Months After Losing My Husband, I’m Finding My Footing Once Again

Columnist Jaime Christmas reorients herself to carry on her late husband's legacy

Jaime Christmas avatar

by Jaime Christmas |

Share this article:

Share article via email
main graphic for the column

This column will be my 94th since starting “Sunrise, Sunset.” My caregiving experience has taken me through many ups and downs and countless joys and heartbreaks. I’ve had to reset and reestablish my footing many times. I’ve learned that situations don’t last forever; whatever phase I find myself in, it will eventually change.

My late husband, Aubrey, was diagnosed in 2013 with hereditary ATTR amyloidosis, and we spent the next nine years side by side. My metamorphosis from someone who once felt a sense of “lacking” into a caregiver with a sense of purpose was incredibly empowering.

Nonetheless, I find myself at another crossroad. I must find my footing again before stepping into the next chapter.

Recommended Reading
main graphic for the column

In This Passageway of Grief, I Also Find Hope

Since losing Aubrey last May, I’ve had to continually and mindfully repurpose myself as a single woman in her early 50s. I still struggle with calling myself a widow.

For me, the word conjures up an image of someone vulnerable and unhappy. I hesitate to slap the widow label on myself, not out of prejudice or disdain, but because of what it means. Referring to myself as a widow conjures up too many negative emotions.

Perhaps, in time, I’ll be comfortable with the word, but for now, it reminds me of the painful loss I have suffered. It brings me back to that moment of parting. I want others to view me as an individual who, although widowed, does not feel abandoned or alone.

Nine years of caring for a loved one with a terminal condition taught me that letting go and bidding farewell are inevitable. We both learned to take each day as a blessing and a gift. It was one more day to share, one more moment to embrace, and one more opportunity to love.

Memories accumulate when that last breath is drawn. Death produces a memoir of a life full of ambition, naïveté, and lasting frolic under the sun and rain.

American poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, “On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.”

I now understand what he meant by “double living.” I am not closing the chapter of what used to be when Aubrey was alive; instead, I’m living a parallel experience. This new way of life is highly influenced by the former.

Even though Aubrey is no longer around, his influence lives on. His legacy continues. My grief has caused me to evolve, assimilate, and grow. I’m creating a future I can look forward to.

Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.