The Tribes in My Life

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I don’t know if I would have made it this far without all the people in my life. When I first heard Peter died and after my initial cries of “no, you’re wrong”,  I didn’t know how I was going to live without him. And not in some romantic Notebook kind of way.  I meant I truly did not know how I was going to get up every morning, and go to bed at night, and move all the time in between.

In our relationship, Peter was the stronger one of us when it came to many things both concrete and not so concrete. He handled the mundane house projects, the finances and served as a reminder of kindness, patience, tolerance, and acceptance. He had flaws like any of us,  yet the better halves of ourselves made up our wholes. And I didn’t know how I was going to walk, let alone stand, through life, without him. Then came my tribes.

First and foremost, there are my daughter and son. Over and over, I cannot imagine going through this, together.  People comment a few times on our closeness. My daughter responds Peter helped built us this way – a strong, loving, family.  And I don’t disagree. He was the foundation, and they are the rocks, the boulders, built on it. They are my rocks, my boulders.

There are the nephews and their spouses who were there at the hospital and held me up physically and emotionally when I was told of Peter’s death. There are the siblings and siblings-in-law who call, text and sent cards to let me know they will catch me if I fell. There are the family members telling me stories of why Peter was so special and give me warmth on the coldest of moments.

There is the small town I live in who rallied behind me with beautiful words, offers of services, and dings on my phone of “I’m in shock. Peter was special. We’re here“.  In the town, there are my neighbors who gave me enough food for three weeks and saluted my husband with a bonfire. One neighbor spent an evening with me, coming over with the best ice cream bars. (I know I keep mentioning ice cream bars, but they are my uppers during this time.)

There are the first responders who I work for and with showing up as if I am part of their family they always welcomed me in. There are my college buddies, and my very first buddy, my elementary school buddies, and my high school buddies lending their support over and over and over again.

There are Peter’s best friends and his own college buddies reaching out, reassuring me their own grief may not be equaled to mine, but they are suffering too. There is my writers’ group from around US and Canada who sent me a gift that made me laugh and cry and laugh some more.

There is a high school friend who has walked in my shoes the shoes of a woman with a sudden, great loss. Laura has messaged me something, anything, every day. I told her yesterday, don’t stop. A message from one who understands touches a different part of me.

There are so many Facebook friends who jumped in with comments and personal messages of support. There are so much more, and I apologize if I did not recognize you specifically in this blog, but know you did help. And then there is my strongest tribe.

This tribe consists of my best friend, Beth. My friend since I was five, Rose. My two best friends since high school, Maryann and Terri. And my neighbor and friend of twenty-four years, Lisa. This was, is, the Tribe holding it together for me and are still making sure I don’t shatter.

Beth dropped everything and stayed with me for five days, the worst five days of my life. She did everything while I sat like a woman in a coma, trying to move. Her’s was one of the most unselfish actions I’ve ever witnessed, and one I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Rose’s daily prayers, texts and “what can I do’s” reminded me I was not alone. She wouldn’t leave me alone. I needed her not to leave me alone. She came over for a day, not letting me be alone. After over fifty years, she gets that, she gets a lot, without words.

Maryann and Terri waited at a local bagel shop near the hospital the night of Peter’s death, waiting for me to tell them to come to the hospital. Then, came running when I finally texted, “Come. I need you.”  They spent an evening with me when all I could do is cry.  They have been my go-to for a long time and there is extreme comfort in that.

Lisa mowed my lawn, trimmed my bushes, welcomed me when I was alone one night with a shaky hug, laughter, and tears, so many tears. I know she will remain. She has always remained because we are a tribe.

There are so many people there for me, in one way or another, holding me up, not letting fall. Without them, I would be paralyzed with fear and uncertainty. Without them, I would remain in a state of “what am I going to do without him” flux.  They help me stand. They help me move.  They help me live another day, without him.  And to all of them, for all of them, I thank you.

While I find peace in all of this, I wish you all, peace in your nows.