Raise Your Hand~

I thought about reposting my WV blog from 2015 for this week.

Because I pretty much feel the same way, regarding the holidays.

Except worse.

As a 6 1/2 year veteran of this wid life, I kind of hate owning up to how difficult this all is for me still.

I don't want to scare those of you who are just stepping out onto the road.

But I also feel the need to be honest.

I've never yet, in all these years, not spoken/written the truth of how this is for me, and I'm not going to start now.

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Mourning Glories

One of my favourite widbuds is Charlotte, who I met last year at the Soaring Spirits Camp Widow event in Toronto 2018. She is beautiful and strong and capable and clever and funny. And she’s grieving. And despite her grieving, she attended my daughter’s funeral, “just because she happened to be in Europe at the time”. We are both in a WhatsApp group of five widbuds, all of whom were at Camp Widow. Our Whatsapp name is Mourning Glories, which I love and think is rather brilliant. That was Pamela’s idea.

Despite there being just five of us, we rarely go quiet on one another as a group. I am sure that once a week “something happens” to one of us. Something of a trigger. Something hard. A challenge outside of the normal challenge of grieving. A challenge where we just wish our partner were there with us to pick up and carry the blanket of weight for a while. Or at least a corner of it. Or failing that, just witness it being carried.

Like Pamela attending the funeral of a dear, way-too-young friend, and witnessing the left-behind wife, and 7- and 9-year old kids.

Like Charlotte packing up a holiday home in the mountains, putting belongings in boxes, crying out past memories and future dreams, then driving home alone, for hours, to an empty home.

Like me packing up my youngest child’s bedroom this week, two hours a day over five separate days, this time wisely accompanied by friends who care.

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Wonderful Life

I often think about life with Mike.  I want the life and love he shared with me back.  A part of me will always want to slip back into that wonderful life with him.  I know that this is not possible, but I do not know how to stop myself from wishing for my old life to return to me.  I know that none of these desires are realistic.  And, I know that I can’t live in my reverie where Mike still exists.  I know all of this, so why can't I stop myself from travelling to our past in my mind.  Why can't I stop imagining a future that will never be?

I have spent three years in limbo.  I am not present in my own life.  Most days, I do not actively engage in my life because I am lost in some place that exists beyond time and space.  I feel sad for my children. When Mike died, they lost the Mom they had grown accustom to.  I wonder if I can get my act together before they grow up.  Raising them is my responsibility and I don't take it lightly.  I have to be present for my kids; but, as a widow, I have not found a way to successfully do this. Death robbed Mike from me and it unfairly took my children's mother from them too.

I wish I could snap my fingers and neatly compose myself.  I wish I could rearrange my grief so that my mind would remain focussed rather than filled with frazzled thoughts and scattered ideas.  I wish this life without Mike was easier.  As a widow, I wish so many things I've lost count.  Mostly, I spend my time wishing that Mike was still alive sharing his life with me.  I wish he was still here having a wonderful life with us.

 

 

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Illusions of Control

I wonder at times if we put more pressure on ourselves because of being widowed. I feel like I am always trying to keep everything running smoothly, as if since being widowed I just want life to operate as a well oiled machine with as few hiccups as possible. I guess that’s understandable... to want to avoid anything particularly surprising or messy after having been widowed. Sometimes it’s easy to think think that doing more, or being more organized or more productive is going to prevent more pain. Or somehow give you control over things that can’t be controlled - like death.

It’s odd for me that I do this, because I know it doesn’t work. Drew still died. And my life still fell apart. No matter how good my credit score was or how tidy my house was or how many ducks I could keep in a row. None of that mattered on June 12, 2012 when he died. It still all fell apart and none of that stuff I spent so much time on even mattered.   

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Be Thankful. Or Don't. Be Wherever You Are.

Be Thankful. 

Be grateful. 

So many people have it worse. 

 

Do these above statements sound helpful to you? Do they sound like compassionate or empathetic things to say to a person who has been recently widowed? Does this sound like a good way to show you care? I don't think so. And yet, when I was first widowed , back in the summer of 2011, these are the types of things I would often hear from people. I heard these things often, but even more so around Thanksgiving time. This is, of course, the time of year when we are all supposed to run around being grateful and thankful for every little thing in our lives, and we are supposed to show gratitude and focus on all the things you do have instead of that silly dead husband thing. Right? 

Except ... telling someone who has just lost their entire world to be grateful , does nothing but piss them off. It alienates them and makes them feel even worse for being in tremendous pain, because now you have made them feel guilty about their pain and their sadness and their state of pissed-off-ness. And that sucks because someone who has just lost everything has EVERY RIGHT to be angry as all hell, or to feel like nothing will ever be good again, or to feel mad at the entire world and universe and God and every living thing in existence. Who are you to tell anyone else how they should feel? Even if it is Thanksgiving. 

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Surviving This

Dear Readers, 

In today’s blog, I want to talk about something very sensitive, and that is having suicidal thoughts after the loss of a loved one. First and foremost, I want to say that I want to be very respectful of this post, to those we have lost to suicide. I also want to share my experience and what I went through when I lost my husband. Reflecting on a year ago today, I can tell you that when my husband passed away I wanted to die too. Many people don’t talk about this because they are afraid about what others might think, but I want to share my experience with you all because I am still living today and I hope that this blog helps someone in a positive way. 

I wanted to write about this topic because if I felt the need of wanting to go with my husband when he passed, I am sure others feel or have felt the same way. My husband and I had a wonderful marriage. He was my best friend, my soulmate, and my rock. I loved my life with him. Life seemed close to perfect. We had so many plans of growing our family, buying a cabin up north, traveling and continue to create beautiful memories in this life.

But on October 25, 2018, at 9:05 AM, that all ended. My husband was gone from this physical world and I was left alone to raise our child, with broken dreams and a shattered heart. How was I ever going to survive this? How was I going to build a new life, when I had already lived the life I had always wanted? Some days I felt like my heart was just going to stop because it was in so much pain. 

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Not What you Think~

I wish I could post the meme here that had me snorting water through my nose I laughed so hard.

Alas! I keep getting an error note, so I'll have to describe it and you envision it for yourself, okay?

The meme was 3 shrouded in black figures, riding one of the old timey merry go rounds.

The kind made of metal, and you'd hang on desperately as someone standing next to it whisked it faster and faster.

The words in the meme said when you and all your friends are dead inside and hate life but still have fun together.

Seriously. It was frickin' hysterical. 

I laugh like a lunatic every time I see it.

Which is frequently, because I printed it out and put it on the wall next to my desk.

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I Love You Like I Love Mike

A little over 6 months ago, at the end of April 2019, two months before my 15 year-old daughter Julia died by suicide, and 2 years after Mike my husband died, I met a man on a dating website. He’s called Medjool, after my favourite kind of dates. Big, chewy, tasty, sweet. Yum. 

Since there seems to be some kind of annoying gender difference whereby (many) single men prefer women who are quite a lot younger than them, and since I was only interested in meeting a man (approx.) my age, this Medjool was the only Medjool I met. He didn’t seem to share the common belief that prospective female partners should be 10-15 years younger than him. As it happens, I am 6 weeks older than he is. 

I had one date with one Medjool. I had planned on having quite a number of Medjools but this Medjool was the one and only. As it happened, there were other women on the dating website interested in him, and Medjool was juggling not just me but another woman who too was dating just him.  It took Medjool a little while to figure out – openly and transparently – that he needed to make a choice, which he did some 6 weeks later. Two weeks before Julia died. 

Julia wouldn’t have liked the news but I am sure it was not a factor in her decision to take her life. I had planned to tell her and her older siblings just a few days into July, when the four of us were to be in Munich together seeing Elton John in his final tour. Julia never made that concert. She died 5 days before. 

Medjool chose me.

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Coffee Talk

I stand staring into the cupboard.  My eyes see all the familiar coffee mugs lined up.  Though they are inanimate objects, the mugs seem to be shamelessly shouting “pick me” from their distinguished spots on the shelf.   *Sigh. 

 

Which one should I select. 

Which mug do I want to use? 

This decision should not be this hard. 

Except that it is. 

 

This simple task is hard for me because every little thing becomes more challenging when you live with loss.   Even picking a coffee cup can be momentarily overwhelming for me.  And, this feels completely out of character for me because I used to be very decisive. I could multitask with ease.  I coordinated a career and a household.  But, now, I am standing here unsure about what coffee mug to pick from an assortment of mugs displayed on the shelves.  

After staring at my choices, I reach for my well worn mug; and, then, at the last second, my hand instinctively grabs his mug.  And, I know exactly why I did this. I did this in an effort to feel closer to him.  I know that Mike’s lips touched the rim of this particular mug; and, if I use his mug, then maybe our lips can meet somewhere in the space that exist between where he is and where I am.

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Window to Grieve

One week ago, we wrapped up what was easily the busiest Camp Widow I’ve ever taken part in.  In two days, it will be the five year anniversary of Megan’s death. Winter has blown into northeast Ohio early this year, with our first snow coming in before the leaves had even had the chance to fall off of the trees.  The holidays will be here before we know it.

My brain, and body, are in overdrive right now, and that’s not even counting my day job, which is just plain busy.  Time to think about Megan has been minimal. That is both a blessing and a curse. With five years imminent, I feel like a SHOULD be primarily thinking about that fact.  

But I’m not.  I’ve been thinking about building chandeliers.  About yard work. About getting a snowblower, driving to Toronto and upstate New York, changing the oil in the car, and prepping for what is looking like a long winter.  At Camp Widow, my name tag contained the titles of “Ambassador”, “Volunteer”, and “Regional Leader”, not to mention that I’m a writer here, and assisted Sarah in presenting her workshop.

All of this has taken precedence over the title of “5 years” that was also emblazoned on my name tag.

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