The heart knows...
I had a feeling it was getting close. So, I looked up how long Mike has been dead. And, there it was, 1,000 days exactly. I KNEW it. And, I didn't know it because I am some sort of math whiz. Nope. I felt it in my heart. And, the computer confirmed what my heart already knew. Monday August 12th, 2019 I will have lived ONE THOUSAND DAYS without Mike.
I knew that this day would come. And, I feel dumbstruck. I feel nothing and the weight of everything - all at once. Early on, I didn't know how I would live without him. For months, I literally took it minute by minute. I would fight to breathe from moment to moment And, sometimes breath eluded me. Then, after a while, I broke the hours up into quarters and I survived them as they came. Then, eventually I just got through each half-hour without dying. And, then after many months I lived from hour to hour without him.
Sometime after the first year, I found a way to make it through the day without a lot of preparation or thought. I just made it through because I had no other choice. I lived without him. And, as each day drew to a close, I was genuinely shocked that I actually made it. Every night, as the moon came out, I broke into a loneliness that I was sure would swallow me whole. But, I survived. And, now, today as you read this, I have survived outliving Mike for 1,000 days. I feel like someone should be dripping praise all over me. I feel like I should be awarded a medal or something. But, there isn't a badge of honor for this type of thing. There is no ceremony. No one knows. Not one person, besides me, is aware that today Mike will have been dead for 1,000 days. Grief is like this. We achieve many milestones alone. We celebrate in our own hearts. And, we feel the emptiness and aching in solitude.
Mike and I are both widowed. Which means that there are two days every year that are very specific to our relationship. Two days every year that most couples don’t have, nor have they probably ever considered. These two days are extremely special, but hard. And each year as they approach, in June and in August, we’re not exactly sure what to do with them or how each other will be feeling. After all, these two days are in celebration of a beautiful beginning with someone else, not our beginning with each other.
These two days are hard, and complex, and beautiful. Usually, we go out to dinner on those two days together. Sometimes it’s very joyful and full of love and laughter. Other years, it’s hard. And no matter how great our meal is or our love for each other, nothing removes the sting of why we are there. Or why we are together in the first place. And we never know from year to year which way it will be.
Just last week was Mike’s anniversary with Megan. We went out to dinner to one of her favorite steak houses. And it was lovely and it was hard all at once. The kind of hard I’ve come to know well since loving someone that is widowed. The kind of hard that often times lies under the surface of things. As I sit across from him in the dimly lit restaurant, I can feel it pumping through his veins - entirely unbeknownst to anyone else in the room.Read more
Last weekend I was at a close friends wedding. I loved the people, the venue and the time away from my regular hectic schedule. On a beautiful hill at a colonial inn in rural New Hampshire, we all gathered under three towering maple trees to watch two friends join together.
Last night I was hanging out with my boyfriend of 2 years, and we found ourselves laughing a lot together.
Its not unusual for us to laugh together, but lately, we have been going through an extremely hard time ,
so laughing together felt like a gigantic sigh.
A huge relief.
Something perhaps lost inside all of the stress, chaos, and busy-ness of life.
Today we welcome a new Widow's Voice Author to our Thursday posts! Mari - welcome to the blog, and thank you for sharing your heart with our readers!
On March 28, 2015, I met the love of my life. We had a peculiar first date, but I got a gut feeling that I needed to give him a second chance. So I did, and falling in love with him, was magical. Just only after five months of dating, he proposed to me in Sedona, AZ, at a beautiful location filled with music, candles, roses, and love. I had never been so sure of anything in my life, but his love. So we decided to get married three months later, and on November 28, 2015, I gave my all to this wonderful man. My husband was a true gentleman. He never raised his voice at me in all the years we were married. He loved me unconditionally and wanted to spend every minute with me. He was kind-hearted, smart, loving, and had a great sense of humor. I felt like I had won the lottery in love. Just after two years of being married, we decided to bring a little bundle of joy into this world. So in 2017, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl. My husband was such a wonderful father. He would help me change diapers, and he would wake up in the middle of the night to feed our daughter, and so much more. I felt blessed and honored to be his wife. Our life was incredibly beautiful, one that you see in movies, or read in novels. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it truly was. We both loved each other unconditionally and would put each other first. Our souls were in-sync. He was my best friend, my rock and indeed my force of strength.Read more
Chuck's death did not break me.
I am not broken.
My heart shattered when he died.
It is shattered still.
I feel dislocated.
Trying to find my footing each day without him.
Yes, even six years later.
But not broken.
I don't need fixing.
I never did.
I fully recognize the people who shine a light for me on this darkened pathway.
And I recognize those who don't.
I draw healthy boundaries with those who don't.
And I celebrate those who do.
My heart overflows with Love.
The Love left behind for me by Chuck, and the Love gifted to me by the ones shining the light of Love for me, helping to illuminate my way.
It's all one and the same for me.
I'll always write about it...about Chuck and our Love story.
Always speak about it.
Write and speak about his absence from my life now, and the Love that lives on, in so many varied forms.
And I'll always and forever create beauty from it.
I wish I could have sat down to write this morning and repeated my often-stated sentiment that I don’t have anything to write about...and that’s OK. I had hoped that today, of all days, is something that doesn’t affect me as much any more, because “time” and all. Even if I thought about Megan more today, it wouldn’t throw my day off or caused any heightened sense of grief.
But it isn’t true. Today would have been Megan and I’s 14th anniversary. I mean, it still IS our anniversary, but we’re not exactly getting a nice dinner and flowers. Nope...she gets to sit in a box in our dining room, and I get to go to work, with the rest of the world unaware that this day is any different than the rest.Read more
After nearly three years, my grief is different than before. It is what happens. As human beings we are made strong. From the beginning of this mess, my Soul has been striving to continually adapt to this alternate life. And, I have. I have managed to live without him - even when I was certain I could not. As people, we are hard wired to survive awful things. The human experience is not all good, and if you consider what people endure and survive it is pretty awe inspiring
Recently, my grief has evolved a lot. And, no I am not "better". I am just different. My grief has become somewhat easier to carry. I don't struggle to take it with me as much as I did before. Most days, I sling my grief over my shoulder and march out into the world. This is not some heroic feat, it is just what I do each day. It is what all grievers do. And, really, what else can we do? We carry on. We live forward because there is no other choice.
And, because we carry on, most people assume that we have somehow become "okay" because our eyes are not usually glistening with tears anymore. Well, it is kind of a facade. As widowed people we make something incredibly hard look easy. We live without the person we love and it is damn hard. Beyond hard actually. And, still, somehow, I am mostly "okay" without him. I have created a way to move through life more gracefully now, but my grief is still there. It underlies everything. It is part of who I am.
I started my blog by saying that my grief is different. And, it is. The changes in my grief that I am most happy about are not visible. The changes that have made the biggest impact on my grief can not be seen from the outside because these changes are changes of the heart. For the last 2.8 years, I have been working hard at processing my grief and I have made big gains. But, for the most part, I continued to feel out of sorts no matter what I figured out in my head. I felt restless and I lacked contentment. And, largely, I still feel restless, but I am more content now. A strong sense of peace has washed over me because I have finally begun to accept Mike's death in both my head and my Heart. I have had a change of heart and this is making all the difference.
Being afraid and doing it anyway. That’s what they say courage is all about. I’m sure most people don’t see themselves as courageous. I think because the idea of being afraid and doing it anyway is often associated with enormous, heroic action.
In fact, I would pretty much consider myself the opposite of courageous and always have. I get all spazzed out if I’m late to things. I am endlessly nervous about missing a flight somehow, despite never once having had this occur. I’m paralyzed by moments of having to make choices and decisions… spending what most people would probably consider a ridiculous amount of time weighing the pros and cons and potential outcomes of each possible choice. I take too many things too seriously too much of the time. And of course, I’m constantly afraid people are going to die and I’ll regret some choice I made somehow...Read more
At eight years post-loss, I am somewhere different than ever before,
not quite where I would like to be.
I am well past the soul-crushing, hopeless feelings of everyday existence.
there are days where my heart feels like it has stopped beating,
or like there is a large boulder sitting on it,