When my husband and I were 'new', and so full of love for each other, he would caution me that this aspect of our relationship, the euphoria and the intensity, would change. "It won't always feel like this," he would say. Extremist that I am, my heart opened and softened by his attentiveness, I did not believe it for a moment. I had found, finally, the love of my life, I thought, and the boundless love I felt for him would remain, and express itself, always, in exactly this way.
But, as with so many things, Stan was right. Our relationship shifted. We became more comfortable with each other, and able to focus on other parts of our lives. We grew to understand each other's rhythms and ways. We learned each other's triggers and soft spots. We shared past and present joys and sorrows. We learned how to live life, not gazing, constantly, into each other's eyes, but hand in hand, and facing the world. Together. Our relationship changed. It deepened. It grew, and developed, and got better, with the passage of time.
We didn't have enough time together. Only three and a half years. I so wanted to grow old with him by my side, to enrich our relationship as we aged. As the first anniversary of his death nears, I grieve, not only for him, but for us, and for all that we could have been.Read more
I've been feeling the strains of beginning anew lately. Let's face it - starting to date someone is always messy. New person, new energy, new triggers and sensitivities. But being widowed makes it even trickier. After almost 3 years without a man by my side... I am a completely different person than who I was with Drew. I am far more independent. I don't even think of it as being alone these 3 years, but that I have been in a very deeply committed relationship to myself. I'm discovering this is making it hard for me to navigate the landscape of a relationship with someone ne
I've had little time to think in the past few days. I came down for the weekend to the beach a few hours south of where I live, with a bunch of friends. Like everything in this After Life, even the most ordinary stuff - like a beach trip - has significance and can feel heavy.
I woke this morning early to write this - all my friends still dozing away from a late night of fun. As I brew up a pot of coffee in the morning quiet, I am able to finally think things over.
It's been a great trip, but I have found myself having to really try hard to put on a smile. I am just having a diffiult time getting excited about things...Read more
I am so grateful for this Widow’s Voice. And it’s not just about having the opportunity to share, but to know that each day I can check in and “hear” another widow’s voice; that I can follow and learn about the multitude of paths, thoughts and feelings that are experienced. Even if I ever stop writing here, I know I will read it every single day, as long as it is here. I will never stop being a widow, even as my life will, and indeed has, taken different turns since Mike’s death.
I think a lot about how different the grieving process is for each individual. How many factors there are that determine our reactions and decisions since our losses. How we view the world, and our lives, through such a kaleidoscope of ever-changing colors and patterns.
I struggle tonight with what to write here. Not because I have no words for my pain... but because lately, I have been... happy. And I am struggling to write about that. Lately, my new life has become one I genuinely love. It may not be the life I had with him - but it is rich and full... and to be completely honest, it is actually far richer and more full than the life I had when he was part of it. I am a deeper, healthier, more open hearted person. I have deeper relationships with everyone I am close to now and have kicked the unworthy ones to the curb. My artistic career, although very challenging and still in the fledging stages, is meaningful and fulfilling for me. While I still have my bad days and occasional triggers and there are still certain aspects of my life that I am working to change... for the most part, I have a very full and fulfilling life.Read more
Shelby needs to have an example of what a caring, devoted man, father, and husband should be. She is a mere 8 years old, but I believe most readers here will understand when I state that, well, I might not be here by the time she's 18. It's a cold, hard truth that should never be swept under the rug or glossed over, and I can unfortunately speak from experience.Read more
I have been thinking a lot lately about something Michele Neff Hernandez, our editor, said in a workshop over a year ago about finding new love. Back then, I was nowhere near wanting new love. But I knew someday I would want it. So I attended this workshop at Camp Widow in Tampa, and listened to what she had to say. The thing I remember most is her explaining that her new husband is the perfect fit for the new Michele. And her first love was the perfect fit for THAT Michele. She was two different women, and there was in fact a perfect match for each of them.
I've held onto this bit of wisdom a long time. I like the idea of it, although I have not been able to grasp just what that feels like until now. How right she was.Read more
I met a new friend the other day and in the course of conversation The Story came out. You know the one. The Story. The one about how I was married and then wasn’t married. What happened, how it happened, what’s happened since then, what happened before then.
Early on in my widowhood The Story was so deeply painful that I basically hid out in my house for months. Early on, it was The Horror Story. Every time I had to talk about losing Mike to someone new it was like ripping my heart out of my chest. Dealing with all the business of his death was truly horrific. Every phone call, every signature, every photo copy and every detail all seemed like more nails in a coffin - one not just belonging to my beloved husband but of the whole life I had been living. It was now all, completely, stone-cold dead and gone forever and I felt like a walking phantom; a barely-breathing ghost of the person I had been. A conversation with the notary at the bank had me sobbing. Seeing his favorite food on the shelves at the grocery store had me sobbing. Taking the rubbish to the dump in his truck - one of the chores he used to do - had me sobbing. It was The Tragedy. It was my tragedy.Read more
Along with being a writer, many of you know that I'm an artist. You may also know, as I've sometimes shared here, that I've been working on a photographic series for the past year all about my journey through grief. What began as just a small idea, to take a self portrait every week and share it on my blog, has snowballed into something of a whole new direction for my life. I was only a hobby photographer before I set out on this journeyRead more