“On August 20, 2019, my husband, Brian, and I woke up to celebrate our son Landon’s 8th birthday. Brian did not get to be there for many birthday mornings due to his crazy work schedule, but this day, he was able to wake our son up by singing him happy birthday. Seeing the big smile on Landon’s face after waking up to his daddy being there was by far the best gift of the day and now forever a bittersweet memory. We opened his gifts. One of them was supposed to be a watch we were going to pick out together that weekend. To this day, he still has not gotten his watch.
We continued our normal morning routine. Brian went to work and I took the kids to school. That afternoon, Brian managed to get off work early so we could surprise Landon with a ride in his favorite car, a Camaro! He was beyond thrilled and couldn’t wait to hop in and go for a drive with his buddies. After all of the fun, we got to go have a birthday adventure at Dave n Buster’s with my mom and Brian’s parents as one big family. The night came to a close of great food, laughs, and fun. We all took one big family selfie, hoping we could do it all again very soon. This evening was a very rare moment because of past drama with my father, but because he was no longer in the picture, we started to work on our family bond once again as we rebuilt our family dynamic.
The next day, my husband went to work and never came home. It was 4:30 a.m. and Brian was getting ready for work. He wanted to leave early so he could stop and get some breakfast on his way in. He gave me a quick peck and was out the door. I got the kids to school and I started work because I had payroll, like I did every other Wednesday. Around 11:40 a.m., I fell to the floor because something was wrong, so terribly wrong. My father-in-law sent me a text around noon asking if I was home and said they were on their way over.
I saw the news pop up with a shooting downtown and I knew… I knew it was my husband. It was the man I met at 16 and fell in love with at 18. We had been together for 13 years and married for 9. It was my whole world gone in the blink of an eye. I opened the door to so many officers with sad eyes and his parents, my husband’s amazing sweet parents. Brian’s mom and I collapsed as the sheriff said, ‘There’s been an accident.’ So many thoughts racing through my brain but I couldn’t process anything except for the fact Landon’s birthday party was supposed to be that Saturday. Everything was such a blur. Brian was headed to lunch and was putting his weapon away and it accidentally fired… he died instantly. There were things to plan — a birthday party and now a funeral, but we decided to mainly focus on Landon and his party first.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department and our friends all pulled together to throw an 8-year-old, who just lost his daddy four days prior, the most epic birthday party a child could ask for. They had patrol cars parade through the neighborhood, and the bomb squad vehicle had fun things for the kids, as well as the police helicopter flyover. It was something so beautiful to see, as the community pulled together to help my son focus on something else for the day. Everyone helped keep both of my sons so distracted with fun that the moments I collapsed to the ground, they never noticed. I wished so badly he was there to see the beauty of trying to make a little 8-year-old boy smile on his birthday.
After the birthday party, we began to plan the celebration of life. His mom and I wanted it perfect so we decided to take a month. We wanted everyone from out of town to be able to join us as well as have his life remembered, from the time he was born to the life he created with me.
When September 28 rolled around, over 500 people came to pay their respects. He was well-loved by so many, more than he even realized while he was alive. It was the most remarkable thing to see. The service lasted over two hours and not one person realized how long it was until they looked at their watches. That day, his mom and I accomplished our goal. People got to know our Brian as a child, coworker, friend, dad, and husband.
As everyone went back to their normal lives, my new reality of life as a widow started to set in, and the fact I was now raising two boys alone without a dad. Yes, we still had a great support system, but the nights were lonely and scary. The life of insomnia began to really take its toll. Every night I would hold his pillow and cry myself to sleep. I was snapping at my sons more and I couldn’t control anything. It was hard, so very hard. I wanted to be strong for my children, so thanks to my amazing friends, they kept me accountable at the gym. I found working out was a great form of stress relief. My husband loved to workout. It didn’t matter where he was; the world was his gym and he would workout every single day because it kept him sane. I felt the more I worked out, the closer I felt to him so I became addicted to it. It still didn’t help the lonely feelings at night.
Finding my passions again helped pull me through the darkest time in my life. When I felt alone at night or needed someone to talk to, I would vlog and it helped ease the heavy unbearable pain in my chest. I also love to help people, so I started to work on my health and wellness business again. Through doing that, I met someone who helped me get through some pretty tough days, one of which was my 10-year wedding anniversary. I was originally going to go to an event with my mom and Brian’s mom, but because everyone had just been put on quarantine, I was home alone with my sons and he brought us dinner that night. It was a really hard day full of tears and as he walked through the door, he held me as I cried. The relationship began only 5 months after my husband died, but at the time, I know it’s what I needed. Some people never understood how I could be with someone so soon. They couldn’t understand because they didn’t know what it was like to be in my shoes. At the end of the day, it is your life and you must do what makes you happy, even if people are very vocal about their feelings and it tears you apart hearing their hurtful words. The relationship only lasted three months and we remained good friends, though most people don’t understand that either.
In that relationship end, I realized I needed to learn how to truly be alone. I had only been with my husband and had no true experience with this. I always had him. I know who I am, but I lost my identity of being someone’s significant other and I still find myself craving that because I had it for so long. Being alone is one of the hardest things I have had to learn these past 11 months because there’s no one to cuddle at night, no one to tell your day to, no one to laugh at dumb things with or share daily chores with There is just no one. There is just you to do dishes, get kids ready for bed, wash towels, and you can easily watch whatever you’d like.
Through my grief journey, I have made many new friends but also lost some friends I thought would never leave my side. With these new friends, I find myself able to relate to them more because they too have lost someone significant in their lives. They understand and that is the biggest blessing I have found. I know I will always have them to vent too and they will always have me. When you experience a loss that shakes you to the core, you need to find people who can relate and talk you through it and be honest with you. People will leave, but you have to try and not take those lost friendships too personally, because they are also dealing with their own demons. I was hoping I’d be one of the lucky ones who didn’t lose close friends after Brian died but unfortunately, in this life, there is no luck. You just have to roll with the punches and wish them well.
Grief doesn’t get easier. You just get better at managing it alongside your new normal. Every dark night, there is light trying to poke through. You just have to be willing to let it in and find peace within your soul. I miss my husband every day and I still feel like I have no idea how I’m going to survive this life without him, but I know I will. I have two young sons counting on me to fight every day through the darkness. I fight not just for them but for myself because life is meant to still be lived and enjoyed.
My husband always loved to create motivational quotes and one of my favorites I’d like to leave you with is, ‘See the invisible, do the impossible.’ -Brian Krumm
I didn’t know where I was going 11 months ago or how I would survive but I have done the impossible. I know you are capable of it too.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Marie Krumm. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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