Staci Sulin commented on Single Seat 2018-06-13 11:01:08 -0700Yes, I definitely have a soft spot for those of us who occupy the single seats. Physically, we appear to be alone. And, a lot of the time it feels very very lonely, but in some ways I think we are the least alone people in the world. Love is all around us even when we can’t “feel” it and “see” it. I believe the love between us and our beloved spouses never leaves us, in fact I think it grows deeper.
Staci Sulin commented on Marry Me. 2018-06-04 09:52:35 -0700It took my breathe away living it… I miss him endlessly. I’m grateful to have had a love like this. He was one of the greatest gifts of my life.
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
Staci Sulin commented on Hollow 2018-04-18 14:41:24 -0700Denise, I am glad that Soaring Spirits is helping you. I think there is an immediate kinship among us all who are travelling this road. Together we feel understood and less isolated. I’m grateful to be part of a community that helps others. All the best to you and to us all as we navigate the waters of grief. ~S
Staci Sulin commented on Joy Seeker 2018-04-15 13:49:42 -0700Thanks for your comments Sarah. I really loved this blog too – I think it’s one of my favorite that I’ve written. It’s 17 months today as I am responding to you; and, I can tell that my grief is changing. I am more content to sit and just be where I am in life. And, I agree that it is comforting to utterly have faith that you are floating towards the life that you are meant to live. For so long I thought I had to “fix” my broken life. It is the opposite. I don’t need to do anything but get out of my own way. I just have to drift towards the opportunities that are waiting for me. So, let’s both enjoy just floating out in the open water, the possibilities are endless! ~ S
Staci Sulin commented on Come Undone 2018-04-15 14:06:23 -0700Suzanne, Thank you for taking the time to thank me. No thanks is required. I love writing for this community. It is my privilege and writing is helping me find myself again. ~S
Staci Sulin commented on Malbec Part 2 2018-03-15 12:15:50 -0700Thanks for your comment Robert. Yes, I completely agree that they are now “everything and everywhere”…
Staci Sulin commented on Malbec 2018-04-15 14:10:24 -0700Cheryl, what a heartfelt comment. I am so glad that you connected to my words so deeply. I know that the reason my writing resonates with you so profoundly is because you also had a magical, pure love. We are very bless to have had beautiful love stories. My heart is grateful. I am a better woman because he loved me. ~S
Staci Sulin commented on Strong on Your Love 2018-03-03 18:37:17 -0800Kimberly,
Yes, we grief for the person we used to be. We are forever changed … Stay #strongonhislove
Staci Sulin commented on Facade 2018-02-05 11:02:15 -0800Gayle, Yes I agree Grief changes. Nothing in life is constant -including grief which I am thankful about. I found the first four months like an out of body experience. I was gutted and brought completely to my knees. Now, my Soul still aches for Mike and if I"m breathing I’m thinking of him, but the tears flow more lightly at almost 15 months.
Staci Sulin commented on The Dance 2018-02-04 11:03:03 -0800Bev, I am glad that I a have surrounded myself with supportive people from online communities and in real life. Connecting with others who understand what your heart feels is necessary in order to survive; and, eventually move towards a changed future.
I’m thankful to write for this online community, it is literally saving me from my grief.
Staci Sulin commented on Loving You in Separation 2018-02-04 11:15:39 -0800Sharry, That’s it “he’s everywhere and nowhere at the same time”. It takes some getting used to doesn’t it. As human beings I think we will always crave the physical. The nothingness that is now Mike leaves me hungry for his touch.
Staci Sulin commented on Big Love 2018-02-04 11:10:32 -0800Suzanne, Some moments it is hard to breathe without them. Last night I was lost and it just didn’t seem like my heart could break any more. I was on my knees crying, but this morning the coffee is poured and I feel less nauseated about Mike being dead. Grief just comes blazing in sometimes and we have to go where it takes us… To answer your question, I think the point of continuing is because Life is too beautiful to just let it pass us by. I find gratitude helps to ease the heartbreak. I started a new mantra in my head and it has helped me feel more peaceful when the grief is heavy. I hope you feel some ease.
Staci Sulin commented on Off Kilter 2018-01-10 17:02:15 -0800Gayle
Thank you for your kind comment. I am happy that what I wrote resonates with you. And, I agree that it is helpful to re-read things that speak to us because certain words and phrases can become mantras that help us and give us hope. #youvegotthis
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,
Music was always playing in both our homes.
And, now there are certain songs that bring me back to a better place in time.
A time, when Mike was alive.
A time, when I was in love with a man who stood before my eyes.
Our familiar songs take me back to a place in time where he exists.
A time, when he breathed life and love into me.
A time, not so long ago, when he existed in the same dimension as me.
Somewhere, in another place,
He still holds his memories of me,
And, when he hears his favorite songs, he comes and quietly puts his arms around me.
And, he dances with me in the backyard, under the light of the moon and the stars.
Now, I just wish I could feel him the way I used to...
Even after 581 days, the lyrics and melodies of our songs take me right back his comfortable, little kitchen. I close my eyes and I can live those sweet moments between us over, and over again. I have memorized how, with authority, he pushed back his chair from the kitchen table. How he stood with confidence, firmly planted. How he patiently waited as he held out his hand to me. That moment is suspended somewhere in time. And, how I so desperately wish I could reach out and take his hand in mine again, for one last dance.
I know exactly how my hand felt falling into his. I can still feel his strong hand holding mine. I know the way his wide fingers gently lace through mine. I know the touch of him, and I always will...
And, even now, I know the way Mike pulled me into him. I know the exact way it felt as he took me in his arms and moved me toward him. I know how my body blended into his as he held me to his chest. Often, when he pulled me to him, he would bend down and press his forehead to mine; then, he'd stand tall and look into my eyes. After a moment, he'd whisper to me "Stace, you make me so happy. I love you - so - much". My ears know the precise inflection of his voice as he pronounced each of these words to me. I know this moment because I've lived it again and again in my mind for the last year and seven months.
With love in his heart, Mike lead me around the well worn wooden floor of his modest kitchen. And, while the music softly played, we danced. Magically, we became the only two people in the world. Today, I can still ‘feel’ Mike dancing with me like it’s happening right this moment. My hand in his. My head resting gently on his chest - as all of me falls into him.
What I wouldn’t do to feel him again. What I wouldn’t do to feel his arms around me one last time. Sometimes, I miss him so desperately that I hold my hands out in front of me and I ask him to dance with me. Dammit, what I wouldn't give to feel his hand press softly into the small of my back. I would love one last dance with the man I love.
Certain songs take me back to a time when he casually sat on the porch by my side. If that back porch could talk; oh the stories it’d tell. Our short, sweet love story unfolded right there. There was no one but us. It felt as though the world stopped. And, it was only us under the light of the moon.
I remember how we talked many a night away with a passion that is usually reserved for teenagers. And, sometimes, if I close my eyes, I can still feel that same cool summer breeze blow against me. And, in this breeze, I feel Mike beside me.
In the ordinariness of those nights, I fell in love with him. It wasn't the fancy dinners or the beautiful places he took me that won my heart. Nope, it was him. It was the easy to please farm kid who I fell in love with. It was his company on those balmy summer nights that stole my heart. It was his warm, heartfelt smile that shone in the twilight hour, it was the kindness in his voice that rang out in the darkness. It was his authentic laugh that reeled me in. It was all him. It was how he kept company with me, leaning into every word I spoke. To my Mike, there was no one else; and, there was nowhere else he'd rather be. He was content. And, he was madly in love with me. I was loved with every piece of his heart and Soul. And, dammit I miss his love. I miss being loved so completely and purely. It was a beautiful life, and a beautiful love...
My son graduated on Friday. It was a good day.
His graduation is not about grief. But, just like everything in my life, his graduation got me thinking about Mike. And, I feel incredibly guilty because not everything has to do with Mike. Except that it does - for me.
I purposefully avoided social media this weekend because I didn't want to see photos of happy families celebrating their children. My family feels incomplete now; and, I didn't want to observe what I no longer have. It is beyond difficult to live on the outskirts of my old life. I constantly ache for what I've lost. And, especially during family events and celebrations, I desperately want what I no longer have.
What I've lost was loudly pronounced at my son's graduation. And, I know that some others who gathered also felt their own sense of incompleteness and discontentment. But, at the time, this was little comfort to me.
I am keenly aware that life has unfolded differently than planned for many people, not just me. I am not unique in this; and, I know that I am in good company. I acknowledge and I understand that many of the people who sat in proximity to me were also grieving all sorts of different things. I wasn't the only person feeling out of sorts at this joyous occasion. I could sense many heavy hearts hidden behind smiles.
In the crowd, there were a lot of blended families. Many men and women came to the convocation ceremony because they are in love with the mother or father of a child that isn't biologically their own. And, many of these people love that child, like their own. As I sat in my seat, I wished Mike was there with me, taking his position like the other step-parents were. He should have been there celebrating and loving a child that wasn't his. But, well, he's not like the other step-parents. Mike is dead.
He can't occupy the seat next to me anymore.
But, I know he can still love my sons.
And, that has to be enough. In fact, it's more than enough.
Love is enough.
The convocation ceremony was about the students and their achievements; but really, more importantly, it was an event about LOVE. Family gathered together to celebrate children that are loved by them and who love them. Love was present all around me. It was tangible. And, because the person I am in love with died, I sat alone. I know this is blunt; but, there isn't a way to pretty it up. I am not writing in a tone of pity. The words are not meant to be overly dramatic or sad. This was a family event; and, again, Mike was not there. And, at all future events and milestones, he will be absent as well. I wish it was different. But, nothing can change it. It is what it is.
Never in a million years did I think this would be my life. Sure, I know that I am not the only divorced person who attended the graduation of their child - on their own. And, I also know that I am not the only widowed person who attended their child's graduation - alone. I am however someone who understands these people. I know, like me, they didn't imagine their life like this. I know they didn't expect to be sitting alone celebrating their children's milestones.
There is naturally a strong kinship among those of us who occupy single seats
because we understand what others can not understand.
This said, I am truly happy for the "normal" families who sat together to love on their child; but I guess, if I am being completely honest, I am sad for me and my son. We don't fit neatly into that life anymore. I am divorced. And, I am widowed. And, our family isn't picture perfect. This was obvious and very palpable at my son's graduation.
My son's father and I are happily divorced.
He attended our son's graduation by himself too.
We didn't sit together, but we joined together to celebrate our son.
And, this is a really big thing that deserves acknowledgement.
I am grateful that love is stronger than endings ~ in death, and in divorce too.