Celebrations Realization~

I spent Mother's Day with our youngest son and his wife and 2 year old son.

They were loving and lovely and welcoming and it was a totally enjoyable time.

Even as it was heart ripping and filled with emotion because, you know...dead husband.

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Outsider

A month from today, Sarah, Shelby, and I will be hitting the road for Texas.  It is time for our annual “Drewfest” weekend, where Drew’s closest friends gather to remember him, celebrate him, and in general, have a fun time like the “good old days”.

Personally, this will be my fifth Drewfest.  I’ve been part of them since 2015, a few months after meeting Sarah, and less than a year after Megan’s death.  I wrote about the first one in a letter to Drew, right here, for Soaring Spirits, and coming up on this one, there are still many times when I feel like an “Outsider”.

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Where Are You Mike?

I often say aloud, "Where are you?"  I hold my hands out in front of me and hope to sense him in the air. I miss his physical presence and sometimes the lack of it makes me want to crawl out of my own skin.                                                                             

This widow life, it is beyond anything I ever expected to be living at the tender age of 42 (almost 43)  when it all began.  Now, 2.5 years later, I am still dumbstruck by all of it.  It is a mess.  I miss him and I expect that I always will.  Despite all the missing, I am living without him.  I am moving forward because I didn't die and I don't have a choice in this alternate life.  I have to continue because of my children and because my life requires it of me.  But, I miss him.  Time has not dulled this aching and I do not know if it ever will.

Some people tell me he is  "here".  He is  "with" me.   Well, his consciousness might be.  And, his Soul loves me for Eternity.  I KNOW this.  And, I appreciate this.   I know full well that love never ends, but what do I do with this?  What the hell does a woman do with a love she can't see, or hear or physically feel or touch?                                                                                

                                                                                                

 

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Complex Holidays

Mother’s Day. My relationship to this day has been a complicated one for most of my life. Until more recently actually, I did not celebrate this day at all. Since my mom died when I was nine, this day has really been nothing but painful for most of my years. So much so that I just decided to forget all about it in my twenties and avoid going out in public completely until it was over. Beause for me, it wasn't Mother's Day, it was Grief Day. One of many Grief Day holidays throughout the year. 

It’s safe to say I’ve always had an understandable disdain for this and any other holiday that calls attention to what is missing for me. Nothing quite as horrific as being the kid at school who doesn’t have a mom to make a card for or invite to a special Mother’s Day event.

My relationship to this day has changed a lot in the past ten years... I met Drew, and in the years we spent together as well as the years after he died, I’ve continued to get closer to his mom. Suddenly, after he died, we found ourselves in a unique place. A mother without her child, and a child without her mother. Suddenly, we found solace in each other, and an understanding of our different but equally deep losses. To this day, even halfway across the country, we remain close and a part of each other. She gave me a reason to appreciate this holiday in a way I hadn’t been able to before. She was the first person to help me see that this day isn’t only hard for me...

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What Lies Within

It’s an interesting thing how people around you say they understand and they will be there for you. However when you have a tough day and they respond by saying:

“I thought you said you were ok and moving on.”

“I was ok that day but there are no rules to what’s going on in my heart and my head.”

In all honesty I don’t know how to say what it feels like when you let someone in a little and they back away instead of standing by you. The best I can do is share the lyrics to P!NK’s song “Attic”

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Is The Grief Coming To An End?

 

I completely forgot!  It was Natasha’s birthday recently and I completely forgot.  In the 4 years since her death, I forgot her birthday for the first time.  I only remembered a couple of days later when my daughter was asking about her scheduled activities.

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Tightrope Walker

Have you ever felt like your life as a widowed person has you being pulled and pushed in multiple directions?

Like you are walking a tightrope, but nobody bothered to ever give you any lessons. 

It's a tug of war between responsibilities, loyalties, and things you want. 

Honoring that other life. 

Living this one. 

Grieving , but not staying stuck or paused there for too long. 

Feeling joy, but knowing the inevitable hollow sadness will soon follow. 

The yin and yang of life after the loss of your partner is complex. 

This revelation is nothing new, and is less of a revelation and more of an ongoing, changing observation. 

I am always trying to figure out life in the aftermath of loss. 

I am not sure there will ever be a finish line to that process. 

Life changes. We change. Things keep happening. People weave in and out of our inner-circle. 

So we keep re-evaluating. 

 

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Beginning my New Year~

My new year begins each April 21.

That's the date of Chuck's death.

It's the only new year that carries any meaning for me.

What do I care about January 1? 

April 21 is the day my life incinerated and I was eviscerated.

So it stands to reason, at least in my mind, that this is the day where I look back, and, insofar as I'm able, look ahead.

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Baggage

When I began my life without Mike 2.5 years ago, I felt like I landed in a foreign country and I could not speak the language.  There was a sense that I was standing helplessly in the baggage claims area.  I simply didn't know where to go from there.  I did not know how to proceed without my life companion. 

I desperately wanted to ask someone for directions.  I needed help.  But, I didn't know any widows or widowers.  And, besides, I was not sure how anyone could help me.  Mike was dead, no one could fix that.  So, I just stood frozen in place for a long, long time.

For the better part of that first year, I was completely bewildered.  I stood alone and I spent hours numbly surveying the wreckage of our shared life.  I had no idea where to begin rebuilding myself.  And, in truth, I didn't even know if it was possible to recreate my identity. 

Yet, somehow, as time continued, I slowly got my baggage sorted out.  But, I still remained aimless.  I still didn't know my destination.  Where was I supposed to go?  Where the hell did I want to go? 

 

This was year one.

 

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Call Me Anytime

I watched the first episode of a new show on Netflix this morning called Dead to Me. In the episode, two women meet at a grief group, both widows. They end up building a new friendship as late night phone buddies since neither of them are able to sleep. The show goes on to take a lot of unexpected twists and turns (and believe me you should so watch it!), but that one aspect had me remembering the early days of my widowhood… of building friendships with fellow widows in the wee hours of the night.

When I first connected with other widowed people, it was through a private Facebook group. Many of us ended up fairly often online, in the middle of the night. Effectively being late-night “phone” buddies for each other when we could not sleep. There was almost always someone there ready to listen, in the middle of the night or any other time of day that we just needed to feel heard and lay down our guard. And because we got each other, there was just this ease. A kind of comfort no one else could really provide. I ended up making a few of my closest friends from that initial group, people I now travel to see and talk on the phone with often.

I was fortunate to have found groups like that online, and to have since built friendships with people who will actually fulfill the words “Call me ANYTIME”. I have used that lifeline even now, seven years after my fiance died. Because new things do come up. You start dating again. You move in with someone new. You get engaged to someone new. You hit the 5 year mark or the 10 year mark from your person’s death. New stuff always comes.

So yes, I have been very fortunate to find places to spill out all my shit no matter the time of day. But I do remember for about the first 6 months, I didn’t have that.

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