The Secret Tears

truck3.jpgHere's to the tears we save for our dark bedrooms at night alone. The hours we spend a day remembering our old lives. 

Here's to the bravery it takes to fake a smile everyday. Long after everyone has forgot our stories we cannot forget. The scars are too deep. The wounds never heal. 

It becomes overwhelming at times to be that person that is surviving and continuing on with life. That superhero that everyone thinks you are. I had a very hard day today for reasons that aren't really clear to me. I just felt lost and alone. At times I feel as if I am living a fake life, a fake person. I fake the smiles and laughs and pretend to be ok. And sometimes I am ok. But sometimes I am just not. 

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Being that both Mike and I are both writers here, we do try to talk about our relationship as two widowed people, to share how this whole “chapter 2” thing can work. There are plenty of times this is awesome to write about - when we have things to share that show you how beautiful loving again can be. How beautiful it can be when two people honor their dead loved ones, welcoming them with open arms into this new, loving space. Times when we can share how incredible it is to be on a new journey of love, and feeling like your other person is getting to come along with you for the ride. So many times I have truly felt Drew’s joy in my own heart during moments with Mike. So many times have I felt like when I am laughing, Drew is too. They’re a part of it all. And we should never expect any less of our new person than to want them to be a part of it all. Mike even wears some of Drew’s old dress shirts now. And I use Megan’s old backpacking gear when we go out for trips. They’re always with us.

But there’s another side to that too. What if things weren’t all roses and rainbows when your person died? What if your last words were words of anger? What if there was a lot of unresolved stuff going on that you never got to address? What if, like Mike and Megan’s story, you were only just beginning to resolve things? What if your widowed story, or even your story outside of being widowed, comes with some muck?

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Grieving Language Without Words

Around two weeks before John passed away we went together as a family to look at a new child care, closer to home to enrol my daughter Layla in. At the time she was attending a home childcare that had become like a family to her but they were over half an hour drive away from where we lived and where I work. We had decided to enrol her to begin the new childcare centre (not a home child care) in the new year, which turned out to be just four weeks after he passed away. The new year began and I decided not to change the childcare, as she was going through enough already. So for the past year she has still been at the home child care until this week.   

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Desperate, Ugly, Pathetic

I am feeling down about myself. Every now and then I get this way. I absolutely HATE it when I get this way. There is nothing attractive or appealing about being or feeling this way. It is desperate. It's pathetic. I fall into this place where I am searching and looking to feel pretty again, sexy again, wanted again. At this point, I would settle for just feeling human again. 

It comes and goes, this feeling. It is the result of 5-plus years with no wonderful husband to assure me and reassure me that I am, indeed, beautiful, and worthy of love, and attractive. It is the result of being overweight a good part of my life, and having that weight be the result of trauma / rape. It is the result of convincing myself for years, that if I could just hide behind this shield of fat, no man would ever want me again - no man would ever hurt me again. It is the result of telling myself that Im disgusting, and of feeling disgusting, and of looking in the mirror and wanting to disappear. It is the result of the only person who ever truly loved you, being dead. It is the result of waiting almost 5 years to date someone, to have a relationship with someone, to sleep with someone - and then finding out later that your entire time together was probably a lie. It is the result of the person that you have really strong feelings for, not being in a place where they are able to reciprocate those feelings in a way that makes you feel wanted or pretty or desirable. So, instead, you put yourself out there to this person emotionally, or you tease and flirt with them, because it's fun and natural and there's a connection there, and because you miss flirting with someone more than you miss anything - and you are sometimes met with flirting and teasing in return, but other times are met with silence. And then you feel like an idiot. Like maybe this person doesn't actually think you are special, in the way that you think they are special.

And the person that you dated a few months ago didnt actually think you were special either, because they lied to you and cheated and told you that you were beautiful and sexy, but probably didnt really mean it, because they lied. So then you start to question all of it - and maybe you really arent anything special, and maybe your dead husband was it for you, and maybe your love and your caring about someone is just simply not good enough for them to want to love you back. Or maybe youre just over-analyzing every damn thing because you are tired and you feel old and gross, and because stupid Valentine's Day is coming again and you don't want to go through yet another one feeling lonely and like you don't have someone out there who wants to get you flowers and feel nice just knowing that they thought of you, and maybe you miss your husband's organic love that you never had to question, ever. 

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The Path Less Traveled

I am a rebel. I always have been. I do my homework and get good grades but then I sneak out to go to the party. You know? In other words, I've always done what was generally expected of me, but then I also tend to kind of run away and do what I want later.

I went to college but did not go to law school like everyone else I knew. I did not get a serious job for the government like many of my peers, but instead ran away to Hollywood. I did not marry someone my own age and have kids and a regular suburban life, but instead I married an older man and became wife #3 to a unique ham of a man and a stepmom to two grown girls. I did not choose to live in a familiar home town but instead moved to about the most remote spot on the planet and did whatever it took to afford to live there.

Then, my husband died.

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It's 2 AM. Do I Know Where my Brain is?

When does this change?  The missing-ness?  Does the emptiness ever fill up?  

I know that there are no solid answers for my questions but they invade my brain during my days and in the middle of the night.

Sleeping with my arms wrapped around a soft pillow, trying to find some comfort in the feel of something, anything, pressed to my body. Does the longing ever leave?

Resting my head on his pillow that has traveled with me for the 100,000 miles since his death.  If I put my head where his was, will I feel closer to him?

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I’m a mess lately.  Around the start of this past holiday season, I began regressing to a point where I am again a cynical, grumpy, and in general, angry person.  It has nothing to do with Sarah, Shelby, work, or even the holidays, really.  It truly does have everything to do with the fact that Megan is no longer here.  

It’s not her death, specifically though, that caused this descent into a person I once was.  It’s the remembrance of where she and I were at this time of year, not long before her death.  It's the knowing that there were things that we were “working on” that were quite obviously put on hold when her organ rejection appeared.  It’s the sense of any progress we had made being “all for naught” upon her death.

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Family time for the soul

gwl.jpgThis week we had some downtime and a day off school. So my sister and I took the kids to great wolf lodge for the night. This place holds lots of great and special memories for us as a family. We started going there when my now 7 year old daughter was just a baby. All the kids have been with their dad and have their own memories of being there. 

Now we are creating new memories together and I'm learning to be ok with that. I am realizing that this is part of moving forward. You have to continue to live and have wonderful times because that's living and that's what our loved ones would want. 

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Building New Wings Ain't Easy


For the first few years after Drew died, I lived in between lives. Back then, I remember distinctly feeling that way. Many of the photographs I took spoke to this. I wasn’t in my old life, nor was I in what I would define as a new life.

I recall wondering what it would be like to one day live in a new life, instead of the in-between. Back then, I couldn’t even fathom that idea… and largely, I didn’t want to. I had found an odd comfort in my in-between world. It’s the place that first began to rebuild myself - this new self. I actually didn’t even know how that new self would be able to enter into a new life. I didn’t know what a new life would look like.

I also remember those first glimpses into a new life… it was an internal feeling inside me. A feeling I don’t know how to explain, other than it being a shift that I didn’t consciously make myself. It was as if my soul, or the universe, or something began to whisper to me, saying that it was time… that change was on the horizon. I could feel it in my bones, even before meeting Mike - which I would define as the catalyst that throttled me into new life.

I was in no way prepared for my “re-entry” into life. I had grown so comfortable in the space of my grief, to the point that we became friends. I didn’t really want to leave that space, though I knew I would one day have to. I had spent years exploring in my own emotions and soul… through words and photographs and paintings and such. Creating from my grief became such a part of me, that I didn’t know how to keep creating as I re-entered life. I really still don’t know how, to be honest...

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Wanting Love

I feel like I feel too much and think too much when really I shouldn’t overthink the concept at all. Just flow with life and the new beginnings it may bring. Enjoy it for all that it is and could be. Instead though, I feel guilty and scared. Scared that if I allow myself to love again, that love will be taken away. Guilty that I have thoughts of wanting to be with another. Craving intimate moments, soulful conversations, touch, cuddles, sharing stories and laughter, looking into another’s eyes, hearing the words “I love you” and feeling loved. I miss all of these things so much. To me these have always been what makes life worth living, being able to share in life and love with another. I feel guilty for wanting to feel love again. 

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