He loved my smile.
And, let me tell you, I smiled a lot because of him.
I loved my life - when he was in it.
I wore my smile like a permanent accessory
because my life was beautiful.
Our joy permeated the air around us.
Our laughter echoed off every one near us.
Our words to one another were always heartfelt.
We looked at each other with a love that others could feel.
Our smiles were effortless.
Life was good,
And, this is an understatement.
Life with Mike was spontaneous and full of adventure. When he was alive I couldn't wipe the smile from my face because the life we were building together was so breathtakingly beautiful. We "had the world by the ass" as he would say. Mike loved a good swear word and I know that's not everyone's cup of tea; but, we were coffee drinkers... it is what it is.
Many of our joy filled conversations came complete with a few saucy swear words - thrown in for emphasis - because that's how he rolled. He tended to speak colorfully because he literally couldn't contain his excitement. Mike was so in love with life and everything around him that he just blurted things out. The crazy things that would fly out of his mouth made my life. He taught me how to live with wild abandon. And, I'm better for it.
When he spoke, sometimes he could be a bit brash, but he got away with it because of his smooth delivery. Once in a while the refined, cautious people would look at him sideways, or glance in my direction to confirm that their ears heard what he said. I'd knowingly smile because everything he spoke was accurate, albeit somewhat uncouth. Mike could always be counted on to state the unrefined truth. He was bright. He saw the world and the people in it exactly as they were. And, Mike definitely wasn't uncomfortable calling out what he saw. He taught me to speak the truth confidently. And, again, I am better for it.
Mike was a talker and he knew how to say the most audacious things with a twinkle in his eyes. He spoke with a simple honesty that was admirable and refreshing. Essentially, he was impulsive; and, a big kid at heart. Mike was animated and he had a larger than life personality. He saw the world in a whimsical way. It was a privilege for me to see life through his eyes. With Mike, my life became bolder and more magical. And, I am a better woman for sharing part of my life with him.
It was a wild ride wandering through life with him by my side.
from the moment my eyes opened,
I had a smile smeared across my face .
Life was big and bold and fun with Mike.
we were having the time of our lives.
was as natural as breath.
I miss living like this. Our life was rich. I have never lived with such enchantment in all my life. I miss the rapture he gave me. I miss the gush of excitement he brought to the ordinary. I desperately miss how he made me laugh. The depth of my laughter was different when I was with him. I often wonder if I will ever laugh that way again. I hope I do. And, in truth, I know that I will because he won't have it any other way; and...
neither will I.
Together, we shared some of the happiest moments of our lives. And, now looking back, I have more gratitude than tears when I think about our short love story. My heart is filled full with gratitude for all that I shared with Mike. And, I continue to be grateful for all the good that I still have in my life.
With time, my grief is changing. My emptiness is easier to live with because I know it better. And, now, I am more peaceful because I am no longer attempting to "fix" my life. I don't feel like I am directionless anymore. In fact, Mike's death is bringing me closer to myself. His death is leading me directly to some place I need to go. I am not drifting aimlessly like I thought I was. I am not lost without him like I initially assumed.
It is true, I am exposed and floating out in the open waters of grief;
But, I know, with certainty,
that the winds of change will blow me in the right direction.
I believe that I will be "okay".
I don't doubt that I will find my way to comfortable shores again, with time.
When he first died I thought that it was my job to "fix" myself and sort out my life. I now realize that this isn't the case. I don't have to chart out my destiny and right my own ship. I no longer feel that it is necessary to control the direction of my sails because I know that there is something bigger than me at work here. I am going to end up exactly where I need to be regardless of anything I do, or don't do. Since I have stopped flailing in the waters of grief everything is becoming more clear.
I wanted to re-emphasize this message because it echoes what I shared in last week's blog Joy Seeker. What I wrote has been life changing for me. I finally figured out that I need to do less, not more. Knowing this, I gave myself permission to just drift towards whatever life has in store for me. I have faith that I will be okay. Accepting the uncertainty of life has given me more peace than I have had in a long, long time. And, because I am more at peace, once again, smiling has started to become as natural as breath.
Yes, I am still broken about his death;
But, now, I am a different type of broken.
I am a stronger version of my shattered self.
Resilience has started to kick in.
And, I am grateful for this.
In widowhood, the familiar beacons that guided us in our former lives disappear. We are left feeling lost without a map. Without comfortable signs marking the way, we attempt to guide ourselves, using nothing but our own grit. Day by day, we rely on our faith that everything will work out. On this journey, you have free will. You can navigate the waters of grief however you wish. I am choosing to light the path towards my future with faith and gratitude. And, trust me, gratefulness shines a bright light onto the darkness that is grief. The ugliness of despair and the ache of emptiness fall to the wayside when true gratitude and unwavering faith is shone on them.
In time, smiling will once again be as natural as breath for us all.