Staci Leigh commented on Big Love 2018-01-18 18:20:42 -0800Stephanie,
Thank you for taking the time to share your comment.
“When Mike was alive” – I don’t think either of us can escape this phrase. Those words echo around in my mind everyday.
And, although it is difficult to constantly ruminate about Mike, I also worry that one day I won’t think of him as often. Widowing, ugh, it is tedious and complicated that’s for certain.
Staci Leigh 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 Leigh 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 Leigh 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 Leigh 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 Leigh 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 Leigh commented on Who Am I ? 2017-12-13 19:17:21 -0800Kelly, thank you for taking the time to share your comment. Like you, I am a “younger” widow too. (Mike died when I was 43.) I can relate to you when you say you are in “a mentally weird place” and you feel like you “don’t fit in anywhere”. I agree that widowhood is bewildering.
I’m not sure how I feel about Christmas… I started thinking about Christmas in July because I was worried about it and I wanted to figure out a plan. I’ve come up with something simple that will “work” for me and my kids; but, still, my heart is not in it the way I wish it was. I used to love Christmas and now it feels hollow. I will make sure to try to be present for the kids during the day. I will cook dinner, and play music and honor Mike by setting him a spot at the table. I will do what I have to do, like everyone else here. I hope it’s enough for my boys. My blog posts Mondays, so that means it will be publishing on Christmas Day. I hope whatever I write will speak to your heart especially, on that day.
Staci Leigh wants to volunteer 2017-12-19 18:53:12 -0800
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Ironically, it is grief itself that will lead us towards life and living. We need to 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 will find the answers we seek. This is the place where we will find the blueprints of our Soul. We are re-born from the hollowness and aching within us. I hope my blog inspires you to lean into your pain. To feel it to it's depth. If you do this, I promise that you find your way towards a changed life.
Death creates an empty spot within us; and I have become increasingly drawn towards the ledge of this place because I believe this is where some of the answers are. I think it is here that we will learn to gracefully carry our grief so that we can live again. So, take a breathe, and come with me to the ledge. 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 venture from the ledge. I am going to take a leap of faith and build my wings on the way down. Please, come follow me.
Deep down, I know that I do not want to be "saved" from my fiance's death by anyone, but myself. I know that it is necessary for me to do this on my own. No one can rescue me. But, people like you 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.
I am focused on change. And, I know that if I am going to find my way out of this mess I can not stay comfortable in my grief. I have to move. I 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 of settling into an ordinary life when I want an extraordinary life.
It is my potential, my light, my ability to shine that frightens me. 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. I am not far behind you. We can not let life pass us by. Together, we've got this.
From the Ledge with Wings in Hand,
My smile has been gone for a long time.
I wore it effortlessly when Mike was alive.
But, now, my smile feels like an accessory I wear only on special occasions.
I know that it won't be like this forever because I love life too much
to never smile again.
But, for right now, my heart feels empty,
And, I see a deficiency of joy in my eyes.
Yet, some moments, I smile in spite of myself,
Even so, my smile feels awkward and it is always fleeting.
I know Mike wants me to smile again.
And, damn it, I need to smile again, for me...
Mike would stop what he was doing every single time I walked in the room. Every. single. time. He would look at me and his eyes glistened with tears of adoration. Next, he would softly smile, as he treasured me with his gaze. Then, he'd say "Hey, Beautiful" in a tone he reserved only for me. He'd reach out to me and pull me into him. Mike would look so intently at me while he held me, in the middle-of-an-ordinary-moment. It was magic, and even that's an understatement. These 'intimate' moments between us were genuine and intense. Mike would lay his eyes on me in a room full of people; and, honestly, it was like he made love to me right then and there. The way he looked at me had that kind of passion.
Common everyday routines like washing dishes, grocery shopping, sitting on the back porch, making the bed and even brushing our teeth became extraordinary events. Our life was ridiculously wonderful. It was a crazy, pure, deep love that we shared. And, every so often, I would stop myself in one of these "ordinary" moments because I felt the power of his love. It was tangible in the air. Together, we were everything love is supposed to be. And, now, like you, I'm here, in this moment, wanting everything I had back. I want him back and I want him to bring the love we shared back to life.
I knew we were lucky when Mike was alive; but, I didn't know how truly blessed we were. I didn't fully savor the life and love I had because I thought there was more ahead. I naively thought I'd be brushing my teeth with Mike by my side for at least the next twenty years... I thought our story was just beginning. I did not wholly appreciate how big our love was because I thought it would last forever.
Now, let me tell you part of the best love story. Not one that I read about or heard, but one that I lived...Read more
My memories of Mike echo off the walls of the house, yet the silence in my home is deafening. Everything is quiet now. Death makes your whole world go silent. I think this is by design. We need this noiseless environment and solitude to contemplate how we will re-create ourselves. As we do the work of re-defining our identity we need to concentrate intensely. Death can create isolation, but maybe this detachment is necessary as we prepare to reinvent ourselves. Maybe we are required to withdraw so that we can be born anew.
Daily, I am surrounded by the hum of life, but since Mike died I don't hear the sounds of joy anymore. My heart doesn't feel the beauty of an ordinary moment like it used to when he was alive. My eyes don't clearly see opportunities before me. I feel it, I am allowing my life to pass me by because I have momentarily lost my enthusiasm. No one can change this but me. I know this, but finding the motivation to re-engage in life without him eludes me.
I need to be encouraged to embrace life, take risks and find out what I am made of; but, my biggest champion is dead. Now, I have to motive and inspire myself. I am not used to being my own encourager. Since I was 17 years old I have always been part of a couple; and, I was never solely in charge of coaching myself. I always had a companion to hold a mirror up to me. To reflect with. I had a voice, other than my own, telling me to "take it day by day, everything will work out". For me, being alone feels scary and I desperately want to be rescued.
I feel inadequate when I admit to myself that I'm scared to "do life on my own". I continuously remind myself that I am a divorced woman; and, once upon a time I left something familiar and chose to move towards the unknown. I've dealt with uncertainty before. I tell myself that "I've got this" because I'm no stranger to adversity. I tell myself that I'm strong... and I'm capable. But, Mike's death is different. His death knocked me to the ground and all my dormant insecurities have re-emerged.
In the early days after Mike died, I thought that I should be able to navigate my way through his death. I felt like there was something wrong with the way I was grieving because I was so completely immobilized with sadness. Thankfully, over this last year, I have come to realize that there is nothing to actually get "through" here. Grief isn't a disease that you need to be healed from. There is no end game because grief isn't something you complete. Grief is something that becomes a part of who you are. When your person dies you continuously absorb their absence into your Soul.
I will confess that absorbing the death of your person is ridiculously hard. I still have not accepted his death and I don't know if I ever will. I mean, logically, I know Mike is dead. I've stood at his grave. And, countless times, I've traced my fingers along the letters of his name that are etched on his headstone. I've taken wine to the grave on many a Saturday night because, well, I wanted to be with my best friend. I've written heartfelt messages on red heart shaped balloons and I've tied them to a shepherds hook I put behind his headstone because, well, I miss him.
I know Mike is dead.
His headstone tells me he died November 15, 2016.
But, in my mind he's still very much alive.
And, in my heart, I'm still very much in love with him.
I know you "get it". And, I also know that you hate that your person died too. It is the permanence of the situation that sucks. But, it is what it is. We can't back up. So, we resign ourselves to breathe and somehow continue living. On the days when I have the patience to do "nothing", I sit with my grief. I invite Grief in and I just wait until Grief speaks. Let me tell you what Grief has said (it' pretty awesome) ...