This is the introductory piece to a new series from Tanya Fujiki-Hastings, a new contributor to Momfilter, who writes a blog called T Spoon of Sunshine.
I’m a mom. I’m single. And I’m a widow. Hi, I’m Tanya. Nice to meet you.
The first death anniversary of my late husband Ryan is quickly approaching and I don’t quite know how I feel when it comes to the spectrum of emotions. A huge part of me feels relieved — I actually survived “that first year”. Another part of me feels sad — I had to survive “that first year”. But the majority of me feels incredibly empowered, proud, and yeah, I’ll say it, happy. Reflecting back on the day that I suddenly became everybody’s private property with their looks of pity and feelings of distress and sadness, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make sure that I not only took care of my child without skipping a beat, but that I also took care of myself. As moms, we can pour every part of ourselves into our children and sometimes neglect ourselves. That’s just something that happens organically and naturally when we become parents and have an entirely new life to care for. We’ve all been there, right? But the difference this time was that I no longer had a partner to balance me out on the days when I let myself fall by the wayside. I suddenly had to pony up and be both parents. So that’s what happened.
My daughter was a day shy of turning 6 months old when her dad was killed in a freak motorcycle accident. It has now been a little over 10 months since and I am now in a place where I am normalizing. In the last ten months, I have traveled extensively, read a lot, cried a lot, met people from every walk of life, shared experiences, uprooted myself and my daughter from what was “comfortable” and restarted our lives in a completely new environment with very few familiar faces. Somehow, in the middle of all of this, I met someone and actually fell in love.
It didn’t come easy. Always feeling like I was disappointing someone was something that definitely weighed heavily on me. I didn’t feel like I was allowed to be happy yet. It just felt like one false move and everyone would gasp. People will always have an opinion on what timeline I need to be on. I’ll be the first to admit that within this first year, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I’d be where I am. But you don’t choose when you fall in love. You don’t choose how you fall in love. It just happens. The turn that my life took was one that was full of brightness, so I took it. Wouldn’t I have been foolish to remain in a dark place rather than actually stand in the light and take it?
One of the last conversations I remember having with Ryan was centered around death. Morbid? Perhaps. But isn’t it a conversation that all married couples have with one another? We asked each other the hard question: what would we do if something happened to one of us? His response is the biggest reason I have no guilt for anything that has happened to me: “I want you to keep moving on. I want you to meet someone and fall in love again. I never want you to be sad, especially if it’s over me.” That answer was the most selfless, honest, and raw response that I could have ever asked for. It came from his heart.
I’m continuing to keep on keeping on because that’s what life is about. My daughter has gone from being an infant to a toddler in no time. And I went from feeling helpless to becoming a stronger version of myself. I can’t wait to share more of my experiences that have brought me where I am today and the experiences that will take me where I’m destined to go.
Hi, I’m Tanya. Nice to meet you.