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"I look back and wonder how I survived knowing that he was dying. It was unstoppable."

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By Christina Rasmussen

I didn't know it then; maybe it was our youth, the salt water.

But our lives were so tragic.

These are my girls a year before he died.

We were all in Greece having a few days with the ocean, pretending that life was normal, hopeful even.

But nothing, not even the ocean, could have stopped it from happening.

I look back and wonder how I survived knowing that he was dying. It was unstoppable.

Impossibly difficult, yet I breathed air and ate some food and got on planes and got dressed every day.

And took care of these little girls.

It takes years to have perspective on what really happened to your life.

In my case a whole decade, a lot of living, and a lot of surviving until I could look back and see my life as it was.

As it truly was. Beautiful but so raw. Youthful but short.

If you are just beginning your journey after losing the love of your life, I want to tell you a few things.

Don't look back if it’s too painful; a day will come when you will be able to look at all the videos and photos. Don't rush.

Do whatever you can to get through your day—no shame, no judgment. Just get through.

Don't worry about your neighbors, your colleagues, and your friends. You don't need to show up for them, just for you.

Yes, it’s very tragic and no words can make it better.

Don't listen to people's helpless platitudes about how the person you lost is in a better place, how God never gives you more than you can handle. This is more than you can handle, much more.

A day will come when your heart will break slightly less and you will be able to stop crying.

It will be the beginning of a slow healing.

I know you will notice that day, just like I did.

The small gap between tears and pain is a miracle and you will know it.

Until then, even though this feels like it’s unbearable, know that you are not alone.

Somewhere far away someone knows how you feel.

And her heart is with yours.

With my deepest love for you.

Grief & Loss Bouncing forward Building resilience Children Family Finding joy Finding meaning Loss of partner Post-traumatic growth Women
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