I was in my classroom on the last day of the semester, grade day, when the doctor called to tell me that it was time for Jeff to enter hospice, that there was nothing else they could do for him at the hospital, that he no longer needed acute care, that the end was near, that all he wanted to do was go home and spend time with me.
I held myself together until the final bell rang and everybody, students and staff, were happily leaving campus to go home to their families and celebrate the holidays. I was in my classroom sobbing when one of my fellow teachers came by to say goodbye. He saw me crying and immediately hugged me. I told him what the doctor said and he asked me if I was religious. I told him that I wasn't particularly religious and he then changed tactics and said a line I continuously go back to, "well, maybe your purpose is to make sure he has a good ending."
For some reason, this one line struck me to my very core. My purpose here on earth was to make sure that Jeff had a good ending. I honestly think that I did help him have a good ending. I tried to make sure he was as comfortable and stress free as possible. So I am comfortable in knowing that I fulfilled that purpose if that truly was my purpose. But what does that mean for the rest of my life? What is my purpose now that he is gone? I am now just trying to hold myself together and not go scattering in multiple directions in the wind.
I didn't think that my entire identity was wrapped around being his wife, his partner, his best friend, but now I'm not so sure. I try to remember that I am a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, teacher, and nurturer of those I love as well. But he was my entire world. Every day, my actions mainly revolved and were affected by him. Multiple times a day I would wonder what he was doing, where he was on his route when he was still driving, how his day was going, how many stops he had, what time he would be home. And then once he was undergoing treatment, how he was feeling, if he had eaten, if he was in any pain or discomfort, what he wanted to eat for dinner, if he would be up for any of the tentative plans we had made, and of course, what the dreaded cancer was doing in his body.
He was my purpose in life. But now he's gone.
I hear and read about it all the time that I need to find my "new normal." Of course I realize this and it has helped me through some of the darker times. But now I'm realizing that I need to find "my new purpose" as well.
I thought my life was set and clear. I felt that no matter what life threw at me, I would always have him and I could handle anything with him by my side. He always said that all that mattered was me and him and now he's gone and I'm left alone trying to not be scattered in the wind. People all tell me I'm so strong but it really is all I can do to hold myself together some days when that wind really blows.