Holding a Hand

On a day-to-day basis, I’m fairly composed and not overly sensitive to things that remind me of Megan, her illness, or the fact that she’s gone.  Shelby acheives honor roll like clockwork, and though it reminds me of how proud Megan would be, and I wish she was there, it’s an “it is what it is situation”, where I can be happy for both of us and go about my day.  I can hear and talk about others that are sick, watch shows or read about widowers or illness, or drive by the hospital she was treated and died in, and it doesn’t really phase me.

 Chalk that up to years of becoming desensitized to it all.  Long-term illness has a way of letting you begin grieving long before it is “required”, so that you are already well into the process when the time comes.  Although Megan’s death was “sudden”, in that we didn’t know precisely what day of the month it would occur, it wasn’t a “surprise”.

So, when a neighborhood stray cat was evidently hit by a car, at first, I thought not too much of it, and decided, with Sarah, that we needed to take care of it with a clear head and confidence.  Out came one of the largest triggers I’ve had since Megan’s death.

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I want my why

I have been told time and time again don't ask why. It will drive you mad. I have been told there are something's you will never have answers for. You must let go. In other people's dark hours have have given this same advice. But the truth is I want my why! I want my answers! 
I have been laying in a hospital bed for three days now. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four months after Joeys death. I pissed me off to my core. Wasn't enough enough. But I fought through the anger and tried to accepted it as best I could. I have tried to be responsible about it. I have sought out medical attention both conventional and traditional. And yet here I sit in a bed with steroids being pumped in me. And no one can tell me why. Why I have this disease. What triggers it. What is going to happen to me. 

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How to Keep on Loving...

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(Mike and I with Drew's parents)

I didn’t manage to get a post up last week as I was out on a very special trip back home to Texas. One that left my heart overflowing with just how beautiful and surprising life still can be. It isn’t often that we happen to find ourselves in the middle of a truly miraculous celebration of life. I think the last time I was part of something that honored loved ones this beautifully was in Hawaii a few years ago, when I attended their annual Lantern Festival on Memorial Day.

This though, was something else. Something really personal. As I stood there looking out at the smiles and laughter, the banjos and guitars, the softly swaying hay fields and cactus warmed by the sleepy, low-hanging sun… I truly could not believe the moment’s perfection.

Once a year, every year since Drew died, all of my closest friends get together for a long weekend for what we call DrewFest. This was the 5th year, and to my complete surprise, it ended up being a much bigger celebration of him than we ever imagined would happen…

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Sewing My Widow Oats

Okay. 

So let's just do it. 

Let's talk about it. 

Let's talk about love and dating and sex. 

Yeah, I said it. 

Sex. 

And widowhood. 

Lets not forget widowhood. 

I need to talk about this. 

It's time. 

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Shifts Happen

Having lunch with a friend the other day, one who knows me well and knew Mike, I told her: I feel like a completely different person now. Four year later, the only things that remain the same here in Kona are the friends we knew together, my two dogs, and the house I shared with Mike, though its innards are greatly changed now too. And soon, no idea when, the house itself will be gone, and I will be gone from this place altogether.

 

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This New Year of Mine~

I just passed the 4-year mark of Chuck’s death.  This year blew me to pieces.  Every year does, honestly, but this year…wow.  I went to work the day after, but lasted for only 2 hours, at which point it seemed like my choices were go home or run screaming from the store.  Mentally and emotionally, I was so done.  Mostly, I push my way through all of the moments of the days, but this time I decided no, I’m paying attention and I’m giving in to it.  So, I went home and crawled back into bed and pulled the covers up and zoned out to nonsense DVDs, though I don’t remember what I watched.

Mind you, when I say went to bed, I’m talking about my little bed in my tiny trailer.  I was surrounded by pink, covered in pink, laying on pink sheets with my head on a pink pillow, with pictures of me and Chuck covering most the surfaces.  Which is exactly how I want it to be.

Somewhere along the line, in the last few weeks, I decided to really and honestly just let myself be exactly where I am with this grief, with this missingness.  I’m tired of fighting and pushing to make me something other than what I am and how I am.  Tired of trying to dress life up and make it look pretty to my own eyes.   

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Happy 6th Birthday

jacob2.jpgToday is my son Jacobs 6th birthday. Birthdays are always different now. I do my best to give the kids what they want and celebrate but there's a hole. Someone is missing. How can you celebrate the birth of your child without their daddy. I just don't know if it will ever be the same. 
Jacobs 4th birthday was the last one Joey was apart of. I don't know if it hits me harder because of that. But I can just see him standing next to him as he tries to blow his candles out. Jacob couldn't do it and started to get frustrated. And then Joey whispered something to him. And blew the candles out and Joey gave him a pat on the head and walked away. That is the birthday memory I have of Joey with Jacob. His first son and he only saw him to four years old. 
It makes no sense to me. I can't imagine only being four and then never having your dad with you anymore. 

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Talking to Mike

Whether or not there is a belief in God or an afterlife, I would bet that many widowed people talk to their lost loves. The first few months after Mike died I remember that horrific, heart-clenching, shattering new reality that he was not there to talk to anymore. But as time went on I just started talking to him anyway. Sometimes I yelled at him for leaving me. Sometimes now it’s a short I miss you, Mike. I say that a lot. Out loud. Other times I find myself having a longer conversation.

 

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Tu Me Manques...in Every Language~

What do I do with this 4-year mark?

This Friday will be 4 years since I leaned over and gently kissed the lips of my dead husband, after watching him suffocate.

After he died, I bathed him, with the aid of our 2 girls.  Then we dressed him in his street clothes.  I didn’t want his body going into the body bag by itself and I remembered that I had 2 very nice blankets in my car, so I sent the girls for them.  We wrapped his body in those blankets and stitched them together with colorful twine.  I remember gazing at his face for the last time right before I pulled the blanket over it.

Before they came into the room to take him away, I stepped outside to speak to them and tell them a little bit of who this man was, and that I was certain that they would handle his body with great respect.

I helped lift his body onto the gurney after they zipped him into the body bag.

A week later we went to witness his cremation and I opened the cardboard box in which his body reposed, and I covered him with colorful flowers.

And then I pressed the switch to open the doors of the crematorium so that his body could slide in.  I watched the door close.  And walked away a widow.

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Pre-survivor's Guilt

It’s Monday night.  After a long holiday weekend, and a single day of work, I’m off for a week.  Sarah and I are traveling to Texas tomorrow, to meet with her friends and family and celebrate the memory of Drew, as they’ve done yearly since his death.

The loose ends are tied up at work.  Our bags are packed and we’re into the impatient “waiting game” that comes before any longer trip getting started.  I wish we could just leave right now.  Visions of the beach, and lounging beside the pool seem like they’ll take forever to become reality.


Aaaaaand my chest is tight.  I’m uncomfortably nervous and anxious.  Something just feels...well…”off”.

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