When my husband received his third and final cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2005, he decided to formalize his support team and designed a T-shirt that he intended to make and pass out to his posse. His shirt read: “Team Dippel, Living to Fight - Fighting to Live” on the front and on the back it read: “Fight to be Cancer Free in 2006”. Unfortunately he died a week after he designed it and the shirt was never completed.Read more
Who am I?
At 21, life threw a wrench into the mechanics of my life. I had found all the parts that made me me, all the parts that kept my heart racing, all the parts that made my dreams come true. But on May 21, 2007 a phone call would take it all away.
Michael had been killed by multiple roadside bombs while serving in Baghdad, Iraq.Read more
Hello Wonderful Widows.
I often do things a little backwards…now is no exception.
Last week I wrote an article for this blog on widows and teens. I was a stranger in your midst. This week I will let you who I am.
I was widowed in 2000 when I was 47 and Mike was 52. Our daughter was 7 years-old, and his daughter, my step-daughter, was 25. Now they are a beautiful 15 and 33. Mike had breast cancer for the whole of our 10-year marriage, and very suddenly, 2 weeks before Christmas, he lost the battle.
I woke up the morning of January 8th, 2008 elated to be alive! I guess you can say David and I grew up together. We met when we were 12 years old. My soulmate. I've held only his strong hands, kissed only his beautiful lips, and slept next to only his gorgeous body. My husband always said I was a "happy" morning person and that morning was no different. Still dark outside when my alarm went off, I gave my body a nice long stretch and as I released my breath the words, "I love you" effortlessly made their way off my lips. I was giddy! I couldn't wait to talk to him again! I checked my phone... No missed call... Ringer volume... on high. I turned my computer on, signed into my instant messenger and turned its volume also on high.Read more
I think one of the bigger adjustments of all of my big adjustments to widowhood was the status as Only Parent. Only Parent is different from single parent in some situations, although very similar in lots of ways. I think one of the biggest differences is in the filling out of forms. Those damn forms. You know, the ones that say: married, single, widowed? I used to cry at the sight of that question. Legally I guess I’m required to pick Widow. Sometimes I am tempted to check all three – I am or have been all three, now it just depends on my mood. ;-)Read more
There have been many days since Phil's death that I was sure the sun could not possibly be shining...how dare that orb glow as if the world were right?! And then there have been other days when, unbelievably, that sun shone right on my head in the form of a blessing that was all the sweeter due to my familiarity with loss.Read more
We had the annual “Mardi-Craw” this past Saturday. I think about my husband Daniel every day, in lots of different situations, but our annual crawfish boil is one particular day I think about him all day long and cuss him for not being there. I have to admit that for the past four crawfish boils since he died….we’ve had SPECTACULAR weather, and always an amazing time. He may not be there in person, but I tend to think he orders up the weather for us and his memory creates a festive atmosphere that no one is immune to.Read more
Celebration of life has become a popular description for funerals over the past few years. And while I agree with the concept, the reality of celebrating my husband's life while trying to grasp the idea that he was not coming home, ever, was hard for me to do at his funeral. While the services we planned to commemorate Phil's' life were truly beautiful; that day was a blur of images and emotions that I would not exactly classify as a celebration.
Time, however, has provided some perspective. As the days, weeks, months, and years since I began this journey of loss and recovery have passed I have learned how to truly celebrate the life of remarkable men who have touched more people in their too brief lives than they themselves would ever have imagined.
My 15 year-old daughter Anneke landed the role of Polly in Neil Simon’s play The Gingerbread Lady. In this play, Polly’s (Anneke) mother seems intent on self-destruction, and at one point in the play, Polly (Anneke) is moved to desperate tears, wanting her mother to be OK.
Anneke was unable to perform the scene. She could not cry on stage and she was unable to access that place of sadness. Thankfully, the very thoughtful and caring director changed the scene to accommodate Anneke.
I went with some new girlfriends to the rodeo last night. As it usually does when meeting new people, conversation turned to my history and my experience of being a widow. One of the girls had recently lost a sister-in-law and was sharing with me the difficulties her brother was experiencing. It has only been three months for him, but I was interested by the fact that one of the most annoying things for him to deal with has been the dreaded question: “How ARE you?” When I got home I climbed into bed and paged back through some painful memories. That question had driven me nuts for a couple of years.Read more