of time, decide I wasn’t up to it, and then just walk away from it and think that was normal. By giving up a lot, I eventually tempered myself to believe that I just wasn’t capable of carrying through and this really frustrated me. In his typical fashion, B has never indulged me these insecurities and my willingness to constantly talk about them but never really do anything about them. Instead, he just rolls along, treating me with respect and with the expectation that I am better than I sometimes think I am. This is something he got from his dad; neither of them were much for talking about feelings but instead held their families to a standard they could very well meet and expected them to rise to it. For the first few years of our relationship, I resented this about B, but as our relationship ages and develops, I am extremely glad he treats me with loving respect and expectation. I can thank his father for setting that standard.

My husband’s not a gushy person in any regard whatsoever, so I don’t expect him to want to talk too directly about the loss of his father. Since being with him, I’ve learned that that’s just not how he copes with things. I’m not going to force him to go through motions that have become standard for some people but aren’t beneficial or therapeutic for everyone. Having lost my own father, I know that one of the surest ways to make a sad time absolutely miserable is to be surrounded by people who tell you that the way you’re reacting is outright wrong.

But if he wants a hundred kisses, I’ll give him a hundred kisses. If he wants a smile, I’ll give him a smile. If he wants to talk about nothing but the baby, that’s what we’ll talk about nothing but the baby. I just love B so much.

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4 comments

  1. This post is really beautiful.

    ““Knowing that something is going to happen” doubtlessly makes a difference when mourning the passing of a loved one, but it probably doesn’t do much to assuage the feeling that a part of your life came to completion the moment that person left. Time is passing, you’re not who you used to be, and you need to re-calibrate your life – a new life without the person who played a decisive role in making it the way it was.”

    That is probably the best way to describe loss that I’ve ever seen. I’m sorry for the loss you guys are going through, but immensely glad that you have each other to lean on. It sounds like you’ve got a really great relationship.

    1. Thanks for the kind words!

  2. Your husband sounds like a great guy.

    And, my condolences.

  3. Love this, Emily! And love you and Ben, too!

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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