I used to drink a ton of coffee, but in January, for health reasons, I switched to herbal tea. One morning, about a week and a half after I’d stopped drinking coffee, my husband said he didn’t like drinking coffee without his coffee-drinking partner, so he, too, switched to herbal tea. He became a tea connoisseur. One of our favorite teas was a tea he found—a rose, chamomile, and lavender tea called Love. He brought home the pretty pink box one evening along with a bouquet of flowers. He could make anything romantic.

My heart aches for him, my body aches for him. And as I sit here and drink my tea, I wonder—did I take him for granted?

RELATED: Stop Being a Butthole Wife

This wondering feels less like pondering and more like screaming. But not the kind that’s an audible AAAHHHhhh where everyone turns to see who screamed and why. Not like that. But something like that. I know that sounds crazy. It feels crazy, trust me. I don’t know what else to use as a comparison. It’s not something I could have understood two months ago. Who am I kidding? I’m not sure I understand it now, but I’m definitely experiencing it.

I tell myself I didn’t take him for granted; I always knew we had a wonderful life.

It’s a wonderful life was a saying we both loved. I had it engraved inside his wedding band. It hangs as a plaque in our home, and it’s what he titled the huge collage he made for our 11th anniversary. We didn’t need Clarence Odbody or any other guardian angel to show us we had a wonderful life; we knew it.

But now, when I sit and stare off into space, there’s the screaming in my head.

RELATED: My Husband’s Heart Stopped And Mine Nearly Broke

If only I had him back, I’d appreciate him even more. I swear I wouldn’t take a second for granted because I’m sure I did allow seconds to slip by unappreciated. If only I could go back in time. If only I could have more time. 

If only.

So I stare off into space, trying to ignore the screaming. But there’s also the echo bouncing off the walls of my heart saying, live every day as if it were your last. I want to shout back, That’s so stupid! 

If you knew you were living your last day, or if you knew the love of your life were living his last day, you wouldn’t concern yourself with going to meetings (like I did on his last day) or grocery shopping (like I did on his last day) or any other routine things we do as responsible people trying to make a life. 

I fantasize about holding him and never letting him go, but in order to have the life we had, the life we both loved so much, we had to do things like raising and loving our children. He needed to go to work so we could have food and a home to come home to. I needed to grade papers and figure out how to teach all the things. We needed to have clean clothes and the oil in the car needed to be changed. We had to make a life not just make love.

RELATED: What If Tonight Was Your Last Chance To Have Sex With Your Husband?

I have to remind my heart that if we were just wrapped in each other’s arms all day, we never would have had the life we had.

And the life we had is the life we loved. The life I miss. The life I desperately want back.

I need to listen to the logical part of my mind. I need to listen to the part of my brain telling me that making love on the last day but not knowing it’s the last day is actually more beautiful than making love all day because you know it’s the last day.

I tell myself I didn’t take him for granted, but the screaming in my head is so loud that logic is drowned out.

It’s so hard to quiet the scream that comes from the pain, the ache, of having this amputation without warning and without anesthesia. 

What’s worse is this scream can’t escape through my mouth—it’s just part of me now. 

Previously published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Kian Schuemann

The beautiful Colorado countryside is where I homeschool, read, write, and ride my bike. I’m thankful to have known true love, and I’m more cognizant than ever that life here on earth is fragile. I write about life and other things in my Dirt Road Diary https://dirtroaddiary.com/

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Small dog with head hanging out car window, color photo

Our dog Carlos has slowed down considerably within the last few months. He’s always been outspoken and opinionated–a typical firstborn trait–and to hear him snoring most of the day and tolerating things he normally wouldn’t tolerate (i.e. being carried from place to place by my son, forklift-style) put me on notice that he’s in the fourth quarter. Carlos looks and acts like an Ewok from the Star Wars franchise. According to Wikipedia, Ewoks are clever, inquisitive, and inventive. Carlos checks all three boxes. As a puppy, we tried crate training, but it never took. It wasn’t for lack of trying....

Keep Reading

You’ve been Gone a Year, So Why Does It Feel Like Yesterday?

In: Grief, Loss
Old photo of mother hugging her young daughter, color photo

In February, you will have been gone a year. How is that right? It was just yesterday. I still remember the day we got the diagnosis. One I knew was coming but still prayed wasn’t true. I still remember promising you that everything was going to be okay, and knowing that it wasn’t. I still remember the first time I saw you and thought to myself, “The dementia is moving too fast.” It was just yesterday. I still feel your hand in mine as I sat next to you in the hospital bed. You were talking and humming along while...

Keep Reading

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

Growing Slowly around the Grief of Losing Your Mom

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman sitting on couch with folded arms

Everyone has heard about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Society often assumes the stages of grief happen in order, but those who encounter grief know that’s not true. Undergoing grief can feel like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded—disorienting and chaotic. There are numerous ups, downs, and twists you wouldn’t anticipate. Grief is like an ocean. When waves come crashing, it feels like you’re being swept away. Regardless of their size, waves are always rough. Despite everything, you also get pushed forward to the shore after every wave. Sometimes, you may feel like you are drowning...

Keep Reading

The Shattering Grief of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Sad person sitting in darkened hallway, black and white image

Navigating through my second Christmas without my dad, the weight of grief seemed even heavier this year. In fact, everything felt and looked different to me. As I unwrapped the ornaments and cards he gave me over the years, a tidal wave of madness and sadness engulfed me. I know many feel sadness and grieve during these times, but let me just say . . . suicide is a different type of grief. My vibrant, happy, physically fit dad committed suicide on April 30th, 2022. There, I said it. In the aftermath, a myriad of emotions consumed me. One perplexing...

Keep Reading

Dear Dad, Maybe You’re the Bird

In: Grief, Loss
Young girl sitting on father's lap, older color photo

Maybe you’re the bird. The one I see outside my door. The one who flies so low it seems you’re somehow weighted down. Like you’re carrying more than just yourself. Like you’re carrying a message. Just for me. Maybe you’re the rain. The sound I hear that reminds me so much of home. Of you. Of driving in your car as a little girl when you looked over and asked my opinion about everything. When you made someone so small feel so very big. RELATED: Dad Left a Legacy in Fried Green Tomatoes Maybe you’re the butterfly. The one I...

Keep Reading

I Hope You Never Know What it’s Like to Forget Who You Are

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Woman staring at camera, black-and-white photo

I write best when I’m passionate. It’s always been my release. But lately, I’ve struggled to write. I’ve struggled to find purpose in my words. It’s all been twisted and choppy, not a bit poetic or beautiful. These feelings are what the struggles of loss, parenting, work, and marriage push against. It’s finding yourself over and over again and trying to make sense of the senseless. It leaves you questioning most things and leaves you feeling broken with no idea how to put yourself or others back together. I hope you never know. I hope you never know what it’s...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Know How to Live Without My Sister, But I Must

In: Grief
Sisters smiling in posed color photo

I’ve spent a year of my life living in a haze. Holding my breath, afraid to exhale. Focusing on staying in this frozen moment where there is no reality. I pressed the pause button. Pumped the brakes. I’ll stay right here and wait for my life, life as I knew it, life as I loved it, to come back around. Where there is no future to mourn, thinking about the way it should have been and no torturous past to remember, recalling the horror of that day. The special occasions that will come are now outlined in sadness. Wait, she’s...

Keep Reading

6 Ways to Be a Friend to Someone Grieving

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Friends hugging

Grief can truly be such a lonely experience after you lose a loved one. The loneliness isn’t necessarily because you don’t have anyone around you. It’s because only you had your relationship with the person who died, and it’s hard to find anyone to replace that. I have first-hand experience. My mom died recently and unexpectedly at the age of 62 and I at the age of 34, and it single-handedly has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. However, having support from family and friends will help you navigate this difficult time. Without it, the loneliness...

Keep Reading

These Final Gifts from My Mom Are Hard to Let Go

In: Grief, Loss
Little girls boots with worn toes, color photo

My daughter wobbled toward me in silver, square-toed go-go boots, one heel dislodged and flopping against our hallway’s faux wood floor. On her opposite foot, a striped sock peaked curiously through the growing toe hole. “Mama,” she said. Her tiny voice raised another octave, “My shoe!” I sighed, then sat on the floor. Waves of grief washed over me as I contemplated what kind of glue might capably reconstruct the shoe’s sole. Elmer’s glue? Textile glue? Maybe Krazy Glue? I knew the boots should just go into the bin. And yet, they—along with a vibrant, overbearing cat dress that would...

Keep Reading