Tywana and I have been together for close to 29 years. In just a few weeks we will have been married 25 years. To say we have been through a lot together would be an understatement. Like all marriages, we have had our ups and downs, our challenges and our moments of triumph. But, in over a quarter century together we never thought we would face something like this. People keep reminding me, I guess they think they’re doing me a favor, of how many marriages end up in divorce after the loss of a child. I can see clearly now how that could happen. People process death differently. Some want to talk about nothing but the loved one. Some want to pretend the person never existed. Some people cry a lot. Some people pour themselves into work. Some people want to hold onto hope of an afterlife. Some want to just say “She’s gone. It’s over.”. Differences on something so fundamental can drive people apart even if unintentionally. If you’re a person who wants to talk about it all the time and your spouse doesn’t, you might think he didn’t love her as much as you do. He might think you’re just not capable of “moving on”. Each person is going to be irritated with the other. You’ll either grow apart or drive the other person away.
Thank God that is not the case with us. I knew I chose Tywana for a reason (actually several) all those many years ago. And one of those reasons is her strength. I saw her lose her father a few years ago and I was so impressed with the way she dealt with the ravages of Alzheimer’s taking away her Daddy. I have watched her deal with dementia and the way it is slowly taking her mother. But, when we lost Shayna so suddenly, so tragically- how could any mother be expected to deal with that? Due to my death phobia, I have been preparing my whole life for this. I never doubted where Shayna was. I had a pretty good idea of what she was experiencing. My mourning has been solely for me. Tywana, while she has tolerated me, has not shared in my obsession about death or my spiritual questioning. I have been on a spiritual quest for a very long time. Ty just wanted to find a church to go to. Since Shayna transitioned though, I have seen a whole new side of Ty come out. While she’s been an avid reader for as long as I’ve known her, she read mostly fiction. She has poured herself into studying since Shayna passed. She has a voracious appetite to learn more about how to grieve, about evidence for the afterlife, about seeking a new kind of spirituality. She is bringing things to me now. She is the one who discovered the Unity Church. She has found podcasts and books and YouTube videos. She is on a quest. We are on a quest together.
I have been blessed in many ways. I was as prepared for this as one could be for a sudden, unexpected death of a 15 year old. I have amazing family and friends who have been there to support me. The synchronicities since Shayna’s passing continue to amaze me. However, I could not do this without Tywana who has taken this challenge head on. I am so proud of her.