There was always a bit of competition between Megan and I as to who could be the “favorite” parent. It was playful, obviously, but between the two of us, we were always trying to get the “better” birthday present for Shelby, or take her to the more memorable thing to do, or tell the funniest joke. Whomever could make Shelby laugh harder got to “win” that battle.
Megan won, more often than not. When Shelby was younger, it was Disney princesses and ice-capades. Pink everything and dance competitions. Every so often though, I would swoop in with something like fishing or a funny “dad” joke (to Shelby, at least), and I would get to win that day’s competition.
All of this was in good fun, and it only benefitted Shelby. She got to experience multiple events, types of hobbies, or memories that she wouldn’t have otherwise. It helped her form the interests she has today.
But, as I am sure you are aware, considering the fact that you are reading this on the Soaring Spirits website, Megan died a few years back.
I am tired. I am tired of everything about widowed life. It is heavy. And, for the better part of two years and a handful of months, I have been doing the heavy lifting of grief. I am sick of it. The loneliness. The isolation. The emotional and mental exhaustion. I am tired of all that grief offers. I think I have sampled it all. And, I can say with authority, it all pretty much sucks. Yep. Hard pass on what grief is serving. Thanks, but no thanks. I'm good. I'm fed up. I'm full.
Living with grief is kinda like the stale coffee I drank this morning.
Lacklustre, mediocre and kinda lukewarm.
I would not serve the cruddy coffee I drank to anyone I liked; and likewise,
I would not wish grief on another human being.
Being Mike's widow is by far the hardest thing I have ever endured. I was building my life around him and his death destroyed everything that I imagined my future to be. When he died I felt my foundation collapse. I buried Mike, but it was me who was buried alive by the wreckage of our dilapidated life. My words are powerful, but they only shine a dim light on the darkness of widowhood. My writing, at best, outlines the landscape of grief and scratches the surface of the aching and ugliness. But, those of us who live with grief know all too well how it relentlessly claws at your Soul - like nothing else can.
There is simply no way to fully explain the awfulness of this mess. Grief must be experienced to be fully understood; and, I do not recommend this experience to anyone. This is not for the faint of heart. That said, with forced practice, I am getting fairly proficient at grief, but it is not something I ever wanted to excel at. I have no desire to become good at grief. I didn't sign up for this and I would love to revoke my membership to this club. It is not working out for me. It doesn't suit my lifestyle. It is simply not a good fit.
Grief and I need to part ways. I am tired of waking up with a heavy heart. And, I am equally exasperated about going to bed with a sadness inside me that runs so deep I am surprised it doesn't drip from me onto my bedsheets. I am detached from everything around me. And, an apathy lives inside me that I can not seem to shake.
I do not want to be unresponsive and dispassionate, but I am. I want to reengage in living, but I haven't yet. I am tired of being without joy. And, I know full well that the only way to reenter life is to reengage in living, but it is so damn hard to live without him. It is incredibly difficult to breathe life into yourself when you are breathless and running on empty. It is so very hard to action carefully architected plans when your heart feels heavy. Yet, I desperately want to feel the hum of a normal life again. I want to return to days gone by when I was content and deliciously happy.
So, now what? How do I make this happen? I ask myself this question again and again. And, I am not sure. I don't know. I am simply not sure what to do next. I am unsure about the direction of my life. I am not sure what I can do to recreate a life I am excited about. I could blog about the ideas that swirl around my head and the hopes that live inside my heart, but until I action these things they aren't real. I haven't breathed air into any of these thoughts so I keep to them myself for now. Maybe, what's next is that I will stop drinking stale coffee. I can start tomorrow by making fresh coffee and see where that leads me.
It's as good a plan as any.
When Drew died, all the rules went out the window for me. I remember thinking “I’ve done everything right. I’ve been a good, responsible person. I put up with a 9-5 job and I pay my bills on time. I’m kind to people. I exercise and try to eat right. By all accounts I am a perfectly sensible adult doing everything I should....”
And then HE DIED. And then I said FUCK IT.
I remember thinking, “What the hell was even the point of keeping all of my ducks in a row? Of trying to be so responsible? Of always doing what I’m supposed to do? What the hell is the point if he’s dead now?”
I went on a bender after that. I quit my job as a designer, because I hated it. I moved out of Dallas, because I hated it there too. I stopped paying my credit cards, because I didn’t care anymore. My credit tanked, all my cards canceled me because I was suddenly a liability because I hadn’t made a payment in 6 months. I basically stopped doing anything I hated and started doing things I really wanted to be doing instead. I got a job as a cashier at an art gallery, because I’d always wanted to work in a gallery. I moved in with family out in the country because I didn’t want to be around city life anymore. I just sort of took a leave of absence from life I guess.
I realize not everyone can make those kinds of choices. I didn’t have kids, or a house, or anything tying me down really at the time. I had the freedom to change it all. Regardless of that though, I think there is always room to do more of what we want, and less of what we don’t want. And I think giving ourselves permission to do even small things that we can still enjoy is so crucial during grief and really in all times of life. It reminds us what's important, and that life is still worth living even in the midst of times of struggle and great pain.
I’ve been thinking about this lately more, because I feel like I’ve fallen back into a slump of not paying attention to what’s really important...