A First in Eight Years

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A week ago this past Wednesday Ben’s grandfather passed away.  For us, it was the first time in our relationship that we had to deal with a death in our immediate family.  We’ve attended numerous wakes and funerals in our eight years together, but thankfully not one that has hit so close to home. For me, it was an emotionally hard situation.  Some of you are probably thinking that is completely selfish of me because it wasn’t my grandfather, but let me explain myself before you judge.

My husband is the rock of our relationship and I am emotionally unstable 24/7/365.  I cry at least once a week to the point of needing a hug.  Usually over something stupid, but he’s always there to provide the comfort and remind me that it will all be okay.  It wasn’t until our dog died last December that I’d really seen any true emotion from the man.  Men aren’t usually ones to wear their heart on their sleeve, like women, but Ben truly is the man of few emotions.  He keeps most things in side or will make comments about something making him sad, but he doesn’t show it.  Due to this, I’ve been convinced for years that he isn’t phased by things.  He never goes to bed angry and if he does, he’s forgotten all about it by the next day.  There are moments of frustration, but rarely moments of anger or completely sadness.

This changed for us when his grandpa became sick.  I would like to preface, out of respect, I will choose not to disclose many details.  As he was not my grandfather, I don’t feel it is my place.  Okay, back to how my husbands emotions changed our relationship.  When grandpa became sick in December, Ben was very open about it from the beginning.  I knew that it was serious and he really was saddened as it was something we talked about a lot.  My own grandma was sick around the same time and being emotionally unstable I wasn’t very supportive about the situation he was dealing with.  Mind you, I cried my eyes out and he was always there with arms wide open.

As time passed and the situation didn’t appear to be getting any better, I knew that it was important to be supportive to my husband.  In all honestly, I didn’t know what that meant.  I really am not good at death.  Really, who is?

Luckily, I let Brianne know that Ben was saddened and the two of them could talk it out.  They’re cousins, who were sharing in the same pain.  If I couldn’t figure out how to be whatever it was I should be, I could at least let them know they should talk to one another.

Sadly, when grandpa passed, I realized what being a supportive wife meant to the man of few emotions.  Right away, I told him that I didn’t know what he needed, but that I was there for him.  I cooked lots of comforting food, gave him extra hugs, called just to say I love you and reminded him that he was blessed with 33 years of love with grandpa.  I may have also told him that I felt like a crappy wife and didn’t know how to be supportive and he reassured me that he’d let me know if I truly was doing a crappy job.

What I learned from all of this was that being supportive isn’t something you learn in times of need, it just happens.  There is no manual that tells you how to act when your spouse is in need.  However, I think it’s love taking over and knowing that you hate to see the person whom you love to pieces be sad.  There is nothing you can do to make that pain go away, but there is a lot that can be done to help ease that pain.  This is a lesson that I hate having learned the way I did, but I know it will make a difference in our future endeavors.

As we continue our life together, we will encounter more deaths and times of sadness. Time will make us better at helping one another heal during these moments, but they’ll no longer be firsts.  It won’t be “awkward” or there won’t be uncertainty how to handle the situation.  You do what you have to when it comes to providing comfort in times of need.  The rest of the world doesn’t matter for the time being.  Maybe it’s taking care of the little details or not bothering one another with things that don’t matter.  Whatever it is, you do it to help the healing.  I’ve always believed love conquers all.  It’s situations like these that remind me, love and family really do make a difference.

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