So, here's a fun fact:
The holidays are torture for widowed people.
Hell, the regular days are torture.
But the holidays ....
they shine a big red light on the torture,
and then burn you with the beams.Read more
I can’t tell you how I manage to pull off a post every week, or how I have done so for the past three and a half years here. I get asked that a lot. Some weeks I know exactly what I want to write. Other weeks I feel dry…uninspired, lackluster and done. Then suddenly something will move me. Feeling overcome with emotion in a moment, a vision of something in our world, something a friend says, a memory I have. Sometimes it’s just a phrase that comes to me.
Sometimes I start writing and never title it. It remains in my files, which Apple titles for me, Blank 22 or Blank 24. Sometimes I go back and read what I’d started, and I find I can finish.
Other times I just know the title, but nothing more. This is one of those times. I think maybe a friend said that to me, or I read it somewhere, this phrase.
My rig, PinkMagic. I bought her brand new following Chuck's death. I had to find a way to continue the life that Chuck and I lived on the road. Emotionally, I just couldn't bear to do it in the way that he and I did for 4 years; staying at lodging on military bases, and at inexpensive hotels. How tragically sad would it be...a country western tune gone wrong...for me, as a widow, to sit in a godforsaken back of beyond and lonely hotel room on the back roads of our country. As devastated as I was, that would be too much even for me. Also...I knew that doing so would only lead to isolation, and isolating myself could only lead me down a dark tunnel.Read more
Ahhh yes...the holidays. It is a constant ride of ups and downs, like the world’s most depressing roller coaster. Kicking off with Thanksgiving. Spending time with friends and family, circled around a hearty dinner and laughter, I get to remember that Megan died just a week before that day. I don’t get to remember the 33 prior enjoyable Thanksgiving dinners. It doesn’t work. All I can recall is sitting in my parents’ dining room, crying, and having to leave the room in the middle of dinner.
Then, following that Thursday comes the epitome of consumerism...Black Friday. I avoid anyplace that may sell something like the plague that day. “You’re not going to con me into buying your baubles, Mr. Scrooge!” as I shake my fist in the air. But it’s fruitless. Inevitably, I'll need to fuel up my car, and Christmas music will be playing everywhere, even at the gas station. Sure enough, “Blue Christmas”, or “I’ll be home for Christmas” will softly emanate from a tinny speaker somewhere. Done. You’ve succeeded, Ebeneezer, in depressing me.
Life after the death of the person you love demands that you ask yourself BIG questions. Ironically, the questions are often about life and living. I have asked myself over and over again, Who am I now that Mike has died? Maybe part of the answer lies in Who I was before I met him. Who I was before he died. I think a lot about Who I was when I was Mike's fiancee. And, I ask myself again and again, Who I want to be now that I am his Widow.
Admittedly, these are questions to which I don't have the answers; but, I'm working on it. These questions challenge me and scare me because of their enormity and because I feel the potential here. I still have choices in my changed life. I have the opportunity to re-create myself, and you do too. I know how overwhelming this is; but I believe that if we allow ourselves to be off kilter we will find ourselves in the process.
In the last year, I have spent a fair bit of time on my knees scrounging for direction and answers. I have spent many a night on the floor crying, begging Mike to come back. I've dance under the stars with my dead fiance; desperately wanting his touch, longing for the days when his arms were wrapped around my life. Many times, I have wandered through the day completely absent with thoughts of him endlessly ruminating in my mind. Grief is gutting. I know how hard it is for you to live with the relentless heaviness and ache in your chest. If I am awake I'm likely on the verge of tears at any given moment, I get it. I have noticed, with time, the ache in my heart is softening a little and my tears don't last as long anymore. But, still, the emptiness is there. And, maybe in some weird way, that's okay. Maybe we are meant to use this emptiness and rootlessness as our foundation. Maybe we need to feel the emptiness and absorb all this "missingness" into every cell of our body. If we feel it and lean into our grief we will learn something about ourselves. I think there in the empty silence - is where the answers are for all of us. I've decided that if I am going to survive Mike's sudden death I have to build a purposeful life around the emptiness inside me.
So, I haven't told you Who I am. Well, for starters...
Five and a half years later
There are days when I just want to disappear
To run away from everything
All the materialism of Christmas especially
Because no matter how hard I try
No matter how many lights are on the house
No matter how many ornaments are on the tree
No matter how many Christmas songs are played
So much is missing too...
It's been one of those weeks.
My anxiety is through the roof,
and Im not sure why.
Well, thats not entirely true.
I always know why.
I'm a sudden death widow.
My husband, at age 46, young and healthy and never sick a day in his life (literally - the man called out once from work in all the years I knew him, and it was so he could lie in bed and cry and grieve his cat Isabelle, when she died), left for work one morning, and never came home.
As long as I live on this earth, his death will never make sense in my brain.
I can "accept" that it happened, because I have no choice.
I live with his death every day.
But it will never make sense logically.
In my brain.
Or in my heart.
There will never be a "why" for that question.
It just hangs there.
My husband left for work that day at 5am or so, not waking me.
I was jarred awake by a ringing phone, over and over.
Around 6:30 am.
It was the call of death.
The call that said "the life you knew is gone."
I literally woke up to a brand new Hell.
Another sleepless night. Eyes wide open, I finally get up.
I pace through the house, small as it is, investigating this or that I think I will or will not take to the new place, for the millionth time. Thinking about all the things I have already taken to the new place, for the millionth time. Our new place, my boyfriend’s and mine.
February will mark five years without Mike. I can hardly believe that. And here I am, the loss of the house finally imminent, the auction date a few weeks away, a new lease already signed.
This is it. There is no pretending Mike might still walk in the door any minute. After 16 years in this house, I’m leaving. We’re leaving, my dogs and me, and this guy who has been here for me for about four of these last five years. This guy who has made it possible for me to stay with my dogs, who has found a role in a season of my life I never saw coming…and yet has no real role in my grief.
Who loves me and supports me and yet may never truly understand what it is I have gone through; that strange and horrific grief path I continue to tread.
No one can. Our grief journeys are solo gigs. And he gets that, as a musician, I think.
It’s a loaded word, isn’t it?
I use the word in reference to both women and men, or I write the word widow and just add a slash and an er at the end.
Because I’m a bottom line type of person, I appreciated best the definition from Thesaurus.com. Noun: woman with dead husband. That definition suits me primarily because it isn’t dressed up. You can’t soften this blow for me, so please tell it like it is, with all the harshness that the word implies.
It horrified me, when Chuck died, to realize that I was a widow. Using that term in reference to myself was shocking. The implications of those 5 letters, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually…shattering. It meant I was now alone. That I’d never see him again. Done. Finito. Gone.Read more
“You bathe in these spirit-beams, turning round and round, as if warming at a camp-fire. Presently you lose consciousness of your own separate existence: you blend with the landscape, and become part and parcel of nature.” -John Muir
It is no secret that John Muir inspires me to no end. While my love of nature and being in the wild places has done more to heal and calm my soul than any other aspect of my life, Mister Muir made it his religion. Every time I step into the woods, I lose connectivity with not only my cell service provider, but with the likes of the modern world. What wild refuge would John Muir have found in today’s endless series of hashtags, shopping centers, gluten-free water, and email? What would his sermons be in this year’s existence?
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul” - John Muir