I'm writing this a bit late today, but for a very good reason. As I type this, Mike and I are driving back from Toronto. For the past few days, we've been enjoying the company of so many beautiful, brave people here at Camp Widow Toronto... some of who may be reading these words.
If you've never been, I can assure you, this gathering of love and healing put on three times a year by Soaring Spirits is one that is lifechanging. I can still remember my first Camp. I was so cynical about going. It honestly sounded stupid – mainly because I was afraid of opening my heart. Cynicism is great for avoiding openness.
By the end of that first camp, I was changed. My heart was opened up, my cynicism gone. I didn't cry in front of people embarrassingly. Instead, we cried together. I made new friends who got all of it. I laughed probably harder than I had since my fiance died, too. I left feeling proud that the word “widow” was a part of me, because I'd spent the weekend surrounded by some of the bravest, most authentic, most loving souls I had ever met. I left that first camp no longer hating the word “widow”. I left feeling proud to belong to this club that no one wants to belong to, and have been proud ever since.
Fast forward a few years to today and now I am experiencing a new perspective. This time, I wasn't coming back because I was in that broken place and in search of how the hell to keep living and breathing each day. I wasn't coming with a cynical mindset about my grief. This time, I was here to give back, like so many had done for me, by teaching a workshop.Read more
I can’t sleep. I worked the late shift again, my usual schedule these days at the restaurant, so I’m not too surprised. Trying to sleep before one in the morning these days is difficult, when I don’t get home til half past 10 at the earliest. One does need to downshift for a bit after work, regardless of the hours. But this time it’s like something is calling to me. I can’t downshift, as I usually can. My beautiful magnesium powder is not working its usual magic tonight. So I give up, and get up.
I come out to my lanai, that place I will miss the most about this house, that place Mike loved most too, and notice how bright the light is. Geez what is that, I wonder in my daze? It’s the moon, I realize, so full and luminous it lights up the sky and the ocean beneath, like a surrogate sun. Literally glaring at me, daring me to be awake and gazing upon it. I go back inside to get my distance glasses from my purse so I can really see it.
It is now Wednesday evening, late. Close to midnight I guess.
By the time you read this, it will be Friday sometime.
That is my scheduled time to write each week, so this will be pre-set
to publish on that day.
I will be in Toronto, Canada, attending and presenting at Camp Widow.
There wont be much time to get online or to write blogs.
So Ill do it now.
There is a particular and peculiar loneliness of the sort that cannot be imagined for its’ overwhelming and enveloping totality, that strikes me when I am in a crowded room with those who are familiar to me, or not. It’s a loneliness whose depth is equal to the surge of desire I would feel as I rose on my tiptoes to meet Chuck’s lips in a kiss. It is a loneliness that hits like a lightning bolt out of the stormy sky, with thunder rolling in dark tones onwards and onwards and onwards again until I finally have no sense of self or place as it consumes me into it.Read more
On February 5th, 2015, I wandered into a Hotel in Tampa, Florida, not quite sure if I was supposed to be there. I had lost Megan less than three months prior, and I hadn’t honestly accepted the fact that I was now a Widower. In the year leading up to it, I had spent more time sitting next to my dying wife than anything else.
Like many of us, I was searching for answers to hypothetical questions. “Who am I now?” and “What am I supposed to do?” served only as constant reminders that, well, “I don’t know” was the only answer.
Almost three years later, and the questions, and the answers, are still the same. What has changed, and what I’ve learned in that time is that we will never know the answer, but we are always inching closer to it.
Last Monday was just an average day. I had some running around to do and appointments to attend. A pre Vegas hair colour, a dentist appointment... that sort of thing. Nothing too crazy or anxiety inducing, and the panic I tend to experience on the daily remained at a reasonable low for the most part.
I ended the day by attending a relaxing yoga class with a friend of mine. It was exactly what I needed to wind down and I was well on my way to feeling the zen when, for no reason at all, a most unwelcome memory popped into my mind.
The memory was of a text Ben sent me from the hospital shortly before he died. Death was inevitable and it coming fast, and every moment felt like we were staring down the barrel of a shotgun. I had spent the entire day with him and had gone home in the middle of the night to be with the kids and make sure they were safe. I crawled into bed, texted Ben "I love you" and he texted back saying “I don’t want to die. I have so much to live for.”
At that moment I felt as though my heart had been ripped out of my chest and thrown across the room. I texted back and told him that I didn’t want him to die, but i did not say “You aren’t going to die.” To deny his pending death seemed wrong to me. It just seemed so dismissive to say “oh, don’t be silly...you aren’t going to die.” He was indeed going to die. So many people had spent the nine months after his diagnosis in denial, and that had angered me to no end. There was nothing helpful about denying what was to come, because denial has not been proven to be an effective method of curing cancer. So instead I told him that he was leaving a legacy in his three kids. And he responded that “legacy or not” he still didn’t want to die, he wanted to fight. He didn’t want to die.
Some days, it catches you breathless.
The longing to know them now.
The desire to share your life today with them.
The wish to be able to just sit down at the coffee shop together and chat...
It’s sometimes strange being in new places with people we both knew and loved yet knowing I’m the only one there. I examined the pastel painted walls of my parents’ new home, a reward of long, strenuous years of hard work and determination.
It’s just another one of many places, many things Linzi will never be here to witness or experience.
She lingers. Not in some dominating and overwhelming way. Her presence is just…missed.
My daughter is the absolute greatest thing to emerge from what was our love story, and while I adore her, and am excited to see her progress throughout the course of her entire life, each new accomplishment, each new goal met, each new milestone…all of it comes with tears attached, both happy and sad.Read more
Awhile back, pretty early on in my loss, I remember some person responding to my utter turmoil, deep grief, and endless sobbing fits, with this gem: "Well, life goes on!" In that moment, I can recall feeling and thinking several things.
A: Fuck you.
B: Yeah, no shit. Tell me something I dont already know, you condescending ass.
C: How DARE life just "go on?", when my husband isnt here? How dare it? And how CAN it? How am I supposed to go on? And why hasn't the world stopped on it's axis after his death? How am I ever going to keep up? I don't feel like it. I don't want to. I wont.
D: And, oh yeah ... Fuck you.Read more