Shop the fall collection ➔

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

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

Grief Is Persistent But God Is Faithful

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman praying by ocean

The loss of a parent doesn’t just sting, it leaves you with an irreplaceable hole in your heart. It’s been two years since my loving daddy went home to be with Jesus, and the loss I feel is still unimaginable.  I know in my heart he’s in a better place that is absent of pain and distress. However, his physical presence and wisdom are so dearly missed here on this earth.  He left behind an army of a family who adored him and looked to him for solid guidance. No matter how hard I try to look to the bright...

Keep Reading

l Will Never Stop Missing My Sister

In: Cancer, Grief, Loss
Woman in red shirt

It might be 16 years too late to properly depict the depressive senses that engulfed my whole being when I lost my only sister Aurora to colon cancer in 2006. Painful flashbacks continue to fill my everyday life at the most inopportune moments that  writing about it might somehow alleviate my grief. I remember getting that random phone call from her one sunny day in September 2006 and how guilt automatically hit me. It had been a while since I last saw her. “It’s positive,” she said. Backed with years of joking around and playing tricks on her since childhood,...

Keep Reading

My Parents Are Both Gone Now, and I’m Struggling

In: Grief
Man holding smiling infant, color photo

I lost my dad at the beginning of the summer. The last time I saw him, my daughter and I picked him up from the hospital after his bout of pneumonia. She talked to him about her last day of kindergarten and how she would now be a first-grader. He sat cupping his warm mug of coffee in his favorite chair while his favorite blanket covered his legs. He smiled and giggled about the kindergarten stories. He and my daughter share the same birthday so he always had that Pop-Pop proud look on his face toward her. He was tired...

Keep Reading

Having Cancer at 34 Taught Me How to Live

In: Cancer
Husband and wife on boat, color photo

This picture came up in my Facebook memories today. It took my breath away for a moment, just like it has for nine years now. It was the last picture taken of me before my midwife found the lump and my life changed forever.  The first time I saw that photo, I realized I didn’t know that woman anymore. She was naive. Laying there in the sun without any inkling that a cancer was growing inside her. Look at her—unafraid and without anxiety. Less than 48 hours later, she would be gone, replaced by someone who was afraid of each...

Keep Reading

My Hands Are Full, but They Should Be Fuller

In: Grief, Loss
Family walking on beach

When they are gay, the waves echo their gaiety; but when they are sad, then every breaker, as it rolls, seems to bring additional sadness, and to speak to us of hopelessness and of the pettiness of all our joys. -Baroness Orczy I sat in the sand at the edge of the shore, looked out at the vast Atlantic Ocean, and watched the waves change the landscape with each crash. I absentmindedly dug a hole in the sand next to me, but then a wave came. The hole filled first with water. Then, wet sand caved in. The surface of...

Keep Reading

To My Sons in Heaven: Your Short Lives Changed Mine Forever

In: Grief
Woman at sunse

Dear Noah, Caleb, and Micah: I can’t believe it’s been nine years since I held you in my arms. My sweet sons, losing you broke me in a way that I never thought was possible. I have loved you every second of every day since we first heard of your pending arrival. RELATED: A Letter to my Daughter in Heaven With each day that you have spent in eternity, my love for you has grown exponentially. I have a vision of the day we will hug once more. I imagine that by then, my heart will have expanded so much...

Keep Reading

What If I Could Meet My Mom Now?

In: Grief, Grown Children
Retro photo of woman in sunglasses

I attempt to swallow. My heart is in my throat. I hold back tears. The woman who stands before me is 36 and looks a lot like me, but is not me. I squeeze my arms, pinch my thigh to make sure. I don’t wake up. “Hello.” Her voice is soprano and nasally like mine. Her black, Farrah Fawcett hair frames her round face. We are the same height. We share the same eyes. The same smile. The same white teeth. The same nose. The same long legs. She wears a baggy t-shirt with white-washed jeans, the kind that are...

Keep Reading

317 Days of Love

In: Grief, Motherhood
Smiling baby girl

She couldn’t speak, yet her life spoke to so many. 317 days she was on this earth. She couldn’t speak . . . only one word she said before she passed. One precious word: “Mama.” I can still hear it clear as day. I remember the moment she was born. I looked at her daddy with tear-streaked cheeks, shaking as I heard her cry. The nurse said, “You have a baby girl!” and I was in such awe. I looked at her daddy whispering, “We have a baby girl.” I was in complete adoration. From her dainty little fingers to...

Keep Reading

The Woman He Married Is Long Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Marriage
Young couple smiling

My husband has been married to at least five different women—and they’re all versions of me. His first wife was the 21-year-old version of me, who was a fit and focused college athlete. She was a driven, perfectionist dream-chaser. She was ready to push and sacrifice to chase the dream. No challenge was too hard—but then again, the hardest thing in her life was her organic chemistry final. She had the eternal optimism that comes with naivety and innocence. She loved him with eagerness and couldn’t wait to build a life with him. He often still daydreams of this first...

Keep Reading

Not Having My Mom Here Never Stops Hurting

In: Grief
Sad woman

Each phase of life since my mom died has brought different struggles, triumphs, and varieties of emotion. I always knew that grief was lifelong and complicated, however, I definitely underestimated the ways in which it changes as time goes on. I remember the beginning years as survival mode. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through each day until that day had passed and I was on to the next one. It was figuring out who I was and what my life was going to become during this awful new normal. Some days were harder than others and...

Keep Reading