To say my mindset was fragile at this point would be grossly understating the obvious. I felt so confused and so very alone in this world. Yes, I had people around me. However, those people were not very understanding of my emotions and feelings.
My husband’s family and friends all hated me. They stood by him until the very end claiming I had fabricated this entire story and put my daughter up to saying this stuff about him. They never called to find out my side of the story or ask about the kids. They blamed me for his death and quite literally told me I had killed him.
My own family all hated me thinking I had not protected my daughter from harm and should have known this was going on. They felt I should have done something sooner or prevented it altogether. It was not as if they did not try to be supportive or understanding, they did. But in one sentence they would tell me to call if I needed anything then turn around and talk about how much they loathe the ground my husband walked on and how I should hate the very essence of his being automatically because of his actions. As if true unconditional love just dies at the snap of a finger. They all felt my husband got what he deserved and that fate had taken hold and decided since the courts failed us.
Not one person and I do mean not one…sympathized with me or validated my emotions. Not one person understood my confusion and turmoil. I was all alone. I had to keep my love for my husband locked away deep inside. For had I mentioned it out loud, I could see the skin on those around me crawling, I could see them cringing and see the anger welling up in their eyes. Yet, when I mentioned the anger side, it was like they all cheered me on pushing me forward as if spectators in the stands at a football game.
It is so easy for humans to HATE other people and seek revenge for any wrongdoings. It is a trap many cannot overcome. I, on the other hand, cannot seem to give hatred the space to be planted within the confines of my heart. I was born without that ability no matter how much it is deserved in the eyes of other humans.
Ah, the funeral. Victor’s father would not let me plan the funeral. Yes, as his wife I could have called the funeral home and taken over by law. But they all already hated me, I did not want to add fuel to the fire. I knew I did not have the money to pay for the funeral and his father stepped up to do so, therefore, I did not argue the point.
Our son had decided he did not want to attend the viewing or the funeral at all. I respected his wishes and did not force him. I was hesitant to take my daughter but ultimately decided it was something I had to do. This was after all her father and like me, she still loved him dearly. I knew that without taking her, I would not be able to explain death or the fact that she would never be able to see him again.
Two members of my family stepped up to the plate when needed most and went with my daughter and myself to the viewing and the funeral. My grandfather and my sister. That’s it. Just two members of my family decided to pay their respects and be there for moral support. I had been with this man for 9-10 years. He was a part of our family. Yet, only two people thought it necessary to pay their respects because of the situation.
Upon arriving for the viewing the day before the funeral we were granted our private time with my husband. My daughter had drawn a picture of a tombstone with her daddy’s name and her standing beside it holding a flower and crying. She wanted to give it to her daddy. So I placed it in the casket under his arm and we stood there crying, grieving and saying our goodbyes as I tried to also explain death to my daughter and answer her questions.
Once we were able to focus on our surroundings and observe the photo boards and flowers on the casket, my daughter became very distraught. There were two grave blankets covering the casket. One said son and the other said brother. None said, father or daddy. The photo boards were filled with pictures of Victor with his family and fellow band mates and friends but not one picture to depict our lives together over the last 10 years. Not one picture of our family or our children. It was like his family wanted to erase us right out of his life as if we never existed. Our daughter kept asking where her flowers for daddy were or where her pictures with her daddy were. I could not answer for I had no answer good enough. How could I tell her that her daddy’s side of the family did not want them there.
That night back at home, my daughter, a mere 5 years old, understood enough to pull out our photo albums all by herself and pick out pictures she wanted to take and put on the boards the following day. When she brought them to me after pulling them out I could not keep my composure or hold in my tears to be strong for her any longer. I sat down on the floor and pulled her up on my lap. At this point, our son walked into the room and joined us there on the floor. We sat there, the kids and I, huddled together releasing our emotions.
The following day on the way to the funeral, my daughter kept asking if we could get “Daddy Flowers.” I only had $10 to my name at this point but wanted to help her say goodbye any way I could. So I asked my grandfather to stop at the flower shop by the funeral home. Standing there in the flower shop was hard. Every type of flower my daughter picked out I had to tell her “No, I cannot afford that.” As she stood there crying, not understanding the cost factor and mentioning the other beautiful flowers on the casket an employee walked up having overheard our conversation and asked if she could talk to me for a moment. She apologized for eavesdropping and said she wanted to help if I would allow her too. I agreed so she excused herself and went to the back for a moment.
When she returned, she was not alone. The owner of the flower shop had come out with her. He pulled me back into his office and asked me what was going on. I explained to him the situation at the funeral home the day before with the photo boards and the flowers and why my husband’s family had done that. He knelt down on his knees in front of our daughter and promised to bring the most beautiful “Daddy Flowers” anyone had ever seen to the funeral home within a half hour and asked my daughter if she would be okay waiting that long for him to make the arrangement personally. I insisted on giving him the $10 I had although he offered the flowers and delivery for free. I thanked him profusely and we headed to the funeral home.
Arriving at the funeral home that morning, the men lining up the cars for the procession to the graveyard were told not to let us into the lineup. After having to argue with them for what seemed an eternity that I was the deceased wife and had his daughter they let us join as the very LAST car. Not able to mentally argue at this point I just accepted what they offered.
Inside, I took my daughter to the photo boards and allowed her to put the pictures she had picked out up over the top of some of the other photos. I then took the CD I had brought of my husband singing and asked the director to play the song at the end of the funeral when everyone was leaving.
As promised, within a half hour the owner of the flower shop arrived himself with the casket blanket in tow. In front of everyone at the funeral home, he walked up to the casket, removed the other two flower blankets and put the biggest most beautiful “Daddy Flowers” anyone had ever seen on top. He then came over to us and bent down and asked my daughter if those were okay? She shook her head yes as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Our daughter would not stay away from the casket to allow others to come up. She kept touching her daddy’s hand and saying, “I love you, daddy.” and crying. Every time I pulled her away, she would run back up there. It was the most heartwrenching thing I had ever had to witness or be part of.
When it was time for the funeral to start. I sat down in the honorary front row with my daughter on my lap. I asked my grandfather and sister to join us and they refused. Not one person would sit by us opting instead to stand at the back of the room. Our entire row and the two others behind us sat empty, devoid of human contact as if we had the plague. I had never felt so alone and so destitute in my life. I was a stranger at my own husbands funeral. Unwanted, despised, loathed and hated.
Instead of playing the song at the end of the funeral as requested, the director played it as the funeral began. I could hear others asking who brought the song and why it was getting played. I could hear the responses and anger when it was answered that I had brought it. As if I was not already feeling low enough, bad enough, sad enough, I could feel the hatred and stares from everyone in attendance as if I had no right to be there. The pain was tremendous and it all came flooding out not to be contained. Honestly, I cannot even tell you what the pastor said about my husband’s life. At that point all sound was blocked, I had gone deaf. I allowed myself to grieve every bit of emotion I had felt over the last year. I allowed myself to hate and LOVE my husband at the same time.
At the graveyard, because we were the last in line, we were the last to walk up. My husband’s friends and family had huddled around shoulder to shoulder and blocked us from being able to walk up to the site. I was so busy trying to comfort my daughter that I didn’t care. I did not pay any attention to them. I was too consumed with grief and with my daughter to care. So we waited until everyone started to disperse and leave to walk up and say our final goodbyes. I handed my daughter a single white rose so she could place it on the casket and say goodbye.
Upon seeing how my husband’s friends and family were treating us at the funeral and graveyard, my sister became angry. So before we left the graveyard, I noticed her walk up to my husband’s sister and exchange words then stomp away. I don’t even care what was said, I am thankful my sister stood up for us that day as I was not strong enough to do so myself.