This week, I went to the art museum by myself. This was a really big deal, or at least, I am deciding it is. Since moving to Ohio, I’ve been reluctant to get out on my own. I have only a handful of places I can even drive to without having to use a map to get me there. The shopping center by the house, the post office, the fancy grocery store 10 minutes north, and the shopping center 20 minutes south where I worked for a few months. That’s really it. It’s endlessly frustrating.
Instead of being more proactive about finding my way around a new city, I’ll admit I’ve avoided it. I have felt too vulnerable adjusting to a new place and lifestyle. I have felt a need to protect myself and not venture out. And that’s natural, I suppose.
As of this past week though, I officially added several new places to that list. I’ve taken Shelby to school enough times now that I finally didn’t use my phone to get me there this week. I’ve gone up to Mike’s work to take him lunch twice now, and drove the second time home without a map. After driving to my art class on Thursday nights for 4 weeks in a row, I made it there this past week on my own. And on Thursday afternoon, I went to the art museum for the first time, and thus downtown for the first time, and I drove the way back without a map.
It seems like such a small victory… but it’s definitely not. It means I’m starting to feel confident enough again to venture out. It means I’m beginning to adjust to this new life halfway across the country from where I grew up.Read more
One of the often-discussed topics between widowed people, at least in my circles, regards dating and other relationships we develop after the death of our husbands or wives. Only we widowed people know the challenges surrounding that issue, and each and every one of us has different ways of approaching it.
My marriage to Mike wasn’t perfect. I mean come on…there is usually at least some issue that arises even in the happiest of partnerships. And we had plenty. Most of our concerns stemmed from his unhealthy eating habits and the results of that but we had other little annoying problems and arguments too. On the whole, though, we were happy. We both felt deeply that we were meant for each other, that we were each other’s true soul mates, and so we worked through all the other issues as best we could. There was never a question that we wouldn’t stay together. I really meant my vows…til death do us part…I just never imagined it would really come to that. At least so soon.
The past few weeks I feel as if my life is flowing forward full throttle. This week was the 3 1/2 year mark of Mike’s death, on the 17th, and I can honestly say it has taken this long for me to be able to handle this kind of momentum and change. But I can also say that somehow, in some way, I feel more than ready for it, suddenly.
It’s incredible what a song can do. I was driving home tonight, emotions already welling up in me. Moving in with Mike is probably one of the most bittersweet things to happen in my life since Drew died. And I hate that.
I was over at my place picking up a few things, walking around outside for a moment in the quiet of the evening, and a great melancholy came over me. A sadness for this little house I am saying goodbye to, after hardly having much time to even be there. Knowing that it will be quite a while before I’ll have the chance to live in a space so full of countryside again. A lot of things. But none of those were the real reason behind this melancholy feeling. No, it was one thing in particular… or rather, one person.
I never got this far with Drew. We never made it to merging our stuff together and stressing about how to fit it all into one space. We never got to decide on paint colors together or who’s bed or pots or dishes to use.
As I drove to what will be my new home, with Mike and Shelby, there was a whisper in my mind to play a particular song. It was an old folk song that I heard one day on my way to the cemetery several years ago. One of those songs that stops you in your tracks. I played that song every single time I went to the cemetery for years after that… sometimes on repeat a dozen times or more. It hypnotized me, and it so fully matched what I felt inside. That hollow melancholy. As soon as the first notes hit my ears tonight, I was taken right back to the cemetery, during that first horrible year… at sunset, in the quiet of the Texas countryside...Read more
I’m finally back home in Kona. And honestly, it’s a little strange. I’ve been traveling more in the past year than the entire previous decade. And I’ve gotten kind of good at it. I’ve honed in on what I really need and where each item belongs in my baggage as I move from one place to the next. So being home really clarifies 1) how little one really needs and 2) how much I really have.Read more
I'm in Virginia now visiting my folks, in the house where I grew up. The summer after Mike died I visited here too, and was inconsolable...memories of texting my friend and fellow widow Margaret late into the night, sobbing, tears streaming down my face...unable to conceive of a world, or a life, without him. Every visit since tinged with those memories, and also creating new ones. Three years later I can't help but feel I have been swept along into a place I never could have imagined. A very different life built in the wake of his death in Kona, a new boyfriend, lots of new friends, many of whom happen also to be widowed...and now, this year, the feeling that I am ready to spread my wings a little.Read more
Yesterday I accompanied some friends to what I thought was going to be a Fourth of July party at the beach here in Kona. When I arrived, the host, dressed in white with a beautiful lei, handed me a program…we were actually there for a surprise wedding! A few people, it turns out, had known, but I had no idea. I had only seen my friend with her new boyfriend out and about and they looked really happy together…and I knew my friend had faced some scary health issues in the past year, so that made me doubly happy she was doing so well.Read more
It's been about 3 weeks since I moved to Ohio... and I finally hit my first big trigger. A few days ago, I was listening to some country music when a song called “My Texas” came on. The lyrics wandered through familiar places... Enchanted Rock, Luckenbach, and my hometown of Corpus Christi Bay. Instantly I had images flooding my mind of all the many places I've lived and laughed and loved back home. All the family and friendships that are still there. But there was more to it than that. Which is why, in an instant, I spiraled into a total fit of grief. I must have cried for over an hour. It's only now, a few days later, that I am fully realizing it to be much more than just the normal homesick feeling.
I miss my home state, where I have lived all my life. But what's more, I miss the home of my heart – the person that is no longer here. Being homesick ties so deeply into missing Drew. Not only because our life there feels far away, but because he so embodies Texas culture for me. Western boots, dance halls, guns and beer... I was a city girl when I met him. He was the one who introduced me to that true Texas culture, and I fell in love with it immediately. Now years later, I am still drinking beer, wearing my western boots, going to country dance halls and enjoy going shooting. Or at least I was until moving here.Read more