How I went from we to me — Writing Contribution by Tracie L. Yergin
Just over five years ago I lost my husband to cancer.
I remember the exact moment that he took his last breath in a hospital bed in the middle of our living room. He peacefully drifted off to sleep. That night will forever be etched in my mind.
The first few months after his passing I was on autopilot, numb to everything around me and just going through the motions of everyday life.
Almost three months to the day after his passing, I broke down. I thought I was having a heart attack. (Thankfully I wasn’t). The Doctor told me it was a panic attack and it was then that I realized I couldn’t do this on my own and I needed help navigating my way through the grief process. I moved in with my parents, started seeing a therapist, joined a support group and leaned on my family and friends.
But looking back I am so thankful that I did, as I don’t believe I would be where I am today without it.
I recall my ‘year of firsts’ and the struggles that I had getting through them: My birthday, our anniversary, his birthday, the holidays, parties, weddings, etc.
I remember waking up and wishing those days away. They were special days that we always celebrated together and they were no fun celebrating alone.
On the first anniversary of his passing, I was in Las Vegas at a work conference and I remember jumping up and down on the bed in the hotel room like a little kid crying and yelling, “I survived!”
In my heart I knew that he would want me to be happy—it was time for me to start living again.
I embraced our birthdays, our anniversary and the holidays. I came up with new ways to celebrate and incorporate my memories of him. A few things that I started doing and still do to this day:
Every February when I am in Vegas for my work conference, which happens to coincide with the anniversary of his passing (or as I refer to it as, ‘the celebration of his life’), I purchase a Vegas charm for my Pandora bracelet. Vegas was one of his favorite places and he used to buy me charms for my bracelet and hide them for me when he would be away on work trips.
Every summer we hold the “Uncle Brian Memorial Fishing Tournament” for his nieces and nephews—a tradition he started many years ago in an effort to teach the kids the love of the outdoors.
I feed the deer at the cemetery as he was an avid hunter. One of these days I am going to leave a salt block by his headstone.
I buy a new Christmas ornament every year that reminds me of him and put it on the wreath at his grave. We used to buy each other new ornaments every year for our tree, so this is my way of carrying on our tradition.
On Christmas Eve after the family gathering when the house is quiet, I sit down and write a letter to him and put it in his stocking. It’s my Christmas gift to him.
On New Year’s Eve I have a glass of wine and empty my ‘Good Times Jar’ and read all the notes that I put in it throughout the year. I relive all the good times that I had and I know that he’s up there smiling.
And even though I am no longer part of a ‘we’, I have realized that life goes on and it’s okay to be ‘me’.
It’s okay to be happy.
Tracie was born, raised and lives in Michigan. Her animals; Shiloh (dog), Jax (horse) and Tito (goat) are her kids and she’s an animal enthusiast at heart. She loves spending time exploring the trails with Jax and her fellow horse riders, and long weekends with friends—where laughter and tears flow freely.
Tracie has learned that life will change without our permission and that it’s our attitude that will determine the ride.
Photography: Tracie with her animals by Angela Bowers Photography
Powered by Facebook Comments