Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Six Months

Well, I guess tomorrow is the official 6 month anniversary. Not that I am a big believer of really tracking these things, but I feel it's a good time to just reflect on some of the things I learned. And I need to force myself to sit still for a few minutes because I have been busy!!!

So here goes...

1. I think the best advice I got was that I needed to drink 8 glasses of water. At the time, I was really puzzled when someone wrote that to me, but in a seeming unmanageable situation, you have to start with the basics. Don't over-complicate your life. And focus on taking care of yourself, which includes eating and exercising. Of course, you can eat all the ice cream you want every once in awhile but not all the time.

2. I had no idea how hard these six months would be when I think back to wondering what they would bring just before Dan died. Months 1 & 2... I have no idea what I was doing. Months 3-4 were brutal (someone did warn me that these were the worst), and Months 5-6... you start to see the light. I will never, ever tell anyone I know how they feel. I will never presume to understand someone else's loss. I will never judge anyone going through something like this in terms of what they should or shouldn't be doing. Because I had no idea what to do with myself. You can't control the situation, so you just have to pay attention to what your gut says.

3. The administration that comes with death is just awful. Do yourself a favor, married or unmarried... get your house in order. Write down what you want done because you don't want to leave it to interpretation when you're. It cost almost as much for Dan to die as it would have to have our wedding. Ironic, sad but it's the reality. Get life insurance- you will need it! (note: we had it)

4. The worst part of the day for me was waking up. Just like Bill Murray in "Groundhog's Day", I would wake up, and hope for just a second that this wasn't my life, and then realize it still was. I hated waking up!!! What helped me- simple retail therapy. I have basically replaced (well, doubled) my wardrobe. First, I was obsessed with not wearing black. I wanted to always wear color somewhere. But then, about 3 weeks ago, I started to look forward to getting up & putting on a new outfit. Silly, simple mind games... but it works! I really am not a fashionista (I used to peg my jeans with rubber bands and wear shoe boots) but I have just embraced the fun of shopping and trying new colors and outfits I would never wear. Life is too short to wear black! Nurture the things that make you happy and give you a little joy.

5. I have no idea how to help myself, and no idea how to let others help me. Once I recognized this, and started to articulate it to others, I actually really started talking about what happened. As friends and family standing by someone like me, we just desperately want to do something. Just be patient. Even people like me will come around. Give us room. Let us know it's perfectly ok to say no to an invitation, or say yes and then cancel last minute. Sometimes social situations can be overwhelming. But keep asking... 3 months, 6 months, a year out. Don't forget- I'll live with my loss my whole life. It's natural for everyone to move on, but every once in awhile, remember I'm still grieving.

6. In the few weeks before Dan died, I wondered how lonely I would be and who would talk to me about Dan. I knew his family and friends, but they were his family & friends. I am so blessed to say that these people are now my family & friends. I have so much affection for the whole bunch, and they have been so wonderful. I am truly humbled by their support. I didn't doubt that my family & friends would be there, but they don't know Dan like his friends and family do. So unexpectedly, I've doubled my email contact list and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't talk to one of Dan's family or friends. My life is fuller & richer as a result.

7. I don't have to wonder what the impact of Dan's death will truly mean for me. I live it every day. My realism, type A personality has been tempered. I am now an optimist. Even when I don't want to be, I have a positive attitude. And I seem to have adopted a little of Dan's swagger. He was so at ease with who he was and carried himself the same in any situation. He left me with a little more confidence. My friend told me that I have gotten to the "I don't give a f***" place in life. This isn't entirely true... I just give a big f*** about the right things, and the rest I don't bother to entertain. It's really refreshing. And empowering.

8. I can't outsmart grief or sadness. They will come and go, and I just have to push through them. It's really easy to trick myself into thinking that I am doing things because they are what I truly want to do, as opposed to just filling time. It's ok. It's ok that sometimes, the day sucks. Or I am just really lonely. I hate those moments, but I don't ignore them anymore. We don't talk about death a lot. Why would we? But people like me need to have the freedom to say it- it's tough. It's hard. It's heartbreaking. It's lonely. It can flatten you if you're not careful. For me, the actual sickness & death was very traumatizing. There. I did it- I said all those things I hate saying.

9. It will get better. I didn't really believe it at first. But I've been able to enjoy things, laugh and have fun. I can even go to weddings and feel ok. I can go away for a few days and enjoy it. I can actually get things done at work. I couldn't do those things a few months ago. Some days, I feel remorseful that I am improving. But like I said in #7, I take a lot of great lessons and feelings with me as I go.

10. Cancer took Dan's life. But it's not going to take mine.

11. Write what you feel down. Then be BRAVE and say it out loud. I am still learning how to do this.

12. . I love you Dan. And I love my family & friends- including the Waegers and all of Dan's friends. I truly am grateful. And blessed.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Megan I still do read you, God bless you everyday!!!
Gladys from Ecuador

Anonymous said...

Meg-
Truly inspirational.
Your strength is contagious.
Thank you.
-Rusty & Julie

Irene Robertson said...

Hi!

I just found your blog while doing a search for IronGirl bloggers. I just completed the Iron Girl in Syracuse, NY on July 26th.

However, I did read some of your previous blogs and am very sorry for your loss. It appears you are going through the the loss of a loved one in a very inspirational way.

Personally, I am a survivor or ovarian cancer. I was diagnosed when I was just 23 years old. I am 34 years old now and am working hard on taking care of myself.

Anyway...

I will continue to read your blog. Cancer is such a terrible disease. I hope through all you do you are able to find peace. And maybe together we can find a cure.

-Irene

Obsessedwithlife said...

As always, inspirational. You are such a good writer :)

Jen Aleman said...

Meg, I always enjoy reading your words. Its really incredible watching how you have grown so much over the past few years! Meg Rogers, optimist. Love it! I can't wait to see you in Miami :) Thinking of you often... love, Jen

Cicily said...

Meg, You say it all so very well. You help all of us deal with the reality of Dan's passing. What helped me get thru the 6 month day was that I got to spend it in Philly with Patrice and Brielle and Cassidy. Those little ones raise my spirits sooooo much. I am still on a high from just being in their presence! Thank you, God, for my precious grandchildren! Cicily

Tyler Durant Stewart said...

Meghan,

You really are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your honest feelings and being completely open with all of us. YOU are a blessing to all of us...

Tyler

Patrice said...

Meg,

We love you too!!! The Waegers are all glad to have you in our lives as well.

Love, Patrice