In June of 2015 my kids and I lost their mother to her life long struggle with a terminal illness.
She knew she had it but the meds they gave her didn't help, they weren't really designed to.
The statistics show that they only help 1/3 of the people that take them. Mostly because they believe they will help. She didn't.
She also didn't get help from the doctors. There is nothing they can really do but talk about it and that only helps if you are completely honest with them which most are not.
This illness she suffered from made life unbearable for her at times and at times for me too. It made her moody, uncooperative, mean, it made her start arguments and then blame me for the reason, it made her ignore the kids, it made her take her own life.
The terminal illness she suffered from was depression.
After 26 years together and 2 kids, she lost her battle. The depression pushed her so far and made her believe so many lies that she finally believed the worst one. That she had to die.
The kids were only 3 & 13... I thought there was no way I could do this alone. My friends ran from me because they either didn't know what to say or they were tired of hearing me complain about my loss and my pathetic life. Her family abandoned the kids and I because they thought I had something to do with it. I was lost and alone in the dark.
For nearly 5 years I suffered from grief. They say the symptoms of grief are similar to depression in that it takes away your ability to think clearly and cognitively. It floods the mind with negative hopeless thoughts and the body with toxic stress chemicals that cause pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, loss of motivation, loss of the will to live. I smoked pot all the time, I went to the bar 7 nights a week to drown out my feelings and numb myself. I latched on to other negative people because we felt the same way about life. I hated it.
But then it happened. The thing that happens for 90% of those that experience grief. I call it "the shift." It was that moment when I was at the cemetery for the first time in years. I screamed at her, I cursed her, I told her all the things that I hated about life and what I was believing. As I stood there sobbing a breeze blew over me and I felt her. I felt her warm embrace and her apology. In that moment all I felt was love.
I realized in that moment that this is what I wanted to feel. Not the pain, the misery, the hopelessness, I wanted to feel the love... so I never let it go. Instead I let go of the thoughts that were creating the pain and suffering, the grief.
I learned how to love myself, I learned forgiveness and I learned acceptance, I learned how to heal. I also learned that everything in life is temporary and we must learn to let go of our thoughts about the past and future and grasp the present, where our life exists, and make the most of it while we can.
For almost 8 years now I have been a solo dad. Doing it, succeeding at it, making sure that my kids and I are living the best lives we can. I made the choice to focus on the good in life and to be grateful for it, every day. That is not loss, that is victory.
This photo is from my daughter's 11'th birthday dinner a few weeks ago. Their smiles say it all. We are happy and love life and you can and will too.