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.
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,
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’m sitting in a coffee shop that is brimming with hustle and bustle and holiday cheer. And, amid all the merriment and the hum of constant conversation I am realizing, for the thousandth time, how very detached I’ve become.
Sitting here alone at my table, I put in my earphones, then I cranked up my music because I just can’t listen to the idle conversations that are going on around me. I had to drown the sound of their voices out before the ridiculousness of it all swallowed me whole.
I don’t care.
I’m different now that I’ve had to outlive him. I won’t apologize for how I’ve put myself back together. I’ve survived. I’ve been forced to reinvented myself. And, I’m changed for better and worse.
The first year, Christmas came along 6 weeks after he died. In many ways, this was a blessing because I was in such shock. I have almost no recollection of that first Christmas without him. And, I think this is the way it had 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 opening 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. Maybe the trees were already up prior to Mike dying - who knows. Like so many things, 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 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 shared past. This is a huge loss. Secondary losses were 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. Looking back, part of my lack of memory is likely due to my white wine intake. That first holiday as a widow Riesling was not optional. I was in survival mode. And, no one was telling me what to do, because no one I knew 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 bearing witness to the horribly dramatic, sad and awful moment at the cemetery when Mike’s coffin was lowered as TAPS played no one was about to tell me not to ease up on the wine. So, with no regrets, my first Christmas was definitely a White Christmas…