In loving memory of Steve Robson.
It has been 3 years since my husband died of a massive heart attack. No signs, no known warnings, and no goodbyes. Just a sudden and horrendous passing of a magnificent man, husband, father, stepfather, son, brother, colleague and friend.
But this isn't a story about being widowed. I wrote this for anybody that is going through a serious struggle right now and trying to navigate their way back to happiness. It isn't a story about grief or loss. It's about CHOICE. The choices we make, the journey I was led on, and the confronting realities of the stories I have told myself all of my life. The truths I had never faced about myself and the blind faith I had that this was happening for a reason. Because, I truly believe there are no coincidences and life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you. And that something good should come out of something so shit.
My big learning from Steve dying was to navigate how to do life alone. Sound scary? For me, it was mortifying. To have all your dreams whisked away in an instant and then realise that you were never actually living 100% authentically to your own dreams came as a real surprise to me. Because in actual fact, having been in two long term relationships since the age of 18, I discovered that I didn’t really have my own dreams, my own purpose, and my own identity. Even though I was a financially independent business owner and a free spirit, it floored me when I realised how much I had wrapped my dreams and my happiness up in my husbands’.
My husband was everything to me, and I floundered for quite a while as you would expect. I felt like the rug had literally been pulled out from under me and I was just in a slow motion free fall with no idea how or where I would land. I was only 45, and had already come out of a horrible divorce 8 years prior so I was no stranger to challenges. I had 3 amazing teenage sons, a house to maintain and a busy life schedule to manage. There was a big time lapse before any life insurance came through and I was up to my eyeballs in personal debt as Steve and I had been living beyond our collective means for years as most families living in Sydney do every day, sustaining 2 families in 2 separate homes. It wasn’t easy, but together we managed. But when he passed, I was truly on my own.
So I had 2 choices, give myself a couple of weeks to fall apart and then get back on the horse and pull my life together quickly… or let myself collapse, pack up my life, my 3 boys and 2 dogs and head back to my parent’s home in the country to heal in my own time and not face life ‘alone’.
I chose the former, mainly for the sake of my teenage children who didn’t want their lives to change, but I also instinctively did it for me. It was a real pivotal moment for me, and in doing so, I chose to let joy back into my life because I did not want to choose living under a black cloud of depression.
I think this shocked a lot of people. I’m pretty sure I was still very dazed and not operating from a grounded place, but I was determined to feel joy every moment that I could find a reason to. (And that was very hard to do some days when your entire world had been flipped upside and all that you thought was your future has vanished into thin air!) But… I still had my boys. And I still had my independence through my business. So I rebuilt my existence, the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
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