For the past year I have been lucky enough to share my life and thoughts with you all. My time as come to end, another chapter finished. It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to write for such an amazing organization. And although the point may have been to help those getting through one of the hardest times of their life, this has really been the best therapy I could have ever received.
There is no short cut through grief. It is a process we will have to walk. It is the price of love. But with courage and strength (even on days when you don't think you have an ounce left in you) you can make it through. You do not come to a finish line there is no end but the mountain turns into a hill. Something bearable to walk.
I encourage you all to push yourself. When you feel like you have nothing left, keep going. When your will to live is weak and all you want is to be with the one you lost, keep going. When life without your loved one scares the crap out of you and you just want to hide forever, just keep going.
Accepting that you are still here and they are not is one of the hardest parts. You want time to stop, the world to stop spinning. But this universe will stop for no one. Time is a sick joke give to us. Maybe one day we will be able to understand it all better. But for now all we know is it is limited.
So I encourage you to live! Live out your days with smiles and laughter. Memories of your loved one will never fade you. But don't get stuck in the past look ahead to brighter days. Believe that you deserve happiness and find it. Find it in your children, find it in the ocean waves, find it in knowing you can do something amazing still.
Homesick. This past week I’ve been so painfully homesick, not only for a place but for the people and community that make me feel home. So much has changed in the past few years, most of the time I think I’m pretty used to just being outside of my comfort zone. But then there are days when I’m so tired from that I guess, that I realize how long its been since I’ve truly been in my comfort zone at all. I don’t know why this past week has felt this way. Sometimes I guess there just aren’t any real reasons at all. I’m blaming it on hormones though, I suppose, as it just so happens it is coinciding with good ole Aunt Flow visiting.
Almost every night this past week, my mind is flooded with memories of places I am now far away from, and the memories and feeling of those places. So much so, that I have dreaded going to bed a bit at night… needing a podcast or the TV on just to try and avoid my thoughts...Read more
So, almost exactly 6 years after my husband's sudden death, and after about 2 years of endless dating and even more endless heartache, I have met someone. Not just someone. THE one. Or, as Michele refers to love after loss: "my next great love." He has finally arrived, and isn't it about damn time?
It is very early on in our relationship (2 weeks and 2 days, to be exact), but neither of us has ever experienced this type of "knowing" that it's love, or this kind of intense and yet HEALTHY chemistry. Feelings have developed fast, but nothing feels rushed or forced or unnatural in any way. Plus, it is the kind of relationship where we both are inspired by the other to strive to be the very best version of ourselves that we can be. He is not widowed, but he knows of loss. He has had multiple losses in his life, and hardships, and so we are both in this place of experiencing new things together. For the first time.
What’s going on in the life of this widow this week? It’s been four years, four months, and 11 days. Some things are changed very much, and some not so much.
I still look out over the same view, from the same lanai, in the same house we shared together for 12 years. I still drive through the little town in Hawaii we both fell in love with together every day. I pass shops, restaurants, churches, beaches, and yes, even trees, I know he saw, and loved. Seriously one time this week I was sitting at a traffic light admiring this big, beautiful tree in the median strip and thought, Mike saw this tree. I’m looking at a tree he also saw, probably many many times. I don’t know why I thought that but I did.
Apparently there are great gifts to be found in profound loss.
Or so we're told.
I suppose it's true for some people. We're told it's an opportunity to become more compassionate or more aware or become kinder to those around us.
Hopefully most people are already both those things but maybe not.
Maybe numerous people live their lives unconsciously. Unaware of what's important? Maybe they take things for granted on a regular basis?
I don’t know how to raise a girl in any other way than I’m doing. I’ve never done it before, I don’t have a sister, and last I checked, I’d never been a girl myself. I’m pretty clueless when it comes to makeup or clothes, and the only reason I know how to braid hair is because it’s the same technique you would use to make rope in the backcountry. I’m not “in tune” with girls, and in a few years, I’m sure I’ll be far too “in tune” with boys for Shelby’s liking.
Shelby makes it easy though. She went through her “princess” phase back when Megan was still alive, so I never had to learn the intricacies of which princess was from which movie, and which prince or knight or whatever they were in love with that was turned into a frog...or something. She grew out of that well before Megan died, moving on to something called “monster high” (which I still don’t get), and has since moved on from those weird green and heavily cosmeticized dolls (is “cozmeticized” a word? Hell if I know). Prior to age 7, she had dress after dress after dress, and at least 6 pairs of heels or "fashion boots" as she called them.
Every holiday has its dark moments especially with the kids. You always feel like they are missing out on something no matter how great you make it. Father's Day may be the worse. The first one after Joey passed was only a month after. I was still very numb and couldn't even bring it to myself to wish my father a happy Father's Day. I choose to completely ignore the day. Last year I purposely book a short family vacation to the beach with a full day of travel on Father's Day. It seemed to work, none of the kids knew what the day was. Maybe this isn't the best method but it worked for me. There will be plenty more and they will eventually be old enough that I won't be able to shield them from the pain. Well two months after my daughter asked me when was Father's Day. I explained to her that it had already passed and she was heart broken. So the method back fired.
I made her a promise we would never skip it again.
So this year we were at the beach again but this time coming home on Father's Day. Ryann is almost 8 so she is more aware of things around her. She never forgot the date and all week asked what we were going to do for her daddy.
Last night, Mike and I went to a concert. It was a surprise I gave him, to see one of his favorite bands. The entire night was incredible… one of those magical nights you remember forever. The joy in Mike’s eyes was palpable. No one had ever surprised him with such a wonderful gift before he said, and you could just feel the joy and love radiating from him all night. It was a beautiful evening. We had lawn seats at this outdoor arena. Not only was every song amazing and the energy of the crowd amazing, but there were songs from this band that I’d never heard before that slammed into my heart with such deep emotion. They went right to the core of me and touched something so very deep...Read more
Most will forget the way you wore your hair and your favourite items of clothing. They will forget your tattoos and the way you smelt when you drenched yourself in cologne or perfume. They will forget the way you walked, the way your body moved among theirs, they will forget your movements. Yes, all of your mannerisms. They will forget the sound of your voice.
In time without realising, they will forget your unforgettable face. A photo of you will make them close their eyes and think of you. Try to remember you, your face. It becomes an image of bits and pieces, pieces that don’t quite fit together the way they did when you were here. No doubt they will feel the pain of your loss, but its pain that most will forget. Most will go from thinking of you every day, to eventually only thinking of you twice a year. On your birthday and on the day you died. For a while though they will think of you and remember you when something reminds them of you. For a little while they will miss you.Read more
After my husband died, I spent a whole lot of time grieving. And existing. And just trying to breathe. In and out. Sometimes more in than out. Sometimes hyperventilating. Sometimes forgetting that oxygen is a thing.
Make it through that hour, that minute, that day. Whole lot of time spent sitting in his car that I was left with, in the university parking lot, wondering how the hell I was going to get out, walk into that building, and teach 4 classes. Dreading all the questions from the clueless but well-meaning people. Listening to the whispers in the hallways: "That's her. That's the professor whose husband dropped dead." Getting dizzy from all the tilted heads, showing their pity and their sorrys at me, as I tried to stare anywhere except directly into their eyes.
I spent a whole lot of time in grief counseling offices, trying to find someone that made some sort of sense when they talked. Someone who wouldnt just throw cliches at me, tell me it was time to "move on", or try and "fix me" with a pile of pills and meds. I wasnt interested. I somehow knew that I needed to live and sit inside the darkness, in order to ever see some light. I knew that pain was something that would be at the nucleus of my core for awhile. I knew that I had to process every nook and cranny, dissect every corner of his death, in order to gain any peace. I don't know how I knew these things, but I just knew.Read more