The floodgates opened this weekend. I don’t know how or why but they did.
I’ve been thinking more about Denny’s choices in life lately. How those things will affect me and our girls. Not just him taking his life. But stuff before that.
The good choices… there are so many. He chose to become sober in 2011. He chose to be the best dad he possibly could and to be the opposite of his own father. He chose to give everything to his little family. He chose to marry me and be my best friend (I mean, I think I was a pretty good choice). He chose to love God. He chose to serve us daily. He chose to be a provider and protector. He chose to be a good human and leave his mark of goodness on the world. There are many more, but these are just a few of the big ones.
The bad choices… not many as long as I knew him. But there were things that came out the two days before that I didn’t expect. He hadn’t been as honest with me as I had thought. He opened up and shared his deepest insecurities in those last few days (which was a good choice). But the choices he had made that created that insecurity were harmful to me.
I have said so many times, Denny was good to his core. And he was. He was genuinely the best man I’ve ever known. But he did make mistakes. Like everyone does, right?
As I was watching my girls splash in the bath Saturday night, after some of Denny’s best friends threw Piper the cutest birthday party, the tears started coming and they wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t hold the tears back no matter what I tried. I wasn’t even fully crying or sobbing, but the tears streamed down.
I got the girls ready for bed and put them down all while the tears continued. They fought bedtime for about two hours like always, and I did the usual patient mom thing and eventually got them resting.
As I was finally alone, I got angry. Not just mad but completely pissed. So pissed. Then I started sobbing so hard I couldn’t breathe. It was almost panic attack level upset. I was furious and it was all directed towards Denny.
How could he leave me?
How could he leave these girls?
How did he expect us to survive without him?
How did he expect the girls to react? Just like they’d be fine?
How could he tell me all of his mistakes, then just leave without fixing them?
How could he have lied to me?
How could he literally pull that trigger?
How could he?
Really, How could he?
I was up all night pondering these questions. I went over conversations we had over the years. Small conversations, big conversations. All of the things we had been through over the years. Him being on his death bed in the hospital when I had a brand new baby… He was septic and we had to have some hard conversations about what would happen next. We had talked about this, what would happen if he died.
All of these things accumulated and burst out without me being prepared for it. As I’ve said in previous posts, I was always a little mad. Of course I was mad. How could I not be. But nothing like this. “Anger” is one of the stages of grieving. But I thought maybe it would just be minimal. But the thing is I was so focused on the death and permanency of it, that I didn’t process the dishonesty and all of the things he told me about those last few days.
On Sunday, I only made it through 20 minutes of church. I handed my girls to someone I trust and left right after the sacrament. I got in my car and drove around for a very long time. I drove through the cemetery. And throughout that time I yelled at Denny. I got so mad at him and yelled out loud all of the things I was feeling. I wanted to get out and yell at his little temporary plaque at the cemetery but decided it wouldn’t help anyone if I was arrested for screaming obscenities and throwing a tantrum in a public place.
I feel like it had to be out loud for him to hear it. I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know if after people die they have super powers and can see through walls and hear your thoughts and have laser vision. But figured I’d play it safe by screaming at him. And I told him everything that I was mad about. I told him how it felt and how it’s messed with me and the girls. And I honestly felt like he was like, “Yep, you’re right.” “True.” “That’s Fair.”…
I know he is aware of how he failed us, even though I do believe he was ultimately trying to protect us. He still could have protected us so much better being here with us. I know he knows this. I know he’s suffering too, watching us mourn and grieve and go through this horrific process.
I was mad and teary the rest of Sunday and into Monday morning. I’m still upset, but it’s fading. I am glad that I had these feelings and this melt down. When I was in the worst of it Saturday night, I called my aunt who is also a therapist. She said she was so relieved when I finally felt anger. She said it was so important to go through this “stage” of grieving. It feels good honestly. And I do have a right to have anger towards him. No matter how out of his mind he was. No matter how much he thought he was trying to protect us. He did leave us. And that’s okay to be mad about.
I was hesitant to write this post though and it has taken several days to put together. Usually it just flows out when I sit down to write it. But honestly, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of people thinking that I am full of rage or hate or that I all of a sudden just loathe Denny. But I want to continue being authentic so that people can see what really happens behind closed doors. I also want people to know it’s okay to be mad. Even if your loved one didn’t CHOOSE to leave. Say it was like my mom and her cancer, completely out of control. Being angry is a part of the process. Be angry at the person who died, be angry at the doctors, the illness, even be angry at God if you need to. He understands why you’re mad. He knows it’s a part of the process. Be mad and get it out. Because then it allows you to move forward.
Here’s where I stand now. Like I said, I’m still upset. I was even finally able to take off my wedding ring for the first time since he died. [Sidenote: I used to never wear it unless we were leaving the house, but since he died I couldn’t bring myself to take it off even to shower.] I know I have a right to be mad for as long as I want. But I’m hoping this stage doesn’t come back. I hope it’s over. Because do you want to know what I’m ready for? I’m ready to find our new normal. I’m ready to be happy again. I’m ready to not think about this 24/7 and have it consume every part of me. I hope that I’m done being super angry at him. I hope I’m done falling apart. It felt good to get it out, but I don’t want to feel that way anymore. Obviously, I could have a full on melt down again in a few weeks or months or whatever, but I hope I don’t have to.
I love Denny so much. He was the best man. So good. He made mistakes, but he loved his three girls above anything and wanted us to be happy and protected. I know that. Denny was the best thing to ever happen to me. I miss him. And I know he’s helping us from wherever he is. I know he will be the biggest part of our life he can possibly manage each and every single day. He made mistakes, but so does everyone else.