Imperfect and Growing

Purple_Imperfecion_Flower.jpgI can’t say enough about this whole adventure into counseling the past few weeks. Last week, Mike shared about how our first session went for him, and I’d like to share some feelings of my own about our second session on Friday, and about what I am learning along the way.

 

Firstly, I’ve been in therapy for a good majority of my adult life. But this one, this one is a first for me too. It is the first time I’ve gone to counseling with someone else by my side. I’ll admit, it made me nervous too at first. I too worried about what we might uncover as we willfully opened up to letting someone help us. I worried there would be darker stuff there than either of us knew before. That maybe somehow this would make things worse, not better? I’m not sure really, but either way, the whole thing did feel just a tad risky, even though I know we are tending to our problems very early on.

 

It has been wonderful though. So wonderful. 

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Patterns

It was an interesting 10 days. It was a week and a half of guessing games, assumptions,

And jumping to conclusions. (on my part) It was a very emotional 10 days, and it was 10 days I do not wish to repeat again. But it came with a lot of lessons, and things that I probably needed to improve on. This one’s all on me.

 

In this weird version of life, the one I didn’t ask for where Im a widowed person and where

My husband and I don’t get to have our future together, it’s the simple things that mean the most to me, and that I begin to rely on. Probably the biggest of those things has been the friendship I have developed over the past year and a half, largely via daily phone chats, with a widower that I feel a strong connection with. I have developed feelings for this person, and he knows this, and agrees that there is something there between us. But he isn’t in a place right now to explore that, or to think about being in a relationship with someone. That is okay. Our friendship  and our connection means the world to me. 

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Life Without Mike

The day after this posts, February 17th 2017, will be four years since my husband Mike died, suddenly, from a heart attack in his sleep at the age of 59. I've been watching that date approach for too long this year. Dreading it. Not just for the pain of the day, but because four years sounds so awfully long to have been without him. I am four years older, and he is four years away from me. And that damn clock never stops. I'm going to keep getting older, and he is going to keep getting farther and farther away from me in time, and I can't stop any of it.

 

To top if off I'm writing this on Valentine's day, which is another tough one. I hate that those dates will always and forever be three days apart. I cried hard today. Four years ago Mike surprised me with flowers, a card, a lovely box of chocolates from our local Big Island chocolatier, and a certain garden hose I had been wanting. Three days later he was dead. I never watered my garden again after that. It died too, and I didn't care.

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Another Valentine's Day

This particular blog will be short and sweet, and I know that all of you understand.  It’s night on Valentine’s Day and I’ve spent the past two days determinedly making Love bigger than grief, delivering joy in colorful bouquets of flowers.

I took on a job with a local florist, appropriately named Fairytale Florals, just for this day. I knew I couldn’t let myself languish with my thoughts for the day, so I found a way to bring Love to others. I drove up and down highways and roads in my pink car, waving to people who passed me by, talking to those accepting the delivery.

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Resolve

As I pulled into the parking lot to meet Sarah, a bit of anxiety crept into my chest.  I wasn’t positive that we would be taken seriously, or that my feelings were valid in any way.  I felt like all of my past, and the stress that I had was absolutely my fault.  It was as if I alone was the root cause of any problems in my life, and thusly, I either have to fix them, or die a lonely old widower.  The fact that I was at this place after such a short amount of time proved to me that I’m broken and should be avoided.

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Wish You Were Here

Sarah.jpgToday was yet another overcast, rainy day here in northeast Ohio. Trying to come up with something fun to do in the dreary weather, Mike and I decided to take Shelby to the Great Lakes Science Center up in Cleveland. The first exhibit area was on space. In the center of the room, was an actual space module from 1973. Now, I love space. I’ve been fascinated with the entire concept of shooting people out into orbit my whole life. I’ve watched dozens of documentaries on black holes, and the search for planets with life. I know I’m no stranger to that. We’re all fascinated with this stuff, whether we are 5 or 105.

The outside of the module was all scraped up and scuffed. Paint was chipped and worn away all over. The bottom of the module was black from literally cooking as it re-entered the atmosphere coming back to earth. I meant it’s the real deal. Looking at all those tiny details, the reality hit me in a way it never has before. Seeing the hatch open, and the three small cot-like chairs the astronauts had been strapped into. I felt this incredibly deep awe. This immense pride for being part of a group of creatures that somehow built this contraption that did something which still seems so unimaginable in my mind. It’s all just so fantastical, to see tangible proof that it’s real for the first time ever was oddly emotional.

As I turned around, on the wall behind me was something equally emotional. One of John Glenn’s actual flight suits hung there behind a case. I stood there, yet again, in awe. It was clearly worn. Clearly, this thing right in front of me had been in SPACE. It was unreal. 

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Simple

I wish it were simple. 

It should be simple. 

Why can't it just be simple? 

The grieving part, the part where you are in emotional and sometimes physical pain 24/7 - that part is already hard enough. It's downright impossible most days.

So when you finally leave that part, and you come into this shift of something different, something else - something where you are still grieving and missing them like mad, but where it no longer overcomes you 24/7 - and you can sometimes actually envision maybe something resembling a LIFE in the months and years ahead - 

When you get to that place, FINALLY ---- 

Why can't it just be simple? 

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Wired

I just got home from a weekend in New York City and I am still vibrating from the energy.

When I was married to Mike, it was his energy that vibrated through my being. Now that he is gone, am I just substituting? Maybe. But...before I met him, I remember thriving on the energy of Los Angeles...before that, DC, Georgetown...being around a diverse crowd with seemingly endless possibilities...then came Mike. He became enough...he became everything. I willingly and happily gave up so much to be with him, to feel what life was like with him, and gained so much more...it was the most exciting, enlightening, informing, fulfilling times I may ever experience. I am a different person for having known him, forever changed in so many ways.

He is gone now. He is not here to talk about the day, the politics, the friends, the family, the hardships, the joys. He is not here to calm me down, he is not here to tickle my brain, he is not here to laugh with, to enjoy serenity with, to check out the latest thing with, to hug. He is not here to fix my back, or watch the next best sci-fi film with. He is not here to explore the realms of the spirit and the hereafter the way we did together, that will stay with me forever...he is now on the other side, and I can only wait for my time to join him in that most exciting dimension. (And yes I can wait, because I know I have much to do here first.)

I can't ask him whether what I am doing now is right, or good. Well, I can...but, the answer comes in a much different way. I can only imagine what he would have said. I might hear him in my spirit, but not in my ear. I can't look at him and see his lips moving.

He will never again grasp my hand, sweep my off my feet and hold me close. Until, maybe, when we meet again on the next plane.

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Owning up to What’s True. No Excuses.

How often does it strike right through you that you maybe, just possibly, will not survive this?

This being the loneliness, the grief, the sadness, the confusion, the not knowing, the uncertainty, the anxiety, the desolation of living without your person?

At times it hits me that I have now lived 1387 days +21 hours without Chuck. That’s 45 and a half months.  4 years and 9 months, going into 10.

Realizing the sheer amount of time still has the power to horrify me.

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Words as Weapons

scars.jpgIt’s no secret lately that I share my outlooks, experiences, and emotions with ruthless integrity, perhaps bordering upon over-sharing that information.  Private anecdotes become public, once a week, as I write here.  The quiet grumbles or “bad moods” that friends and family may see me in become soap-box seminars when it is in digital form on the internet.  They morph into baring my very soul for all to see on a blog, when in person, the only indication of stress or deep thought may be the distinct lack of my underlying sillyness.   

Suppose that it is the anonymity then, that brings forth this behavior.  Barring Sarah, no one hears or sees my “grief” emotions via an attentive look in the eye or a cupped ear.  It is only through your screen, dear reader, that I share my life and its many complexities.  A simple electronic series of ones and zeros that organize themselves into something that a grieving person may need to read, even if it is only a “me too” thought or a “wow, at least I’m not THAT bad” comparison.

My writing here, initially, was simply allowing a bleeding wound to flow freely.  Allowing it to flow into the deepest corners of the room and drip onto anyone nearby.  I let the pain out by screaming it to the world.  As time has progressed, the bleeding has slowed...the wound of Megan’s actual death is all but closed.   Writing has become more of an examination of old scars.

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