I found Soaring Spirits the day after my husband died from depression. I googled the term 'suicide widow' - reeling from shock that these strange words were now something I needed to make sense of.
One of the links that I clicked contained the heart-felt words from a young widow named Melinda who had also lost her darling husband Sean to depression and was sharing her story to help others, like me.
Melinda's words connected me to a community that would save me from losing my mind. I sat for hours, reading back through her past entires, devouring the words that I so needed to hear.
Every night, for well over a year, I would read this daily blog before going to bed, to remind myself that I wasn't alone. There were other brave men and women who had walked this path before me and, like them, I too would find my way. One day, the relentless ache would ease. The sadness that sat in my stomach would lift and I'd start to enjoy living again, rather than feeling lost in the fog of grief.
I have decided something huge in the past few weeks. Something I have been working to make space for in my heart for about the past 3 or 4 months. It’s time, much sooner than I’d planned (story of my life)... I am moving in with my new love, Mike.
As I spend most of my time at his house, it is getting harder and harder to live out of two different places. I’m constantly in search of various things, and they are usually at the other house when I need them. That and the now seven kids that live next door to me… and working for my landlord in place of a rent discount is getting to be very draining too. While I love my little house, and especially my art studio room, I’ve come to the conclusion that holding onto it is starting to add more stress than good now. Which means, it’s time to let go.
Are you kidding me? ANOTHER time of letting go and learning to grow? It seems that is all I have done these past few years. And it seems to always be in warp speed, dammit. I mean, I just moved my entire life across the country nine months ago, and now I have to box it all up and move again? *sigh* No matter how many times I go through a period of letting go, it never seems to get easier. It always feels like losing a piece of me. Moving in with Mike feels no different. It has nothing to do with my love for him, and everything to do with the countless losses I’ve had in my life. Loss hurts, whether it’s a person, your home, or a job you love… losing anything we love hurts.
Sometimes I take for granted how much Dan's death affected me psychologically. I coast along, feeling like I'm doing ok and am happy, healthy and in control. Until, like a booby trap, something blows up and the trust issues, abandonment issues and general fear of getting close to people or losing control detonate and wreak havoc in my mind.
I have no reason to feel insecure in my new relationship. I trust the guy, he's wonderful, I honestly believe he'd never do anything to hurt me but of course that doesn't mean I won't get hurt.
Life is great, so why do I have these sporadic moments of feeling like I'm going to lose it all again. It can make me crazy.Read more
I'm batting jet-lag to write my blog today, so I apologise in advance for any typos (or any more than usual!) and if I ramble on a bit. I got home to Brisbane, Australia on a red-eye flight from the USA this morning, after three weeks away. It was a wonderful holiday, with the highlight being Camp Widow West in San Diego, however I reeeeeally missed my boyfriend.
We'd been in constant contact while I was away, counting down the days, and then hours, until we would be reunited. He was waiting for me at the airport this morning and when I dragged my tired ass through the arrivals gate and into his arms, I hadn't realised I'd been holding my breath in fear that I'd never get that moment with him.
You see, I haven't missed someone like that since Dan died and it reminded me of that feeling I had almost every day for the first year or so after - that sensation of aching to hold him and touch his face. However, unlike missing my dead husband who I would never get to hold again - I was missing someone very much alive and waiting to hold me too. The excitement of that was such a stark contrast to the agony of missing Dan, it was a very strange and confusing feeling.Read more
I'm writing this from an AirBNB apartment in the heart of New York City, a loooong way from my home in Brisbane, Australia.
I flew out here for a holiday with a good friend (and fellow widow) after attending Camp Widow in San Diego last weekend, and we've been having a wonderful time.
This was my third Camp Widow and while Kelly Lynn spoke about the concept of 'Camp Crash' yesterday, I've found that for me, the crash has typically been delayed until after I've returned home, as the holiday element of my trip has provided a distraction from the return to every-day life. So I'm still waiting for the reality to kick in... but in the mean time, just going with the distraction.
I'm sorry for the late post, I'm at Camp Widow in San Diego this weekend and while I usually post by 5pm Saturday when I'm in Australian but I forget that with the time difference here in the US, my deadline is midnight Friday!
It's been a very different Camp Widow experience for me so far. For the first time, I'm here with four of my Aussie widow friends, compared to my previous two camps where I came from Australia on my own. It's been a lot of fun to travel as a group and see them experience the Soaring Spirits family for themselves. I think I've been so focussed on my friends and excited about their first Camp Widow that I almost forgot that there is something here for me, as a third-time camper, too.
Coming to Camp as a widowed person who is a new relationships has also affected me. I'm still very much learning about love after loss and what it means to be a widow and a girlfriend at the same time. I'm really missing my new guy, who is back in Australia. We've been talking on the phone regularly throughout the day and sending messages and while it's nice to be missing him (knowing I'll actually see him again in a couple of weeks, which is different to missing a dead husband!!) it's been a big distraction.
Thursday was my third wedding anniversary. This one felt slightly different to the previous two, however it was still as sad.
The night before, I stayed at my boyfriend's place and when we went to bed it all caught up with me. I couldn't believe that this time three years ago I was spending the night with my bridesmaids, getting ready to marry Dan in the morning... and now, he's gone and I'm lying in the arms of another man.
He was great about it, very understanding and sweet and just let me cry while he held me. It's such a wonderful but strange dynamic, loving in the 'after'. I'd heard these stories about widows finding these incredible, thoughtful, sensitive men who accepted that their grief was part of them but almost thought it was an illusive myth or only happened to the very lucky few.Read more
I'm at a strange and new phase in my grief. My third wedding anniversary is looming on Thursday (all of which I've had to mark without Dan, because he died before we had the chance to celebrate one together).
This is a time that is usually difficult and emotional. However... my whole compass for what is 'normal' in this world without him has been thrown off its axis due to a new relationship. My first real relationship in the 'after'.
When Dan died, I thought that was it. I couldn't imagine reaching a point where I would be able to even consider giving my heart to anyone else. It was tattered, bruised and broken. For a start, I didn't think anyone else would even want it, let alone that I'd have the ability to still feel anything for someone.
So to experience the kind of happiness and security that being in a relationship brings has been nothing short of breath-taking. I don't mean security as in financial or in a safety sense. But the security that comes when someone really sees you, in all your vulnerability, and doesn't run away. This man has slowly and steadily helped me bring down the walls I've built to protect myself and rather than been repelled by what he's found within, he's instead helped me believe that there is still value and beauty in what I have to offer someone.
This was me, back in 2009. The week Drew and I began dating, we jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. It was a pivotal experience for me... and changed my beliefs in myself and how I dealt with risk and fear in my life. I have always been a cautious person, but every so often, I discovered after this day, I am able to make some pretty big leaps. I'm learning now, that even though sometimes I can make big leaps in the face of risk... I'm not always that person. Especially after his death, I have had to learn to accept that that it can take me longer now to take leaps in my life.
Something really hit me last week as we began to clean out Mike’s basement. For the first time, I started to see a space that I could make my own. A space where my art studio and office could live. I spend more than half my week over at his place, so I’m starting to feel the need for some small bit of “me” over here. That got my mind going about moving and suddenly it hit me… I only have 6 months until the lease at my house is up for renewal. As busy as we’ve been and all the energy I’ve put into just trying to adjust to a new place, that timeline completely snuck up on me.
Before I know it, my mind is in a tailspin about whether or not this fall will mean yet ANOTHER move to merge with Mike. He wants me to move in, and there aren’t actually any real reasons why it ISN’T a good idea… at least not practical ones. No, the only reasons I had were emotional ones. And somehow in my mind those didn’t seem like real enough reasons and so I started to pressure myself and thus the freakout ensued...
I’m writing you this morning from the bed of a roadside motel in West Virginia. The walls inside are all wood, the entire place looking like a big log cabin. It’s cozy feeling, with ruffled curtains, checkered blue and white bedspreads and warm corner lamps. I’ve woken up in a good mood, which I am infinitely grateful for, and hoping I can keep around.
Mike, Shelby and I woke up around 2:30am, after I barely got any sleep. I dragged myself into the truck and proceeded to try and sleep during the 5 hour drive here… which was minimal. This is usual for Mike. He likes to drive through the night. I have never experienced this, and can say that it’s far from my favorite way to begin a vacation. I fought tired eyes most of the day yesterday, as well as trying to keep in good spirits. I failed quite a lot.
I have to admit, even as we got into the mountains, no part of me was feeling too excited. All I could think of is everything that wasn’t right… no sleep, it’s too early for there to be leaves on the trees yet so everything is brown. It turned out to be almost 80 out in the afternoon, far warmer than predicted and I had only brought clothes for cooler weather.
Back home, in Texas, it’s green and lush already out. Spring has fully arrived. Here, the trees are just barely beginning to bud out leaves this week. Everything is still brown. The comparison could not be more different. The changing seasons is proving to be one of the hardest new losses of moving so far from the place I’ve called home.Read more