Staci Sulin commented on Maybe this will Help - What I know about Grief and Support 2018-10-15 09:33:33 -0700Thank you Suzanne,
I say bravo to all of us who are fighting forward and striving to live without our beloved ones.
Best to you, to us all.
Staci Sulin commented on Makeshift Plan 2018-10-07 17:36:20 -0700Bonnie,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I think your story of perseverance will give many people hope. We are challenged to move outside our comfort zone when our spouse dies. It is essential to do as you have, to build a “life without him and become (these) strong, independent (women)”. Best to you and to us all. ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Connection 2018-10-14 20:33:31 -0700Linda thank you for sharing your story with us. What a beautiful story of unexpected love.
Best to you as always. ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on A Life Unfinished 2018-09-24 08:39:26 -0700Sue,
Yes – CONNECTION.
This is what I yearn for. I miss my connection to him. I miss being his “person”.
When your: best friend, lover, travel companion, co-parent, domestic and financial partner dies your entire life needs restructuring. It is beyond overwhelming. But, with time, you are forced to sort things out because life demands this from us. And, most of us are able to recreate a life that is manageable, albeit it resembles almost nothing of our former lives.
And, in truth, some parts of our lives, although different, are not necessarily worse per sae. They are simply changed, and with time we seem to adapt – somehow.
Yet, the small improvements and changes we make are steeped in emptiness because we miss them.
When you lose your spouse you lose the person who champions you. You lose a sense of yourself because the person who held a mirror up to you is gone. It is not impossible to regain a sense of self, but it is a long, tedious process. I wish us all well as we attempt to live forward while we visit “that special place in (our) minds that make (us) smile”.
Best to you,
Staci Sulin commented on Blind Faith 2018-09-10 11:37:10 -0700Kathleen.
Stay the course. Things will get softer with time…
Best to you and to us all.
Staci Sulin commented on Helpers 2018-09-24 08:47:15 -0700Candy,
Thank you for sharing part of your story with us. I think both of us “being vulnerable and speaking (our) truth” will resonate with others and perhaps even help them stay the course and feel the strength they need to continue on this journey back towards living.
My dear friend has a story that is similar to yours. Two years ago, both she and her husband were each battling cancer. She survived and had he did not. She had to make his funeral arrangements while she was undergoing chemo. Recently, her cancer has returned and she continues to fight because she loves life. Like you she is tired, and she aches for her husband, but she continues on the best way she knows how.
Best to you and to us all,
Staci Sulin commented on Our First Wedding Anniversary 2018-09-03 00:51:02 -0700Tim,
What a beautifully written comment. I can’t add anything further to what you so eloquently said.
The heartfelt way you write about Love has me assuming you are someone who “read and understand(s)”my words.
Best to you and I look forward to reading more of your thoughtful comments.
Take good care,
Staci Sulin commented on Now What? 2018-08-02 06:36:42 -0700Indira
Thank you for sharing what you are feeling. You are not alone. We have all been there with the same questions and concerns and thoughts.
Outliving Mike is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
But, moment by moment, day by day grief changes. It gets softer with time. We have no choice but to build life around the emptiness inside us. Not easy, but possible – eventually.
And, some days are definitely easier than others. Lean in to those who support and understand you.
All the best to you and to us all. S.
Staci Sulin commented on Options 2018-08-02 06:27:25 -0700Antonella
8 months is early days.. you don’t need to BE anything right now.
Of course you have responsibilities that you are duty bound to fill; and unfortunately the world doesn’t stop when our world is shattered. It’s damn hard.
But it is possible to get to a place where you feel more content.
Absorbing the death of your husband doesn’t just happen with time. It’s hard work. And, in the early days be patient with yourself.
Sitting in our grief and feeling it’s ugliness is part of the process, and it isn’t easy. I don’t think you are stagnant, I think you are grieving and being still is part of it in the early days.
And, most people can not understand the depth and breadth of ourbloss unless their spouse has also died.
All the best to you and to us all,
Staci Sulin commented on Living Room 2018-08-02 06:18:58 -0700Christine
Thank you for your heartfelt response. Thriving is essential to recreating a life worth living, but it is much harder work than merely surviving. However, I think thriving and living well really does honour our beloved ones more.
So here’s to “sur-thriving “ as you put it.
All the best to you.
Staci Sulin commented on La Bella Vita 2018-08-02 06:13:04 -0700Laren
Thank you for sharing your story.
I agree that their presence lives on and their signature is written all over the way we continue to live our lives. What a treasure for us.
All the best to you, and to us all.
Staci Sulin commented on Beginnings 2018-08-02 06:53:02 -0700Laren
Thank you for your kind words of support to Jennifer. My response was delayed and I appreciate that you stepped up to offer support.
Staci Sulin commented on Single Seat 2018-06-23 13:57:42 -0700Bobby, Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate your honest, heartfelt comments. My heart is with you as you solo parent. My situation is very different than yours; but as a parent I understand some of the things you wrote about and I completely acknowledge your struggles. All the best to you and to us all.
Staci Sulin commented on Marry Me. 2018-08-02 07:02:50 -0700Linda
Our stories are incredibly similar. It is surreal even though we live it!
I assure you that, with time and hard work we can both recreate a life. And, no it isn’t the life we imagined, but it the one we have.
It will not be easy, but it’s posdible over time.
You are in the early days. Be patient and gentle with yourself.
And, know that grief is fluid. It changes with time…
Staci Sulin commented on Let It Ride 2018-06-04 10:19:33 -0700Stephanie, Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I agree with you, there is “such an empty void without them”, but aside from this, we just have to keep living somehow. Some days I drown in the sadness and other days I feel hopeful that better days are ahead. And, all days I stay strong on Mike’s love as I try to find my way without him physically here. #strongonhislove
Staci Sulin commented on Mothers. It's Complicated. 2018-05-21 09:23:57 -0700Luis, I agree on special days we are often met with these “poignant reminder(s)” of our loss. This is grief, and this is our life now… and like you said, “I don’t know if that will ever be different”. Some aspects of of our lives are forever changed.
All the best to you, and the best to us all. ~SS
Staci Sulin commented on Once Upon a TIME 2018-05-21 09:20:56 -0700Thank you Erick, I am happy you related to my writing, and also I’m so sorry that you understand. All the best to you, and to us all. ~SS
Staci Sulin commented on Quiet 2018-05-04 11:07:25 -0700Vicki thank you for your heartfelt advice and comments. I appreciate what you shared with me. I figured a lot out since I wrote this blog Quiet. If you read my blog Passion I think you will see that I am now more content to stay firming planted where I am, raising my children. I figured out that Passion isn’t something I need to go looking for. Passion is NOT outside of me. It is inside me. I do not need to travel far away to find it because it is so very close to me. So close that I didn’t even see it. Passion LIVES WITHIN ME. Finally, I understand…. It’s given me so much peace of mind and heart.
Staci Sulin commented on Having All Your Birthdays in One Day 2018-04-15 14:04:28 -0700April, Thank you for taking the time to share your good wishes. I appreciate this. ~S
Staci Sulin commented on His Girl 2018-04-18 14:47:12 -0700Janice, Thank you for taking the time to post your comment. I am glad that you saw your own love story in my writing. Like me, you were very blessed! What a love that we both had. The love I shared with Mike was everything I ever wanted love to be, and I am sure you feel the same about the love you had with your husband. Our gratitude for the love we experienced will carry us as we live without their physical presence. All the best to you, and to us all. ~S
It is my privileged to write to you each week and I hope my blog inspires you to question what is stirring in your heart. I encourage you to lean into your pain. And, to feel it to it's depth.
I believe that we are lead towards life and living when we allow ourselves to be still, and sit in the "nothingness" where grief lives. I have begun to realize that visiting this empty place is necessary. It is here that we find the answers we seek when our hearts are shattered. This quiet place holds the blueprints of our new, changed life. This is where our Soul speaks to us.
Death creates a hollowness inside us. And, the emptiness is gutting; but we have to go to this barren place to create ourselves anew. I have become increasingly drawn towards the ledge of this place because I believe this is where some of the answers are. So, take a breath, and come with me. I know we will both be better for it.
I know you are scared to go to the edge; admittedly, I am too. The uncertainty that follows death is intimidating. But, we have to make ourselves even more uncomfortable. We have to establish some momentum and take a leap of faith.
I am going to leap and build my wings on the way down. It is people like you, who can walk along side me as I navigate my way into a changed life. I am glad you are here with me as I write about moving towards the light. The light within me, and the light outside of me. Soaring Spirits International connects like minded people. We support one another and we no longer have to slay grief alone.
I am focused on change for all of us. And, I know that if we are going to find our way out of this mess we can not stay comfortable in our grief. We have to move. We have to become off kilter.
As I write to you each week, I am becoming more aware of my feelings. I realize that what I fear most about the future is not the risks and uncertainty. What I am afraid of is letting the opportunities for change pass me by. I am scared that I will settle into an ordinary life when I want an extraordinary life.
I am worried that I will play small, when my potential is big. As I write to you each week I am challenging us both not to shrink. I am keeping us accountable. I do not want either of us to fall back into an easy comfortableness when we can leap forward, towards a bold life. I want you to manifest the best in yourself. Go, create a beautiful life for yourself. We can not let life pass us by. Together, we've got this.
From the Ledge with Wings in Hand,
I wish I had better guidance to give people early on when they tried to help me.
People were making heartfelt efforts to comfort me
- most armed without experience.
Two years later, these helpers have almost all disappeared.
And, I understand.
People have lives of their own
I understand that they simply can not understand my life.
I recognize that visiting me, while I sift through the wreckage of what was, is not overly enticing.
Truth be told, I don’t want to live here among the debris of my old life either.
I understand their absence.
I understand the difficult position we are all in.
I know that those who have not lost their Soul’s mate can not possibly know what to say to me.
In the beginning of this mess, I was not adequately equipped to educate anyone about what they should and could do.
I wish I could have helped you help me.
I want to thank you for being with me when I was brought to my knees.
I know that you did not know what to do.
I didn’t know what to do either.
But, I know that both of us had the best of intentions.
When Mike died I was not given a manual to follow. There were no instructions. No roadmap has been created for grief because it takes us along different paths. Yes, there are shared attractions and similar views along the way, but the road we travel is unique for all of us. When your spouse dies, you must go where you have not gone before. You are forced onto a road that is not well marked. There are countless ruts along the way. Some parts are bumpy and make for difficult travel. Other times, the road is smooth and there is blue sky overhead. Then, around the corner, the sky turns dark and it becomes hard to see where you are going. During these stretches, you may bump into things. On this journey, you will become lost. It's unavoidable. Along the way, you will be re-routed and sometimes you will travel down dead ends. And, through it all, you will learn. You will learn to rely on your instincts. You will learn to believe in yourself - in a way you never have before. Solo travel isn't easy, but it changes you in a lot of good ways.
At the start, even if I possessed all this knowledge about grief, I still would not have been able to teach you how to better handle me. Widowhood has to be lived to be understood. In the days and months following his death, I was completely disoriented. I was unable to guide you as you tried to help me. I wish I could have succinctly told what I needed. And, really, the only thing I needed was him. I needed him not to die. But, he did. And, his death is permanent. There is nothing anyone can do to make this better for me. It is what it is.
As the days turned into months, I learned to sit still in the horrific aching. I learned to lean into the ugliness of it. I learned to cry until I gasped for breath. I learned to pick myself up from the floor after I thought I would die from missing him. I learned that Grief is presumptuous and demands attention. And, I have learned to give Grief the attention it screams for.
Grief is brazen, dauntless and in your face. Grief pronounces everything in heavy, smashed strokes. Grief threw me into an out of body experience. And, I've learned that Grief rarely shows any mercy. Grief deprived me of many things I once took for granted.
I had to relearn basic things like breath and sleep.
For many months both eluded me.
Sometimes they still do.
Early on I could not communicate without confusion.
I could hear conversations around me, but the words did not make any sense to me because I had begun speaking in another dialect.
My heart was learning the language of grief.
I am now fluent in it.
With time, many people have drifted away from me because we no longer speak the same language.
There is nothing that needs to be said.
For the past two years I have been physically present,
but my mind is far away from here.
I have been unravelled.
I have come undone at the seams of my Soul.
Mike’s death has affected me to the depths of my psyche.
But, thankfully, with time,
I am making a slow, steady comeback.
In truth, comeback isn’t the correct word.
Death is a trauma.
And, after outliving your spouse,
You do not and can not come back to who you once were.
There is no returning.
I can not come back to what was.
Whatever “it” was,
It is all over.
I apologize if this sounds overly dramatic to ears that have not lived in the silence
I have existed in for nearly two years.
None of what I am saying is intended to be dramatic,
it is just the truth.
I am forever changed because he died.
But, even more,
I am a better woman because he lived.
Slowly, I am finding ways to adapt to my changed life.
Daily, I drape myself in Hope.
I want to do more than survive his death.
I want to live a full, happy life
Since Mike died I have spent hours lost in my thoughts.
I continually revisit the past.
I endlessly mourn the future we imagined.
And, I desperately hope to become present in the moment.
As surreal as it remains,
I know that he does not exist here anymore.
I accept that I must begin anew.
Mike’s death has forced me to be reborn.
And, though a piece of me will always wish for the life we shared and planned,
I am grateful for my chance at a new life.
Gratitude for what was,
And, what will be,
Has allowed me to survive without him.
My simple message below is intended to help everyone involved in this mess.
I only wish I had these words for you earlier when we both stood before grief without any guidance.
I ask myself again and again - What do I do? I whisper these words to myself as I walk out into the world and go about my life - without him. I've been asking this question for nearly two damn years... I am tired of this question. I want to fill my mind with other thoughts. But, since he died, I'm different than most women my age. The things that consume me are much more profound than they used to be. I don't give a shit about the changing seasons, or that pumpkin spice lattes are back. I care about things that live deeper in my heart. I care about my children's happiness, our life, and my life that is connected and also separate from my boys. I care. I care deeply. But, not about the shallow stuff that many people my age care about.
Mike's death changed me, a lot. I'm a very different person than I used to be. And, truth be told, I like the new me. I am becoming a woman I like to spend time with. And, this is a good thing because I spend a whole lot of time alone now. It is advantageous that I enjoy my own company - in a way I never have before.
In quiet solitude I think about the direction of my life. I ponder everything. The life we planned together died with him. This is a fact, whether I like it or not. And, now, I have to figure out what the hell to do with the life I have left. So, I think. And, I think. I endlessly question what it is that I want. I contemplate what to do with this alternate life. I must figure this out myself because no one can "fix" this or plan my life for me. It's up to me to decide what to do with the life I have left. I know all the decisions ultimately rest with me; therefore, the things I think about are heavy and profound. And, I realize that the answers will not just magically come because I ask the questions. Throughout this process, I am generally impatient with myself and my progress. I need to work on this.
My mind does not rest easy. I'm exhausted by my thoughts. But, at least I am engaged in life enough to be thinking and asking questions. At least I am curious. I think this counts for something. It has to because it is all I've got for the moment. And, this is okay - it has to be. At this point I don't know a whole lot, but I do KNOW the answers to all my questions live inside me. They are there for the finding.
There is so much I wonder about since Mike died. Big things and small things consume me and I wish like hell I could talk to him about this stuff like I used to. Since he died, I continually contemplate what I should do. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? I blogged about having a Makeshift Plan a few weeks ago. And, I am glad that I have created a "plan"; but, still, I am anxious about the life I am living without him. I know full well, that life does not always go according to plan. I am somewhat prepared for the curveballs that life will undoubtably throw at me. And, in some weird way, all of this change is kind of exciting. Going forward there is so much potential before me. My life can take any direction. And, so can yours.
Still, living solo doesn't feel comfortable to me, yet.
The life Mike and I imagined is the life I want, but it is not to be.
I have to adapt.
I have to go with the flow even if it is not the life I had planned. And, so do you.
Soon, Mike will be dead for 2 years and I would be lying if I said I know what to do with that. I have not accepted his death. I don't want to. And, part of me may never come to terms with it. I am okay with this. A part of me will always want him to be alive and I accept this. It is what it is.
I remain conscious of how long Mike has physically been gone from me; yet, I feel the need to make more forward progress without him. And, here is the tricky thing, I feel like I am going nowhere fast. I do not know where I am heading... I have a rough idea of what I want to accomplish in my life, but it still feels somewhat lack lustre without him beside me. Will this ever change? I think it will. In fact, I know it will. I just have to be patient. Mike has only been dead for 1 year, 10 months and 23 days... (I had to google this on an app.) As time has gone on, I have stopped knowing the numbers. And, really, it doesn't matter anymore. Maybe it never did. He is gone. He isn't coming back. The days keep coming. And, I am still here. I had better start acting alive. I need to live. We all do, because we did not die.
Since early on, I have had the desire to live life well. I have draped myself in hope. But, even with all the optimism in the world, when night falls, I am always alone. And, I feel the missingness and the emptiness. There is a profound sense of loss. Being lost fills me. My Soul aches for him with every breathe I take; yet, I take each breath as it comes and I keep going. I have to. For myself, for my children and for Mike. I did not die. I can not let his death define my life. The way Mike lived and loved me must be what I cling to as I move toward life again. Day by day I fight forward. And, I know that you do the same.