Just a few days ago, Sarah arrived here in Ohio to visit for the first time. This is something we have both been waiting months for. As our relationship grew over the phone and Skype, the discussion arose on when she would finally meet Shelby, my parents, and Megan’s parents.
When we first discussed, we agreed that now, in September, she would travel here for a day or two at most, cram in meeting the parents and an evening out with Shelby, before she and I departed for Toronto this weekend to attend Camp Widow.
That plan has significantly changed since that first discussion, and it has turned into two weeks in Shelby and I’s (and Megan’s) home, with four days at Camp Widow and a day in Niagara Falls. It has thus far been incredibly surreal. Shelby being Shelby, as soon as we stepped through the door into our house, she monopolized Sarah, and had to show her all around and introduce her to the dogs. This simply feels as if it’s a continuation of Shelby and I’s trip to Texas a month ago, only the sensory overload is even more present for Sarah.
I am sitting upstairs in the bedroom... the morning light streaming through the window. Only today, I'm not upstairs in my own room, but at Mike's place. He's downstairs getting the morning started while I get my post done. I got in last night, and it's the first morning here. The first time I have ever been here. I'm a little overwhelmed, I'll admit.
It is immediately surreal to walk in the house as we came in. I halfway expected his wife Megan to be here. And in a way, she is. In every paint color on the walls and every picture and little embroidered wall hanging. In every small and sweet touch throughout their cozy home, she is here. And her love is here. I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt like I wasn't supposed to be here. Like in a strange way I wished it all back to how it used to be... for her to still be here with her daughter and her husband. For me to still be back in Texas with Drew. For a moment in time, I think it all felt so horribly wrong...Read more
And so just like that... I am about to put in an application on a rental house in Ohio. What? How the hell did this happen? It was only weeks ago that Mike and I sat down and had a serious talk about the idea of me moving up there... if I did, how would we do this? I decided, after having lived with Drew's parents since he died, I need to get a place of my own again and establish myself. It's the only way that feels right to me... moving in with Mike and his daughter would be too rushed right now.
Immediately when I thought about it – my fear began to subside and my excitement grew. To have my own place again... something I have yearned for so much since he died and I moved here. To be close to Mike, and also within a day's drive of my sister, my extended family, and many of my widowed friends I have met these past three years. No doubt, this is a good and positive new direction. No doubt this is the direction I am being pulled towards. So after that talk, I started to look for small rental houses casually... with the notion that I would actually move sometime next year, perhaps summer.
Well, the universe really doesn't like to fuck around. I should know this by now. Instead of the gentle ushering from here and moving there, it dropped a big ass grenade of NEW in front of me. There on my computer screen, the perfect housing situation pops up... one that was so good I could not resist calling on it. And now I am left with making a very big decision that I was in no way prepared to make (or so I thought)...Read more
Kelly Lynn's post about autumn inspired me this week. She was speaking to the idea of how grief makes us live in black and white for a time... how it removes all the color from our lives. This year, as her favorite season approaches she is seeing in color again for the first time since Don died. She and I have gone through these colorless years together... endless hours on the phone together about this shitty existence. It is so beautiful that both of us are beginning to see color again.
As the fall season approaches, I am finding myself with a newfound excitement I have not had in years. I have always loved the fall. It's my favorite season and I have not given up on trying to enjoy it since his death. Fall of 2012 was a very different one though. Instead of enjoying the colors and the crisp air, the pumpkins and festivals and halloween parties and haunted houses... I was embracing another side of this season. Everything was going dormant... effectively, looking dead from the outside. It seemed fitting as this was the first season after my fiance died in June that year. I remember wrapping myself up in the nature, because it's outward appearance so completely matched my heart inside. (In Texas, you see, we don't have the beautiful turning of colors... more like a anticlimactic slight yellowing, followed by everything just dumping its leaves in apathy.) Nature was preparing for the bleak, quiet, barreness of winter. And so was I. I spent hours every day just sitting outside in nature... feeling it's colorless heart beat with mine. Somehow it felt like I wasn't so alone...Read more
This weekend has been amazing. Challenging, scary, exhausting, sweet, beautiful, silly, and bursting at the seams with love. Mike and Shelby have been here now for 3 days and this afternoon they head home back to Ohio. I can scarcely even put into words how amazing and terrifying all this has been. After countless hours of Skype calls - to meet her in person for the first time. And for it to be so effortless between us... I don't know how else to say it except that I have the same feeling about her that I did when I met Mike at Camp Widow: it is as if we have known each other our whole lives and much much longer even. It makes it hard to believe anything else except that the people we love and lost somehow put us together and know exactly what they are doing.
Here we are - an eight year old girl who lost her mother last year, a 32 year old woman who lost her own mother at about the same age, a 34 year old dad going through the same thing my own dad went through with me... Inexplicably connected by loss from 1400 miles apart on a chance meeting. Perhaps it is more than his wife and my fiance, but also my mom who put us together...Read more
I had an all-out breakdown a few days ago. The kind I haven't had in at least a year. I am chocking it up partly to hormones and the damned full moon, but also to everything else going on.
Nothing is settled in my life. Most of the time I am used to this, and I ride the waves well. But sometimes it piles up. My career as an artist is sort of like hanging off a cliff on one finger right now. Every now and then I get a better grip, a few more fingers on the ledge, but yeah... this whole entreprenuer thing feels trecherous. All the time. I constantly have no clue what I am doing. And just keep trying my hardest to hold onto the ledge of blind faith sometimes faith is all I've got
Next week, Mike and I will have known each other for 6 months. He and his daughter Shelby will be coming down to visit for a long weekend in just a few more days. We've spent countless hours on Skype, but this is the first time I will be meeting her in person. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous about that. I'd be lying if I said it didn't begin to trigger all kinds of future thoughts.
Suddenly here I am, in the midst of so much change I barely know what happened. This time, it's good change, but that doesn't mean grief isn't still part of it or that it isn't still scary and hard...
One of the most surprising things to come out of Drew's death for me has not only been to find someone new, but for that person to also be widowed. This isn't something I ever expected to happen, and it's given me the unique opportunity to be on the other end of widowhood in a way I honestly never imagined I would be.
For a long time after Drew died, I was terrified of the idea that I'd be too difficult to love. That my whole situation would be too complex and that I wouldn't be able to find someone who could handle it all. That they would have a hard time understanding my love for him or allowing room for it. Being on the other end of this has given me a different set of eyes though...Read more
You know what I'm learning lately? New happiness can be a strangely lonely and difficult journey. When I was deeply in my grief, I experienced the other kind of loneliness... the one where no one REALLY wants to know how you are doing. Where they don't see YOU anymore and all they see is the grief. Where you are a constant reminder to others of the loss they will one day experience. Where they just want to believe you are holding it together and are too scared to actually know the reality of your day to day existence. It is a horrible loneliness to endure.
I guess I didn't expect new happiness to also be a very lonely journey, but at times it is. The complexity of it isolates you from many people who don't get it. It brings up new layers of grief that must be worked through – during a time when most people are just taking a huge sigh of relief thinking that your grief is “over” now that someone new is there. They think its all butterflies and rainbows and that “poof!” your pain is over and love has saved the day. It isn't any easier when your new love is 1400 miles away...Read more
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.
New love and all the complicated, bizarre beauty of it has become the theme of late in my life and in my writing. A woman who read my blog post last week about Mike coming to visit and meet my in-laws for the first time, sent me a note about just this. Only her story is from another perspective. With her permission, I am sharing a bit of her story with you:Read more