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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A Change in Christmas

So it’s Christmas again (well, Christmas Eve actually as I write this to you). Yet again, I’m here, like we all are, having to deal with it. I would describe my attitude towards Christmas these past 4 years as apathetic at best. The first year, I was terrified, having never before faced a Christmas without him. The entire week leading up to Christmas was a hurricane of anxiety. The second year was better. I didn’t have the anxiety. I knew I would make it through, but I still didn’t really care about any of it. Most of my caring laid with helping Drew’s mom out, who was struggling to make it through the holiday too.

The year after that was about the same. Last year, I was in Texas after having moved to Ohio, and it was incredibly hard on me. Flying over the holidays to begin with, oh, so fun. Returning to Texas to be with Drew’s family brought both comfort and pain. It was comforting to be with them and painful to remember that our lives were beginning to diverge a little bit, as I embarked on a new chapter.

This year has been perhaps a gradual step towards genuinely enjoying Christmas again. I know this because it’s the first year in ages that I have not only gotten presents for everyone done early, but I also got them all shipped off well in time for them to arrive for Christmas. And what’s more, I wasn’t just doing it because I had to do it… this time, there was actually a wee bit of caring there. A small trace of finally wanting to give special presents. It’s not much, but it’s a glimmer of hope for me...

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Not A Merry Month

This time last year I spent wishing my life away, wishing that it was all a mistake. Wishing that people were playing a cruel joke on me. Imagining that this wasn’t my life but that I was living someone else’s life and that the real me was still living a happy and blissful life in love where nothing had changed. Each day was spent running on adrenalin and sleep was non-existent. Spending my nights writing endless letters to him, begging him to come back, writing about our memories. Pleading for him to walk through the door. Driving around late at night searching for him and when exhaustion kicked in I would lay awake in bed and scream for him. The longing I felt and the pain in my chest was so intense I thought it would never leave. So I thought of ways I could join him, ways to try to see him again, to speak to him, to hold him. This time last year was the darkest time of my life.

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