Saturday, February 8, 2014

Homeschool Widow

Homeschool widow.  I don't like the sound of it, but it is my reality. My life as I knew it changed forever on December 10, 2013, when my beloved friend (9 years) and husband (17 years) made his peaceful transition.  It was so sudden that it looked as if he was in the middle of his favorite television show when I found him.  I remember feeling as if I had died inside.  I was so fearful of what the future would hold for my family.

After suffering a massive stroke in 2008, my husband worked hard in many years of physical therapy to regain the ability to walk again.  His strength and determination were incredible, inspirational.  It was a difficult time for the family because my husband was such a vibrant man.

When my husband was able to walk again, we were able to move around more easily as a family.  I was excited because we could go out on dates again without a wheelchair.  Then in June of 2013, he fell and broke his hip.  It was a huge setback for my husband and the whole family.  We were back to square one.  The hip replacement was not successful and there were lots of complications, including a 3 month hospital stay. We missed the whole summer with my husband.

Home again, and despite being back in a wheelchair with doctors telling him he may never walk again, my husband still smiled.  This is the last photo he took with our youngest son on November 30, 2013.  Normally, LionHeart never stops long enough to take a photo, but on this occasion, he stopped and embraced Daddy.  I am so thankful we were about to capture this moment and those smiles together.

After his passing, I was so overcome with grief and paralyzed by fear. I wondered who would give my stepdaughter away at her future wedding.  I wondered who would stand in for my sons at their rites of passages.  But most of all, I wondered how would I fill the empty space in my heart.  Since 2010, I have lost my father-in-law, grandmother, mother, both grandfathers, an aunt, an uncle, and then my husband. I had literally and figuratively been brought to my knees.

 Only God could save me now, and he sent his angels forth in the form of community.  Our spiritual community and homeschool community literally carried my husband's death with me.  From day one the community stepped in and took care of everything.  I was given the space to grieve and try to process what had happened to our family.  I didn't have to worry about meals, my children or even funeral arrangements.  Between crying spells, I would sit back and marvel at these angels God had sent to take care of me.  It hasn't been quite 2 months yet, but I've come a long way.  I know I still have a long period of adjustment (as I had to stop several times to cry while writing this post), but I am confident that our family will make it through. My husband always supported homeschooling, and with God's will, we plan continue to do so.

One of my husband's hobbies was photography.  He took thousands of pictures.  I remember fussing about all those pictures; but, now I am grateful.  They tell the story of our life.  I found the photo above on a day when I couldn't keep myself from crying.  I sat down and stared at the photo.  I could hear his voice say, "Why don't you write.  That will make you feel better."  My husband always had the best advice.  A friend created the Eric Utsey Memorial Facebook Page and I began posting on it frequently.  Writing about our love, our life, and our family is like medicine.  I run the gamut of emotions while writing, from tears to joy.  But, in the end, it always makes me feel better.  The comments I receive from readers are so encouraging.  At first I gave myself a deadline for writing.  Then, I decided to write until I can't write anymore.  Our love was endless, so I can't put a time limit on it.

Still, there is a point in each day when I pause and cry because he is no longer here.  All of the intimate things that a man and wife share are memories in my heart now.  Thinking about not being able to hold my husband can sometimes take me over the brink.  It's during those moments that I take the focus off me and remember that now my beloved doesn't have to "struggle no more!"

I thank God for the opportunity to love Eric!


  1. God Bless you Sisterfriend! You and the boys are in my daily thoughts and prayers!
    Much Love,
    Erika <3

    1. Thank you so much. Your comments uplift me!

  2. Beautiful Monica - as always. Your story is inspirational.

  3. Your words make me pause and give thanks for so many things, especially you, my first Mocha Mom friend. Know that I'm here whenever you need me. And I can teach your kids to cook and garden, if nothing else!

  4. Write On Sister Write On. I truly miss him. Reading this has brought tears, smiles and Laughter Out Loud. He was, "Da Man" to me too. Such a Great Friend. Great Observer. Great Listener. Funny. No Holds Bar type of guy. It is truly a Blessing to watch his Two Handsome Male seeds Flourish with ERIC's DNA. Love you Sis...As we continue on this Journey called, "LIFE"

  5. BTW ~ TalkinOutLoud = Carla Lavette Sapp

  6. Love you too! You remind me so much of my husband. It was a privilege to have been a part of his world, through the good times and bad. He left me the greatest gifts ever.