Someone posted the link to a commencement speech given to Berkeley graduates this past weekend. It was honest, well crafted, and powerful but it struck a nerve with me. The speaker, COO of FB, used the her own life experience of surviving her husband’s death. With year 1 behind her, she described the profound sadness, shock, anger, etcetera of the year after his death and spelled out her Lessons Learned for the graduates. Her message was right on: Life will not always be good. The bad will come but your response will largely determine the degree of devastation the bad stuff will have on you. Everything she wrote/said was right on.
At 1 year, my world was still falling apart. I felt the brokenness of my family more profoundly than ever before. I still struggled to get up and be that responsible person that I was expected to be. And NOBODY understood why because I had gotten to that magical 1 year mark. I spent that 1st year trying to hold it together for the kids — when I wasn’t anywhere close to together. I tried not to cry in front of them as it made their grief even harder to deal with. I cried during support group, if I was alone in my bed at night (which often I wasn’t), and while out running solo on the trails. So at the 1 year mark, I was really just beginning to delve into working my grief process.
Now, as I approach the 10 year mark, I am still encountering new challenges for the first time. Just today, I started crying in describing to someone at work how ill prepared I am in helping YaYa apply to colleges, especially with the hope that he can play college football. I didn’t go the 4 year college route. We were on our own when it came to college so I went straight to community college out of high school without even trying to get into a university or state college. I feel like I am failing him. I just don’t know what to do or how to do it. If he was still at his other high school, I know that there would be plenty of guidance to insure that he was on-track for a collegiate future. But his public school is a whole different thing.
Anyway, all of this is say that although Ms. COO is correct in her advice to be positive even in the face of adversity, not everyone has a male friend ready to fill in for all of the Dad-related stuff right from the get go (or ever). Not everyone is financially secure enough to make ends meet. Three of the five women in my support group had to sell their homes and move out of state just to survive.
If I am truly being honest, I guess I might say that perhaps I am a little jealous that this women might perhaps be all-together fine at the 1 year mark. Or maybe I feel a little guilty for feeling like I am continuing to fight to survive. I don’t know. What I *do* know is that I recognize that I must still have some work to do. Perhaps, I will for a very long time — if I am lucky.