On August 4, 2018, my fiancé died. He was hit and killed on his motorcycle by an 83-year-old man doing a U-turn. The man didn't look. 12 days before my birthday, I lost the love of my life. Though we weren't legally married, we considered each other as husband/ wife. When he was killed, so was the future we were building together. At only 18 years old, I became a young not widow. I say not widow because we weren't legally married, so I'm not widow. But we were living together, planning our wedding, and building a future together. Here are what other women or men in my position need to prepare for if they ever find themselves in this unfortunate situation.
- 1.Prepare for the "well at least you don't have kids to worry about" or "____ went through this, but they had kids to take care of". This sucks for a couple reasons. One reason might be, you feel like said person is trying to take away from your grief. That the way you're feeling is invalid because well, you only have to worry about you. This isn't true. At the end of the day you lost your person. The person that suppose to get you through this. For myself, and I'm sure others, this is such a terrible statement because we wanted kids. My fiancé and I planned on having a family in the future. It reminds me I will never get to give him that. Plus, I would do anything to look into his beautiful eyes again, eyes our children would've inherited.
- 2.I remember feeling so odd about eating alone for the first time. I had eaten alone before, but the first time going out alone after my fiancés passing was different. It felt heavy and wrong. Like I was sneaking around behind his back. I remember walking up to the hostess stand and choking on my words as I asked for a table for one. I remember not being sure about what I should do with myself as a ate lunch. My best advice for you is to bring a book or a notebook. Read, write to your S.O. as if you were having a conversation.
- 3.In-laws were the hardest for me. My fiancé didn't have a will. That means since we were not married legally they didn't have to do anything for me. Luckily, they allowed me to see him and say my goodbye. They allowed me to kiss him one more time and even granted me time alone with him. His father also shared some of his ashes with me, for my own urn and necklace. Its important to recognize that they did not have to do this. We were not legally married, which means in the eyes of the law, I'm not family and I didn't matter.
- 4.This situation will show you who your friends are. The people who are texting you to check on you, meeting you for lunch, offering a couch to sleep on if you didn't want to be alone; those are your friends. I had a close friend/ coworker drive 30 minutes out of her way to come see me after Jacobs death. I had another friend who would let me sit at his house until I was tired enough to go home and fall asleep. My best friend answered every call and text. She provided endless hugs, tissues, and support. If I needed to see her she would make time for me. Your friends are there to hold you together, so you don't have to. Let them love you, take care of you, bring you groceries, and listen to them when they tell you to shower. They are the ones that will pick you up when you don't have the strength. Rely on them and use them. It's okay.
- 5.You need to be prepared for people to ask you how you're doing when you go out in public. This question will make your throat feel like its full of concrete but its inevitable. Some people are just saying it out of courtesy, and that's okay. Have your answer ready. I would always say "I'm doing as well as can be expected" or "no I'm not okay, but I'm trying my best". The people that really want to know how you're doing will push past your cliché response, and no I promise it won't be your old babysitter that you run into at the grocery store. Many times, the people that want to know will already know how you're doing, before they see you in public. So just be prepared for the question and have your response ready.
- 6.Jacob and I were living together. That means six hours before his accident he was in our home. He gave me a kiss goodbye and left for work. This also means many of his items remained where he last put them. You might find yourself not wanting to move anything, that is okay and that is normal. It is normal to want to memorialize everything. I wouldn't allow anyone to take my trash out for three days after the accident, and when I finally did, I needed his father to come do it. It didn't feel right to have anyone else do it, and that is OKAY. Its okay to not move the last towel your significant other used and to not want to touch their toothbrush. But know you can't keep everything the same forever. Eventually you will have to move things, just don't rush it, take your time, and please don't be alone. Its harder than it sounds and a lot more heartbreaking than you'll know until you do it. (Shout out to Kelly, for helping me move and clean)
- 7.Most of the time you won't find anyone else that understands your exact situation. I know I couldn't find one person. We weren't married, we weren't officially engaged, but we were planning our wedding. We spent every single day together. Jacob was my everyday life. And no one will understand. If your significant other still has parents that are alive, then they are the closest thing to understanding you will get. I know Jacobs dad and I grew very close because of this tragedy. But he still didn't fully understand, nor did I fully understand the loss of his only child. Things like sleeping alone, showering alone, eating alone, are things that other people will not understand. You and your significant other loved each other differently than others they loved and that loved them. Your significant other was your every day. You saw them in the morning, at night, and countless times between then. You made decisions about everything together. No one will understand your pain, and people might try to take away from it for that reason. Just know that your grief is different and that is okay.
- 8.The last thing is hearing the words "you'll move on". This made me want to punch everyone that said it. It made me feel like they disrespected the relationship I had with Jacob to think that I would just move on and replace him. I could never replace him. Before he even passed we had talked about this situation, and I chose not to move on. Its okay if you want to, I just didn't see a point. If you're like me the words "you'll move on" are extremely hurtful. Just know that almost no one is saying these words to hurt you and be malicious. It's a way of them trying to make themselves feel better. My best advice is to just walk away. They will get the hint that those weren't the best words to use. Just keep reminding yourself that they weren't trying to be mean.
I want to wish you the best of luck. I hope you can do what is needed for your grieving process in peace. Most of all I want you to know that it does get better. You will have plenty of bad days ahead but allow yourself to laugh. Allow yourself to find joy. For me it was realizing that I needed to be alone. I needed to sit and talk to Jacob in peace. You are a different person now, and that's okay. This is a new adventure for you, it's going to be hard. Just find what makes you happy. It might have changed, it might be the same. Your significant other loved you, and no one can take that from you. But what you can do is take the love they gave you and spread it to everyone who will allow you too. Cry for hours, give tight hugs, enjoy life. Carry on their legacy with honor and pride.