Staci Sulin commented on Come Undone 2018-03-15 12:26:33 -0700Kay I love your comment “Isn’t normal a setting on the washing machine?” that says it all.
I am honored to have “captured” what is “buried deep in your heart”… And, also, I am sorry you connected to my words to that depth because I know that you then share the aching I have in my heart. I write because it helps me sort out my feelings and I genuinely want to connect with others “with a gnawing ache in (their) hearts” as you so eloquently wrote. I think when we read words that resonate with us, we feel less alone. Wishing the best to you, and for us all.
Staci Sulin commented on Malbec Part 2 2018-03-15 12:15:50 -0700Thanks for your comment Robert. Yes, I completely agree that they are now “everything and everywhere”…
Staci Sulin commented on Malbec 2018-03-03 18:32:38 -0800My dearest Suzi. You have touched me to the “core” as well. I am so grateful that we have connected.
Staci Sulin commented on Strong on Your Love 2018-03-03 18:37:17 -0800Kimberly,
Yes, we grief for the person we used to be. We are forever changed … Stay #strongonhislove
Staci Sulin commented on Facade 2018-02-05 11:02:15 -0800Gayle, Yes I agree Grief changes. Nothing in life is constant -including grief which I am thankful about. I found the first four months like an out of body experience. I was gutted and brought completely to my knees. Now, my Soul still aches for Mike and if I"m breathing I’m thinking of him, but the tears flow more lightly at almost 15 months.
Staci Sulin commented on The Dance 2018-02-04 11:03:03 -0800Bev, I am glad that I a have surrounded myself with supportive people from online communities and in real life. Connecting with others who understand what your heart feels is necessary in order to survive; and, eventually move towards a changed future.
I’m thankful to write for this online community, it is literally saving me from my grief.
Staci Sulin commented on Loving You in Separation 2018-02-04 11:15:39 -0800Sharry, That’s it “he’s everywhere and nowhere at the same time”. It takes some getting used to doesn’t it. As human beings I think we will always crave the physical. The nothingness that is now Mike leaves me hungry for his touch.
Staci Sulin commented on Big Love 2018-02-04 11:10:32 -0800Suzanne, Some moments it is hard to breathe without them. Last night I was lost and it just didn’t seem like my heart could break any more. I was on my knees crying, but this morning the coffee is poured and I feel less nauseated about Mike being dead. Grief just comes blazing in sometimes and we have to go where it takes us… To answer your question, I think the point of continuing is because Life is too beautiful to just let it pass us by. I find gratitude helps to ease the heartbreak. I started a new mantra in my head and it has helped me feel more peaceful when the grief is heavy. I hope you feel some ease.
Staci Sulin commented on Off Kilter 2018-01-10 17:02:15 -0800Gayle
Thank you for your kind comment. I am happy that what I wrote resonates with you. And, I agree that it is helpful to re-read things that speak to us because certain words and phrases can become mantras that help us and give us hope. #youvegotthis
Staci Sulin commented on I'm Building my Wings on the Way Down 2018-01-06 12:46:28 -0800Olivia, I’m glad that you heard your own heart in my words.
Staci Sulin commented on Happy Birthday to Michele, just one L ... 2017-12-30 13:33:11 -0800This is so powerful and beautiful Kelley. Thank you. “She who took ashes and made paper airplanes that fly”
- I believe that there is a little of this hope, magic and determination in every single one of us who has out lived the person we love; we just have to find it. Let’s all learn to fly (again).
Happy Birthday Michele.
With gratitude and respect for you both, Staci
Staci Sulin commented on All is Calm, All is Bright 2017-12-27 15:36:20 -0800Marissa,
I completely relate to your comment, thank you for sharing. Like you, I wish that “that headstones (could) talk back or give big hugs”. I stood at the grave Christmas day and traced Mike’s name with my fingertips; and as I left I kissed his cold headstone goodbye, like I do every time. And, then, “I let the hot tears flow”.
I know we are all missing that hug you mentioned, I think we will always miss their arms around us and our lives for our entire lifetime. But, their love is present, always.
Staci Sulin commented on I can feel your arms around my Life... 2017-12-20 09:47:14 -0800Candace, thank you for your comment. I appreciate that you wrote because it’s so nice to hear what people think when they read my writing. I am so happy that you related to the post. The language is common in widow that’s for sure.
Awe, your husband called your Sweetie. I was always, “Beautiful”, “Honey” and often “Sweetie”. He called me those three words more than my name. I loved hearing his voice call out to me, and like you, I miss hearing those words so much. Staci
Staci Sulin commented on Who Am I ? 2018-01-22 17:02:12 -0800Hunter, I appreciate your comments and insight.
I think more people should ask themselves the question “Who am I?” The world would be a better place if we as human beings paused and considered what is in our hearts.
Who are we? What do we want to do in our life?
Reflecting on these big ideas serves everyone well. However, most people are too busy living their lives to stop and contemplate these existential questions.
But, grief demands that we stop; and, in this stillness we ask and sometimes find the answers to these substantial questions.
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It is my privileged to write to you each week and I hope my blog inspires you to question what is stirring in your heart. I encourage you to lean into your pain. And, to feel it to it's depth.
I believe that we are lead towards life and living when we allow ourselves to be still, and sit in the "nothingness" where grief lives. I have begun to realize that visiting this empty place is necessary. It is here that we find the answers we seek when our hearts are shattered. This quiet place holds the blueprints of our new, changed life. This is where our Soul speaks to us.
Death creates a hollowness inside us. And, the emptiness is gutting; but we have to go to this barren place to create ourselves anew. I have become increasingly drawn towards the ledge of this place because I believe this is where some of the answers are. So, take a breathe, and come with me. I know we will both be better for it.
I know you are scared to go to the edge; admittedly, I am too. The uncertainty that follows death is intimidating. But, we have to make ourselves even more uncomfortable. We have to establish some momentum and take a leap of faith.
I am going to leap and build my wings on the way down. It is people like you, who can walk along side me as I navigate my way into a changed life. I am glad you are here with me as I write about moving towards the light. The light within me, and the light outside of me. Soaring Spirits International connects like minded people. We support one another and we no longer have to slay grief alone.
I am focused on change for all of us. And, I know that if we are going to find our way out of this mess we can not stay comfortable in our grief. We have to move. We have to become off kilter.
As I write to you each week, I am becoming more aware of my feelings. I realize that what I fear most about the future is not the risks and uncertainty. What I am afraid of is letting the opportunities for change pass me by. I am scared that we could settle into an ordinary life when we deserve an extraordinary life.
I am worried that I will play small, when my potential is big. As I write to you each week I am challenging us both not to shrink. I am keeping us accountable. I do not want either of us to fall back into an easy comfortableness when we can leap forward, towards a bold life. I want you to manifest the best in yourself. Go, create a beautiful life for yourself. We can not let life pass us by. Together, we've got this.
From the Ledge with Wings in Hand,
It's his birthday this week. March 22nd. On this day, I will always "celebrate" Mike. There will never be a March 22nd that I don't spend with him. On his birthday I purposefully choose to remember the way he lived. I celebrate the life and love we shared together. This is how I try to honor him everyday - not just on his birthday. That being the case, I admit that I want to do something more on his special day, but I haven't completely decided what this might be.
In the grief world people do all different types of things to mark birthdays. The way we choose to celebrate our person are varied. The only thing constant is that the celebrations are fitting for those who died. I like that. Not one type of birthday celebration will do because the people we are honoring are separate, unique individuals. To honor their person, some people release balloons and the environmentalist scold them, others set off lanterns that are biodegradable - they don't receive any backlash. Some choose to cook their person's favorite meal. Some people gather friends and family together. Some go to the cemetery. Some have cake. Some people spend the day alone - in bed. There really is no correct way to mark a birthday for someone who died, or for someone who is living for that matter.
For me, on significant days, I find that I am less out of sorts if I have a plan of some kind. When special days occur on the calendar I prefer to plan something. If I don't organize something, then grief leads me places I don't want to go. Creating a shape for the day is what works best for me. You might be different. Grief has many commonalities, but each of our experiences is unique. So, I think that we should do whatever is best for us. We should do whatever soothes our Soul.
Because I love to write, it's not surprising that I will write Mike a birthday letter. I will go to the grave and tie a balloon to the shepherd's hook I have lovingly placed behind his headstone. To Mike, there will be a handwritten message on his birthday balloon. I will stand there, on his grave, wishing with all my heart that things were different. I will play him some of our favorite songs, and I will toast him with his favorite wine. And, then I will cry. Before I leave, I will read Mike his birthday letter. And, then, I will cry some more. My graveside visit is very precise and predictable because I have completed this ritual for all our significant dates. I know how it feels. I know what to expect. And, I find it comforting in some strange way. For me, it feels right to honor Mike in this way. My rituals are sacred and intimate for us.
However, I am an overachiever and I outgrow routine quickly; so, this year, I want to do more to mark his birthday. I feel it is necessary. Mike's life was bigger than my ritual of reading him a birthday letter and toasting him with a glass of Malbec. His love for me was deeper than just me, his widow, standing at his graveside offering a balloon to the man she loves. (For those of you who did these exact things please know that your gestures were perfect as they are. Nothing more is needed to honor your loved one's birthday. It's just me. This year, I know that I need to change things up.)
I honor Mike every day - in both big and small ways. Daily, I credit him with the profound impact he has on my life. I think we all do this as widows and widowers. I believe that we naturally "celebrate" our person, in their absence, every day of the year. Yet, for me, my Soul is calling me to do something more on for Mike on his birthday this year, I just haven't figured out what...
Most of the time I feel empty inside. The landscape of my Soul is barren since he died. However, most people can only see the vibrant life I have. At first glance, my life appears fairly enviable. With the exception of Mike's death, I have all the trappings of a good life. I have the kids, the house, the car, and the career. I have managed to achieve a lot of success in Suburbia. The boxes are checked. My life does not appear to be barren. Not surprisingly, for those looking from the outside in, it is not comprehensible that I still feel empty. To them everything looks like it is returning back to "normal" without Mike. They think I am "strong". They tell me that I am "the strongest person they know". They tell me that they "can't imagine" how I do it. When my ears hear their statements I just kind of stare at them and watch their lips move. I don't say much in response because I know the truth. Yes, I am 'strong', because I do not have a choice. I have to stay the course for my kids, and for myself.
I do not feel bitter towards people who make these proclamations about me and my life. They simply do not understand the depth and breadth of my loss. I understand that they can not understand. And, I know that they are so lucky that they "can't imagine" my situation. I think that people need to believe that things return to normal after a person dies. They need to believe that I am okay now because if I am okay, that means - if and when this happens to them - they will recover and be okay too. But, as people who have outlived our spouses, we know differently. We are aware that there is nothing normal about our changed lives. We know that there is no backing up. We can not return to days gone by no matter how desperately we want to. There is nothing to return to. Our lives can not be as they were before. That life is over. It's gone. It's done. Period. And, yeah, we are 'strong' despite our blunt reality.
To me, the phrase "new normal" is ridiculous.
I HATE that idiom.
There is nothing normal about my new life.
It is the exact opposite of what I am used to.
I am different since Mike died, and - this is normal.
The hollowness and emptiness that I feel - is normal.
My grief - is normal.
My life is not normal anymore.
I spend a lot of time feeling disconnected from the world and from those around me. It feels like my thoughts are wrapped in cotton candy. My deepest thoughts are tightly spun like the sugar crystals that become the dense pink candy fluff. Most days, I can barely make sense of what I feel because my thoughts are hidden from me. I don't always know them, but, I feel my thoughts. My deepest thoughts live inside my heart, not my head. Everything is buried far away inside my Soul. Since Mike died, I feel like I am hidden in wad of airy blue fluff. All of me is insulated in this bulky, baby blue cotton candy cocoon because I need to be swaddled. I need time. I need things to be quiet while I come undone...