I believe in Love.
I believe that Love enriches and empowers and creates and morphs mere humans into magnificent beings.
I believe that life dares us and bids us, at our best and our worst, to open our hearts to Love.
I believe that life challenges us, through strife and perplexity and awkwardness, to continue loving in the face of all that it throws at us.
Life entreats us and whispers to us…allow, yield, concede, open, persevere,
In spite of and because of…
Love. Just Love.
Photo source: mapofthenight
Grief takes us to a secluded, dark place.
We resist settling into this lonely realm.
But, in order to slowly breathe life back into ourselves,
We have to temporarily take residence in this muted, mysterious environment,
I resisted this shadowy, hidden place for a long, long time.
I ran from it whenever possible.
Because, I was scared to be alone in the "nothingness" of this place.
I had the notion that my fears would swallow me alive.
I thought I would drown in the silence.
Maybe you feel like this today.
If you feel lonely,
Displaced and rootless,
You are not alone...
If you are drifting in a place of "nothingness"
Does it comfort you to know,
I am here - in this abyss - with you.
Take my hand,
Let's find our way...
We need to turn to our hearts for direction.
If you listen, in the stillness, past your heartbeat, you can faintly hear the breeze.
The Winds of Change are here...
I don’t think I ever anticipated how difficult one aspect of dating a widower with kids would be for me… my own self-imposed comparisons. I don’t think I was equipped to handle this, and honestly I’m probably still not doing the best job of managing, though I am trying.
It was and continues to be tough that I moved into someone else’s life that was so established and so different from my own. To move into the house Mike and his wife raised their child in together. The house they were first married in together. To know there's a whole history here that does not include me. And what I still think I may be having a lot of trouble with as someone who is dating a widower is constantly holding myself up to this reflection of his wife. In particular, her as a mother, and their relationship as parents.Read more
Don Shepherd likes to send me great, big, obvious signs. I never question that it's him. I just know. One of the signs he sends over and over, is the big yellow Penske moving truck.
On Superbowl Sunday, 2005, Don pulled up in a big yellow Penske truck, with his car attached and his cat in his lap, after driving 24 hours to New Jersey from Florida - and we began our new adventure together. He moved into my apartment and turned it from a place to live, into a home. He would ask me to be his wife 10 months later, and we would be married 4 years and 9 months before his sudden death. The Penske truck, to me, represents new beginnings. I usually see it a lot this time of year - and I usually see it right after I was thinking about or talking about Don. When he is coming in strongest, I will see lots of them right in a row, while driving. Or one will be parked somewhere significant, on a milestone kind of day. Whenever I see one, I say " Hi, Don." It's become part of my vocabulary and a normal part of life.Read more
I sometimes feel like I have 2 identities: the me before and the me after my husband, Mike, died. I was originally going to introduce myself by introducing the me before I became a widow but that wasn’t sitting well with me as a first impression. It’s not really who I am today. It is still important to how my current identity developed but it is not all of it. Who I am today is more relevant because it is me in this moment. However, unlike the Before Me who knew who she was and can be described pretty clearly, the Now Me is still a work in progress and therefore harder to explain.
Some parts of me are still straightforward though. I’m 29 years old. I feel like possibly going on 80 sometimes, but nope, just 29. I am a grade 1/2 teacher in Ontario, Canada. I have a dog named Tango who has to listen to me when I share about my day. He’s pretty good at it and he doesn’t interrupt except to give me kisses, which is also acceptable. I love the outdoors and being active. I go for a lot of hikes with my dog and take him cross-country skiing (skijorning) in the winter. I also like mountain biking, snowboarding, running, travelling, cottaging and working out. I don’t particularly love to cook but I love to eat so I’m a pretty decent cook. I do love to bake. And read and write. I have amazing friends and family who I also enjoy spending time with. I’d appreciate adding a few hours in the day so I have time for all the things I want to do. See, I can do “normal.Read more
What I have come to understand about grief and widowhood and the struggles that come with it.
Except that it has the power to eat you up and spit you out, sweating and breathing hard on the other side. When you get to the other side, and it’s anybody’s guess as to when that might happen. There is no timeline for any of this, as I’ve heard repeatedly over the 4 years and 10 months since Chuck’s death.
Three years is not an insignificant amount of time to be in a relationship with someone.
Three years is how long Megan and I dated before we were married.
Three years is how long Megan was “healthy” during our relationship.
Three years is how old Shelby was when her mother was carted away in an ambulance, on her way to an unknown future.
Three years is how long Sarah and Drew were together before his death.
Three years ago, Sarah and I met.Read more
Photo credit: opticalillusionphotos.blogspot.ca
It's been almost fifteen months since Mike died and people around me presume that I am adjusting to life without him. With no experience to draw on, most people believed that the bereaved heal with time. As you know, this is not completely correct. Grief is an active process. With every breathe we take, we work towards finding peace and purpose in our new, changed lives. I believe that grief requires us to actively participate in our own re-birth.
The truth is, I have not "adjusted" to Mike's death. At this time, I exist in a life that I barely recognize. It feels like my old life was hijacked. And, now, I feel removed from my own existence. I sense that I am being forced to live a new life; and compared to my old life, this new existence is lack lustre. Most days, it feels like I am masquerading in someone else's life. I do not want to live this facade. I miss Mike and I want my former life back.
At this point, I can not accept that Mike is gone from the physical dimension where I exist. The permanence of his absence is overwhelming and it nauseates me. Mike's death is not something that I will easily get used to. Mike wasn't a gold fish. I can't just flush the toilet, forget about him and carry on. It is going to take a hell of a lot longer than fifteen months for me to adapt to Mike dying.
Acquaintances in my life see me working, raising kids, and socializing. They believe the illusion that I'm "getting on with my life". They think I've got this. I wish they were right. But,
Life is a merry-go-round.
I’m just riding it until I fall down.
I’ve learned that widowed status does not create saints or good people.
Good people aren’t created from loss. They can be, but the choice is always available every second of every day. It’s not loss that makes us good or bad people. It’s our choices.
We can use that to support and love others, or we can use that to tear others down and become a destructive force that hinders others from healing, but most especially including ourselves.
Plato said it best, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
We are battling, and we are all fighting a hard battle, whether that be widowhood or the frustrations of life in general.
Be kind. To others. But especially to yourself.
Id like to write today about the concept of being or feeling “blessed” or “lucky”, what these terms mean to me personally, and how people’s views about faith directly affect their grief thoughts.
I know and I respect that each of us has varying and different views on faith, God, and religion. Generally speaking, I think that people should believe whatever it is that helps them get through the day and get through life with the least amount of horrifying pain, and they should practice or not practice whatever belief system or guide brings them the most peaceful existence. I also strongly believe that people’s feelings about something are rarely “wrong.” They are your feelings and emotions, so how can that be wrong? I think its important and vital that we validate the person who believes in nothing, in the same way that we tend to do so with those who are religious.Read more