It was a Wednesday evening when my neighbour showed up at my work to tell me Perry’s plane had gone missing; my worst nightmare just became a possibility.
I had some family and friends came to stay with me in the coming days while I awaited news of any kind. We all patiently waited to hear whether they had made a hard landing and couldn’t contact anyone because of the horrendous weather, or if they did in fact crash the plane into the side of a mountain.
It wasn’t until Saturday morning at 12:36am when I finally got the call from my then future father in-law telling me that they had spotted the tail of the plane and it was sticking out of a mountain. They didn’t believe anyone would have survived such a crash. Perry was pronounced dead at that moment; my worst nightmare officially became my reality.
The death of Perry shattered my entire existence. I couldn’t connect with the person I was before his death and I couldn’t understand how I was supposed to be that person moving forward. How, in an instant, did I go from being madly in love, looking into my future and planning our lives, to being a 27 year old widow? What was I supposed to do with this new person? How was I supposed to continue on when my entire world had been shaken and broken into a million pieces?
I started going to Living with Loss six weeks after Perry’s death. There wasn’t much I knew at the time but one thing was certain, I needed to be around other people that might be suffering as much as me. I thought maybe they could understand how I was supposed to continue living, breathing and moving forward with my new life.
For the first several weeks I sat quiet and I don’t think I said much at all. Every time I spoke about Perry I couldn’t keep the tears from falling off my face. When I did finally speak the people there listened, even during my sobs, or my bursts of anger when I truly couldn’t control my frustrations any longer. These were the people that could understand. At the time I didn’t know them from a hole in the wall and these were the people I was most connected with in the first few months after Perry’s death. It was my safe place with no judgement or timelines.
There were many times I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, I didn’t feel like doing anything other than watching mindless television and trying to forget that my reality was mine to own. I think a part of me was hoping that if I shut it out long enough I would wake up one day and it would all have been a horrible nightmare. Another part of me also believes (more now than in the beginning) that I shut myself down because I needed that time to rest.
That seems weird to think about because you really don’t get much rest or sleep, especially in the beginning. During that time I was very much in a numb state and it was comforting because as much as I was hurting my body was also protecting me from how badly it was hurting. It wasn’t until much later that I really felt the weight that my grief had on me. It was about 6 months later actually that my body, my mind and my emotional state broke down when I thought I was finally holding it all together.
This was so scary for me. I had finally come so far and now I was taking several steps backwards. When was I ever going to get over this? When was I going to move on and stop thinking about Perry?
NEVER that’s when!
I would never forget him. I would never move on without him being a part of me and a part of the person I had become after his death. I would never go a single day for the rest of my life where I didn’t think of him at least once.
When I finally accepted this fact I was finally able to breath, start living happily and move forward as the new person I had become. I was able to take on the great memories that would pop in my head and cherish them as they happened. I was able to take on sad thoughts as well when they happened and as time went on the sad thoughts didn’t hit quite as hard as they used too.
I had accepted that for as long as I am on this earth Perry would be a part of me and he would be in every decision I made. He would be in every move I made and he would play a part in any future relationship I would have as well. He is with me every day.
Without the support from my family, friends and most importantly the Living with Loss group, that I continue to attend to this day, I wouldn’t be here. I would have got lost in my grief and that pain would have eaten me alive. I wouldn’t be here today to tell my story and hopefully help someone else survive their pain. Living with Loss, the group members and BFO as a whole saved me. Without them….well I couldn’t even imagine.
By: Marie Magennis