08/25/2012 09:47 am ET Updated Oct 25, 2012

On Why My Husband Will Never Be My World

We lost my father a little over a year ago and since his passing my mother has effectively disappeared. She is a mere shadow of her former self and has spent the past 365 days crying uncontrollably, mired in a haze of grief from which she is unable to emerge whole.

My parents have been together since my mother was 15-years-old, right when she was on the cusp of discovering who she was meant to be only to have that identity permanently fused with that of my father's. She's always been Larry's wife. That's not to say she hasn't carved out her own strong sense of self, but I suppose that security of having my father there was what truly sustained her and kept her motivated to get out of bed each morning, especially over the last several years when her own health began to fail and her children no longer needed her constant care.

And well, since my father has passed on, my 64-year-old mother is drowning, unable to grab hold of the many proverbial life vests we keep handing her. It's almost like without my father's physical presence, she really has lost her place, her role, her purpose. Now that she's not Larry's wife -- no longer his caretaker, his voice, his advocate -- who is she? I think the biggest problem my mom faces is that she effectively made my father her entire world -- she broke off ties with her friends, lost interest in any hobbies and spent these past several years putting every piece of herself into him.

Sure she has grandchildren who adore her and want to shower her with love but she's unable to accept it. It's almost like when my father passed, so did a large piece of my mom and I'm not sure she will ever recover.

While I love my husband, and can't imagine what it would be like to lose him after living and breathing the same air he did for 50 years, I am committed to creating an existence that does not completely and utterly revolve around him. Of course I also feel like 50 years ago what were my mother's options but to live and breathe for her husband?

Melissa Chapman blogs about her marriage and everything in between at Her work has appeared in, The Staten Island Advance,, ABC News, BlogHer, Baby Center, Momtourage, Babble, The Washington Post, Time Out NY Kids and iVillage.