I Lost Him Before You Did
My husband died on July 18, 2007. But that's not the day I lost him.
He was in an accident on his way to work on July 16th. Later that day he had a stroke. The next day the doctors determined his brain was swelling. And he died on the 18th.
When I saw my husband in the hospital on the 16th, I thought he would be coming home. Later that day, I thought he would come home, but paralyzed from a stroke. But when I sat with him on the 16th, before the stroke happened, we talked, we joked, I brought my bag from my car with a People magazine. Things had changed but we were together.
Later that day, he wouldn't wake up. His last words sounded like a toddler's because, unbeknownst to us, he'd already had a stroke.
I lost my husband that day.
His body followed a few days later.
For years, I mourned the 16th while others remembered the 18th. Thinking back I think I held it sacred because I felt like that was our last day together. I think there was a part of me that wanted his passing - the passing of who he was - to be mine.
As I write this, I'm thinking about others who have lost spouses and partners who know exactly what I'm talking about. You know the moment you lost them before anyone else did. It's a moment you will never forget that almost overshadows the moment they were physically gone. It could have been months before, or moments before.
But it's your moment to hold.