Today Mike and I are writing together about a topic that our Friday writer Kelley asked about recently. Most people assume it is easier to be in a relationship with another widowed person when you are widowed. And it's true, a lot of things are simplified when you understand each other's loss. Kelley was curious to know what some of the specific challenges are when you have two widowed people in a relationship, so we thought we'd write a few posts on the topic...
The first thing I thought of in relation to this question is that your widow card is basically canceled out. There is no way to leverage that card to your advantage during a fight when your partner has been through exactly as horrible of a loss too. I do know from others who have dated or married someone non-widowed, that it’s extremely tempting to use that widow card to trump their arguments and opinions. When I was with Drew, there were times that I used my “dead parents card” to trump him in fights or conjure up some extra pity and attention for myself. They aren’t proud moments, but I think it’s a very normal temptation to want to use victim tactics when you’ve been through a lot.
That doesn’t work in a relationship with two widowed people. Even at times when we do try to lay down the widow card to trump each other, it doesn't really fly. We both have experienced losses in very different ways that are unfathomable to the other person… so there’s no hiding behind trump cards to manipulate a situation in our favor.
These past few weeks have been incredibly hard for me. I’ve been reliving what happened last year. It’s not that I welcome these thoughts, it’s that my brain keeps bringing them up. I remember the last lunch that we had as a family, just the day before my husband’s accident. I remember my daughter and I went to go have lunch with at his work. It bothered me that day that he didn’t like the color of my lipstick and made a joke out of it. Which seems so ridiculous now. It was a beautiful day though. We sat together in the courtyard and we had Asian cuisine. He held our baby girl and fed her, as we shared our last lunch. We joked and talked about our plans for that weekend. Life seemed so beautiful.
That evening, when we all got home, he made me our last dinner together. He made me shrimp with a quinoa salad. It was delicious! He read a book to our baby girl and put her down for the very last time. After our daughter was down for the night, we went outside to our backyard and enjoyed a nice glass of wine. That night he told me that he wished I could step into his shoes to know how much he loved me. He had said that in a serious manner, which was normally not my husband. Those words had so much depth and sincerity, and little did I know I would never hear those words again.Read more
If I could...
These 6 1/2 years later than the day after your death that I never thought I'd survive...
I would approach you hesitantly...
I would rush into your arms...
I would stand in wonder...
I would stare disbelievingly at you...
I would shake my head back and forth...
Today is one of those exquisitely beautiful, bright autumn days. With temperatures that would feel “just right” on a mid-summer’s day, but with the added benefit of a gentle breeze to doubly kiss my bare skin as I sit now, in the garden, writing this piece.
I have been out on a “long run”. The kind of “long run” I do in the run-up to a half-marathon. I am registered for the one in Lausanne (Switzerland) just two weeks from now. Today should be my “peak distance” run, but because I have run so little, there was nothing noteworthy about this particular peak.
I was reflecting while I was out. I don’t take podcasts or music with me. For years I have allowed myself the privilege of total silence when out and about running – for mental space as well as personal safety reasons. Where I run, on fairly remote forest and mountain tracks, I need to be vigilant.
I was reflecting on how I had been in a conversation the night before with a dear friend whose friendship goes back now 28 years. She’s known me through all my losses. We don’t see each other much and when we talk there feels to be much to catch up on. But it’s work. Hard work. Going into my grief stories, trying to find words to articulate that for which there are no words is so painful. Tiring. It hurts. Particularly when it’s what I live day in day out.Read more
It is not just his deadness, it’s my aliveness that weighs heavy on my Soul.
In a month and one day, it will be exactly three years since Mike died.
And, this year, it is not only his deadness that is gutting me, it is more...
Mike is dead. That sentence is awful to read. Beyond awful really. And, it is terrible to type. But, I force myself to bluntly and truthfully acknowledge his death in my writing every week because it helps me. It pronounces my reality. Mike died. He can not become undead. And, no matter how many times I write about missing him - he is gone from here.
There is no fix to his deadness. It is what it is. And, over time, I have slowly begun to process his death. This doesn't mean I like it. I don't. I never will. But, I know that it is something that can not be undone. So what can be done? That is where I choose to focus my thoughts. For me, I have to focus on what still is. I can not let his death define me. I have to concentrate on more. Daily, I ask myself "now what?"; and, in truth, I still don't know nearly three years later.
Well, I made it through the long three days of Mike being out of town for work the other week. He made sure to text or call at every turn so that I knew he was safe - which helped so much to keep the panic at bay a bit. So no, he didn't die. Much to my relief. Although I will say, the whole ordeal of having to cope with my new person on a work trip after my previous person died on one, has stirred up a lot. In fact, Mike is currently fixing my car and as I watch him underneath 3000+ lbs of metal, the thoughts just come again. Before I know it I’m imagining the entire thing crashing down on him and me, standing there, not knowing what to do. Or what if it crashes down on him and kills him instantly, and there I am, standing there, my whole world flipped upside down again. Only this time I have a kid and no job. How will I take care of her? How will I get a job to pay for everything? There goes my mind... off on it's own horrific adventure. Although this is all highly unlikely, you all know, that doesn’t stop the stories in my head, or the physical reaction.
I wish I could do something about this. I wish I could go back to not knowing what that would be like for my partner to die suddenly and instantly have my entire future taken away. Most of all, I wish my body didn’t remember the trauma. Seven years later, the thoughts, feelings, and sensations are quieter though. Or at least, I have gotten much better at calming myself and just allowing it to mildly be there.Read more
Its been a little over eight years since the sudden death of my husband and my world came crashing down like a tsunami,
and so far, it sure has been one hell of a storm.
Today, for no particular reason at all, I suddenly realized how the word "widow" has shifted and changed for me over these years.
And, Im guessing, how it may continue to shift and change.
Just as there are phases in any new reality,
there are phases of widow, too.
I will try to explain, although Im guessing that in this blog,
Im mostly "preaching to the choir" on this one.
You guys get it.
But for those who don't,
here's a little peek into the phases of the term widow ...Read more
I recently came back from taking my daughter to Disneyland. It was a bitter and sweet vacation. It was the first time we vacationed without my husband. It was very hard to not have his physical presence with us. I decided to take my daughter to Disneyland because that is something my husband and I had talked about. I am aware now, that you can’t wait years to complete something in life. Some people may have the time, but others don’t. Therefore I try to live in the now.
I shed many tears while I packed, struggled at the airport with a toddler, stroller, and luggage, and dealt with the rental car company. Oh, and yes, I had to carry all the luggage up a flight of stairs just to put the cherry on top. It didn’t feel like a vacation for me. I have the bruises and the soreness to prove it.Read more
Whispers of you and I
Echo in each pulse beat
that brings life to my body.
So much Love.
(Note: Even though I live in France, I am basically British, and in the UK we call what Americans call a “Teeter Totter” a “See-Saw”; and we call what Americans call a “Merry-Go-Round” a “Roundabout”. At least we did back in the last millennium when I last lived in the UK).
I have in my mind’s eye one of those playground attractions
A blend of a see-saw and a roundabout
They actually do exist
I have been on at least one – probably not as a young child
But either as an adult child, or even a middle-aged child
I have long loved big swings and even some exciting slides
But I once fell off a roundabout when I was 6 years old
When living in Swansea, and broke my leg
(Fractured actually, but I understood the word “broken” better)
And I considered see-saws to be boring and static
But ones that swing around as they go up and down?
Much more fun
Until the sensation is no longer simply pure joy
Rising up and up and up
With an occasional bump back down to keep the
Instead it’s now just the occasional up
Out of a vast, all-encompassing sumpRead more