When I first became widowed, I remember asking someone who had been a widow much longer than me, if the pain would ever get easier.
Her response was: "Not easier, but softer. It gets softer. "
I didnt really understand what she meant.
I met Christina Rasmussen, from Second Firsts, early in my widowhood, on her first book tour.
She was in Boston and I was in NH, so I drove to the book store holding the event, and heard her speak for the first time.
It didn't change the emotions of my widowhood, but her words, her philosophy about life after loss touched me deeply.
It was my first true indication that I wasn't alone on this road.Read more
As a widow, my relationship with time is strained and worn.
In the past, I assumed that I had at least twenty more years with Mike, but I didn't.
He and I ran out of time.
There was simply not enough time.
For reasons I do not know or understand, we were not given more time together.
And, now, without him, there is too much time.
Too much time alone.
Too much time spent thinking about a better place in time.
Too much time wishing things were different.
Too much time thinking about how to recreate my life without him.
While there wasn't enough time for Mike and I, now there is too much time for me.
Last week, I wrote about dealing with fear. More specifically, the fear of more bad things happening. Of the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think it’s normal when you’ve experienced any major loss to begin to fear another one coming. So for the past six months or so, I’ve been having an increasingly big fear of someone else in my life dying or some other horrific thing happening.
Since writing last week’s post, I feel a little bit better about all of this. They’re still there… but it felt kind of like giving myself permission to have those feelings by sharing them aloud.
I think that’s the great thing about sharing our fears and struggles… it takes some of the heaviness out of it. It gives us permission to feel how we feel. I definitely felt a weight lifted off having shared those feelings out loud. And maybe even more importantly, it helped me to accept that I felt that way.Read more
In July, it will have been 8 years since my husband's sudden death from cardiac arrest bulldozed into my life.
There are so many days when I trick myself into thinking that Im really okay now and maybe this wont affect me anymore.
And then I get knocked over by something such as this .......
On Wednesday, I went to the gym (YMCA), where I have been exercising with a pool workout routine, 4 to 5 times per week. On Wednesday, I did my workout routine with my water weights and laps and such, then went out to the adjoining room for my favorite part - the post-workout hot tub sit. While sitting there with the water jets on my sore joints, one of the older ladies walked in from the pool area. She had left the class early because her chest felt tight, she was really hot, and she "didn't feel right." That's pretty much the only "warning" my husband gave , according to the staff at Pet-smart , where he collapsed that day while working his part-time job and his volunteer work with animal adoption, almost 8 years ago now. He told his manager casually, after coming out of the restroom: "I dunno, I just don't feel right." The manager asked if he wanted to go home. Apparently, Don being Don, said "Nah, I''m fine. Ill stay until my relief comes." Half-hour later, he was lying on the floor, in cardiac arrest.Read more
I find that my deams often reveal the detail of my grief. In a recent dream, my wife was scolding me for my parenting approach, “You too often let her get away with not eating fruits and veggies!” Clearly, I have not moved on from feelings of self-doubt about my parenting skills. I know most parents struggle with healthy food options, but I know it would be A LOT easier to feed my daughter if Natasha were still here. She wasn’t just a good cook, she was a great food researcher: I didn’t have to read labels and search websites, Natasha would just say, “Buy this, and not that.” This is where relying on our community is very helpful.Read more
My motto, since Chuck died, is push your boundaries. Stretch your comfort zones. Go where you've never gone before.
It hasn't been difficult to do this, honestly.
Chuck died in southern CA, in our 4th year on the road.
I had no home to return to; we'd sold it, and our belongings, years before, to go adventuring.
So I was already well accustomed to living outside my comfort zone. Already living a different life each day, as we traveled from one state to another...hiking, climbing, visiting National Parks and monuments, meeting new people.
Living the traveling life suited both of our personalities.
And then he died...Read more
You may have noticed that last Tuesday, there was no post from me. In short, we had a major power outage at my work, starting the Sunday prior, and being the only IT person, it fell to me keep the business running.
I left home Sunday evening, towards the office, and I was there until 3 A.M. or so. Then home for a few hours, then back to the office. I got maybe 45 minutes of sleep between Sunday morning and Tuesday morning.
This kind of thing has been a part of my life for a few decades now. It just comes with my chosen career.
That doesn’t make it feel “OK” though.Read more
Wanderlust take 2.
I need to see new things.
And, also, I need to 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.
I feel like I am holding my breath,
Living here in the outskirts of my old life.
I wrote this in August of 2018 and seven months later I continue to feel restless. I still want to make changes in my life, and I remain at a standstill partly out of necessity and mostly because I am less sure of myself since Mike died. But, this is about to change...
For the better part of the last two years and a few months, I have simply existed in suburbia. I am not living. I continue to breathe in the proximity of my old life, but it is suffocating me. I go through the motions day to day, but I do not feel connected with the life I'm living. And, this is a cruddy and unfulfilling way to be.
As much as I try, I am not overly content with my life without Mike. I am unsettled and underwhelmed. And, I know that no one but me can change this. So, I have decided that I need to follow my intuition. I need to action something. And, the exciting news is that I have.
This past six months or so I’ve been noticing a bit of a looming feeling in the background of my mind. Things in my life are relatively dialed in for the time being. I have a new life, a family, a routine of day to day things. I have dealt with enough of the bigger stressors that I now have more time and energy to tackle and explore smaller things like organizing the house and my own mind better. Essentially, the fires have been put out and I feel like it has opened up some space to explore a little. For me though, that also comes with an incredibly challenging sense of doom.
When things start to feel calm and in order, I start to get scared. I guess I start looking for what’s going to go wrong. I’ve had that feeling my whole life really, not just since being widowed. My mom died when I was nine. I struggled with depression for about 2 years after that, with no one to really talk to about it. My dad fell into drinking pretty bad when I was in my late teens and thru my twenties. Then he died when I was 27. Three years later, Drew died suddenly in a crash.
From the time I was nine years old, I have not gone more than 7 or 8 years without something catastrophic and life altering happening to me. Much more of the time, it has been every couple of years. It is currently nearing year seven since Drew died… so I guess it isn’t surprising that I am dealing with these feelings of impending doom.Read more