Stephanie Vendrell

With a Smile

Like a freight train, time is bullying its way forward. Come February, which feels just around the corner, I will have been five years without Mike. I sit here in his chair on the lanai we shared in this house, looking down on the ocean view he loved so dearly, wondering how that is possible.


Because in this moment, and so many others, it feels like yesterday. The pain feels raw and real and the missing him hasn’t stopped. And yet I have been forced to continue to deal with life in this world all this time, without him.


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Decisions, Decisions

Sometimes, you don’t make decisions. Sometimes, decisions are just made for you. Like that time my husband died. I definitely didn’t decide that. And as a result, a cascade of other decisions I didn’t make happened.


I just had no choice in the matter. All the things you do in life, day-to-day or long term, doing any of those things without the person you expected to be there is not a choice. And on top of that, I had to decide things I didn’t want to decide because he wasn’t here to shoulder the burden, chime in, or provide alternatives.


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  • commented on Disappearing 2015-10-23 15:05:35 -0700
    Man I get this. I was in a panic for months after he died because I hadn’t written down the words of the song he wrote for me. I finally remembered some of it and wrote it down…but I am forever heartbroken that I didn’t record him singing it. I will regret that till the end of my days. And the animals: same thing. No recordings – we used to do the same thing, make up songs for them. Most of it – gone too. Mike was also just suddenly gone. It’s a horrible thing to live with Kelley. I’m so sorry.

  • commented on This Ringing 2015-10-23 13:46:10 -0700
    I have an iPod full of music I can’t listen to. I wonder if I ever will. It just elicits so many heartbreaking memories. Thank you Tricia. I will miss you here but look forward to keeping in touch. xoxo

  • commented on Just Be There 2015-10-08 21:26:57 -0700
    I am glad this post articulated feelings so many of us have…and sad that it is so in our world. On top of our grief, to have all this…hugs to everyone. At least we have each other.

  • commented on Searching for Stan 2015-10-05 14:54:15 -0700
    So beautiful Tricia, hauntingly and sadly beautiful…the longing never ceases and we never cease to look for them everywhere. Thank you for this.

  • commented on Many Families, One Tree 2015-10-04 16:39:38 -0700
    Yes this is so wonderful…now I want to do that too!!!!

  • commented on The Girl With the Crooked Smile 2015-10-04 13:39:29 -0700
    Thanks everyone. It was kind of huge going public about this so I really appreciate the support…

  • commented on Pockets of Loss 2015-09-28 07:46:19 -0700
    Oh Tricia. Your writing always touches me so deeply. We all go about our lives as best we can, in the background that Knowing that so many others have been touched by loss and grief as well…and as you said the only alternative to protect ourselves from more is to shrivel up inside, which is no practical alternative at all, at least for those of us who see the beauty in the world…thank you again. Hugs.

  • commented on Not Growing Old Together 2015-09-27 10:16:24 -0700
    I love the way you write, Kelley – it’s so personal and relate-able, and yet again you’ve written about a topic we all think about. Getting old alone is just a horrible thought. I’m just a few years older than you (happy birthday btw, hope there were some fun moments) and imagining it all without Mike just SUCKS. There is no good time to be widowed but having gone through it in middle age stinks. I have met someone, yes, but I just can’t know what will happen there yet. When I see old couples like you saw I still always, always think of Mike and what I will miss without him. I think it will just always be like that. :(

  • commented on Living on Memory Lane 2015-09-26 08:12:21 -0700
    Chasing memories with memories…and then to be free and in the moment…what a powerful experience Tricia, and what powerfully beautiful words. Truly your writing touches me so very deeply, and I am glad to feel myself walking beside you and absorbing your hard-fought wisdom. Thank you.

  • commented on You're Missing It 2015-09-25 09:09:04 -0700
    Wow you said it. Being here in “spirit” just doesn’t cut it. What they are missing out on hurts so much. I wish Mike could see his grandchildren grow up. As much joy as they give me, I will be forever stricken by his missing presence in all our lives. Hugs.

  • commented on On the road again... 2015-09-25 09:01:17 -0700
    HI Tricia, yes, it can be isolating, which can be hard as you know. I am indeed enjoying these visits and adventures. Blessings to you and your family – anytime we gather, their missing presence looms so large.

  • commented on Fellow Grief Travellers 2015-09-15 16:33:12 -0700
    As horrible our grief is, there is something comfortable having people in our lives who GET it. I am glad you will have a visit with family. I’ve rediscovered how important some of those relationships are, in the wake of Mike’s death. Hugs.

  • commented on Regretting an Absent Memory 2015-09-15 16:32:04 -0700
    I have experienced similar feelings with my recent travels. Regret that Mike and I didn’t venture out more together, though the reasons why were many…and yes, guilt at the joy of traveling now. I guess they will just always be there…I hope, in time, we may finally allow it to sink in that they simply cannot be here and we must continue to live as we can. But that is NOT an easy process. Blessings to you and Sarah, and Shelby.

  • commented on Turning A New Page 2015-09-13 15:42:28 -0700
    Thank you for this beautiful post, Sarah. I am so happy for this move, and for you and Mike…I love the idea of “different happiest years”. And I get the part about the truck deeply. Been writing about my own car issues this week…

  • commented on Straddling Two Worlds 2015-09-10 14:47:02 -0700
    Hi Lisa, you’re right; there is just no escaping. Maybe when we can get to a point of, like you said, cherish and not as much pain, it might get easier…but as well, it is perhaps as it should be. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • commented on Wrong Colours, Wrong Seasons 2015-09-07 17:10:33 -0700
    That feeling of wrong-ness of Mike not being in my world will always haunt me too. He is ever and forever in my mind and heart as I move through these strange new days without him. He too so loved the beauty of this world, and I often wonder if he can see it from wherever he is…though, I am grateful that I had him in my world at all, for I appreciate it all so much more that he was, and had the chance to learn to view it through his eyes. I wish you peace, Tricia.

  • commented on Parallels & Pushing On 2015-09-07 17:05:30 -0700
    I feel happy that you found beautiful people to share life with again. I find the memories of the past life will always be there, but I can’t ignore the future pulling me forward. Hugs.

  • commented on The Tangible Taste of Missing Him 2015-09-05 17:22:35 -0700
    You really encapsulating a lot of what I’d been feeling too. The sharpness, some moments, but also the rounded edges of life without him now. Thank you Rebecca.

  • commented on Coming Home 2015-09-04 14:18:59 -0700
    Thank you for sharing that, Lisa. I’m glad I’m not alone in these feelings, they are all so confusing. And the “sometimes doing nothing” is good advice…I guess sometimes limbo land is really a place we need to be for awhile. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • commented on Embracing the Silence 2015-08-31 21:07:19 -0700
    I liked Debra’s comment that the experience may bring a fresh way of being with the books and pens. But I cannot imagine it myself!! I too would be hard pressed to put it all way for that length of time. I look forward to hearing how it goes very much, and sending you well wishes and support as best I can from the other side of the globe.

Writer, widow, lover of life. Join me on my journey of personal transformation. Blogger for hire. #RodanAndFields consultant - clinical anti-aging skin care.
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