My birthday, Halloween, the colors changing on the trees, cool weather, fall festivals, apple cider, all of the other things that occur around this time of year in Ohio have solidified autumn into my favorite season. I’m not much for hot weather, and snow, while looking forward to it yearly, always starts getting a little old after Christmas. Spring is usually too muddy and variable for me to enjoy being outdoors as much as I would like.
But fall? It has always been perfect for me. Until this year.
Megan also died in late fall. This season is now bringing up memories of spending the entire autumn months of September, October, and most of November watching a green line bouncing up and down on a monitor above a bed. The bed that Megan was lying in for 6 months, until she wasn’t.
I’m writing this from my parent’s home in Virginia…the house where I grew up, so many thousands of miles from where I now call home. In the past week I’ve also spent time in Austin for a business convention and New Orleans to visit my stepdaughter and her family. I am glad I could work in a visit to my folks while I’m on the mainland…throughout it all, if you’ve read my past posts about traveling this summer, is the constant thought of where I may end up in this wide, wide world. Truly I don’t know, but I am viewing every city with renewed interest and fervent curiosity as I seriously consider the possibility that sometime in the next few years I might take that leap back to the mainland, at least for a while. There is just so much out here to see and experience. Sometimes I really feel like I’m missing out, though I know I’m so lucky to live in Hawaii for so many reasons.Read more
My car is dead.
Mike and I bought our Subaru in 2005 anticipating the arrival of his girls on the island; at the time we had only his pickup truck - which I still have - so we needed more of a family car.
It’s funny how cars hold such a sentimental value. I’ve been asked several times if I’d sell his truck: NO WAY. It’s old, dirty and rusty but still runs great and it would never be worth in money what it is to me. He LOVED that truck. In fact, I have kept it pretty much as he left it. A pair of his shoes are in the cab along with the emergency kit he insisted on, and in the glove box are the gloves and do-rag he used when we rode his bicycle. Tarps, bungee cords, and other baubles he collected are in the toolbox along with the gloves he used when he went to the dump. I still use those same gloves every time I go now.Read more
As I move forward without Megan, I can’t help but think about things we did and trips we took together. I want to be able to share those memories, and relive some of those places with Shelby, and Sarah as well. Just because Megan and I enjoyed going to a particular place together doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t also share that with someone else.
The trip I just took though was something entirely different. I’ve created a new memory with Sarah, without Megan, of someplace that was so obvious that it almost gives me a sense of guilt. I’m unsure how to reconcile that guilt...that feeling that I really should have done this with Megan. Not that I COULD have been there with Megan at the time, but that I SHOULD have done this with her before she died.
I feel as if I’m living life with each foot in a different world. One is still firmly planted in the life I shared with Mike. The imprint, not just of Mike himself, but of the life we had together, the World of Mike and Steph, is always there. I never stop wondering what we would be doing now were he still alive…I never stop referring to him, either out loud or just to myself, in regards to so many little situations that arise…oh Mike would have said this, or thought that. And all the little pieces of him around me…pictures, a few of his belongings…simply being in the house we shared together, the dishes he used, the appliances he bought…a memory erupts every time I touch one. The old world comes surging back and I can’t stop it.
This week, I have found myself questioning what I am doing here, in England, several thousand miles from the country of my birth. I came to the UK in 2009, on my own, to work in Social Work, and I met Stan a year and a half after I moved to London. I was working in a difficult, stressful job in south London, when we met, and had considered returning to the US after my three year contract was finished.
Although I loved the UK, I felt very much alone in my new environment, and spent the majority of my time on my own. I had made some friends in the Buddhist Centre, where I attended meditation and yoga classes, and I had some work colleagues that could loosely be considered friends. But, for the most part, I was alone in a giant city with only my books, writing, and internet for company.Read more
Any other day, I would have opened my eyes at 6:00 A.M., sleepily rubbed my eyes, and shifted my way to the edge of the bed. I would have woken Shelby up, as always, and gone about the mindless morning routine of feeding the dogs, making coffee, watching the news, and determining what clothes I would be wearing to work.
Today isn’t any other day.
I am in a very unique situation, not only being a widower, but in love with a widow. The silver lining to this is that it allows me to see things from two perspectives. I’ve decided that since Sarah hasn’t yet travelled to my home, I would write this week from the perspective of dating a widow. Things like meeting in-laws, friends, and seeing pictures of late partners can be a scary thought for anyone.
Perhaps my loss has tempered those anxious moments, but regardless, I would hope that any person that is dating someone who has suffered loss can feel the same comfort and respect that I experienced a few weeks ago, as well as return that reverence to those around them.
I’ve written a letter to Drew, Sarah’s late fiance about this. He deserves to have a word from me from this side.
This week, I have been clearing and cleaning the home that I shared with my beloved husband, and, in doing so, I have rummaged through the drawers and boxes that contain the artefacts of his life. I have given away his posters and much of the artwork that hung on our walls. I have let go of his record collection. I have organised his seemingly endless myriad of computer bits and wires and mouses and cables.
I have been unable to go through this process, until now.I knew that it would resurrect the poignant and painful memories of our life together, and, until now, even the thought of going through his things would send me into a swirl of sorrow.
But I am getting the house ready for painting and sanding, and it felt like the right time to organise a bit, and create some order.
Sorting through the remnants of our love has been difficult and sweet. It has brought forth memories that I have set aside, in order to function. It has filled my heart with his presence. It has reminded me of how much I have lost.
So, here I am, writing my first blog right before Valentine's Day. Right before what would have been our 24th wedding anniversary. I'm getting ahead of myself, I know. I was going to introduce myself, give some back-story, and I promise I will. But maybe, because of the timing of this first entry, I'll give you a glimpse into the world that was mine with my beloved husband, let you peek through the keyhole so you can understand the missing-ness of him in my life. This, dear ones, is the memory I carry with me in my heart and soul. The only memory, really, that I can easily call to mind. (Why is that?)Read more