This week I felt like writing about how the arrival of the holidays has already been extremely difficult for me. These are the first holidays without Clayton. Those Facebook “memories” that pop up in my news feed are like a sharp knife from a friend. Nothing is safe from the reminders. I don’t know if I can even decorate this year but decorating is not what my words are for this week. It is the place that no one would ever think could be a heart-wrenching trigger. A place everyone goes that is designed to help you live but, as a widow, it is a place that can take more of you away…The Grocery Store.Read more
As I sat down to write this morning, as I usually do, I read a few of this previous week’s posts. On a day like today, where my mind is somewhat blank, it often helps me to zero in on a subject. Once I have that nugget of inspiration, I can usually let it flow.
This week, I’ve been inspired to write about something from a different side of the same coin. Olivia and Staci had spoken about the triggers of lack of contact with a loved one, and the desire and intricacies of revisiting places and events they once shared with their person.
Perhaps its the different circumstances...long-term illness versus sudden, surprising loss, but I don’t feel the same way as they do.Read more
I remember last year sitting in a small group discussion at Camp Widow Toronto discussing how there can be triggers that connect directly or indirectly to your loss that make you scared and panic for your current life, namely your other loved ones. Then how these triggers and events make you act out of character. Someone mentioned seeing ambulances and wanting check-ins instantly on the people they loved. Someone else mentioned anytime anyone is even remotely late that they want calls so they know everyone is okay. At the time I thought, “Nope, not me. I don’t think or do anything like that.” Now that’s what I think of when I get into my extreme panic mode over people in my life now and can’t get out of it. I guess it just hadn’t started yet.
For me it has somehow translated to mostly related to phone calls and texts. The morning Mike died he was (obviously) not responding to my texts. I texted him a few times. I then called him. The first few times I called him it rang all the way to voicemail. Then it started to go straight to voicemail. I know now that the police would have turned it off. At the time, I tried to convince myself that he was just late from work and his phone died. He wasn’t and it didn’t.Read more
I caught myself today. I caught myself leaving for work, locking the door and checking the handle – 7 times. I pulled and pushed on the handle to make sure it was definitely locked. Then I pushed on the door itself. “It’s locked”’ I said to myself. I walked down the hall to the stairs and paused. I felt sick to my stomach. I turned around and went back to check the door again…
I didn’t sleep well last night. My dreams were all over the place, in and out of new scenes mixed into others that seemed hauntingly familiar. People I knew in my life were all gone and all the new people I met were untrustworthy, up to something, lurking in the shadows. I ran around this new world struggling to find an anchor. Then I saw my dog Roan. He was running toward me and was knocked into the street and run over. I woke up screaming and in tears. I felt that everything was out of control and the fear grew stronger.Read more
Well I made it. I made it through the first wedding since Tin passed only two months ago and it was followed by the next day being the first Father’s Day without my father. There were times I couldn’t hold back the tears and times I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt like a stranded fish. How ironic to be a crying stranded fish that needs salt water to breathe but the water is blurring you vision instead of spilling over your gills. I made it through the night with the fun songs, the heartbreaking songs that meant joy to all the others in the room, the condolences from family that haven’t seen me since Tin passed and catching myself rubbing my own palm and realizing I was just hoping to feel Tin take my hand. It’s not just losing the person it’s losing all the plans you had with that person and watching other people be rewarded with what you have lost.
The plane ride home was going well until I fell asleep. Dreams of the plane crashing, my apartment being robbed while I was gone and “Oh my God is my dog safe?”. What would I do if Roan was gone? I need to get home and the panic sets in. I move forward and jolted awake startling the guy in the seat next to me realizing I was locked 10,000 ft. from the answers to cure my panic. Of course everything was fine and Roan was tail wag crazy but as I returned home so did the stomachaches and dark clouds I had been carrying before my trip. It was an unexpected return home to realize how lonely and depressed I was. Skip it and go to bed. Work in the morning.Read more
Another school related story today. So much seems to come up at work. One more week and I’m on holidays though so this might be the last one for now!
Our last unit in Math is on probability. The expectation for the grade ones is that they need to understand and identify scenarios that are certain, impossible, likely, and unlikely. Do you see where I’m going with this? Right from the start my mind is preoccupied with the likelihood of being widowed at 27. Unlikely. Yet it happened. Not impossible. But when I think of the word unlikely I don’t frame it in terms of things that might happen. I frame it in terms of things that probably won’t happen. And when I think of things that probably won’t happen then I pretty much stop thinking of them because, well, it probably won’t happen. That makes sense to me and apparently many others as well since when you look up “unlikely” in the (google) dictionary the synonyms that come up are: implausible, unrealistic, inconceivable, far-fetched and the list goes on. Unlikely events are simply dismissed because it is thought that they won’t happen. However, that also doesn’t sit well in my brain now. Because then where does that leave my thinking when something that is highly unlikely to happen, so unlikely that you don’t think of it, actually happens? Again, I know that the actual outcome can be different than predicting the probability but still, that’s not how I thought of it.
What I do think and feel is cheated. I feel like “unlikely” was actually supposed to mean close to impossible which it certainly does not. It never did mean that in the first place. It was just made up that way in my mind. It feels like unlikely meant almost impossible for me but maybe slightly more likely for someone else that I don’t know somewhere off in a distant place. It also does not mean that. It means exactly as it is presented - not likely to happen but it still could. I had just cut out the last part that it could happen.Read more
It is Thursday evening, and in the morning, around 7:30am, my boyfriend of almost one year, will be having surgery. It's not life-threatening surgery or anything, (hernia operation) but my "sudden death widow anxiety brain" is screaming at me otherwise. I have been thinking about all of the things that could go wrong, thinking about sudden death, thinking about all of it. He will probably and most likely be fine and okay and life will go on. But I am a widow of sudden death, and so my knowing that someone can be taken from you in an instant, when you least expect it, is impossible to un-know.
On top of that, I have the story of my own sudden death loss, but also all the many widowed friends I have met over the years, and all THEIR stories of minor surgeries gone wrong, freak accidents, doctors making mistakes, on and on and on. I will be driving him to the hospital in the morning, staying there by his side , waiting in the waiting room while he has the procedure, and getting him back home whenever they release him. He also gave me the numbers for all his family members and people close to him, for me to text and call and let them all know the updates. I am the "point person", and I will do it gladly, because I love him, and he is my person.Read more
This year is the 10 year anniversary of Soaring Spirits International.
This Sunday is the official anniversary day of when Michele founded the non-profit.
July 13th weekend, I will be presenting once again, at Camp Widow San Diego.
July 13th will be the 7 year anniversary of my husband Don's sudden death.
July 13th, my book about his death and our life together and my life in the aftermath, will be officially released and available at the Camp Widow bookstore (hopefully.)
September 30th I am having my Book Launch Party in NYC, something I have wanted to do since this whole thing began. September 26th, I will be 47 years old, and no longer the same age of 46 that my husband was, when he left for work one morning and never came home.
We are in final editing this week, and the pressure is on. It is very important to me that this book be ready for Camp Widow, and that everything goes well in trying to upload it, add pictures, choose page sizes, shipping issues, money issues, on and on and on. I am not sleeping well, my stomach is in knots, and my skin is out of control with the dryness and blotchy patches and rashes that I always get on my arms, legs, and other weird places, when I’m stressed.Read more
So, after about 3 and a half years or so of writing and not writing and then writing again, and then the last 6 months or so of REALLY doing a TON of writing and not being able to look at computer screens anymore because my eyes hurt so bad - I am finally finished writing my book. It is FINISHED!!!!
I handed it over to my editor 2 days ago, and now he will edit and make suggestions on things like grammar, structure, spelling, and a little bit of content. And then it will be ready for uploading and publishing and that whole process by early June, so that it will be 100% OUT and available for purchase and shipping etc., in time for July 13th. That weekend is Camp Widow in San Diego. My great hope is that I will be there as a presenter, this time with my book on sale at the Camp Widow bookstore, for the first time. More importantly, July 13th will be the 7 year anniversary of Don's death, so it's really important to me to be able to honor and recognize that day, with this book finally being out there for the public. I hope like hell that it helps people; brings them comfort, hope, or a few moments of knowing someone else understands.Read more
I have a lot going on right now and I am feeling extremely stressed out. Life in general is not going well for my youngest daughter, and in order to help her cope I have decided to leave work and stay home with her for her second semester of school this year. Also, I have just found out that I require surgery on Dec 7th which will take me out of commission for awhile (not to mention I am scared shitless of having the surgery), and I am panicked as to how I will prepare for Christmas around this surgery. I just can't seem to get it together, and the looming Christmas season isn't really helping. Christmas #2 without Ben.
In any case, I'm just going to be straight up honest and tell you all that I can't cope with writing a new blog post this week, but I am going to post something that I wrote at the end of November 2015. When Christmas was looming and I was really stressed out. I guess November does that for me. I feel essentially the same today, except Ben was alive back then and I could still see him and touch him and hear him, even if he was mostly sleeping. So life may have actually been better back then.Read more