I wish I had of known,

I wish I had of known how bad it would really be. A warning that the one year mark would be one of the most painful days of my life. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy day, I tried to prepare for that day. I honestly didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was.

The fog of grief that had somewhat eased over the past few months returned instantly in full form. Upon opening my eyes at first light, within a couple of minutes the tears began and lasted all day. I hadn’t cried like that in quite a while. The idea of being around friends and keeping busy and occupied pushed me to get out of the house. An unexpected wave of memories flooded my mind continuously in every direction I looked.

It as though I stood motionless while the world around me spun. People busy moving about their lives but I didn’t notice a single sole. Instead the only images I saw were memories of the last time we rested under that tree and starred up at the clouds. Thoughts of the last conversation we had at that coffee shop. The items he last purchased from the hardware store that I drove past. The smile he gave me the last time we were in the car together at that particular set of traffic lights. The day was an overwhelming flood of memories played out like movie scenes in my mind.

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A Few Steps

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Earlier this week I made the trip from my home in Kona, once again, to my parents' house in Virginia. I am grateful for the reprieve back on the island, where I was able to attend my stepdaughter's wedding, visit with friends, my boyfriend, and find some rest. Now, I am in Charleston, SC with my mom. We planned this trip to see whether this area is a place we could all relocate. We will look at facilities for dad here, as well as some real estate. Dad is being cared for in a home in Virginia now, and my brother is back there as well at the moment, working on their house to be sold, and checking in on dad.

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Oh, the Shame! On THEM~

It was disheartening this week to read of a widow sister who had received a nasty email from friends.  Friends of her husband who became her friends also.  She thought they were still friends after his death but their email made clear to her that they want nothing to do with her.  She thrived on the drama of widowhood, they said, because of the attention it brought to her.

Early on in my widowhood someone I didn’t know but whom I suspect was somehow connected to Chuck’s ex, accused me, upon learning of my intent to write a book about our love story, upon learning that it was my goal to some day present a program about our hospice time, about our time together, that person felt the need to email me and accuse me of profiting off of my marriage to him.  She reminded me, in an accusing manner, that he’d had a first wife and child, you know!  And various other things that were equally idiotic and had nothing to do with anything.

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Silver linings

Sometimes we have to sit back and do some serious reflecting. I am not by any meanings taking away from anyone's pain. My pain is mine and it's real. I'm dealing with the grief still of losing my husband while trying to raise four children. I am dealing with a medical condition that is never going to go away and could possibly wheelchair bound me. But I also have the blessing of living. I get that gift. We as widows know how precious that is. Yet sometimes in the darkest moments we forget that we are still here. We get to keep going. It's hard and just plain sucks at times but we are alive. 

I received a message from a woman this week who lost her husband to cancer and now is battling that herself, alone. After hearing her story I thought about how lucky I am to have children from my husband. 
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A Christmas Surprise

Screen_Shot_2016-12-11_at_9.33.14_AM.pngYesterday, we received a great big box in the mail. Shelby drug it in through the front door, and we slid it across the living room floor, near the Christmas tree, to open it up. I zipped a pocket knife through the tape and she pulled open the top of the box to reveal presents of all shapes and sizes. She squirmed with excitement, while Mike and I stood watching her pull each one out and read off the “To” and “From” tags one at a time.

As she read them, my heart filled with joy. Presents from all of Drew’s family… his parents, siblings, aunt and uncles, to all three of us. It quite took me by surprise actually. I had assumed after moving away from them, and starting a new journey, that we might fade from each other’s lives a bit. I think I mentally prepared myself for that shift to happen some this Christmas. Instead, we received this great big box of goodies I could have never imagined...

 

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Things That Haven't Happened Yet

There are lots of things in my life that haven't happened yet. 

Things that are on the verge of happening, hopefully.

Things I am patiently, or impatiently, waiting on. 

Things that still need to marinate. 

Things that are still in development. 

Things that haven't quite been defined.

Things that have no guarantee of happening at all. 

Things that I have to choose to have faith in. 

Things I am taking a risk on, with my heart. 

With my time. With my energy. With my soul. 

 

 

 

 

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Home Is Not a House

I've lived in lots of places in my life so far. I was born in Maryland and raised in Arlington, Virginia until I was 6, at which time we moved to nearby McLean. I attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC and lived on campus there, moving each year, in the dorms and residential housing. After college I moved back in with my parents, and then in with my boyfriend in Arlington, and then he and I moved to another house in DC for awhile after that.

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Widowhood and a Microscope~

It would probably seem torturous to many people.  And it is, I suppose.  But sometimes I feel so empty, so without Chuck, so numb, so filled with absence, that I seek them out so that I can feel again, right down to my gut, even if the feeling is deep sadness.

Them being videos on youtube of military funerals.  With the recent anniversary of the assassination of JFK, I found myself watching a replay of his funeral, gazing steadfastly at the empty saddle of the horse in the forefront of the cortege, boots turned backwards.  I stared at Jackie Kennedy, the dramatic black veil covering her to her shoulders.  Felt my heart break when John John saluted at the prompting of his mom.

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Hope and Reality

Dolly Sods, where I had hoped to be.As I wrote last week, I had made plans to go to a place called the Dolly Sods wilderness for a weekend of backpacking.  I’d been planning for months, to return to this place that I was so familiar and comfortable with.  A place that felt like home to me.  As fate would have it, a fire ban was instituted in the area, which quickly put this trip into an unsafe endeavor.  Being wet and cold at 4000+ feet in December is not something one just says “oh well” to.

I had to cancel.  But, with some encouragement and quick planning, I was able to find a place nearby (Flatrock/ Roaring Plains) that was literally “across the street”, just south of the area I truly wanted to be in.  
My hope was that it would be “close enough” to Dolly Sods.  The terrain, the ecosystem, and the feeling would be unknown, yet familiar enough to allow some semblance of sanctuary in the woods.
My hopes were wrong.
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I'm Tired

hope.jpgI am tired of being brave. I am tired of being strong. I am tired of being a hero and inspiration to everyone around me. You don't know how I do it? Neither do I. I wish I could break sometimes. I wish I could just stop. I wish I could take option B. But I can't. I don't know how to.

So I just cry and scream. And wonder why me. But nothing changes. Nothing magical comes from my tears to make my life better.

I only know how to feel sorry for myself for so long. Before I tell myself to man up. And go forward.

These breakdowns become very hard. I have shut everyone out from seeing the real me. The weak one who is scared and alone. The one who needs someone.

Last week I reached out to Michele the founder of soaring spirits. I was so low I just typed. I typed everything I was feeling. And the amazing thing was she got it. She understood. I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who feels this way. And as hard as it is to see now it will get better. I just can't give up.

It's ok to be tired. It's ok to give up on this day. Today. But not tomorrow.

 

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