My friend just texted me about dates. Her text wasn’t about a coffee date or an up coming dinner date. Nope, her text was not about those type of dates. Instead, she was referencing dates on the calendar that are significant because her husband died.
What a Joy Kill is what most people outside of the grief community might think; but, I’m widowed too. I “get it”. I know exactly where she is coming from. I have come to understand how time and grief are intricately and intimately tied together.
My friend's text message made me stopped and deeply think about the practice of “counting days” and “keeping track of time” based on something other than a clock. Time tracking behaviour is common among the bereaved because we are grasping to measure the distance between their aliveness and their deadness. We are trying to understand how their death seems so long ago; yet, in our mind, it concurrently feels like it was only yesterday that they were alive. The reality is that Mike will have been gone from here for three years this November 2019; but to me it feels like only moments ago that he was real in this dimension.
The past month or two has been tough. This time of year usually is. It’s the time of year that led up to when Drew died. These months were some of the happiest in our relationship. He had just gotten his first job as a pilot and was finally living his dreams. We were beginning to look towards our future together, towards a wedding and a new chapter of togetherness. We were at the height of everything and going exciting places… when the crash changed all of that in an instant.
It’s already a hard enough time of year. In the background of living day to day life, I get flashes of memories of the last time we went out to dinner together, or the last time we went for a hike or the last birthday we celebrated together. Flashes of all the happiness and laughter that were ended so abruptly in a crash.
On top of all of that, our anniversary is just a week before the day he died. Forever those two events slam into me almost simultaneously… a one-two punch. And of course it has been on my mind for weeks now leading up to this week. But this time, something else happened on our anniversary a few days ago.
This time, the thing that I never ever wanted to happen, happened. For the entire day of our anniversary…
For the entire day, I was completely unaware of what day it even was. And the whole thing went by without my even realizing it was that special day. It is the horror of all horrors as a widow... to forget an important day. And let me tell you, when it first hit me, I was completely horrified.Read more
Perspective is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone gets tunnel vision but what I have learned is that our loss is actually a painful gift. I know that sounds strange to view the loss of our person as a gift but that’s the only perspective that keeps me going. That there is a reason I finally found Clayton and he was taken away from me. I can share what the loss is so others appreciate what they have, however, people quickly forget the trial and tribulations of others.
It’s so difficult to hear couples complain about each other or aspects of their lives.Read more
Things are hard.
Life is hard.
Sometimes I am convinced that life is much harder for some than for others.
Sometimes it feels like I can never get a break.
Sometimes it feels like I will always struggle and things will always be really hard,
and that is just how my life will be.
I dont know.
None of this is fact.
Clearly, 4 ½ years is far too long to miss the love of your life since society continues to tell me not to miss my wife anymore. The thrust of the conversation is aimed at pushing me to stop talking about missing my wife and get over it! As a result, we all learn to judge our social environment carefully before bringing illness, longing and/or death, if only grief weren’t so powerful.Read more
On May 29 I celebrated 10 years of fulltiming on the open road.
The first 4 were with my beloved husband, Chuck.
The last 6 have been solo. Widowed.
Wishing for it to be different, and living it fully, at the same time.
Living on the road in my little pink trailer, driving my pink car, this Odyssey of Love, is just what I do, and I don't give a whole lot of thought to it.
But my DIL and one of my best friends suggested to me that a decade of living on the road was something I needed to acknowledge publicly, and celebrate.
Since I'm workamping at Opera in the Ozarks, I thought it would be the perfect place to have the celebration, so I planned it out pdq.
I decorated the tables in the cafeteria with pink tablecloths and strewed pink heart beads and necklaces across it, and pink napkins.
Our on site baker made a cake for all of us. Strawberry cake with chocolate frosting, with a road made of pink glitter and a pink camper she'd found perched upright on that road. Underneath the road flowed the words of my motto Love leads the way.
I bought sparkling cider for everyone, because I wanted them to toast with me.
Lots of the students wore pink in my honor.
When dinner was finished I stood up and shared how my Odyssey of Love began, and the power of the Love that fuels every mile.
It is only because of Love that I'm still here, and sane.
I told them that it's up to us, even when we're devastated, to go out into the world and create community for ourselves, and build connections with others, because nobody but we ourselves can do the footwork.
I explained to them all the names and messages of Love written all over my pink rig.
I told them about Chuck and how much he loved me, and I, him.
And then I asked them all to raise their glasses in a toast to the most powerful force in the Universe.
When I sat down, my chair had my back facing the rest of the room and I knew that everyone was applauding but one of our staff told me to turn around and look.
Which I did, and they were all standing, applauding.
It choked me up.
I'm on year 10 of my life on the road.
I've been on the road solo for 6 years.
The same amount of time that I've been widowed.
In a few days I'll be 61 years old.
That's one year older than Chuck got to live.
My heart breaks when i think of it.
While this life that I've created is colorful and adventurous, at least to some, it isn't my first choice.
I'm only living it because Chuck died and I had to find a way to make everything that he and I had together, matter.
I had to make our Love matter.
I had to find a way to live with purpose.
I've done that. I have purpose in my Odyssey of Love.
I live on memories and on the Love that I find in the community I've created for myself.
And I don't much care whether that meets the approval of the latest psychological studies or not.
4 with him.
6 without him.
In a few days, 1 year older than he was when he died.
I don't know what to do with any of this, if I stop and think about it.
So, I don't think about it.
I just hug people and allow myself to be hugged.
Love is the only thing I hold to be true.
Here's to Chuck and the Love he left behind for me that gave me, gives me, the courage to set out on the open road by myself.
Here's to me, and listening to my heart.
And...here's to Love~
Does anyone else feel like they pay less attention to deaths these days? Hear me out. I’ve noticed this trend, at least in me, of learning of a person that might have been significant to me has died. I note it, give it a quick “that sucks, for their widow”, and go about my business.
Tim Conway (a comedian I grew up admiring), Bart Starr (a legendary quarterback that I was a fan of), or Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca!) have all died in the past month or so, and I kind of shrugged it off. I didn’t write out some long, heartfelt facebook post about how they meant the world to me. I didn’t really even “mourn” them. I acknowledged the death, thought about their widows for a second, a promptly moved on with my day.
Death happens now. It happens to young, old, married, unmarried, long-term, sudden, the worst of us, and the best of us. It just “is”. It’s not discriminatory or choosy. It’s random. When those deaths occured, they were just one each, in a line of billions over the millenia.Read more
Today was ”okay”. My grief wasn’t especially heavy. But, this is not usual. Most of the time I feel completely empty inside. The landscape of my Soul is barren since Mike died. I wish it was different, but it's not. I feel empty. There is an awful hollowness that lives inside me that I can't lose.
However, most people in my proximity are unaware of my emptiness. They only see the vibrant life I have. At first glance, my life appears fairly enviable. With the exception of Mike's death, I have all the trappings of a good life. I have the kids, the house, the car, and the career. I have managed to achieve a lot of success in Suburbia. The boxes are checked. My life does not appear to be lacking, but it is...
This blog will be short because I had a lasik procedure this week and my eyes get tired quickly.Read more
Whenever my daughtyer and I sleep next to each other there is a space beside us.
When I am getting Anisha ready for school there is a space next to us.
When we sleep next to each other, there is a space next to us.
When we have breakfast, lunch and dinner, there is a space next to us.
When we walk to a playground, there is a space next to us.
When we go for chocolate ice cream, there is a space next to us.
Space, spacc, space, always so much space that was once occupied by her touch.