I was scrolling through my personal blog recently, because I like reading what I wrote while Ben was still alive. Re-reading my words allows me to remember certain days with clarity. For a moment I can close my eyes and feel myself back in my real life when Ben was alive. And even though those days were terrible for him (pain, chemo, radiation, more pain), the saddest day with Ben in my life was still better than any one day could ever be without him.
Towards the end of summer in 2015 I was getting desperate. I knew that it was only a matter of time before Ben died, but he made it clear that type of thinking / talking was off limits. That meant we didn't get to discuss anything about what life would look like without him. I didn't get to tell him that we would remember him, and honour him, and talk about him. I didn't get to tell him that he would always be my number 1, and that I would miss him every single second for the rest of my life. I didn't get to tell him that my heart would break and would never fully heal, that scars would remain that would remind me constantly of a life I would no longer have.
So I wrote him this love letter, in a way that we would normally banter back and forth. In a way I hoped wouldn't scare him. In a way I hoped would let him know the depth of my love and how deeply I would miss his presence when he was gone.Read more
This week my daughter and I caught the ferry over to The Sunshine Coast in southern BC and toured Gibsons and Sechelt. Gibsons was home to the filming of the television show “The Beachcombers” from 1972 to 1990. It was also the first hometown to Wendy and Ben from 1993 to 1997. It’s where we lived when we got married, it’s where we built our first home, and it’s where we had our first baby.
Raegan and I played tourist and she humoured me while I drove around and told her a hundred stories that all started with “I remember one time, right in this very spot, Dad and I (insert memory here) …” She was a good sport. We ended up on the beach in Sechelt at the exact spot where Ben proposed to me.
Ok. So. A LOT of things have happened in the past week for me. And just days ago, one of the biggest new firsts happened. One I have wondered about and feared and dreaded for two and a half years. I can't even believe I'm going to share this... like, PUBLICLY, but it's part of the journey. So here goes.
This week I'm all over the place, both geographically and emotionally. It took me a week plus a few days to get from Camp Widow in Tampa, back here to Arizona. In that time, I hit highs and lows, some of them to be so expected that it is given a name "Camp crash".
Additionally, tomorrow would be my and my husband's 25th wedding anniversary. We used to calculate, as we drove the country in our last 4 years together, how many anniversaries we could realistically celebrate, given our ages when we married. It was a second marriage for both of us and believe me, we celebrated our alone time once the kids (4 between us) grew up and went out on their own. No empty nest for us! Sex whenever and wherever in the house we wanted; who has time for empty nest?Read more
I've been back home, in Brisbane, Australia, for a couple of days now. As it seems to go with most vacations, it's so good to go away and then it's so good to get home. Getting off the plane after the 13-hour flight from LA and walking in to the arms of my wonderful parents, who came to town to collect me from the airport, was a good feeling. I had a wonderful time, both in New York exploring a new city, and at Camp Widow. But I felt ready to get back to my bubble.
The absence of my husband has been a very physical sensation over the past few days. It's as if my body is aware on a cellular level that his isn't here any more. I've been longing to be near him.
I'm not talking about sex, it's that so-hard-to-describe feeling that would come over me when I was in his presence. Like a mixture of safety, calm, tingling with excitement that he was mine, feeling confident and accepted. It was like being home.
I'm writing this on Tuesday. It would have been Mike's 61st birthday. My heart is breaking.
Honestly, I didn't expect it to hurt this much. Last year all I can remember is the day passing in numbness and disbelief. This year somehow I feel more alert to the pain, and it's been very hard. Over the past 21 months - 21 months yesterday, by the way - it's as if the panic and shock of his death have faded into a deeper, more guttural state of grief. A year ago it was still reverberating like a constant ringing in my ears; now, it has settled into a knot in my stomach, or maybe, a hole in my heart that I must learn to carry around with me.
So many people wished him Happy Birthday on his Facebook page along with many soulful wishes he was still with us. How much they missed him, how special a man he was, how he still holds a place in their heart. Some, that they even still feel his presence. That is nice. It made me feel happy to know he affected so many people while he was here...and so deeply sad that he is missing from us now. I know a lot of his friends, not to mention family, still mourn him very much indeed.Read more
On October 27, 2006, I married my forever soul-mate. On July 13, 2011, he died. It was sudden and out of nowhere, and now, 3 years later, I still struggle to understand why I have to live without him, and why he doesn’t get to live. Today is November 6, 2014. Today, Don Shepherd would have been 50 years old. But instead, he will be forever 46. It’s unfair that I can’t throw him the big 50th birthday party that I always pictured throwing in my head. Instead, I will gather with some friends in Central Park, and sing and play guitars in his memory. And I will write this list – here are just 50 of the reasons why I loved, still love, and will always love, my beautiful husband. I will pass this out and share it with the world, because he deserves to be known by many, and he deserves so much more …….
I was talking to a widowed friend the other night about the whole idea of sharing this part of our life and how it changes over time. I remember well the first year after my fiance died. The first thing out of my mouth was this information. I told everyone and anyone. Friends, family, coworkers, customers, the mail man, police officers, the tech support guy, random strangers... No one was safe. I spewed my raw pain out all over the world like a continually erupting volcano.
My friend did the same. We talked about how at first, it is the only thing we wanted to talk about. It is the only thing that mattered. And for a while, it really did swallow up our identity. And we talked about how we felt like we lost the whole rest of our identity for a time to the label "widow". Which left us both feeling conflicted - simultaneously wanting to be completely defined by our love for this person, and resentful that people now only saw us as a widow.Read more
I was at an estate sale yesterday and I found this little wooden bookmark hiding away in a corner that really intrigued me. I picked it up and read on the back something about The Star of Seven Day. Further intrigued, I purchased it and brought it home to research. It turns out it is a scene depicting the story of the Tanabata Festival. And this is where it got cool. This is the annual star festival in Japan that is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month each year. It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar.Read more