Jeff and I meet in June 1990 and grief is the topic of our first conversation. Both of us are young when our spouses die tragically and suddenly, leaving us with young children and changing our worlds forever.
You can read about our relationship in the four-part series of my blog posts entitled, “God’s work amongst the ashes.” It is our true story of life after loss, finding love again and journeying through grief into a new day…
Jeff has had irregular hours and a stressful workload over the past thirty-three years as a staff pharmacist at Children’s Hospital. Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom after our wedding, I cope with his rotation to second-shift, working holidays and weekends while raising our two children.
We adjust to NOT having a routine, not knowing what Jeff’s schedule will be and having to plan a year in advance for vacation. We are pros at living one day at a time and always having a “Plan B.” We live life being as flexible as the green Gumby that we played with as kids.
Everything changes; however, when Jeff accepts a new job offer.
This new job centers around technology, not clinical practice, so the hours are Monday through Friday, no holidays or weekends, and I find myself asking, “Will we survive?”
Will I have to cook every night? Eating prepared salads from the deli for dinner while he is working second shift will no longer be an option, right? Will my girlfriends still want to come over on a weeknight to watch back-to-back episodes of HGTV if Jeff is puttering around the house, invading our sacred girl time?
Could we actually plan a trip in advance that works for our schedule, not the mandatory “no-time-off” restrictions that were in place before?
Preparing for holiday gatherings will be much more complicated when I have to clean around a husband who will now be home! And how do you ever get things done together if you have to run errands and deal with weekend crowds and traffic because you don’t have any time off during the week?
Even with all our experience dealing with life’s losses, sometimes life surprises you, reminding you that loss is a part of every change.
I think we will cope just fine losing weekends, nights and holiday shifts and we will learn quickly how to function in a way most families d0.
Our dinner table conversation again centers around grief. The loss that we are dealing with now pales in comparison to those we have struggled with over our twenty-two year marriage.
Yet, we will have to once again learn a new dance, develop a new pattern for everyday life and a strategy to cope with new challenges. Isn’t that what everyone has to do with any type of loss? What do you think?