When You Are Widowed

January 1, 2020 was a milestone. I didn’t mention it to anyone. I never said a word.

500 days.

Over the last 500 (now 522) days, I have written a lot of words about my grief, the unending sense of loss, the brutal physical and emotional pain, the heartache and the heartbreak, the deep-rooted trauma and post-traumatic stress, as well as many other things related to how I have been since becoming a widower. And my experience is not as unique as some may think.

Those who knew me before all this, know how much I adored Suzanne. She was my best friend. In many ways, and at many times, it felt like she was my only friend. In a recent blog post, a good friend (and fellow widow) said she missed being someone’s “first priority”. I was Suzanne’s and she was mine. As widowed people, I think we can all relate to that.

So where am I now? In the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and now more than a year since Suzi died, I have become a different person. Widows all do. Many of my “old” friends are no longer part of my life. Even if they were, they probably would no longer recognize me regardless. It’s not just physically that I have changed either (dropping nearly 20-lbs, growing a beard). It’s my mental and emotional Self that has changed. I am different.

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The Universe, Wherever I Am~

I spent last weekend, starting on Thursday, at a rally for people who own T@b trailers, as I do.

My little rig has been my home on the road in the years since Chuck's death.

It's tiny in every way, but still has a surprising amount of room inside of it, for me and for storage.

I'm 5'1 and it gives me a little bit of clearance over my head.

I can take a few steps to each side.

It's all the space I'm interested in having.

Large spaces, such as are to be found in an apartment or a house, overwhelm me since Chuck's death.

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Sticky Issues

When I was turning 20, (back in the last millennium, and indeed more than a decade before its end), a few people asked me, “what do you want for your 20th birthday?”

I answered, “Twenty years between now and when I am 30”.

I thought it was a very clever answer. And it was also an honest answer, based on my worldview at the time. My worldview was that, “by the time you’re 30 you need to be somewhat in a career, have a profession, and be in a steady relationship”. (Seriously, did I ever believe that kind of stuff?)

AND what felt even more important to me when I was 20 was that I also travel to lots of interesting places, meet lots of lovely people, (including a few lovely men), play the field a little – or a lot, and then perhaps possibly maybe “settle down” into something resembling a career, relationship, and even a family. But how the heck to do that within 10 years? Unless I somehow got cloned (not a real possibility as this was still almost ten years before the birth of Dolly the Sheep).

In the end I had a full ten years between 20 and 30, not more, not less, just like those of us lucky ones who get to live until we are 30. And I managed to get a good bit done work-, travel-, and relationship-wise. There wasn’t so much “playing the field” as I met Mike when I was 20 ½. I realised pretty early on that I wanted to be with him into my old age, and that meant that the dating plan had to evaporate.

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So Far Away

Lately, Mike feels so far away.  It is very hard to properly describe, but I will give it a try.  He has taken on the feel of a memory.  Now, Mike feels like more of a memory than my person.  I feel lousy admitting this.  It sort of feels like he is dying all over again.

In my head, Mike feels like someone who lived once upon a time - in another lifetime.  Writing this and committing these thoughts to paper feels unsettling to me.  It is completely jarring.  I dislike that the man I love has taken on the feel of a familiar character in my favorite book.  Once upon a time, Mike was real.  He was flesh and blood not so long ago.  And, now it seems like he lived in another place and another time.  And, really, I guess he did.

Today, it does not feel like it was in my lifetime that he shared his life with me.  This is the stuff that fills my head and breaks my heart.  This is the stuff that widowhood is made of.  Dammit.  There is no happy ending I can possibly write to any of this. 

 

The man I love now feels like a memory. 

Read that again. 

Again. 

Read it.

And, now read it another time.  

The man I love now feels like a memory...   

 

He feels so far away. 

He feels like a lifetime ago.

He does not feel real anymore.

He doesn't feel real anymore because he is not.

He's not real anymore...

*Sigh.

 

 

 

 

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What's hard for Two Widowed People in Love: Two Second Fiddles

A while ago, Mike and I wrote this post together about some of the things that are harder about being two widowed people in a new relationship. In that post, we talked about how we aren’t ever able to really pull the widow card on one another, because essentially - it’s canceled out. We’ve both been through an equally hard pain. 

We have also both been through an equally beautiful love. A love that was - and still is - with someone else. While it’s not fun to admit, we had a fight last night. As with most fights, it started with something small that became something not so small. As emotions calmed though and we talked through many layers of feelings - there was one subject that came up that is something we both feel and something that is always complex. And that something is because we are both widowed. 

It is the feeling that we are each other’s  “Second choice”. And it might surprise some people to know that even when you are both widowed, you still have this feeling, and it can still be hard. So we wanted to each share our side of this struggle:

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Divine Dimes

I have been more open-minded and openhearted to try and see signs from Tin. Some say that it is just circumstance but it helps me. It is really interesting how we have preset thoughts about certain things and “superstitions”. For my whole life I always heard that if you find a penny than it is a penny from Heaven -A small shiny token to tell you that there are others watching out for you.

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Grief and Insomnia

Grief is a bitch. As is insomnia. As am I, when I don't sleep.

Eh, that's not entirely true.

It just sounded catchy.

I hate when I can't shut my mind down though, and it fills with thoughts of death-grief-trauma related things.

Mostly; the thoughts always seem to come back to the simple heart aching fact that I will always miss Don , I hate that he doesn't get to live, and I wish like hell I had been a better wife and let him feel way more often, how much he meant to me. I also wish I had seen the ever so subtle warning signs that his heart was failing. The signs were very tiny, but now, years later - they slowly come into focus in pieces, to torture me.

Logically, I know its not my fault. I know that I couldnt control that he had a sudden hert attack. I know all of these things. But when Im laying here in the middle of the night and the insomnia comes and the thoughts invade, knowing all of that doesnt help. I just feel incredibly sad and I just wish like hell that I could have him here for 30 minutes or so, so I could let him know how much I love him and how he saved my life and made it better until the end of time. When I really stop and think about how short his life was, I just get so sad about it. I hate it. He was such an incredible person, and I miss knowing that he is out there in the world, making it better. 

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Taking Things for Granted Replay

With Mari's departure on Thursdays, we'll be featuring repeats from Mike's posts over the years.  Enjoy this piece, originally written in 2016.

 

You don’t realize how important the little things are until you don’t have them.  It could be something as simple as sitting on the couch, watching TV until you fall asleep with your partner, and it is taken for granted.  Then you lose that person.  

 

I’ll admit that I was eased into some of the more technical aspects of the widower role, being that Megan had spent so much time in the hospital over the years.  There were plenty of times where I was a temporarily single father.  Making sure Shelby got to school and was fed and clothed was never something I struggled intensely with after Megan died.  

 

Even so, there were plenty of things I still took for granted when Megan was here, and some of those things are surfacing over the past few weeks.  

 

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I Thought of You~

I thought of you last night.

One night among all the thousands of nights that have passed since your hand last grasped mine,

As we lay next to each other in the dark.

I thought of your breath 

Your arms braced

As you raised yourself above me,

The passion in your eyes

A mere reflection of mine.

Our bodies sweaty and slick

As we moved this way and that,

Our combined breaths raspy and raw.

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Too Many Deaths. Really. That's Enough Now

I have just come back from what should have been two lovely days away with my Medjool. My new love. My number two. (Not Second Best. Just Number Two. Subtle but Important difference). 

Some of our time away was lovely – truly relaxing, soothing, stunningly beautiful, comforting, renewing, and more. And some of it was just plain horrid. For me. And of course, I had to make it so for him because pain is just too big sometimes and I need someone else to feel some of it, to pass it on to, even if it’s totally unfair and unwarranted and immature and I should know better. And it’s not passing on the pain anyway. It’s doubling it. No one wins. 

We went away on Friday 10th Jan. Four years to the day since David Bowie died. The world rocked and reeled instead of rocked and rolled. And four years to the day since my sweet youngest brother Edward died, aged 46, of a Glioblastoma brain tumour. My world rocked and reeled. 

At one point in August 2015, the medical establishment said they gave him “two weeks to two months”. He had more than 5 more months. Not masses, but worth having. A pyrrhic victory for sure, because the outcome was the same. We counted his months in full moons. Friday 10th Jan 2020 was the "official” full moon of this month, and it was beautiful and stunning and sad and meaningful as it hung there massive as a pancake wanting to be gobbled up in the morning; and bright and tight and pert in the evening.

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