Into the Woods

slide_352583_3820972_free.jpg Patience. I’m trying  my hardest to have some lately… with myself, with change, with pain. It’s easier said than done. I am beginning to realize that it is going to take a lot longer to adjust to moving somewhere so far away than I’d imagined. Especially while carrying my grief on my back wherever I go. No matter how much good there is about this move, it still feels like another aftershock of Drew’s death. I can feel it causing new cracks in the earth of me to splinter off… new openings into the grief.

That’s one of the things I am learning about living on with his death in the 3+ year era. Not that I expected to magically not have new layers of grief. I’ve been dealing with death for 24 years already from losing my mom as a child… I know better than anyone, that grief stays with you forever. I guess somehow I just maybe was still holding out some sort of hope that I wouldn’t have to deal with it so acutely in this new chapter. And while it may not be like the first year, this internal earthquake has definitely shaken things up more than just about any major change has since he died. It should though. And I shouldn’t be surprised that it is, really.


This year I have begun a whole new direction in my life, one that would have never existed were he still alive. From here on out, whatever happens will be a complete split from the path he and I were on. I think that is the part I am struggling with most. It creates a lot of sadness, and even some resentment, despite the fact that I am quite happy with this new adventure I am on. There is no way around feeling sadness and pain it seems. It makes an already stressful holiday season even more stressful.

While I am going through some very deep and complex emotions about the direction of my life, Mike is often feeling bad for being the reason that I’ve moved so far from everything I’ve ever known. I remind him that this was my decision, and that I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t truly wanted to. But that doesn’t mean it will come without a cost… without some very complex emotions to navigate. And complex questions to try and explore. Who am I going to be in this new life? How do I go about creating that? How does my old life fit into it? How do I honor that life? What parts of myself do I want to change? What parts do I want to keep intact? What do I want to carry with me, and what can I leave behind? How do I begin to challenge myself and grow in ways that will help this new life feel rich and full of purpose?

I’m pretty much a different person every day since moving here. It feels like reverting back a year… the feelings of being uprooted and lost and prevailant. Insecurity and loneliness for friendships and many other things that are just going to take time to resolve. Bottom line, there are a lot of difficult factors that I just cannot change overnight. I have to take a kinder approach to adjusting myself to a new life… just like I did after her died.

I should know this. I’ve done it before. And it was only a few years ago that his death quaked into my life and I learned how to be kinder and more gentler to myself. His death taught me how to nurture and be compassionate with my heart. Amazingly, it was during those darkest and most painful times that I learned how to love myself the fullest. Once you start moving again, it’s so easy to lose sight of that ability. You get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life again, you start comparing yourself to others, you start doubting yourself, and before you know it… you’ve bullied yourself into a stress level that you do not deserve. I’ve been watching my stress rub off on Mike, too. I know, it is draining to be around someone who is stressing about EVERY SINGLE THING at a near-constant rate that I have for the past few weeks. Seeing it exhaust him, actually, is what is helping to make me aware that I need to stop pushing myself and start taking care of myself.

We’re on our way out to Mohican State Forest as a write to you. Mike is taking me on my first backpacking trip. It’s going to be in the 20’s, which is ridiculously cold for a Texan to be sleeping in the woods. But I decided I need to shake things up a bit. Firstly, getting out in nature is always a sure-fire way for me to remember to fall in love with life again, and stop stressing about umpteen little life problems - mostly revolving around my career and finances. Secondly, it might just be good to shove my self into the thick of a new experience just for a day or two to remind me I CAN do this. I guess next week I will share an update and let you know how it went. One week, one day, and one step at a time... remembering the lessons Drew's death taught me about getting through life's challenges with grace, tenacity, and spirit.

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  • Sarah Treanor
    commented 2015-12-20 13:54:18 -0800
    Thank you so much Cathy. We just returned and i have to say it gave me a deeper appreciation for the little comforts and relaxed me so much. I hope you got out for a good hike yourself!
  • Cathy
    commented 2015-12-20 08:27:40 -0800
    I, too, escape into nature and always feel revived. Puts it all back into perspective, that it’s not all about me, that there’s this big world, still here, to explore and be a part of, even on many days when being a part of it is the last thing I want to do. So easy to not do anything, taking that first step, especially alone, is so hard. Putting lifes’ stresses on hold often helps when I refocus on them later, they don’t seem so formidable, they’re just another task on the list to do and check off. With that said, time to get up and take a hike. Enjoy yours, Sarah.
  • Linda Tevebaugh Keeling
    commented 2015-12-20 02:34:10 -0800
    Sarah….thank you for sharing this…I have been struggling with these same kind of emotions.
    I lost my John, May 2012…close to the time you lost Drew…
    Started dating a widower in July 2014… Got engaged this Halloween…. Probably will marry in 2016…I am very happy and love the new man with my all…while still missing my John with my all.
    The only words I could come up with regarding my mixed up emotions were “I am missing and mourning again the life I had and the future we were planning”…we had only been married just shy of 5 years and thought we had years ahead for US. It was a 2nd marriage for us… We were both in our 50s…. Coming out of a very difficult time in our lives for the both of us…and were starting over…and re-creating a new life.
    He made all the changes… Moved to my house…my town…into my life.
    With my new man I will more than likely make the most changes…though it is only to a different city less than an hour away …I am struggling with it all… My whole lifestyle will be different…I may retire sooner than planned ( I know that should be a good thing, right?) but is it the best for me and my future? He is older… he may die before me…if I move to his home what happens if he died…how will my retirement income look then? And my sons, though grown, have no children yet…where does that fit if I am further away? Since he was a teenager dad, his children are much older as I had my sons in my 30s….his youngest grandchild is 13.
    My new man is wonderful…he is the most patient, calm and compassionate man I know. We can talk thru anything,,,including stuff I am talking about here.

    Like you I have had a lot of loss in life… Both my parents by age 24…a sibling… and then my John ….
    I have worked hard being where I am raising my 2 sons as a single mom…always had 2 jobs most of the time…
    And with my new life with my new love… It is all so different yet so reassuring…all so uncertain yet calm and safe… And then the questions and possibly the over analyzing of things….
    Though I have all of this and you have all of yours, I feel confident it will all work out for both of us, as well as, for all the others like us.