Suddenly Single

~by Nancy Murphy Brink

I always knew that I wanted a Donna Reed life.  I had it, too.  My husband, Michael, went to the office each morning in his suit and tie, carrying his brief case, making calls on his cell phone, meeting important people for lunch.  He called during the day to see how we were doing - our baby Emma and I.  We would go to play groups and La Leche League meetings and the grocery store.  He came home each night to our suburban house, where I wouldsometimes have dinner on the table.  We were looking forward to having morekids and taking them to Disney and hanging their art work on the refrigerator.

And then it was September 9th.  Not September 11th.  September 9, 2001.  That is the day Michael was killed in a car accident.  And I was a suddenly single Mom.  Emma was not yet five months old.  I was 25 and had been married less than 4 years.  I had no idea what to do. 

I did not how to live.  I couldn't eat or sleep or carry on conversations.  So, I nursed Emma.  That was the only thing that I could figure out.  Emma needed me and I needed her -- my living piece of my husband.  I got a very clear message from Michael two days after he died.  I was not eating and he told me that I needed to eat so that I could sustain Emma.  So, I ate and ate and wept and wept and held her and nursed her. 

I believe that breastfeeding kept me (somewhat) sane.  Because I was nursing Emma, I had to take care of myself.  I couldn't shut everyone out.  I had to -- at the very least -- hold my baby.  And holding my baby reminded me that life is eternal.  Life is passed from one person to the next.  Life always is.  Holding our Sweet Emma, I was holding my husband.  And when she looked up at me, I was making eye contact with him.

So, now I am a single Mom.  Who would have imagined it?  Certainly not I.  I am lucky enough to be able to continue to stay home with Emma.  There are days that I am still shocked that this is my new, odd life.  It has been five months - Emma has lived half of her life without her Daddy.  As much as I hate the thought, I am starting to get used to doing this on my own. 

My family has been a wonderful help.  They love us and they show it every day.  Someone takes Emma for a few minutes almost every day so that I can breathe deeply enough to have the strength to be her Mom.

And Michael is still with us.  I often find Emma sitting alone laughing and talking and looking at someone I don't see.  But I know who it is.  What Daddy would want to miss out on this wonderful time?  She is ten months old and starting to walk and play patty cake.  This is the time that Michael was really looking forward to with her.  I know that he is participating.

Sometimes I think of how unfair all of this is.  But, then, I remember how blessed we are.  I received more love in the five years we were together and Emma in the five months she had with her father than most women and daughters ever know.  That love is enough to last the rest of our lifetimes!

I am sobbing now as I finish writing this.  I am still amazed that I became a widow at the age of 25.  My daughter will not dance with her father at her wedding.  I will not sit next to him at her preschool recital.  But he will be there.  I am a single Mom, but I am not a solitary Mom.  We are not alone.

Nancy Murphy Brink
[email protected]


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