Life isn't always a walk through the fucking tulips. Which is not a new concept for me, in widowhood; I learned this hard lesson in 1996 when my younger brother, Kysa, died, followed by my mom 6 months later. Cancer cured me of the walk through the tulips perception. My husband's death only solidified this realization.
The people I appreciate in life are those who are willing to show up as their real selves. Those willing to sit with me in darkness. People who genuinely want to hear the tough stuff. People who will call me and say Let's go for a cup of coffee and talk real talk. People who respond to me in this way free me up to actually be who I am and truly be in the moment. Good, bad, and indifferent.
I used to answer my phone and I'd hear him say "Hi Beautiful, it's me".
I miss those days.
I miss when my phone would ring and his voice was on the other end.
I miss hearing the man I love telling me it was him.
Art: Loui Jover
When he was alive, Mike belonged to me and I belonged to him. And, for a short while, everything seemed right in the world. And, now, nothing, not one damn thing, has felt right in almost two years.
I knew Mike thought of me as his person when he casually referred to himself as "it's me". This phrase between couples becomes commonplace as a friendship turns into a romantic relationship. It is an informal way of sealing the deal. It is a universal phrase that solidifies your couplehood.
"It's me", is a phrase that comes to be when you acknowledge that you are theirs and they are yours. Like many couples, Mike and I declared that we belonged to one another with this short, subtle phrase. This was just one of the many gestures that we naturally adapted as we fell in love with each other. I really miss being in love - with him. In truth, I am still in love with Mike. And, I think I always will be.
This past weekend Mike and I attended Camp Widow Toronto. We helped out with a lot of things this year, from leading panel discussions and groups, to building the enormous sign of HOPE for the banquet and working with Michele to plan the message release around it. I also hosted my creative workshop again, for the second year, which was an absolutely incredible experience.
There was so much to do before ever getting to camp… we have been working tirelessly for the past month or two to get ready. It has meant long nights and very busy weekends planning, dreaming, building, painting, budgeting, and hoping it will all go as well as we imagine. I stepped out of my own comfort zone in many ways. Not only in what we physically created in the huge sign of HOPE, which Mike wrote more about last week in his post. Also though, in deciding to commit myself so fully to focusing not one what I needed this year, but on what I had to give.
I can’t help but wonder, just how did I get here? Me… who just six years ago was so broken that I feared I'd never be able to put the pieces back together. Me… who couldn't even feed myself for 2 weeks after his death. Who couldn't even buy dental floss at the grocery store or remember to pay my credit card bill for 6 months. Who woke every morning for so long in a horror, wishing with all my heart that it was all just a nightmare. On top of all that, I have spent a lifetime fighting deep-rooted self doubt. Fighting to believe that I have anything of value to give to others. Just how did I get here then, shining a light for others along the path?