The First Week

The First Week

I remember that night so clearly, leaving the hospital after Wes died. My dad was with me, both of us trying to process what had just happened. It was around 11pm, both of us had been up all day going through an emotional roller coaster of events. We left Wes’s room, headed for the elevator so we could get to our car. We were both silent as we walked down the hall and stepped in the elevator. My mind was racing, I had a million thoughts. I went through who I needed to call, what I was going to say, needing to call the church and funeral home in the morning, making sure I didn’t leave anything in Wes’s room. My mind went straight from saying goodbye to Wes, to the next steps. One minute I was crying the next I was in planning mode. 



The elevator doors opened and we stepped into the main hallway. We got a few steps out of the elevator and then I sat down, I needed a minute to collect my thoughts. It was such a weird feeling I felt after leaving Wes’s hospital room. I felt lost and at peace all at the same time. I couldn’t cry even if I wanted to, I tried to feel any emotion but all I could feel was this sense of calmness. It’s hard to explain that feeling exactly, maybe my body finally relaxed knowing Wes wasn’t suffering anymore, or maybe it was him letting me know he was at peace. Either way, whatever it was it’s a feeling I will never forget it.



After a few minutes of sitting down, I got my phone and called my mom. As she said hello, I said the foreign words out loud “Wes died”. That’s all I could say, that’s all that would come out. Hearing my own voice talking to my mom seemed so distant. I could hear it in my mom’s voice, the heartbreak for her daughter, her granddaughter and herself for the loss of Wes. We didn’t say much to each other. I told her we would be home soon and that was it. The next people I called were my brother and sister-in-law. The same simple quick conversation happened, not much was said before it ended. We were all expecting this to happen, everyone was prepared but somehow it still wasn’t easy to make those phone calls and have those conversations.



It was almost midnight at this point, finally my dad and I headed for the car. The hospital was so quiet and dark, the scene was fitting to what we were going through. I think if the hospital was full of people, I would have had a harder time. As we stepped outside it was pouring, torrential downpour. Of course, this is just what we needed to end our day. We made it to the car and started our quiet drive home. I didn’t have much emotion; I just remember staring out the window so exhausted. I started thinking about Aubrey, I wanted nothing more than to hold her. 



Before I knew it, we had made it home, it was well past midnight and I was exhausted. I immediately took a shower and then went to bed, all I wanted to do was get under the sheets and forget the past 24 plus hours. I was prepared to have a horrible sleep; I was ready to have a night of wrestling with my sheets. As I laid down and closed my eyes, I felt my body sink into the mattress. 



I slept like a rock that night, I didn’t move a muscle. Before I knew it, I could hear the birds outside. I laid in bed for a second, that sweet spot right before reality hits you and reminds you of all of life’s events. Then the wave of thoughts came crashing into my head. My body tensed up, the anxiety came flooding back in, my head started spinning. Wes was dead.



I rolled over to check the time, my eyes heavy and sore, trying to make out the numbers on my phone. 7:30 came up bright and bold. My body was on auto pilot, going through the motions. I was out of bed heading for that cup of coffee brewing in the pot. Time to face the reality of this new life.



The next week came ripping through like a hurricane. I didn’t have time to stop and process Wes’s death, I had so much to do. Immediately the funeral planning started, there was no time to sit and grieve. The phone calls and text messages came nonstop, the flowers and gift baskets filled the house. I was going through the motions, distracted by all that needed to be done. 



That week was intense, the ups and downs were horrible. One minute you’re okay, able to eat something small and have a decent conversation, then in a split second it all crumbles. The anxiety and fear hit you like a ton of bricks, the weight of everything comes crashing down on you. The distractions of everything that first week were nice. Having people around most of the day was comforting. The busy days filled with meetings and prepping kept me from really facing reality. Many people I know who have been through a close death have said that first week surrounded by people is somewhat comforting. 



The funeral came and went, the day was bittersweet. It was a beautiful day surrounded by family and friends sharing memories of Wes, but also hard because it was the final send off. The day was long, exhausting and emotional. By the time I was heading home, I had no emotions left I was numb to everything. After I settled back home, I sat in my living room, it was completely silent. I stared out our back window watching the birds in the trees in the distance. That was the first time since Wes’s death that I was able to sit and process what had happened. Thoughts started racing through my mind, how the hell was I going to do this. The weight was so heavy, my chest got tight and my head felt light. I know I had been doing a lot on my own while Wes was sick and, in the hospital, but this was different. I was completely alone at this point having to pick up all the pieces and figure this out on my own. 



I must have been lost in my thoughts for hours, I finally came back to the living room. It was dark, my eyes were burning and my head was pounding. I got up and headed to bed, as much as I didn’t want to sleep, I knew I needed to. In a few short hours I had to get up, start my day and be a mom. 



Those first few days after everything settled was hard. I had no plans and no one to see. It was the first time I was facing my new reality without any distractions. I was responsible for managing my grief and Aubrey’s grief by myself. The hours ticked by so slowly, I was trying hard to be present for Aubrey but I was exhausted. We slowly worked through each day, trying to find our footing. One by one we started putting the pieces back together, seeing which ones fit and which ones needed replacing. The beginning was hard, figuring out this new life with no manual. But, over time as each piece was put back into our puzzle the bigger picture started to show itself. As hard as those first few months were, I look at where we are now and know no matter how hard it gets, we can do it, one step at a time.





Back to blog