Staci Sulin commented on I'm still your Girl 2019-02-18 09:34:06 -0800Laren, Thank you for sharing your heart and story with us. Like you, I cling to “the imprints of (his) existence.” And, it is a “modest comfort” as you say, but it often leaves me wanting more. More of what I can not have… It is the quandary of grief.
The love you have for Barbara comes through in your words. #longlivelove ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Lifelines 2019-02-05 17:55:07 -0800Susan,
I understand. Some days, for no particular reason, the missing goes to the depths of us. And, there is nothing that can be done except to endure it. And, as you know, the awful yearning eventually passes and returns to the dull emptiness from which it was born.
I think “wailing” is called for on the days that our Souls wildly ache. There are no words to describe the desire to have and to hold someone who is gone from here. So, sometimes tears speak when words simply can not suffice. Have your cry. Your tears will cleanse you and tomorrow is a new day. Best to you as always, ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Joy Isn't Found in Tap Water 2019-02-03 16:58:07 -0800Ron,
Firstly, great tune.
Second, I think it is okay to let calls go to voice mail sometimes. We have to trust our instincts and practice self-care which includes taking time for ourself. Grief demands our attention; and although exhausting, we have to take the time to absorb it.
Best to you my fellow cold water splasher. ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Exclamations and Tildes~ 2019-01-25 15:56:17 -0800I love this. I often sign off my online posts with a tildes and my initial. I never used to do this when Mike was alive. But, this makes sense now. The tildes is perfectly placed. I am not the Staci I used to be, I have been forced to recreate my identity, I am a work in progress… ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Average Widow 2019-01-17 12:12:47 -0800Susan, Thank you for your kind words. I write from my heart; and although I am glad that you feel the words so deeply, I wish you didn’t also know the pain of widowhood. Best to you as you continue to find your way. ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on This is Getting Old 2019-02-03 17:10:50 -0800Suzanne, The future is not the one we imagined, that’s for sure. All the changes are overwhelming and the shared responsiblities that are now soley ours are anxiety provoking. I get it. I am no different than you, I often ask myself what I am going to do?
When I get overwhelmed, I try to remember Mike’s advice and just take things “day by day”. Somehow, we will all make it through this mess. And, I think we will recreate a good life again. I know it is not the life we imagined, but it still can be a life worth living. ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on If I could Back Up 2019-01-06 20:55:07 -0800I am happy that you do not feel alone in this Laura. At Soaring Spirits we understand. The future is different than the one we envisioned but we must try to make the best of it. Seek Joy. Best to you as you try to live this new alternate life. ~S.
Staci Sulin published It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas - Finally in Blog 2019-01-03 20:48:40 -0800
This is my third Christmas without Mike. The first year, Christmas came along 6 weeks after he died and in many ways this was a blessing because I was in so much shock that nothing really phased me. I have almost no recollection of that first Christmas. And, I think this is the way it is supposed to be. I know that I cooked a complete turkey dinner, but I don't remember who sat around my table. I can't recall a single conversation. Not one. I don't even know if I ate dinner.
When I think back to that first Christmas, I can not close my eyes and envision my sons openning their gifts. But, I know that they had gifts. I just have no idea what they were. And, I do not remember shopping for their gifts. Maybe I bought them online. I don't know. I just can't remember. (There is a theme here.)
I know that I got my tree up that first year. But, I have no idea if I was helped doing this or not. I think I actually put up two tress, but I can't be sure. Like so many things over the last 25 months, I wish I could talk to Mike about all this. But, when your person dies you lose part of your shared history. *Sigh.
Now, without Mike, I have to rely soley on my memories of the past. The person who shared some of the best moments of my life is dead; and without him, I am not able to confirm or deny events of our past. This is a huge loss, something I had yet to comprehend that first year without him.
Beyond dinner and having a tree or two decorated I really can't remember anything about that first Christmas at all. Looking back, part of my lack of memory is likely due to my white wine intake. That first holiday as a widow Riesling was regularly coursing through my viens. I was in survival mode. No one was telling me what to do, because none of them had done this before. My friends still had their husbands. They had no experience to draw on. They were clueless about widowhood and so was I. Without a manual for widowhood and with no one to mentor me, I put myself into a wine induced haze for all of December starting on my birthday which landed exactly two weeks after Mike died and one week after I stood at the cemetery and buried him. After witnessing that horribly dramatic, sad and awful moment at the cemetry when the coffin lowered and TAPS played none of my friends were about to tell me not to have the wine. So, it was definitely a White Christmas that first year...
White wine or not, I do not remember Christmas shopping that year. Maybe, I had the gifts finished before Mike died - who knows? I can ask him, but since he's died I can't hear him the way I used to. Two years into this widow thing, I am tired of our one sided conversations. I am tired of the silence. I just want to have him here with me. I want so very much to share my life with him. But, this can never be. Now, I have cognitively accepted that the life we shared is over. However, two years later, I am still working on "accepting" Mike's permanent absence in my heart. This remains a work in progress.
Last year marked my second Christmas as a widow. In truth it felt like my first because I really didn't feel anything that first year. Before the second Christmas, I started dreading Christmas in July which gave a whole new cruddy meaning to "Christmas in July". I remember I felt anxious about being without Mike over the holidlays. I knew that there would be a hollowness to the entire holiday season for me and the topper would be Christmas Day. I felt like my family holidays were incomplete without him.
That second Christmas wasn't the best; and, in truth, I barely recall it. I just remember feeling empty. This third year, Mike's absence remains very obvious to me, but this Christmas season has been noticably less awful for me than the first two. It is finally beginning to feel a bit "okay".
Staci Sulin commented on Stay the Course 2019-01-02 12:05:30 -0800Karen, Your comment will serve to inspire others. I know reading your words I feel encouraged. Thank you for sharing your positivity. ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on I am Different than Who you Loved 2019-02-11 01:56:40 -0800Laura, Thank you for reading my blogs. I know you feel the words I write so deeply. I wish that you did not relate so intimately to what I’ve written, but nonetheless I am glad your feelings are validated by another person who understands widowhood ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Another Birthday without him 2018-12-09 12:32:32 -0800Susan thank you for your note. There is hope and I am not the only one who is here to share this with you. I think everyone here at Soaring Spirits International will attest that if you “stay the course” (the title of the blog I am writing next) better days come. WIth all the grit we can muster, somehow, we will find our way back towards life. It takes a fine balance between grit and grace to get there, but it is possible. It is not easy, far from it. I am not there yet, but I see it is within my grasp and I am so grateful for this. Keep hope in your heart Susan, I am rooting for you this holiday season and always. Best to you, ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Another Year 2018-12-09 12:39:54 -0800Beth, Thank you for your heartfelt comment. It is normal to feel completely underwhelmed and then the next moment feel utterly overwhelmed. That is grief in all it’s glory I suppose. But, like I said to Beth, when our “life force” grows stronger and our desire to LIVE gets so strong it can no longer be ignored, this is when our grief softens and gets quieter. When we decide surviving is not enough, that’s when we can begin to recreate a new life for ourselves. This moment comes eventually for everyone if they work hard. If you believe that this can and it will happen for you. Best to you, ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on It's Me 2018-11-21 10:19:23 -0800Indie, Focus on the love you shared and not the missing if you can. When I am simply grateful for his love I feel less awful. Gratitude is helpful and powerful for me. In truth, I do not think the missing ever will go away. But, it can soften with practice. For me I created a mantra “I will miss you less, and love you more”. It helped me to reframe my thoughts and gave me some peace from the gut wrenching missing. Best to you, ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Condiments 2018-11-11 12:13:14 -0800Susan,
I am sorry you understood my blog so deeply, but I am glad your feelings found the validation they deserve. I relate to what you’ve shared; and, like you, I will continue to treasure certain items because he touched them in the past.
Best to you, ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on I Don't Like Dessert 2018-11-21 10:27:17 -0800Luis, Thank you for your kind and heartfelt comments. And, I wish you the best this holiday season and in this “season of life”. ~S.
Staci Sulin commented on Maybe this will Help - What I know about Grief and Support 2018-11-11 12:01:01 -0800Elisa,
Thank you for your heartfelt comment.
Best to you, ~S.
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 2018-10-19 09:35:02 -0700Mary, I agree that the small, ordinary things are so hard to live without. I am grateful for my memories of our coffee ritual and the little nuances we shared, however even with a grateful heart, it is hard not to miss this life we shared together. Best to you, and to us all. ~S.
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.
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 grief. And, to feel it to it's depth. This isn't easy, but it is the only way through this mess.
I believe that we are lead back towards life and living when we allow ourselves to be still, and sit in the "nothingness" where grief lives. Visiting this empty place is difficult, but it is necessary. This quiet place holds the blueprints of our new, changed life.
I know you are scared to go to the edge of this place; admittedly, I am too. But, we have to take a leap of faith. With time, I am gathering momentum, and I am going to leap and build my wings on the way down.
It has been over two years since Mike died and 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 afraid 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 on, begin to recreate a beautiful life for yourself.
From the Ledge with Wings in Hand,
I am tired. I am tired of everything about widowed life. It is heavy. And, for the better part of two years and a handful of months, I have been doing the heavy lifting of grief. I am sick of it. The loneliness. The isolation. The emotional and mental exhaustion. I am tired of all that grief offers. I think I have sampled it all. And, I can say with authority, it all pretty much sucks. Yep. Hard pass on what grief is serving. Thanks, but no thanks. I'm good. I'm fed up. I'm full.
Living with grief is kinda like the stale coffee I drank this morning.
Lacklustre, mediocre and kinda lukewarm.
I would not serve the cruddy coffee I drank to anyone I liked; and likewise,
I would not wish grief on another human being.
Being Mike's widow is by far the hardest thing I have ever endured. I was building my life around him and his death destroyed everything that I imagined my future to be. When he died I felt my foundation collapse. I buried Mike, but it was me who was buried alive by the wreckage of our dilapidated life. My words are powerful, but they only shine a dim light on the darkness of widowhood. My writing, at best, outlines the landscape of grief and scratches the surface of the aching and ugliness. But, those of us who live with grief know all too well how it relentlessly claws at your Soul - like nothing else can.
There is simply no way to fully explain the awfulness of this mess. Grief must be experienced to be fully understood; and, I do not recommend this experience to anyone. This is not for the faint of heart. That said, with forced practice, I am getting fairly proficient at grief, but it is not something I ever wanted to excel at. I have no desire to become good at grief. I didn't sign up for this and I would love to revoke my membership to this club. It is not working out for me. It doesn't suit my lifestyle. It is simply not a good fit.
Grief and I need to part ways. I am tired of waking up with a heavy heart. And, I am equally exasperated about going to bed with a sadness inside me that runs so deep I am surprised it doesn't drip from me onto my bedsheets. I am detached from everything around me. And, an apathy lives inside me that I can not seem to shake.
I do not want to be unresponsive and dispassionate, but I am. I want to reengage in living, but I haven't yet. I am tired of being without joy. And, I know full well that the only way to reenter life is to reengage in living, but it is so damn hard to live without him. It is incredibly difficult to breathe life into yourself when you are breathless and running on empty. It is so very hard to action carefully architected plans when your heart feels heavy. Yet, I desperately want to feel the hum of a normal life again. I want to return to days gone by when I was content and deliciously happy.
So, now what? How do I make this happen? I ask myself this question again and again. And, I am not sure. I don't know. I am simply not sure what to do next. I am unsure about the direction of my life. I am not sure what I can do to recreate a life I am excited about. I could blog about the ideas that swirl around my head and the hopes that live inside my heart, but until I action these things they aren't real. I haven't breathed air into any of these thoughts so I keep to them myself for now. Maybe, what's next is that I will stop drinking stale coffee. I can start tomorrow by making fresh coffee and see where that leads me.
It's as good a plan as any.
I have not felt your lips against mine for over two years. It has been almost a thousand days since I have heard your voice outside of my memory. And, it is starting like I knew it would. I am starting to forget your voice. I've tried to keep the sound of your voice clear in my mind by replaying our conversations again and again, but it just isn't the same. My ears have not physically heard you in a really, really long time. And, now, because of your absence, I can not remember the exactness of your voice. However, I can still hear you say "Hey, Beautiful" in the tone you reserved for me. I will remember the sound of your voice saying those two words forever. But, aside from this, and a few other words and phrases, I can't hear you for certain anymore. I knew this would happen. And, it is as awful as I thought it'd be.
It has been well over one hundred weeks since I have touched you. It's been far too long since your hands were on me. And, too long since I looked into your kind blue eyes. I haven't felt your gaze on me in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of days. So many days that I have lost count. For me, counting does not serve a purpose anymore. Everyday, you are still dead. You do not become more dead with time, and I know for certain that you are not going to come back to me once I reach a magic number - so I've just stopped counting. In grief, counting is pointless. It is not like in a game of hide and seek where counting serves a purpose. I can count and then shout "ready or not here I come". But, you aren't ready and I am not coming to where you are - yet. Counting just pronounces your absence and makes me feel further from you and the life we shared together.