This Left-behind Love~

What do we do with left behind Love?

How do we take what was an active, living Love, in life,

And make it matter and make it count…

In the after?

After the death of that one, your person…

The one you slept with and loved with and talked with, who knew you better than anyone,

Whose death changed everything…

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New Year's Resolution

Screen_Shot_2017-01-02_at_11.33.00_PM.png It’s 2017.  This is the 35th time that my body has traveled around the sun on this little rock called earth.  In those 35 trips, I’ve been witness and participant to milestones of education and career, love and marriage, childbirth and parenting, sickness, and death.  I’ve seen friendships both grow and wither.  I’ve evolved from a curious child, to an outgoing teenager, then a determined Marine, followed by a devoted husband and father, on through to a caretaker, and then...a widower.  I volunteered my twenties and early thirties to the life of a woman that I knew would not be with me to old age.  We created a beautiful child that anyone would be proud to call their own.  

Two years ago, on the first day of 2015, that life had abruptly come to an end.  I was no longer a husband, but rather, a widower.  My years of education and youthful curiosity were far behind me, a relic of my adolescence.  I was beyond the pride that came with earning the title of Marine, for my country deemed me too old to serve by that point.  My caretaking services, as sharpened and experienced as they were, were no longer needed in the advanced capacities they were capable of.  

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2017

family1.jpgAnother year as past. It's hard to believe honestly. I tried my hardest this year to really allow myself to live. I took scary steps that at times made me feel horrible. It was always like I was leaving Joey behind when I did something new or changed something. But the reality is once it was done I felt good, I felt lighter. I know that doing these things are part of healing. Time stops for no one. So the choice is to either stand still in the grief and madness or move with the current and live. 
I remember New Year's Eve last year. I was fighting time tooth and nail. I wanted no part of moving into a new year without Joey. I couldn't imagine living in a year that he would never see. But it came without blinking an eye. 

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Live New Today

Here we are. A new year. I woke up feeling weird about that. I think mostly I am annoyed. Annoyed by all the expectation that society holds for everyone to have this wonderful sense of hope for what’s to come on this day. Annoyed that every widowed person out there has to deal with the weight of that expectation as they manage to crawl across this annual threshold. It’s crappy. It’s crappy how much it upsets us. It’s crappy what a reminder it is to us, sometimes even more than Christmas, that our person is not here. 

I am grateful to have someone new to spend my New Year’s with now, but Mike being here doesn’t mean I don’t still feel crappy about all the expectation. So many people expect that because you have someone new, your life must just be magically super happy and you are 100% healed from missing your old person. Right. Because that works.

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Another New Year

I can hear the fire works from last years New Years Eve celebrations. They go off with a bang. Thoughts racing of families watching them with smiles and couples sharing kisses that would seal there love for the year ahead. Last NYE I sat alone on my bedroom floor, with photos sprawled in front of me. A pen in hand, writing letters to John that he will never get to read. I heard the fire works go off and said out loud "happy new years kiss, I love you".

This new year I had been looking forward to, but as it draws closer I feel sick to celebrate a new year without him. I never thought much of the term "With a heavy heart" until I knew grief. I know you will all understand when I say, my heart feels heavy at the thought of this new year. A year past without him, the new year brings new beginnings, but it doesn't bring him back.  

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New Years Eve Blues

Tomorrow is New Years Eve. 

My husband and I never really did anything special on New Years Eve. 

Before I was married, I never really did anything special on New Years Eve. 

When I was a lot younger, a teenager, some friends and I went into Boston for First Night, froze our asses off, and stood with the thousands of others to count down to midnight and shout in the streets. I did the whole crazy Times Square thing one time, in my 20s. But since then, New Years Eve is just another night, leading up to just another day. 

So why the hell does it always depress me so damn much? 

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Ashes and Tears

I read on Facebook the other day that if the worst thing that happened to you this year was celebrity deaths and politics, you had a damn good year.

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The Eyes Say It All~

I was struck, recently, as I perused join requests on a fb group I began a few months ago, for widows who live on the road, or camp.  I vet each request to ensure that each woman meets the requirements for our particular group.   Within the group, we discuss, not surprisingly, intensely emotional topics around widowhood, and the challenges of being on the road solo.  So, as I’m able, I scroll the pages of those who would like to join, in addition to messaging each one to verify information.

Sometimes it’s a fairly simple thing to discern the answers to the questions I ask, so I’m able to approve the join request even before receiving a response.  A picture, comments on the page, posted memes…I’m not particularly psychic, but I nailed it on one by simply finding a selfie picture as I scrolled.

 

One picture, a selfie…nothing unusual there, right?  Except that I paused the moment I came upon that picture, because I immediately noticed her eyes.  More specifically, what her eyes showed. 

 

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Humbug

Without a second thought, I stepped right into the holidays, as I’ve done for all but one year in the last 15 (the year Megan died was a little different).  Just after Thanksgiving, we got our Christmas tree, put up lights on the house, decorated indoors, and as a first, we set up my old model train on the dining table, complete with snow, buildings, bridges, and trees.

We attended plays, went for drives to look at lights, and listened to Christmas songs on the radio everywhere else we went.  We baked gingerbread cookies, wearing silly elf hats, and hiked in what little snow we’ve received so far this winter.

I try to make this season happy and memorable for everyone around me, especially Shelby.  Ensuring that she has good experiences is of the utmost importance to me.  I love that I can now do the same for Sarah.  This was the first Christmas she’s spent with us, travelling to my parents’ on Christmas eve, and Megan’s parents on Christmas day, as has been tradition for a decade.

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The second one.

christmas.jpgHolidays are always more intense. You notice the absence of your loved one even more. If this is your first Christmas without your spouse I'm truly sorry. If this is your tenth without your spouse I am still just as equally truly sorry. 
I remember my very First Christmas with Joey. We had been dating a few months and exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve. We sat by the tree at my dads house. We were so excited. So young and in love. It's a beautiful memory. 
I wish I could recap my first Christmas without Joey. But the truth is I can't. I don't remember it. I remember bits and piece here and there but for the most part I have no memory of it. 

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