Beautiful Ramblings

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,

Staci


Shattered Hearts Still Beat

Before I was Mike's widow I did not know the depth and breadth of grief. 

I had no idea that grief lasts forever. 

I never considered secondary losses. 

I did not think about how the dead are missing from our futures. 

The day Mike died, I did not know that my grief would stay with me throughout my lifetime.

I just didn't know. 

                                       I couldn't know.                                           

 

Now, I intimately understand that grief profoundly changes who you are and how you see the world.  From the outside, people in my proximity, think that I am moving forward and getting my shit together.  

Well, I am a work in progress at best.  In nineteen days, I will have been widowed for three years.  What does that even mean?   Am I good at this now?  Am I used to living without Mike?  Am I thriving in this alternate life?  Am I okay? 

The truth is, I am not okay.  And, I still don't know how to live fully without him.  Yes, I survived his death, but am I thriving?  Not yet.  Maybe not for another year, or two or ten.  Who knows.  Nothing is simple anymore, even three years later.

 

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Live Forward

In less than one month it will be three years since Mike died.  With time and a lot of processing, the truth of his death has slowly leached into every cell of my body.  And, despite my initial rebellion against his death, my heart is finally no longer resisting what my mind understands.  Mike is gone.  He died. 

Even now, it is unthinkable that I will never share another moment with him, but this is a fact whether I like it or not.  Early on, every fibre of my being fought to survive without him.  Still, despite my efforts, a part of me died with him.  But, further, a big part of me also survived Mike's death.  And, it is this part of me who is fighting to live forward.

 

I have come to realize that it is Mike's death.  Not mine.  I did not die. 

 

In the early months I thought I might die from sadness.  But, I didn't, and neither will you.  For the last 2.11 years, I have chosen to focus on the living part of me.  The part of me that was not buried with Mike.  Sure, absolutely, I miss the person I used to be, but the life in which that woman existed died with him. It's over.  It is gone.  All of it - everything we were together - simply vanished when Mike died. Our life was built on solid ground, but when he died, everything imploded and what was once solid quickly turned into a quagmire of uncertainty.  I lost Mike and my identity.  Everything that I thought was certain  disappeared. My life was no longer recognizable to me.  And, in truth, it still isn’t nearly three years later. 

I lost my footing when Mike died and I have been fighting to recover it ever since.  Every day, I struggle to stay grounded here in this reality.  It remains my instinct to retreat to a place in my mind where I keep Mike alive.  But, my sensibilities urge me to live forward without the man I love.  So, for nearly three long years, I have worked to  find order among the wreckage of my life. 

Without him, my axis is off kilter.  I feel like I am spinning and without a sense of direction.  It’s been a long, long  road - and this is understating it.  Grief has been my constant companion since the moment I heard “he’s dead”.  Those two small words changed my life completely.  However,  I try hard not to focus on Mike’s deadness,  Instead I try to be grateful for his life.  A life he chose to share part of with me.  For me, there is no point in perseverating about what has been lost.  It’s gone.  Nothing can reverse any of it.  He is dead.  He is gone and I am left here without him.  Blunt.  Maybe.  But, what other way is there to describe the situation? 

 

 

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  • commented on 6 Years of Tired~ 2019-04-29 14:34:47 -0700
    Yes, to all you wrote.

    At 2.4 years, I see that this heaviness and missingness isn’t going anywhere. Life without them will not be as good as it was with them -ever. That is just the truth.
    So, now what? I ask myself this all day long… ~S.

  • commented on Everything but the Kitchen Sink 2019-06-12 12:34:13 -0700
    Kathy, I am glad that you feel validated in what you read. I am sorry you understand this.
    ~S.

  • commented on Facade 2 2019-04-17 17:56:48 -0700
    Karen,
    Like you, I have accepted that this emptiness and aching is something that I will have to live with for the rest of my life because our love was deep. It was a soul connection and death does not lessen this type of love. In fact, I think it makes it stronger. ~S.

  • commented on Holding Pattern 2019-03-26 11:55:21 -0700
    Ron
    Thank you for sharing your heart.
    I’m rooting for you, for me, for us all as we find our way again. ~S.

  • commented on Time Change 2019-03-17 21:40:27 -0700
    Bobby, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. This means a lot coming from a fellow blogger. With appreciation, ~S.

  • commented on Weak at the Knees 2019-03-06 16:49:41 -0800
    Christine, I guess our hearts speak the same language. I ’m happy my blog spoke to you so deeply. TIme will reveal the next part of our life story. Best to you and to me as we find the women we are becoming. ~S.

  • commented on Wanderlust 2 2019-03-06 15:26:30 -0800
    Ron, None of this is easy. Answers are hard to come by. Our worlds imploded it is no wonder we “can’t see forward”. But, with time, commitment and hard work I think things will somehow come together… Best to you, ~S.

  • commented on Stale Coffee 2019-03-03 11:42:35 -0800
    Indie, Yes, I agree, sometimes it is hard to “really even give a shit”. Yet, here we are. I attempt to try to reenter life because the alternative is too bleak for me and my children. ~S.

  • commented on Reconstruction 2019-03-03 11:32:32 -0800
    Indie, You sure have accomplished many “herculean job(s)”. I wish that your existence felt less “meaningless”, but I do appreciate your honesty in your comments. Best to you, ~S.

  • commented on I'm still your Girl 2019-02-18 09:34:06 -0800
    Laren, 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.

  • commented on Lifelines 2019-02-05 17:55:07 -0800
    Susan,
    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.

  • commented on Joy Isn't Found in Tap Water 2019-02-03 16:58:07 -0800
    Ron,
    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.

  • commented on Exclamations and Tildes~ 2019-01-25 15:56:17 -0800
    I 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.

  • commented on Average Widow 2019-01-17 12:12:47 -0800
    Susan, 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.

  • commented on This is Getting Old 2019-02-03 17:10:50 -0800
    Suzanne, 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.

  • commented on If I could Back Up 2019-01-06 20:55:07 -0800
    I 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.

  • It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas - Finally

    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".

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  • commented on Stay the Course 2019-01-02 12:05:30 -0800
    Karen, Your comment will serve to inspire others. I know reading your words I feel encouraged. Thank you for sharing your positivity. ~S.

  • commented on I am Different than Who you Loved 2019-02-11 01:56:40 -0800
    Laura, 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.

  • commented on Another Birthday without him 2018-12-09 12:32:32 -0800
    Susan 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.

I'm a Mother, Ex-Wife, Fiancee, and Widow who has been forced to live a life different than the one I imagined. Still, I'm a Lover of Life. Somehow, I'm still a fan of Fate. And, I actively seek Joy -this has made all the difference.
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