Dear 19-year-old Mikki,
Your life will change in the blink of an eye. One minute you will be living the dream. Happily married. Loving life. The next you will be standing on a beach. With your kids. But you will be alone. For the first time in your life. You will be surrounded by strangers. You will be confused. You will not know what to do. Where to turn. You will cry. You will scream. You will be numb. And then you will be strong. For your kids. They need you. More than ever.
You will move slowly. An out of body experience. You will think it is a dream. A nightmare. It’s not. It’s reality. And you must figure it out. You will have to do things. Things you don’t understand. Phone calls. You will not be able to get the words out. They are words you will not be able to comprehend. But they will come to you. Tearfully. Your heart will hurt. It will hurt so bad. A stranger will comfort you and the kids. He will stay with you. He will answer questions for which there are no answers. Listen to him. He is a smart man. It won’t make sense at the time. It may never make sense. But try to believe.
You and the kids will choose to stay in Hawaii. You will feel closer to hubby. It will be a good decision for all of you. You will have time to be together. To talk. To cry. To share. You will spend time at the ocean. You will see, hear, and feel so many signs. Clouds. Rainbows. Songs. Miracles. You will never want to leave. But you must. You and the kids will leave messages. Everlasting messages of love. Buried deep in the ocean. They will find their way to hubby. He will see them. Feel them. Know you are always with him. And he is always with you. Believe this.
Flying home will be hard. It’s not the way you were supposed to leave. Alone. You don’t understand. You will feel afraid. Afraid to walk into the house you’ve lived in together for over 20 years. Afraid to face people. Afraid to just be something you don’t believe you ever wanted to be. A widow. But you will be able to do it. You will find strength. You will be stronger than you ever believed you could be. You don’t know how. But you will. Just believe.
Your brother will be waiting for you. At the garage. He will not let you walk into the house alone. You will be forever grateful. Family and friends will come. And then they will go. This will be tough. You will break down. Literally. Fall to the floor. Sob uncontrollably at the star filled skies. Let it come. Let it go. Cry. Scream. Just let it out. This will not be the first time. Nor will it be the last. Remember that.
You will plan a memorial. It’s going to be huge. Why wouldn’t it be? Hubby is a beloved man. Not just to his family and friends, but the community at large. Kind, generous, compassionate, beloved. You and your children will honor his memory. He will be proud.
You will understand the events of the past year. Life will make sense. Changes hubby made. Working at the store. Teaching you things you did not want to learn. But you did. Now you know. You have to step into the business. You will have no choice. You have been preparing. You just didn’t know it. You will hold onto the business for as long as you can. But you are not hubby. He was the best of the best. You will sell. It will be hard. But it is the best for you. Be okay with it. He told you it was okay. All. The. Time. Remember. He told you what to do. Just in case. Listen to him. He will leave you messages. Everywhere. Look for them. You will find them. Little by little. They will bring you comfort. And peace.
You will memorialize hubby in a big way. Something solely devoted to him. One of your greatest accomplishments. A dream. And you will do it. Donations to charities. His favorites. Overwhelming. Heartwarming.
You will go through the motions. Day by day. One day blends into the next. You will have to deal with undesirable crap. That’s what it will feel like. Crap. B.S. But you will have to deal. Put your big girl panties on and deal. You will be able to do it. And you will grow. And learn. And feel awesome about it. Again, hubby has been preparing you for this. He put all his ducks in a row. Pretty much. You are lucky. You always knew how much he loved you. Now you know even more. And you will wish every day you could thank him. Tell him how much you love him. You can. And you do. While you are driving. Sitting. Walking. You will talk to him. And he will hear you.
You will make a lot of changes. Changes you never thought you would be making alone. But you are. Put the house on the market. You love the house. But it’s empty. You cannot live there. You feel the urge to leave. And you will. Off to California. A new beginning. Not for good yet. A trial run. But you will grow. You will learn. About yourself. About life. About being alone.
To be continued…