• commented on Dear Dead Husband 2019-10-08 08:39:52 -0700
    I totally understand you spending your wedding anniversary at your special place, alone, with your memories. As Don Y. commented, most of us who walk this path would never roll our eyes at that. My husband died 6 years ago and I still intentionally spend our wedding anniversary alone with memories in honor of the wonderful marriage that we had. It would feel disrespectful to do otherwise.

    I love the phrase “you remain in pause mode forever”!! My husband also died a sudden unexpected death and that is exactly how it feels. His life just suddenly ended, prematurely, in the middle of so much life going on around him and continuing on without him. “Life stuff keeps happening, and you keep on missing it”. Your words are spot on. I desperately want to hit the start button again to let his life play out fully, but there is no closure to that kind of death.

  • commented on Clutching On To Solo-Parenting 2019-09-03 09:08:32 -0700
    I can relate to the difficulty of multiple life transitions in a short span of time. In less than 24 months I experienced becoming a widow, a single parent, an empty nester, a mother-in-law, a grandmother, and a retiree. We barely have time to adjust to our new status before it changes again and there is another new normal that requires more adjustment and acceptance when we’re not ready to let go of the “old” just yet.

  • commented on Coffee With the Wind 2018-09-12 06:40:49 -0700
    Exactly how I feel too.

  • commented on Quiet 2018-05-03 15:07:21 -0700
    Staci, I applaud you for taking your mothering responsibilities seriously. I also understand the need to get away from it all and shake things up. But finding adventure and time for yourself doesn’t necessarily have to be all or nothing. During the summer maybe you can plan a get-a-way for yourself alone for 3-4 weeks and a separate get-a-way for your children during the same time period (camp, dude ranch, etc. where they are being cared for 24/7). It could even be a weekend here or there. And do this as often as you can, even if it’s once a year until the kids are grown and away at college or out of the house. That is not bad mothering. Also, while I agree that a piano or a pottery class or painting alone cannot heal your soul, sometimes those things do bring comfort for a brief period of time and allow you to meditate while you’re doing them, so why not try those as well even if they are not the earth shattering changes that you yearn for. I found that some comfort and some progress is better than none, so I don’t feel completely swallowed up in grief. And when your parenting responsibilities lessen, then you can make bold moves if you still desire. – - Vicki

  • commented on Just a Cup of Coffee 2017-11-05 11:17:50 -0800
    Yes, yes, yes! That’ exactly how I feel.

  • commented on Beginning of the End 2017-09-06 05:28:38 -0700
    Sounds like you just had your mid-life crisis – which I define as the time when you realize that your life is probably as good as it’s going to get but you feel “stuck” due to choices you’ve made and you see no viable alternative other than to continue on this path until you retire. But you’re in very good company because that’s the way it happens for the majority of us who are not independently wealthy but whose sense of responsibility keeps us working.

    If this helps at all, from the perspective of a 63 year old who has 3 college degrees and then worked for 30 years as an employee, it doesn’t sound to me like you made “bad” choices in your life (you didn’t become a drug addict, you haven’t committed a crime, etc), so I don’t think you should have regrets. There would have been other consequences or other trade offs for any choice you would have made. For example, most people who went to college are also “stuck” being employees the same way you are, only they got started in their careers a little later so they not only spent money (or incurred additional debt) on their college degrees but also delayed earning money by getting into the work force a little later. A higher salary does not necessarily make them better off than you financially. Yes, you could have avoided a relationship with someone who had a terminal illness, but you would have missed out on the beautiful moments of the relationship that you did have with Megan and you wouldn’t have Shelby. If you’d continued to rent instead of purchasing your starter home, it’s possible (depending upon where you live) that housing prices would have escalated and you might have later found housing prices to be unaffordable even though you’d saved up more money, and then you would be regretting not buying that starter home when you had the chance (this is what happened to me 30 years ago in California). And so on. Any choice or decision we make can be second guessed. Sometimes we make mistakes, and yeah maybe things would have been a little better in one area of our lives if we’d made a different choice but then we wouldn’t necessarily have the other things in our lives that we don’t regret. There is no perfect path. This isn’t meant to be pessimistic, but rather some encouragement for you to sit back, take a deep breath, let go of the regrets, and either strive for acceptance or think constructively about how to improve your situation. Having read some of your previous posts I can see that quitting your job is not a realistic option for you. But perhaps in addition to your employment you might want to have a little side business where one weekend a month you take people on overnight hiking/camping trips in the mountains you know so well. No need to use your limited vacation time. Leave early on a Saturday morning, stay one night under the stars, return the next day. You never know, maybe once Shelby is on her own (which is only about one decade away) you might be able to turn it into a full time business and quit being an employee. I’m just throwing some ideas out there and trying to provide a little perspective from someone who is almost 30 years ahead of you. Someone else suggested counseling, which might be a good idea. Just know and take comfort in the fact that overall you are doing fine. – - Vicki

  • commented on Aftermath 2017-08-27 15:51:39 -0700

    My niece was recently widowed in her early 30’s and she moved to Corpus Christi, TX about two months ago to begin a new life. She bought a house, a business, and enrolled in a graduate program at Texas A&M University’s campus in Corpus Christi. School was set to begin tomorrow. She was not even fully unpacked when Hurricane Harvey came along. Now we all know that life is more important than “stuff” but she chose to stay at her home through what became a Category 4 hurricane in part because by the time she found someone to board up her house it was too late to evacuate, but the real reason was because after frantically unpacking various boxes she had not yet found something she said was absolutely irreplaceable and she was not going to leave it behind. She did not tell me what it was, but I presume it was something related to her deceased husband, my nephew-in-law. I was widowed a few years ago at age 59 so I can understand the deep emotional attachment to something from or about a dead husband that cannot be replaced. Sometimes memories are not enough. As you did with your friend, I also texted with my niece throughout the night giving her weather updates as she hunkered down in an interior closet with her four dogs. She survived, as did her dogs, and her house will probably be okay, though power has not yet been restored. No word yet about whether the business is still standing. And school has been postponed indefinitely. So whether it’s your old familiar world that’s been blown apart, or a new life you’re struggling to establish, it is devastating. I am so sorry for the parts of your past you may have lost because of Hurricane Harvey. One thing I have learned at my age is that life continually changes all the time and sometimes there is just no going back to something familiar that we always thought would be there. For those of us who are sentimental there is continual grieving over everything that changes and disappears. It never really stops. We just learn to live with it. It may sound like a cliché, but the best way I have found to cope is to keep moving forward to new things with a positive outlook, while simultaneously remembering and being grateful for what I had. But even so……

  • commented on Echoes in my Heart 2017-05-23 08:03:00 -0700
    Marilyn: I agree, many people don’t understand grief and they find it uncomfortable to deal with, even in a movie. It’s not exactly an uplifting subject. I have to admit that I did not fully understand what it feels like to lose a spouse until I became a widow; it’s so very difficult to describe that I think most people don’t fully get it until they experience it. What I especially liked about the movie, besides the fabulous acting and an interesting glimpse into one person’s (fictional) grief experience, is the message about finding collateral beauty from loss. I love the phrase “collateral beauty”. It captures the concept perfectly. Sarah and Mike and Shelby would not have come together, or had memorable moments like dancing in the kitchen, if not for the loss of Drew and Megan. And once we’ve experienced loss I think we more fully realize how important these moments are and we recognize when they happen, so it’s easier to feel emotional about them. The concept of collateral beauty also includes the kinds of things that Kelley spoke about, like the founding of Soaring Spirits, etc. It’s also about shifting focus from “victim” to “survivor” and appreciating the positive experiences that would not have happened but for the loss. The takeaway message from the movie reminds me of a quote by Dean Koontz that I find helpful: “…the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.”