Katherine's birth had a profound effect on me. The reality that Mike was gone forever, never to know his beautiful granddaughter, cast a shadow over what should have been simply a joyous event. I was devastated thinking of this little girl growing up without Mike’s playful presence in her life. I was not thinking clearly…but I was feeling deeply, and it was a dark, bleak and lonely place. So when the musician suggested another evening together that next week something jolted my psyche. I know, looking back, that I threw caution to the wind. As I'm typing this, Mike's voice is echoing in my head that line from Conan the Barbarian he used to love to quote, "(s)he did not care any longer..."
Today, as I sit down to write with tired eyes, I must admit that although I miss Megan as much now as before, it has shifted over these past few months from an intense grief at the thought of her death to more of a longing for her to be present to witness where life has taken me since that time.
I have just returned from an extended weekend in Kentucky with an amazing woman named Sarah, who also happens to be the same Sarah the writes here on Widow's Voice every Sunday. We met at Camp Widow East in February, completely by chance and/or fate, depending on your beliefs. Neither of us had any intention of finding someone new at that time, but here we are. Three months after meeting, Sarah and I are a couple. Not a day has passed since February 5th that we have not talked, and this past weekend, we were finally able to close the 1400 miles of distance, and bring our lives into the same physical space for a few days. It was wonderful.
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
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
Megan had not only given me permission to "move on" again once she was gone, she had outright demanded it, years before she died. She refused to take my heart with her, leaving a hole in me that could never be filled. This is why, in the deepest pit of my soul, I believe she has brought someone new into my life in the best way possible: unexpectedly.
By random occurrence, I have met a new woman. I wasn't out looking for a date, or even looking at women as something desirable or needed, when she just happened to sit down next to me at a bar where I was hanging out with some mutual friends. I was completely numb at the time, with no desire to interact with anyone, so I was just gritting my teeth and trying to act "normal" by making small talk.
Then she sat down. Damn.
Today was my fiance's birthday. The third year without him here. You always think it's going to get easier. And you never really have any clue how it's going to hit you. That's no mystery to me. I've been dealing with the milestone of my mom's birthday for over 20 years now since she died... and some years are just harder than others, for no real reason at all. I gave up long ago trying to understand the "why" of all this.
I feel like this 3rd birthday has been even harder than the 2nd without him. Maybe this is because it is the same amount of birthdays I shared WITH him... we only had 3 short years together. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking it has a lot to do with it. This officially kicks off the first of many milestones this year that are going to be even harder than last year, for that one reason. By June, I will officially be entering into having lived more time after his death than I actually had with him. It's heartbreaking, even now just thinking of it. And it's weighed so heavily on my heart today that I've scarcely even had words.
It's been a busy week, and the highlight was a visit with my friend Margaret who flew in for a nice long weekend from her home in the Bay area. Her husband Dave, who was healthy and fit, died of a sudden, massive stroke at age 50 three months after Mike died, and she and I were put together by mutual friends and family who saw us both falling apart and thought we might benefit from a friendship. They were right.
We have a lot in common, being suddenly and unexpectedly widowed in middle age, and without our own children (I have two beautiful adult stepdaughters). When life throws you a curveball like this - well, having someone with which to share the burden of grief, who reallygets what you're going through, can make all the difference. We spent those early days emailing, texting and chatting like mad, sobbing and laughing together nearly every day, and I went to meet her in SF when I was there to visit family the summer before last.Read more
The feeling of “different” in this new year is hard to ignore. The blustery and yes, chilly, air here in this Hawaii January at our altitude somehow serves to remind me that changes will continue to happen, and the unexpected might still be lurking around the corner. When I woke up this morning I lay there for a few minutes thinking about the day ahead of me and I was remembering the feeling I used to wake with when Mike was alive. That sense of routine and comfortable familiarity I never thought would change so soon. I also again remembered one of the many little things I miss: I always woke to really good hot coffee. That was one of Mike’s happy duties, as he woke far earlier than I did. That first morning, February 17, 2013, when I woke to a cold carafe, I knew something was terribly wrong. Of the millions of small adjustments we make in the wake of our spouse’s deaths, for me, learning to make a decent pot of coffee was one of the first I had to tackle. So today, as is now my new routine, I got up to start the brew myself.Read more
It's been a few weeks since I shared about going on my first date with someone since my fiancé died. I have been through every wave of emotion imaginable since then. I have cried buckets of tears for how much this experience has made me miss my fiancé. For how much all of this is bringing up old familiar memories and joys I shared with him those years ago. For how much it makes me miss the safety and rock solid trust that I had with him. I have felt paralyzed by the fear of being vulnerable with another man in ANY way. Of allowing any man into that space in my world again - the space where I cry, the space of allowing myself to be comforted. The space my fiancé has held so powerfully in my heart all these years. His space.
I have also felt joy, and butterflies in my stomach, and a giddiness that has been so delightful. I have felt excited by the idea that someone is thinking of me in this light. And I have enjoyed thinking of them in this light too. So all of this, both extremes, have been rushing through me at the speed of light.