Happy 66th Wedding Anniversary, Betty!

Those were the words that echoed throughout the pool at the YMCA this morning, as we were just finishing up our high-impact water aerobics class. There were about 15 of us in the class, of varying ages and circumstances, and one of the older ladies walked up and whispered something into the instructor's ear. After she did, the instructor reached down to her iPod, and put on the song "The Sea of Love." She then said to Betty, which happened to be this woman's name, "I am told this is you and your husband's favorite song, so we will end with it today. Everyone please congratulate Betty - today is her 66th wedding anniversary! Isn't that incredible?" All the ladies cheered and applauded and gave words of joy and laughter and lightly joked about marriage and how do you do it and wow, that's so many years, and on and on and on. 

I sat in the pool for an extra few minutes, unable to make myself get out or climb the ladder and be bombarded by Betty and her married entourage of women all fawning over the multiple decades of wedded existence. I silently wished Betty well, because that is absolutely a milestone to celebrate. But I just couldn't be a part of it. It hurt way too much. Seven years into this, and still, hearing about older couples who are honored enough to get years and decades together when I only got 4 years and 9 months, it still stings. It stings to hear about their children, their houses they bought together, their jobs they retired from, their grandchildren, their vacations, their retirement, all of it. Longevity is not something I was given a choice about in my marriage. When your person dies suddenly, before you could have kids or houses or careers or savings accounts or milestone dates, all of that is gone. It just disappears into oblivion. I am happy that Betty can celebrate 66 years with the same person, but part of me feels almost offended that I don't get to prove to everyone that my marriage would have been one of those kind that lasted a lifetime and that grew with age and time, and that was a thing of beauty. I will never know. I will never know what would have become of us, what our future would give us. But I know everywhere inside of me that we had the kind of love that would have made it to 66 years and beyond. This I know. 

Read more
3 reactions Share

Getting Older Doesn't Suck

I originally wrote this post last year and have revised it a bit to reflect my current feelings. Happy Birthday to me! Enjoy!



I hear it all the time…”another year older, urgh,” “I hate getting older,” “I hate my birthday and the reminder I’m getting old,” “getting older sucks.” I use to be one of these people. I cried on my 10th birthday because I didn’t want to be double digits. I’m sure many people reading this are still those people that post on social media about how getting older is terrible or complain to their family and friends about it. I, however, strongly disagree - getting older doesn’t suck.

Whenever I hear someone say that they hate getting older I wince inside knowing that they have this privilege yet they don’t fully appreciate it. Do you have any idea how lucky you are to be here living and getting older? Not everyone gets to get older but you do and are everyday.  It is one of the best things that can happen to you. You are here with a life to live, adventures to be had, goals to set and achieve and love to share.

I wish Mike was here getting older. I know there are other widows, friends, brothers and sisters and parents who wish the same for their loved ones. There is nothing nice about being forever young. To be forever 28 is limited. I’m not saying he didn’t have a good life while he was here. It is not about that. It’s just that there was more life to live that got cut short.

Read more
3 reactions Share

Grief and Widow Questionnaire

My mind takes me into weird places, since being widowed, and today I imagined filling out a questionnaire, titled What has grief taught you?

It would emphasize the importance of filling this out with no filter, thank you very much.

How long have you been widowed? How I’d pose the question: how long since your entire world exploded and evaporated?

It’s been 5 fucking insane, confusing, wandering around not knowing what the fuck I’m doing, years.

What was your initial experience of grief, on the moment of impact?

It felt like my world vaporized and evaporated around me. The ground liquified under me and the world went black around me. But maybe that’s just me.

What has grief and widowhood taught you?

It’s taught me how fucking hard life can be.

Has it made you stronger?

No. Excuse me…FUCK no.

Explain: Well, I was already strong. And I knew it. And I knew that I’d somehow keep standing, no matter what. That’s bullshit, thinking it made me stronger.

Has this experience made you kinder?

 Again, fuck no. I was already fucking kind. To a fault. Because that’s the kind of person I’ve always been.

Has this experience made you take life less for granted?

Read more
4 reactions Share

Widow's Roast

How about something a little light hearted?  Instead of writing morosely and trying to explain metaphors, I’ll look around the room and just take stock of where I am, nearing 4 years since Megan’s death?  I don’t feel like “finding meaning” today. Not every day has to have “meaning” when it comes to widowerhood.

Sometimes, funny things happen irrespective of our widowship (is that a word?).  Sometimes, I just like to sit back and observe, and point out coincidences instead of “signs”. Sometimes, I just want to sarcastically write about funny things I notice, will no ill-intent, in the hopes that I can make someone smile, or perhaps even laugh.

Sometimes, the world doesn’t revolve around the fact Megan is dead.

Read more
6 reactions Share

Wanderlust

I need to see new things. 

And, also, see the same things - somewhere else.

I need to stand on different street corners.

And, walk roads that lead to new

people and places.

I need to breathe the air - somewhere else.

Anywhere else.

I feel like I am holding my breath,

Living here in the outskirts of my old life.

~Staci

 

I feel restless lately.  I want to make changes in my life, but I am at a standstill because I am unsure of myself.  Currently, I just exist in suburbia - I am "living" the life that swirls around me.  But, I am not present in my life.  I am just going through the motions.  As much as I try, I am not content, despite the "good" life that I have in front of me.  Without Mike, I am unsettled and underwhelmed, and no one but me can change this.  I need to follow my intuition.  I need to action something...

Around this time, last year, I painted my bedroom in an attempt to acknowledge that I was able to make decisions without Mike.  I wanted to prove to myself that I was in charge of my life and I tried to accomplish this with a nice shade of the palest blue paint.  A year later, I can say for certain that the paint was unsuccessful in making me forget who is not sharing my bed. His absence remains painfully obvious.  Around the same time last year, I carefully rearranged the furniture in the living room.  But, likewise, these changes haven't made me feel less alone on the couch.  No matter how I fluff up the new pillows or arrange the furniture I feel him missing.  Whatever small changes I make, I still picture Mike all throughout the house.  Clearly, I have to do much more than these subtle alterations around my house. But, what? 

 

I've grown tired of these ineffective, roughshod attempts at reclaiming my life.  I feel big changes inside me, but I still do not have the confidence to bring them to life.  I am frustrated with my lack of commitment.  I want to do something significant to change my life because, at this point, I know that it is foolish of me to not attempt to live my life.  Mike isn't going to become 'undead', no matter how much I wish he could come back.  Only one of us is alive now and that's me.  I best start acting like it.

I am not longer in survival mode.  Simply surviving isn't enough to satisfy me anymore.  I want to do far more than survive Mike's death.  I want to LIVE again.  I want to thrive for myself, and for my children. And, thriving is going to involve changes that go beyond pillows and paint, even if the paint is the best shade of pale blue.

 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

I Wanted to Call You

It has been now 6 years since my fiance died. Very seldom these days do I have those moments when all I want to do is pick up the phone to call him and tell him about something that happened. Part of that is due to time, and probably part due to being able to share many of our favorite things with my new partner Mike. Having lost my mom when I was 9 and my dad at 26, I think has to do with it too. I simply have SO many moments in my life that I wish I could call all three of these people to share with them, that I think over the years, I’ve become a bit numb to it. It’s just part of my life to such a degree that most of the time, it doesn’t even occur to me anymore that another reality could exist where I could call them up and talk to them.

And then yesterday happened…

Mike, his daughter Shelby, and I went to a local baseball game that I’ve been looking forward to for months. They often have guests at the games, and this game in particular there was to be one of the actors from the tv show Scrubs. What’s special about this is that it is my all-time favorite tv show, and a show that Drew and I both loved and watched throughout our relationship. There were countless inside jokes we shared that related back to the show, and countless memories spent on the couch together laughing. It’s silly to think that a show could mean so much, but there’s always one or two shows that do weave their way into our hearts in a deeper way.

This show also became a theme in my new life with Mike too. He was a fan before we met, and since we have enjoyed the same sort of memories and inside jokes together with this show. In fact, there is even a particular song in the show that has become our song. It feels in a way like this beautiful continuation of something that began with Drew and I.

So here I am, at the ball game, waiting in line to meet and get an autograph from one of the actors of the show, with my new person. I was so nervous and excited. We got a picture with him, and I got to briefly tell him how I’ve watched the show since the beginning and it’s our favorite show and such. But there was so little time, and more people in line. And so much more I wanted to say. I wanted to tell him about the whole history. About it being part of my old life and now my new life, and meeting him was somehow some exciting part of that whole thing. But there wasn’t time. I left feeling excited but also sad. And I tried to fight off the sadness the rest of the game, but it was definitely there...

Read more
1 reaction Share

The Only and the Already

There are minutes, hours, days that seem to fly by while seconds seem to drag on forever. It has only and already been 4 months since Tin has passed - only and already.

For those that don’t lose their “person”, it is hard to explain that time’s guidelines begin to bend in ways we never knew. Good days go fast. Bad days go slow. Yet the next week reverses and bad days go fast and good days go slow. Either way I’m keeping busy but the one thing I can’t run from is the building feeling of being lonely. I’m filling my days but not with new things and social events…I have to do everything around the house and I’ve also added 2 other side jobs to cover the cost of being alone. I’m busy but when I look at my day:

Weekdays - Wake up, walk Roan, gym, work, walk Roan, check work stuff for job 2 and 3, bed, repeat.

Read more
3 reactions Share

How Is This My Life?

Today I went to the post office to send off multiple copies of the book that I wrote about my husband's sudden death, our love story, and my life in the aftermath. Then I went to the YMCA and took another pool / water aerobics class, followed by physical therapy for my neck and shoulders because I developed arthritis and bone spurs in my neck due to all the writing I have been doing when I was finishing writing said above mentioned book. 
After that, I went to the Realty office for my part-time job, helping out a local realtor with his Social Media pages and his online presence.  I came home to my place of living - my parent's basement , and made dinner for me and my mom. Then I started packing up some stuff for my trip tomorrow. Where am I going, you didn't ask? Well, let me tell you. Me, 6 other widow friends, a therapy dog, and a goat, are all going on a mini-vacation to Maine. Yeah, you read that right. 7 widows, a dog, and a goat. We were supposed to have a Beach motel, but the reservation got messed up, and now we are scrambling around last minute trying to find some poor soul who will rent us their house or cottage or motel rooms even though we have a dog and a goat. This trip is already hilarious, and we haven't even left yet. 
Read more
2 reactions Share

What Remains, In This After of You

A trifold flag, presented to me at your memorial service.

Where are you, my beloved?

ID tags that hang over my bed or around my neck.

Where are you, my beloved?

3 children you raised with me, though they weren’t of your blood.

Where are you, my beloved?

A grandson who would tower over you in height, and who reminds me of you each time I see a picture of him.

Where are you, my beloved?

A son who lives your example of a life of service.

Where are you, my beloved?

Another son who loves science and philosophy, who holds your strong belief in family.

Where are you, my beloved?

A daughter who gently and quietly offers Love to those around her.

Where are you, my beloved?

The thoughts I have, the words I use to explain them, remembered from you.

Where are you, my beloved?

The simple tasks of daily life…putting gas in my car, walking for exercise, paying bills.

Where are you, my beloved?

The open road in front of my car, looking West, steering me into this new life.

Where are you, my beloved?

Read more
2 reactions Share

Taking the Lead

There were so many reasons for Megan to be proud of Shelby.  From her sheer intelligence, to her love for reading, to even her quirky weirdness.  She appreciated that Shelby had a love for nature, at least tiny animals and flowers.  We would take Shelby camping at least once a year, but due to Megan’s condition, that was the limit.

We took one “backpacking” trip as a family.  Shelby was about 5 years old, and carried nothing but a few stuffed animals and granola bars in her pack.  Megan had received her transplant, and thus was just healthy enough to schlep some weight and contribute to a one mile hike into the wilderness of West Virginia to camp.  

I was proud of Shelby at that point for her enthusiasm.  We hiked in a thunderstorm, to a small patch of territory in the middle of nowhere, and she loved it.  There was no apprehension about not having four walls, light at the flick of a switch, or running water.  She, like me, actually wanted that lack of modern conveniences.

Since Megan’s death, Sarah, Shelby and I have taken a few more “easy” trips.  Each has had the same effect of me being proud of Shelby, although I’ve had to be proud for both Megan and I.  She’s still been carrying a very small load, considering there were two adults to shoulder most of the baggage for her.  

A big first happened this past weekend though.  Shelby and I took our first trip together, just the two of us, and she started carrying some of her own baggage.  

Read more
2 reactions Share