I'll never forget cutting him down from where he'd hung himself. I'll never forget his handsome face distorted in a mockery of life...his gorgeous blue eyes glazed over with death. I'll never forget the kids screaming for me to save daddy or the police treating my home like a crime scene. I'll never forget how hard it rained that night or how they wheeled his body through my family room and asked me to say good-bye to him there. I'll never forget how my young children curled their bodies around me after everyone had left and how I stared at the ceiling in shock.
I've come to accept that I'll never forget those things. How could I? That night shaped my life and impacted my children's lives forever. That night broke me open, tested everything I thought I knew about myself and erased some ideals I'd held for a long time.
Since that night, the kids and I have moved on in spectacular ways. Those little kids have become amazing young adults who've overcome anxiety issues, nightmares, home schooling for a few years and grief. When I look at them, I'm blown away by possibility. I've published my novels, kept the house standing and dated a bit. It's been rocky but we're still here--and it's all looking good. We've traveled, gone to a lot of hockey games, cheered at Bree's swim meets, watched many of Ben's lacrosse games and created a ton of great memories since then. We're a tight trio, the kids and me. In fact, I'm in a place in my life that is so ripe with possibility and joy that I sometimes pinch myself to make sure it's real.
But I can't erase those images from my brain. That one night 7 years ago was so vile that every year when it comes around I feel sick to my stomach. I see those images in my mind all over again and feel that raw pain in my heart. I lost the love of my life that night in a terrible way--like a scene from a movie.
I wasn't trained to deal with death like that. I'm not a paramedic or police detective--being up close and personal with death was traumatic for me. It left a scar. When I first saw him hanging there, I thought it was some trick of the mind. I'd never seen anything like that and hope I never do again. I wouldn't wish that horror upon anyone. Of course it changed me. My safe little world where I was a stay-at-home-mom who volunteered with the PTA, freelanced for "fun money" and had a handsome, hard-working, loving husband shattered into a million bits that night. In an instant--life as I'd known it had ended...but I wasn't supposed to crack?
Well, I cracked. I'm the first to admit that I've gone through some dark times over the past years, perhaps I made poor judgments, lost time to sorrow, acted a bit nutty, shut myself away, became darker, felt lost, came close to losing everything and deepened my spirituality. All of that is okay--it's normal for the process--yet I was constantly told to snap out of it, be who I used to be, not talk about it, be happy, think positive, "get over it".
Give me a f'n break! I'm done defending how I feel about Sean, his death, or the hell we went through afterward. (and believe me, no matter how I look at it, it's been pure hell and I'm often amazed that I'm still standing let alone excelling...it could have easily gone the other way.) I refuse to justify my actions or decisions of the past few years to anyone--I was acting alone and in the midst of a living nightmare. I did the best I could in any given instance--usually with zero energy and a massive amount of confusion. Like I said a few sentences ago...give me a f'n break!
Yes, it's been 7 years. I can't believe I just crossed that anniversary. When I close my eyes, I see it all unfolding in present tense. It's a strange feeling, actually. Hard to describe. Time is meaningless when it comes to grief and trauma. Anyone who judges this process is an ignorant ass. I actually don't know what I'm more horrified by...his death or the reaction of people around me during the past 7 years. Perhaps they are equally mortifying.
The show has gone on, as they say. I'm finally at a place of acceptance, which means I accept that I will always love him, that those images are seared onto my brain forever, that few people possess true compassion, that my kids are amazing, that life is worth cherishing, that it's better to be alone than with anyone who makes me feel less-than and that I'm stronger than I ever imagined. People kept telling me they wanted me to be like I used to be--but I've accepted that I will never be that person. Everything that I was fell away--and provided me with an opportunity to really find out who I truly am. I'm okay with that. I like the woman I am now--I respect the woman I've become.
If anyone can't meet me in the present moment with an acceptance of who I am now and of the past I fully own, they don't deserve to know me or be a part of this big, messy, fabulous life I'm living. That's just how it is. I've earned the right to decide who's in...and who's out, regardless of family ties. I've earned the right to respect my journey without apologizing for any of it--especially Sean.
|Sean Michael Easton--forever young and handsome. RIP|