It is very rare that one particular emotion takes the forefront of my mind for any longer than a few days. In general, there is a veritable melting pot of thoughts occurring at any given moment, ranging from sadness to joy and everything in between. Fear and confusion are tempered by confidence and determination.
Of course, there are periods where certain emotions boil over and persist. Obviously, the first few months after Megan’s death were filled with overwhelming grief. The “busy” times of year at my work are always stressful, and it shows, even when I’m at home. There are times when my “give-a-damn” appears to be busted, and times when worry about the future pervades. Excitement and joy one week can easily give way to doubt and malaise the next.
Approaching three years since Megan took her last breath, I can truthfully say that I’m openly wandering.
And that’s a good thing.
Just when I find myself moving along a little more effortlessly and thinking, "I'll be damned. I think I've got this handled" ... it happens. WHAM! Grief jumps out of nowhere and slams me so hard in the chest that I find myself gasping for breath and thinking, "What the fuck just happened there?" (Or, "what the heck just happened there?" Depends on how much you curse, I suppose. I enjoy the "F" word at times. It has more oomph.)
That's what happened to me this past week. I had a few really good days, in part because my friend Mary (who I met in San Diego at Camp Widow) came to visit. It was so nice to have adult company around who just "gets it." No explaining required. And it's not as though we spent our days sitting around crying about the fact that our husbands oh-so-rudely decided to up and die on us. On the contrary. We toured Vancouver and did the ride over Canada that I have been wanting to do for quite some time. We ate out (a lot) and watched a movie and just breathed. I loved it.
The nightmare in Vegas happened while Mary was here (did I mention that Mary is from Vegas?) and instead of losing my shit and thinking about all the terrible things that could happen in the future without Ben here, which I would normally do, I just sat with her while she made sure her loved ones were safe. They were. Thank God.
Eventually our visit came to an end and I took Mary to the airport and then drove myself back home. Alone. And that's when Grief came back to pay me another unexpected visit.
This past week, Mike, Shelby and I put up our usual Halloween decorations in the front yard. For some folks, the idea of putting a graveyard in your front yard once a year might be tacky or in bad taste. We have no idea what our neighbors think - though none of them decorate at all for Halloween so they probably care very little. Some people take offense I’m sure, because they have lost people they love and think it is rude to make light of that. Well, not us. We have a lot of dead people, and so I feel we have every right to make light of it. Or to put it better… to bring some light to it. Because there should be light let in on death, don’t you think?
That is my favorite thing about Halloween-time… it is a chance once a year to literally put death right out in the front yard. For that one month, I feel a little bit freer to put it out there to the world that, yes, death and darkness are a part of my life and I am actually very proud of it. Prop gravestones and skeletons my just be for fun, but for me, they have always held a deeper meaning.Read more
I stayed up. I was drained. I was exhausted. But I stayed up. It became my mission of madness. To anyone else, it was just a simple "Happy Birthday" but to Linzi...it signified another year of survival. I wanted to be the first to say it on a night she was perhaps at her lowest, and not just lowest that week...but probably her whole life.
Earlier that week I had her make me one final promise. I clutched her hand tightly in that dreary hospital room, my eyes searching those pools of green, a storm still raging in them.
"You're not allowed to leave me until you turn 27. You hear me?"Read more
Every single year, at this time of the year and until the conclusion of football season in February with the Superbowl, millions of women, and in few cases, men, all over America, suffer alone. Their suffering is so great, that they take their plight to the masses; posting all over social media about how they will once again be a football widow while their husband or partner goes away for short periods of time, to watch and enjoy football.Read more
I’m back in Kona after a whirlwind trip across two very large ponds. Being that it is 11 hours time difference between Hawaii and the UK, I am still suffering the lag, but it’s getting better. It was well worth it, both for time with my boyfriend’s family, and refreshing the spirit during a time of looming change in my reality. So now back to the grind.
And back to a cold, hard reality as well. Hearing about the shooting in Las Vegas chilled me to the bone. In years past, when Mike was alive, we used to come together during moments like that, during the other horror shows we as humans have lived through during the years of our marriage, from 9/11 to Sandy Hook. We would talk about what we really thought happened…we would try and translate the news into some language we could comprehend. Really for me, having his wisdom, his soothing presence, his protection perhaps, made me so much less fearful, both for myself, and the world.
In the before moments
As you hold tight while trying to let go
Waiting for that last breath
Dreading that last breath
Holding your breath waiting for that last breath
Gasping in your breath as he exhales his last breath
Long Live LoveRead more
So much of our lives are built upon expectations. We plan our higher education based on the expectation that we can have a career doing what we love. We raise children on the expectation that they will succeed even beyond what we ourselves as parents have achieved. We marry, with the expectation that our partner will be there by our side until one or the other has met their end.
On the simpler side of things, we expect to be scared, emotional, or laugh when we go to a movie. We expect hunger to be sated by dinner, and we expect to have thrills and fun at an amusement park.
We expect to be entertained at a concert, enjoying an artist or band plying their trade in front of us. Then...the unexpected happens.
Good advice, right? I have always liked to pass that piece of advice onto my kids whenever I had the opportunity. “Take time off before University. Go see the world. Live your life while you can.” That’s what we used to say to them. We had all sorts of tidbits of advice which included, "Happiness is a choice, so choose it." "Be a good person." "Work hard." "Be kind" and "Live Your Life". We only get one of them.
But then Ben died, and everything changed. I became torn between wanting my kids to live their lives and wanting them home with me every second. I became obsessed with controlling everything they did, even when I knew I was being ridiculous. Even when a little voice inside my head told me to lay off or they would say "Sayonara Mama" and move right out of this house so that they no longer had me breathing down their necks. Even when I caused my son immense frustration. Even when I made my daughter cry.
It seems that after Ben died I no longer wanted them to live the life they wanted … I wanted them to live the life that I wanted. And I wanted them home, safe, and with me every minute.Read more
Lately, I have been finding myself in situations that I have been in before, except this time, Im in the situation as the other person, and the other person is my forever dead husband. The other night, I found myself sitting in his recliner chair, and talking to him in a whisper, which I do from time to time, and I was saying: "I get it now. And I'm sorry." What am I sorry about? Read on ....Read more