Yesterday, I was driving to my Soaring Spirits Widowed Social Group meetup that I co-lead.
We meet 2x per month, at various coffee shops and restaurants and such.
We provide friendship, support, and a place to safely be our widowed selves,
whether thats crying, laughing, venting, or anything in between.
Yesterday we met at a new location. A restaurant we had not yet met at before.
I had never been there before.
The location of the restaurant is on the right side of a street where a 4-way intersection meets.
Getting to the parking lot is a bit confusing.
I drove past the restaurant, because I couldnt find the entrance to it.
So I drove up a couple thousand feet up the road, made a left onto a secondary street, slowed down, put my directional on, and made a U-Turn to get back onto the street where the restaurant was.
In the midst of my U-turn, the driver who was behind me smashed into my car, on the left drivers rear side.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, my car was being pushed off the road by the impact, I was in a fog of some kind, and I had been slammed pretty hard.
One second, everything was fine and normal.
Then, with no warning at all,
And although a car accident is different than someone having a sudden heart attack and dying, as my husband did,
I know what both feel like. The shock and fog and cloudy feeling is no joke.
As we called 911 and asked each other "are you okay?" and all the other chaos that happens in the moments after an accident,
my mind felt thick and unsure. I felt in a daze of some kind. Like I was watching a movie in slow-motion, and not really understanding the plot.Read more
Alison wrote in today to say that she wouldn't be able to write her blog, so we chose a piece that she shared in 2016 that we thought you would enjoy. <3
These days that stretch and wind and turn and curve
Nights that do the same
This life filled with unknowing and uncertainty
And grief and loss and wandering and wondering
Roads that stretch and wind and turn and curve
Thousands of miles since you died, my LoveRead more
When your spouse has a long-term, terminal illness, it’s very easy to devote all of your attention to their well-being. I rationalized for years that there was quite literally nothing as bad as what Megan was going through, so anything regarding my own health or person was minimal.
It wasn’t healthy in and of itself, but in the grand scheme of things, I felt “fine”. Megan was the important thing to focus on, just trying to get her to the next day, week, or month. I would simply hold down the fort at home while she was in treatment, go about the routines, and worry about myself later.
It’s now “later”.Read more
Most people on the periphery assume we are strong because they see us doing life. They see us on our driveways. They watch us get into our vehicles as we are on our way to participate in the stuff of living. Yes, we are doing things. They are witness to it. And, the assumption is that we’ve got this. And, maybe part of us does have this. But, there is also a big part of us that is just not okay. At best, we are “okayish” which leaves room for improvement.
In our new life, we participate in activities and half-heartedly go through the motions because after a while, despite our brokenness, we must return to our responsibilities. On ordinary days, I frantically multitask because where there was once two people adulting, now there is only one. Without choice, I now bear the full weight of life in suburbia.
Like many of you reading this, I continue to: raise children, maintain my career, pay my mortgage, plan holidays, unclog drains, and even liberally apply moss killer to the lawn. I pay my bills online while I sit in my car waiting for my son to finish his haircut. I renew house insurance, attend graduations, get routine oil changes on my vehicle, and take my kid to the orthodontist. I stand in line waiting for shaved ham at the deli counter. And, then I lovingly pack this ham into bagged lunches. And, on most days, while doing all this, I attempt to comb my hair into a style that doesn’t resemble frazzled.
Widowed people do this stuff.
All of it.
Every last thing.
We fall back into the mundane rhythm of an ordinary life.
Except our new existence is far from ordinary.
We diligently do all the things life requires of us.
But, now, there is a distinct hollowness to it.
Every single day we make something hard look easy.
Lately I’ve been feeling some sort of an emptiness. After Drew died, for a lot of years, I was doing a lot of creative work around my grief. I was finding visual ways to express this inner world and sharing it with others. There was something about that work that felt so purposeful. It felt like I was doing something important for myself, and indirectly for others a bit too. Mainly, I felt like I was expressing who I was and what I cared about in a really bold way, and it felt right. It felt like I was being myself more fully than I ever had before. Talking about the realities of grief and loss and pain and also courage and creativity and resiliency.
Fast forward now seven years, and I’m finding myself not the person I had hoped I’d be… “by now”. This emptiness almost feels like it comes out of the absence of the really deep pain I was in during those early years. Life has kept on going, and I have kept on living it in many bold and beautiful ways. My life now though is far less governed by my grief and my pain. As the years go on, the pain softens, and somehow I have struggled to know what to do with myself without the agony of fresh grief. I’ve struggled to have a voice without that central idea of pain and lossRead more
My daughter has a friend over for a playdate today and it has been a good introspective snapshot of where I am at. I keep thinking that I have all of this new confidence, but some remnants of the old me remain, like persistent weeds that always finds new tunnels to the surface.
Kelley Lynn is out of town this week and is not able to post her weekly Friday blog, so we went back to a post she wrote 5 years ago about the weight that comes with making sure our loved ones are remembered. Even five years later, we'll bet that many of you can relate to her words...
If you are widowed, and you are reading this, then you know that missing your person and the life you had together is as constant as breathing - it is a new fact in your new life that you didn't ask for, and it's just there, always and forever. The missing of what was never goes away.Read more
A thousand years ago
I leaned down
Placed my hands to each side of your sunken cheeks
Closed my eyes,
As yours were closed,
And so very gently kissed your lips that had gone completely white
As you took your last breath.Read more
Shelby has now, quite literally, walked in her mother's shoes. It's odd to me that, at the age of 12, she actually fits in them, but then again, she isn't stricken with the growth-impeding disease the Megan had.
After buying her new hiking shoes and boots for years, we decided to have her try on Megan's last pair. They fit her almost perfectly. Like that first time Shelby came down the stairs wearing her mom's t-shirt, I was taken aback, and Shelby thought nothing of it.
Credit goes to Megan for that trait. She was very realistic and unemotional about her own death. She accepted it and moved on to better things. It was rare for her to be scared or have deep thoughts about it, unlike me, who constantly dreaded it. Shelby, like her mother, never worries over Megan's death. I have yet to see her show any sadness, since the funeral mass. It's honestly the best Megan could have hoped for.Read more
I had these exact same thoughts a year ago; and, tonight I wonder if any of this ever gets easier.
Am I a lousy widow?
Am I doing this wrong?
What the hell am I supposed to do?
What can I do to make any of this better?
Is this even possible.
Is it fair to assume that I will recover from Mike's death?
Still, 2.5 years later almost every thought still begins with him.
I am still unable to live in the moment because part of me lives in the past.
I struggle to be present because in my mind I am endlessly travelling to a better place in time.
Again and again I return to this place where he existed once upon a time.
Time has gone on without him and I am left here living in limbo...