The other day, a friend of mine asked how we are doing since Michelle died, and the truth is that we are doing OK. We have both been kind of surprised (and honestly, wondering if there is something wrong with us) because we haven’t had the gut-wrenching aftermath reaction that we were expecting.
Some very kind people are afraid that we are repressing our emotions and have suggested that we see a counselor, but we tell them that we think that every emotion – and then some – was experienced in the four days between that first phone call and her last breath.
We talked about the hard stuff when no one else was in the hospital room. Or when we were in the car. Or in the hotel room at night. We were given the gift of time.
Nothing was left on the table, and every decision – from stuff at the hospital, to the choice of funeral home, to the choice of the service venue – was made together. We even found ourselves completing each other’s sentences, just like we do at home.
And like Paul said on that first night, we are going to get through this together, and not let it pull us apart (the statistics on marital breakups after the death of a child are abysmal).
I almost feel like consulting a therapist would be like bringing a third person into our marriage. What we have been through has almost felt – for lack of a better word – “sacred”.
It is our own special experience. We went through it together, and we don’t want an outside observer – who doesn’t even know us – clomping around in that special place, attempting to dissect everything.
I don’t mean to say that we haven’t been or won’t be upfront with anyone who asks; we have poured our hearts out to anyone who will listen, and will continue to do so.
But at its core, there was a silent sharing that took place between the two of us that will always be just ours.