Check out my honors! (Click on the badges to see other great blogs too)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I win.

People often say that there is a reason for everything. Many times over the years I’ve wondered the reason for having to lose my father when I was so young. Perhaps the reason I had to lose him was to prepare me for this loss. To guide me through this grief. To allow me to see hope and fulfillment in my future so I may continue to go on living now. If losing Andie had been my first experience with tragic loss I would not be coping and functioning very well, and that would prevent me from being a good parent. Because I’ve walked this walk before, I have some coping skills to draw on and I am able to continue functioning for my girls.

Losing Dad was actually a gift in a way, which even as I type it sounds INSANE. But living through that, and working through that has helped me cope with this loss of Andie. Because I have experienced sudden, tragic death before, and come out on the other side still alive and able to find joy, it gives me hope for my future now. I know that I will not only survive the loss of Andie, but also thrive and find fulfillment again. Just in a different way than I expected.

I’m different in that regard from other widows who have not experienced loss prior to losing their husbands. Their outlooks are so bleak and they have a hard time believing that it will ever get better. I completely understand where they are coming from because that is how I felt after losing my father. But I don’t feel this way about losing Andie because losing my father has taught me many lessons. I have learned how to deal with grief, how to process it, how to accept that while the pain seems unbearable now there is truly a light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t deal well with my father’s death; initially I tried to deny it, detach from it, compartmentalize it. It wasn’t until 5 years after he died that I finally started to deal with it and got some really good therapy.

I won’t make all the same mistakes this go round as I did with my first bout of grief. I still struggle with the tendency to compartmentalize and detach, but I’m at least aware of these tendencies and can work to combat them. I still want to move through it very quickly and not give the process the time it deserves- so I constantly have to remind myself to slow down and let it be.

But I’m wiser to the process and know what to expect this time. I know that some days will be good and others will be awful. I know that just when I think I’m getting my feet on the ground, grief will throw me a curve ball and knock me back down. The difference is that now I know that I can get up.
I can still win the game.
Grief can’t defeat me.


  1. wow- this is really timely and helpful for me as one of those widows you describe who hasn't experienced this kind of grief before. a friend was just over last night saying that to me- that she is so sorry that my first experience had to be my husband at 33. i know what you mean about other widows seeming so hopeless. i try not to be like that for my daughter's sake but it is hard to imagine the pain ever lessening. I am just still in disbelief. This post was very encouraging to me- thanks for writing it.

  2. oh and have you read the bio by Lisa Beamer? Her husband died in the 9/11 crash in Pennsylvania. She also lost her father at a young age- and talks about the two griefs. You might like to read the book.

  3. Thanks for the book recommendation Julia- I'll check it out...I do know that it is hard to imagine the pain lessening but it will. This pain is definitely a more profound and raw pain than losing my father, but I do see hope for the future because of coming through my prior experience. Not to say that I don't have moments or days of feeling deep despair and hopelessness's just assuaged a little by having to go through it before.

  4. What an inspiring post! I have been following your blog for a while, only posting one other time but am so amazed by your strength. I think it is so important for people dealing with the loss of a loved one to remember that strength isn't about not falling to our knees, it isn't about never breaking down, those are important parts of grief-the strength is the getting back up off your knees and putting one foot forward again. I love that when I read your blog I not only feel your pain as you are an incredible writer and your words speak volumes, but I feel the love you have and the joy you get from your girls-incredible!
    Know that there are, I am sure, many of us that don't know you that you are inspiring and that are sending you love and strength on those days you need it most. Hugs.

  5. Interesting...I lost my 16 year old sister when I was 18 and lost my husband when I was 31. Although bittersweet, I am grateful I lost my sister so I can go through day to day life without my husband a little easier. And now, three years (as of last week)out from losing my husband, I am thankful for what God has done in my life that I would have never done or the person I am now had I never lost him. The kids are a good distraction...but they too go to sleep and leave us alone and thinking and crying. Glad we have each other and the internet. You have a great blog and a great insight to life and death.

  6. Brooke, you are an inspiration. We go way back. Even though there is a gap in our friendship, I still feel like I know you. I still remember us shaving our legs for the first time in your bath tub! lol. And I also remember your dad passing. Looking back, I know I didn't really grasp exactly what you were going through and experiencing. Life is really real and you have known that a lot earlier then most.

    I just recently miscarried. Was almost 11 weeks. After that I pretty much checked out. No one understood me (at least that is how I felt). I think the hardest thing was not having control over my emotions, BUT having to force myself to because my 21 month old was looking at me differently. The guilt was destroying me. See, that was my real first experience of loss, and I did not know how to deal what it. It seems insignificant and petty when knowing what you and others that have gone through with more substantial losses.

    I have to remind myself daily that things happen for a reason. You are helping me with that. And your strength helps me put things into prospective. And the beautiful smiles on your beautiful daughters give off amazing positive powers! Thank you for paying it forward!! :)

  7. What a great post. I have always said that things have to happen for a reason or else they would make no sense. You are on this earth to raise two crazy independent women like yourself that are full of Andie's zeal and personality. He will be with you forever thanks to them. Keep writing. Keep pouring it out. Stay strong.

  8. Brooke, I want you to know that I read every one of your posts. I love them all. I respect you and everything you say. You have always been so strong and I look up to you so much. I do want you to know that I think about you and your family a lot. I would love to come and visit you and the girls sometime. I am a good babysitter if you ever need one. I love you and pray for you every night.

    Love you lots