A Scary Reality

Today I went to go see my doctor about an issue I am dealing with. While at the doctor’s office, they noticed my heart rate was 125 in resting mode. They checked me 20 minutes later, and it was still beating the same. My doctor told me that she will have to monitor my heart and determine what course of action she will take. This can include getting on heart medication at the age of 32. She said if this route is taken they would need to be very careful how they would slow my heart down since I suffer from low blood pressure. 

As I walked out of the office and into my car, a scary reality set in. I wanted to call my husband and my father, to tell them the news and share how scared I was. But I couldn’t call them. They are not physically here anymore. They would normally offer a sense of protection and words of comfort in which I needed at that moment. So, I set in my car and cried. As I sat there, I saw my little girl through the rear mirror, just playing in her car seat not knowing how scared her mama was. 

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This Confusing Afterlife~

It's been 6 years and 5 months since Chuck died.

I kind of feel like I need to put that identifier in so that anyone who reads this will have a gauge.

Except that those newly living this widowed life might look at the time since and then read this blog and shudder. 

Or shrink back in dismay.

Because....really?

The confusion lasts that long?

And I don't mean to convey that.

It's all personal, right?

That's what we always hear, anyways.

So, apologies ahead of time to anyone who reads this and is discouraged...

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Extreme Self-Care

Emma's_Eyes_by_Rachael_Goldfarb.jpg

If I excel at anything
(And I deliberately use the word “excel”)
It is that I practise Extreme Self-Care

Extreme
Self
Care

I am proud of my skill and expertise
Haughty, maybe even arrogant
For without it I too would surely have died

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Fan Girl of Love

Dating is not something that I decided to take on lightly.  This November, Mike will have been dead for three years.  Not that this really matters in terms of dating. Or does it?  It doesn’t.  But, the fact that I mentioned it means that to me it is significant in some way.  I wish I could explain this more sufficiently, but I can't.  I suppose I know that as a widow I will be judged for dating or not dating.  I can't win here.  If I don't date people will say I am "stuck" in my grief.  If I date they will say I "moved on".  Anything I do will be scrutinized by those outside of this community because to most people romantic love seems to be something that we hope is singular if it is indeed true.

 

For me, the only thing that really matters is that I am clear about why I am choosing to date.  I am going to date for reasons that go far beyond the superficial.  I am not dating because I am lonely.  Sure, absolutely, I am lonely – duh, my person died.  How can I not be lonely without him – but loneliness is NOT why I am dating.  Secondly, I am NOT dating because I can’t be alone.  I can be.  I have been on my own for nearly three years.  I have learned to like and appreciate my own company.  I am solid.  I like myself way too much to settle for a cheap imitation of what I had with Mike.  I am in no danger of "settling" for less than I want and deserve.

To date, I have never blogged about dating because I know that I will be judged by certain people who knew Mike and I.  I know if this particular blog is read by some of the people from my past - most of who no longer speak with me and are no longer in my life - they may conclude that these words prove my disloyalty to Mike.  To these people, this may serve as proof that it is lucky Mike never married me because clearly I am moving on after "only" three years. 

All of this is untrue and complete bullshit.  These three years have been the longest years of my life.  Grief years are like dog years.  To me, it seems like Mike has been dead for years now; and, at the same time, it feels like he was sharing my life with me only moments ago.  I know my heart.  I know the depth of my love for Mike and that is all that is important.

And, in truth, whatever judgement I do face it will be done behind my back.  I will never hear about it because the people who will talk or cast judgement have long left my life.  So, why does it bother me that I will be judged?  I think it irritates and worries me because their snide judgments and accusations will make Mike look poorly.  Their judgement of me will serve to cast Mike in poor light.  Their words will make him look like a fool for loving me and this bothers me a lot.  Mike was a lot of things, but he was not a fool.

 

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Morbid Advantage

Today is Sarah’s birthday.  Not Megan’s, not Drew’s. It’s not Mother or Father’s day, or an anniversary.  It’s a day where the focus is squarely on her, and not shared with those who are no longer here.  Or, at least it’s not supposed to be.  

The rub of it is that I’m a widower.  Sarah’s a widow. Damn near every experience we have brings thoughts of Megan and/ or Drew in some way.  It could be a significant, life-changing experience like becoming engaged, or some minor thing that I do on a random Tuesday that reminds Sarah of something similar that Drew did.  Sarah even mentioning wanting to change the color of a wall for the 400th time always reminds me of Megan doing the same thing.

So, in a roundabout way, I tend to think of Megan quite a bit on Sarah’s birthday, and I’m sure she thinks of Drew on mine.  They are both just as much a part of us as they were in life, albeit not actively participating and interacting, for obvious reasons. 

It’s exactly the way it should be.

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Ostracized Honesty

It’s time I dive into a topic that is always at the heart of gay men dating – HIV/AIDS. Growing up I watched as the disease came forth, took lives and drove the world to treat the LGBTQ+ community worse than ever. There was fear of being accused and harmed and there was (and still is) fear of contracting the disease. From my biology background, I see medications and treatments have advanced to amazing supportive levels for those affected. A new preventative medication PREP has reached the mainstream and decreases the chance of contracting the virus to almost zero but nothing is ever 100%.

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A Piece of You

I felt my heart stop when your heart stopped beating

I felt the air in my lungs leave my body, when you took your last breath

I felt the world crumbling down on my chest, with every shock wave that went through yours

 

I was an empty vessel walking above ground, while yours lays down in the soil empty as well

I cried storms of sorrow, while rain poured down on your resting place

Lifeless is how I feel at times, lifeless is what you became

 

When you left this earth, part of me went with you

The part that stayed also stayed with a piece of you

She is all you in every way

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What You May Not Know About Grief

What you don’t know is that
People die because of Grief
People die because of a Broken Heart
People Die by Suicide
Because their Grief is
Too Much to Bear

I had a call just last night from the
Now-orphaned-daughter of a friend
A widow
Whose husband was my friend and colleague
He had helped Mike get to
Chemo treatments on occasion when
I just couldn’t manage to fit it all in

But my friend also died
Just months after Mike died
And my new friend
My friend’s wife
Missed him too much
And like Julia chose to end the
Desperately Painful Grief that had
Settled over her life and her being
Her present and future and
Even her past
Replacing the love she had once felt
And reveled in and rejoiced in

Not a fair reward for
Decades of love

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Wreckage

Part of me died with him.  And, surprisingly, a big part of me survived his death.   This part of me is fighting to live forward.

Since early on, I have chosen to focus on the living part of me.  The part of me that was not buried with Mike.  Sure, absolutely, I miss the person I used to be, but the life in which that woman existed died with him. 

All of it - everything we were together - simply vanished when Mike died.  Our life was built on solid ground, but when he died, everything imploded and what was once solid quickly turned into a quagmire of uncertainty.  I lost Mike and my identity.  Everything that I thought was certain disappeared. My life was no longer recognizable to me.  (And, in truth, it still isn’t 2.10 years later).  Not surprisingly, I lost my footing when Mike died and I have been fighting to recover it for nearly three years.

 

 

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A Shared Grieving

The other week, we stopped by a field of sunflowers on our way home. This isn’t just any field of sunflowers… it is a memorial called Prayers from Maria. Each year for the past five years, this field has been planted with hundreds of sunflowers. Towards the end of every summer, they bloom into their full glory. I’ve seen this covered on the news each year since moving to Ohio, but this is the first time that I had set foot there in person. 

So what is special about this place? It was started because of death, and because of love. Because of the death of a beautiful daughter to a family, who lost a battle with childhood cancer. What has unfolded now is a powerful place for so many to come to have a moment of quiet. What I didn’t realize before stepping through the field, is that there would be notes and prayers, written on cards they provide, tied gentle to the stalks of the flowers. 

As we first entered the main path through the flowers, I was completely overwhelmed by all the messages. Many of them were messages to loved ones who have died. Not just children that died from cancer, but moms and dads and grandparents and friends and spouses. It was beautiful and terrible all at once. The further we walked, the more there were. Message after message. Row after row. So much loss. So much death. But also… so much love. So much deep, enduring, beautiful love. 

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