Strong? Me?

People have always said, “You’re a strong lady. You can handle anything, can’t you?” Sure, I am.

I was strong when the ER doctor looked me in the face and said,”He is in end-stage renal failure.” I was strong the first time I watched Hub get hooked up to a dialysis machine. I was strong through Hub's illness...I took care of him while raising our kids and handling everything. I stayed strong while arguing with medical professionals about his care. I stayed strong while making choices for him. I stayed strong as he grew sicker and in his final moments. I stayed strong while explaining to everyone that he had passed. I stayed strong while planning his home going service. I am staying strong while none of his relatives are strong enough to live up to their empty promises to “be there more for us.” I am staying strong even though God broke his promise to me. I am staying strong to continue raising my kids and working full time while keeping things afloat. I am strong so much I’m exhausted. I wonder often, when do I get to break down and be weak for a minute?

Oh yes, when no one can see me. All people really see is the strong me so why do they keep saying that? Like I’m not? But yet, I must continue this...being strong thing. That’s how everyone sees me. I could be weak and break down with my Tony. But he’s not here. So none of that is allowed now. Must stay strong. My kids need that from me. People don’t really want to see me break down…”how can she still be so sad? It’s been two and half years.” But I still feel the loss of him quite acutely. That is why I’m strong.

My strength has gotten me through the worst thing that has ever happened to me. The loss of my “back up” has forced me to stay strong. My love for our boys makes me want to stay strong. The knowledge that he is proud of me for being the strong woman he married keeps me strong, even powerful. But… I still wonder...who can I count on to be strong for me when I need it? Whose arms can I fall into? Who will carry me? Who will help me understand? Who will wipe my tears? As I write this, I hear God saying gently in my ear, “Me, I’ll be strong for you when you need it. Also remember, I left Tony to love, guard and protect you. That has always been his purpose. He wants to be with you always, so he’ll be there to hold you up until you meet again. You see, you may think I’ve broken my promise to you by allowing Tony to come to me, but I haven’t. He came to me so that he could be with you for all days. When your job is done, I will bring you here to be with Tony and I will guard and protect the both of you here. So don't worry. Things are as they should be.” Well, then. I guess I’m strong...and I’m fine with that.

By Cheryl Barnes

#strong #Grief #Endstagerenalfailure

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