In every store you visit the shelves are lined with colorful, foil wrapped chocolate bunnies. They stand neatly organized in the aisles, adorned with ribbons and bows. At first glance, these holiday treats catch your eye because they look shiny and decadent. But, things aren't as they appear. We know the bunnies are hollow inside even though they look substantial. I am a lot like these chocolate Easter bunnies. I appear to have my life together. I look solid. But, the reality is that inside I feel empty because he died.
This may come off as slightly dramatic, but it is the truth. After 2.4 years, my life looks shiny and newly restored. Outwardly, things have remained stable and solid. In many ways I am a vision of widowed success. I returned to a good career, I still have the house, the car, and the kids. On the outside, the condition of my life looks good. Aside from Mike's death, my life may even be enviable to some; but things are not as they appear. Like the aesthetically pleasing chocolate bunnies, I look to be well dressed and professionally presented; but, inside me there is something lacking. Inside of me, in my Soul, the landscape is sterile. I am hollow inside like the foil bunnies. On the inside of me there is 'nothing'. Where there used to be unbridled joy there is now emptiness.
Well the past two weeks I have been absent from blog writing. The first anniversary of Tin’s passing was quickly approaching and I honestly was scared. Scared to think about it. Scared to talk about it. Scared that when the day came, it would make it more true. For the first few months, holidays, birthdays I felt like it was a short enough time span to still be a dream yet the passing of the first anniversary meant it really wasn’t a dream. It wasn't a nighttime nightmare. It was reality...Read more
Soon after the sudden death of my husband, almost 8 years ago now, I began trying to navigate my new reality and world that I never asked for or wanted.
I didnt know what the hell I was doing.
There are no guidelines or handbook for how to "widow" properly. I hadn't even put away all of our dishes and kitchen items and gifts from a few years prior, when we got married. Things were still in boxes. We were talking about having a family, moving out of Jersey, things that married people talk about in the first few years of their marriage. I hadnt even begun to figure out the rest of our life together, and now, I was left to figure out how to cope with my husband and my world and my future being dead?
I didnt know how to do that.
Looking back now, I see that I made a lot of mistakes.
I made a lot of mistakes that I will now call "grief mistakes."
I am probably still making them, but hopefully way less often.
Sharing a few of these mistakes and lessons with my grief community may be helpful or beneficial for some to read.
After our income fell drastically, we moved into a one-bedroom apartment at a great location; it’s only a 20 minute walk to Anisha’s school. However, it is not a big, character home like the ones her two best friends live in. Recently she said, “I wish we lived in a big house like my friends.” I can’t describe how hard the reduced income has been on me. For me it’s a lot harder than for my daughter because she doesn’t know any better since she doesn’t recall our previous home. I know I should not compare families. Various parent friends have told me, “Nothing good comes from comparing your family to other families. I know all of this, yet I still get frustrate when I see, or at least I think I see, other people enjoying easier lives.Read more
This Sunday it will be 6 years since Chuck died.
Just writing that number leaves me breathless, and not in a good way.
How can it be 6 years?
Though it might as well be 6 centuries. That's how it feels.
So, my thoughts on this fractured time as they meander through my mind...Read more
As you may have read, Sarah got a “tattoo” on Saturday. It’s a simple henna tattoo, with a complex and meaningful backstory. A sun, symbolizing her dad, a moon, symbolizing her mother, and seven stars, symbolizing Drew. These three celestial objects imprinted on her forearm remind her of a connection to those she’s lost.
While not permanent, it will last at least a week or two...kind of like a prototype for the real thing. She will see it every day, and be reminded of those three losses. She’ll also be reminded of the people they symbolize, and the life she experienced with them.Read more
I bought a dress. In and of itself this isn’t some big deal. But, in my situation, this ordinary task is monumental and significant. I bought a dress because it caught me eye. I liked it. It is simple and classy. It is white with small black polka dots. In my mind, it seems like something I would like to wear in Paris.
I am visiting Europe this summer. In the past, I imagined going there with Mike. But, Mike died; and now this will never happen. Sure, people tell me he will “be” with me when I am there. And, yes, in Spirit, he will be. But, it is not the same. I feel awful saying this because I know Mike wishes it was different just as much as I do. But, his invisible “presence” is not enough. It is not as good as having him physically in my life. And, trust me, I have tried making it enough. It falls short and it always will.
I bought this simple summer dress knowing that he would never physically see me wearing it.
I bought this dress knowing that I will stand without him in a country that I’ve never been to wearing it.
I bought this dress knowing that as I am wearing it I will miss him.
I bought this dress for myself because there is no one else who will appreciate it on me anymore.
I bought this dress and it didn’t make me feel good. It didn’t make me feel bad either. But, like everything in my life, it was bittersweet.
Last night, I went to a party at a friend’s house and she had a woman doing henna tattoos there. It’s been ages since I’ve had one, probably 15 years ago in college. As I thumbed through the many designs in her notebook, one caught my eye of a sun and moon. I had her do that design, and add stars. As she worked on painting the delicate lines on my arm, I shared that they were each symbolic of the people I love who I have lost. The sun for my dad, the moon for my mom, and the stars for Drew.
For the rest of the evening, I looked down at my arm constantly. I’ve never had a real tattoo, but I couldn’t deny that there was some feeling of rightness about this symbol on my arm. This symbol that told a piece of my story, about some of the most important people in my life who have made me who I am today. To wear my story on my arm, where the world can see it, but only I really know the meaning of it… there was a rightness to it. It made me think how much I’d like to look down at my arm and have these symbols for these people there forever. And it made me wonder why on earth I’ve still not gotten a permanent tattoo like this.Read more
I am so f-in tired tire of being apologetic, or maybe, “pre-emptively apologetic” is a better word. It is the act of defending your views before anyone has even tried to refute them. To be pre-emptively apologetic means that I talk about my wife carefully because I fear the comments of others. With Natasha, there was no fear, I could just talk, and talk, and talk.Read more
Lately, Im feeling a strangeness that is stranger than my normal daily strange.
I keep finding ways to make you feel closer.
Its like, I cant seem to find a way for you to feel close to me, nearby, present, in the way that I want.
Maybe it's because Im in a happy and loving relationship, and Im feeling delayed thoughts of guilt for that.
Or sadness, that you and I never got to this place.
This place of planning out a place to live together (you moved right into my apartment, and you died before we could ever move anywhere else.)
This place of coming into our older years, and thinking about things such as retirement and our long-term futures. Saving money so we will be okay.
I don't know what it is, honestly.
But lately, I feel this overwhelming and heavy sadness, that you are not here.
And Im finding it harder to feel you here, in the ways in which I normally DO feel you here.
What was once natural, now feels like a struggle, lately.
To conjure you up in my heart, and feel that few moments of comfort from the knowing that you still exist somehow.
I still know it.
But I am having trouble connecting to it, feeling it.
Is this what happens when too much time goes by?
Is this distance going to get further and further away?
I sure hope not.Read more