Poking the Bear

When you are a widow or widower, and you’re dating, It truthfully doesn’t matter how “good” you think things are going. There will always be some aspect of your new relationship that becomes amplified quite simply BECAUSE you are a widow/er.  It may be a perceived slight in comparison to how your pror person treated a situation, or it may be an observation that your “second chapter” (I hate that term, by the way) actually does something better or more desirable than your first.  It can be good, or bad; it doesn’t matter, it’s amplified.

Each time one of these moments arises, one can’t help but think “well, it wouldn’t be this way if my first person hadn’t died”.  It can bring up emotions that are deep seated, yet hidden.  Emotions that you did not know even existed, and perspectives that you had never thought about.

One of these moments occurred between Sarah and I on Sunday night, where we both were trying to explain ourselves clearly and with love, yet emotions only continued to rise.

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Runner Up

balloon.jpgIt finally happen, he said it. I have been seeing someone for 5 months now. And we are happy. He makes me happy. And is good to me and the kids. And after 5 months he said it. 

He will always feel like second place. 

My heart dropped. He said he knows deep down inside I wish I was with Joey. 

I remember when a friend of mine starting dating a widower and I asked her that. Doesn't she feel like second. And she said it took some time to realize but no she doesn't anymore. She knows this is where she should be. 

So what do I say? Of course I wish Joey was still alive. But he isn't. Of course I would change that night if I could. But I can't. Nothing can change it. He is gone. I am here. 

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Bleeding Out the Pain

Last week I shared about feeling like some new layers of my grief are beginning to thaw as we shifted the calendar into what is my 5th year on this journey. I was pretty teary the week before, but it wasn’t until this past week that the breakdown came. Quite honestly, I’m glad for it. It was such a release.

I don’t even know why it came when it did. Nothing particular triggered it. I think I was just exhausted. A combination of underlying emotions and residual holiday stress and unexpected school cancellations for Mike’s daughter… somewhere halfway through the week, as I was driving home from dropping her off to school, I just broke. I think it was a song that started things off… “The Sound of Silence” it was called. Suddenly, I am screaming and crying with all of my might with the music cranked as loud as it can go.

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Felt Like Goodbye

It took me a very long time and a lot of patience, before I finally found the perfect grief-counselor for me. At the time, about 8 months after my husband's sudden death, I had already sifted through 4 counselors and therapists, one after another after another after another. Each one was either way too expensive, or they didnt "get me" at all, or they were too religious for me and told me that my husband collapsing and dying at age 46 was "God's will." You know what you can do with that? Fuck you. Okay, that makes no sense. But you get my point. I do not like being told that my husband having his life stolen and robbed from him, or that us having our present and our future ripped away - was part of some sort of pre-determined "plan." First of all, it's just rude to tell someone who is grieving - that it's okay because, well, he was meant to die at 46. Second of all, it's not true. It's complete bullshit. Or at least I think it is. If you believe in God's plan, well good for you, if that helps you. It doesn't help me at all, and I believe that people die because, well, people die. Humans die. It's just what happens. It's fucking awful and I will never get used to it - some humans get to live to be 93 years old, others must suffer through illnesses and bad health and pain, and others get hit by a truck at age 24. How on earth can any of that be a "plan?" Nope. That's just life. 

Anyway, Im getting off-track. One of the counselors said that Don's death was pretty much meant to be, and that my grieving him and being sad about it wasn't "allowing him to be at peace" in Heaven or whatever. Well again, fuck you. My husband is dead and I hate to break it to you, but Im gonna be upset about it, probably forever. Don't see a day where I will exit out of a room triumphantly, exclaiming happily: "Welp!!! All done!!! Not sad anymore!!!" That's not how it works. 

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Permanent Markers


After Mike died, the story of his stuff was an ongoing issue for a long time. His elder daughter and I cleared his closet a couple of months out because I had to make room for things being moved upstairs in preparation for renting out the downstairs. Then later that year, both girls spent several days with me dividing and clearing most of what was left. It was agonizing, but for me, it was harder living with all his things the way he left them day after day, like he was coming back any minute, when he was not. Then this past year I did another enormous clearing out in preparation for moving, and came across many more items either belonging to Mike, or which we accumulated together. The memories and tears just kept coming. I have finally whittled down what I want to keep of his, and ours, but it has taken this long, almost four years.

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Appreciating a Disease's Lessons

The other day I received a text message from a friend of mine, who happens to have Cystic Fibrosis herself.  This friend was there for Megan and I when Megan was going through her 6 month decline, and I can’t describe enough how she (and her husband) went above and beyond for us.  

They would visit at the drop of a hat, when I just needed an hour away from the ICU, and Megan needed an hour away from my ugly mug.  They would bring clandestine snacks for Megan when she had cravings, as she almost never had an appetite, but when she did, she needed broccoli and cheese soup (I can no longer stand the smell) or M&Ms RIGHT NOW.  

I spoke with her every day during Megan’s hospitalization, giving her status updates, vital statistics, and news.  She would get all the gory details, and, if I happened to be running late with the call, I would get a text not long after, asking how Megan was doing.  She really did care whole-heartedly.

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Snow Days

snow.jpgIt snowed this weekend in my part of the country. It snows every year here but it always shuts everything down. It's a good time though. You get stuck in the house until you are brave enough to take the kids out and play in the snow. You play board games and bake cakes. It's just a family time. 

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Here Comes the Sun


The new has been off to a rough start for me. It's been that way ever since he died, but I think this new year has been heavier than last year even. I think it may very well be true what people say about year 5 being a hard milestone. That’s probably been part of what is going through me… as this will be the year I hit that milestone. I can already feel how this anniversary will be much harder than the last.

That might have something to do with the terrifying dream I had a few days ago…

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In the Hell

I'm halfway through the 5 year mark since your death, sweet husband. 

I have been to hell and back, and then back around again, 

never really actually fully leaving. 

Its not possible to leave the Hell. 

Its just not possible. 

Because the hell, 

is that you died. 

You are dead. 

That will always be the Hell, 

no matter what I do, 

who Im with,

where I am, 


That is the Hell, 


and it is the nucleus and the center

of all things. 

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A Choiceless Event

I was sitting on the couch at my parents' house in Virginia this week thinking about Mike. Just wondering how things would be different for me now were he still alive. Imagining him sitting next to me, trying to recapture the feeling of being in the presence of his energy.


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