Lately, Mike feels so far away. It is very hard to properly describe, but I will give it a try. He has taken on the feel of a memory. Now, Mike feels like more of a memory than my person. I feel lousy admitting this. It sort of feels like he is dying all over again.
In my head, Mike feels like someone who lived once upon a time - in another lifetime. Writing this and committing these thoughts to paper feels unsettling to me. It is completely jarring. I dislike that the man I love has taken on the feel of a familiar character in my favorite book. Once upon a time, Mike was real. He was flesh and blood not so long ago. And, now it seems like he lived in another place and another time. And, really, I guess he did.
Today, it does not feel like it was in my lifetime that he shared his life with me. This is the stuff that fills my head and breaks my heart. This is the stuff that widowhood is made of. Dammit. There is no happy ending I can possibly write to any of this.
The man I love now feels like a memory.
Read that again.
And, now read it another time.
The man I love now feels like a memory...
He feels so far away.
He feels like a lifetime ago.
He does not feel real anymore.
He doesn't feel real anymore because he is not.
He's not real anymore...
I've reached a major point along this widowhood road. Arrived, so to speak.
At least, in my mind, I have.
I'm in the state of Confusion. And I'm kind of okay with it, in the midst of nothing being okay any longer.
I'm not fighting any emotion that comes my way.
Good, bad, indifferent and everything in between.Read more
With time and hard, consistent work, grief does bear gifts for time served. Grief, like all things in life changes. The changes are not linear and they don’t come as quickly as we would like, but change does occur nonetheless.
This fourth year without Mike, my grief feels different. Now, my grief is well worn. It is softer and more “comfortable” if that is even possible. It still doesn’t quite fit right. But, I am wearing it just the same. I am learning to wear grief well; or, at least with more ease. With time, my grief fits better. Yours will too.
Rest assure, I never want to be entirely comfortable with grief. This is not where I want to settle. This is not where life is lived. It is a starting point at best. There is hope. Hope for a life that is not filled with sadness and desire only for days gone by. Others, who are further along than me in widowhood, have assured me that their grief has changed. I want to believe them, and I want this for myself too. But, early on, I did not know how this would ever become true. I worried my grief would be exceptional. It was not. And, your grief won’t be either.
The holiday season is over. Starting in early November, every year, I begin pondering Megan’s death at an elevated rate, leading up to the anniversary of it. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day all occurring in the weeks just after, it’s two months of absolute stress, that nobody seems to understand, including myself. My work becomes overwhelming, the weather is never “nice”, no matter what the actual conditions, and it feels as if my world is falling apart.
I present myself as totally and unalterably angry, save for the three to five days where I am just flat-out depressed, until sometime on or around January 2nd of the new year. There is no specific pattern, other than November starting, along with the initial thought of “this is the month Megan died”. It’s all a plummet from there.
I have no control over it. I can intellectually analyze it and realize that my anxiety is wholeheartedly related to her death occurring within the month, but 95 percent of the time, it is buried in my subconscious, with the quick-hitting excuses of “work sucks”, “money is tight”, or “I’m just tired” taking the forefront.
The holidays have become something to “get through” anymore.
I got through them.Read more
I’m halfway through this winter warfare others call “the most wonderful time of the year”. The annual arrival of the four holiday horsemen. Just as one battle ends another commences giving us barely enough time to heal the wounds and gather back the troops. Thanksgiving with grief in the gravy. Christmas’ hallmark heartaches. Now the approach of a New Year further away from our yesterdays with the final horseman named St. Valentine charging into battle just a month after.Read more
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.
Thanksgiving was a beast in itself but Christmas can be the kraken in unicorn’s clothing. I love parts of Christmas like the lights, smell of Christmas trees and giving others gifts. It’s the other parts - families gathering, couples under the mistletoe, Hallmark everything that always ends up like a fairytale…Read more
You would think that becoming widowed just before the holiday season could make said holidays an overbearing mixture of grief, stress, and memories going forward. That remembering that first Christmas without Megan, watching a seven-year-old Shelby bounding down the stairs to a room in which her father was already bawling, would not be the ideal nostalgic thought of the ghosts of Christmas past. Family traditions, like ice-skating, making hot chocolate, decorating the house, or cutting our own tree to trim would always be stained with the term things we “did”, rather than things we “do”.
For the most part, I suppose those sentiments are true, but in the grand scheme of things, the holidays have been a stressful time for most of my adult life. Megan’s death was just the cherry on top of a season already filled with anxiety, frustration, and a sense of being pulled in every which way but the one I wanted to.
Perhaps I’m a bit of a scrooge.Read more
A week ago I was given an opportunity at a big event to share with my essential oil community about inclusion, community and growth. It amazes me what has come into my life in the past year. Part of my oil journey is the loss of Tin. I share about him in every speech I give. I share about Soaring Spirits and I share about the widowed Facebook support group, A Widow’s Valor, that gives those in the Young Living oily community a place to be surrounded by other oilers. Talking about my loss isn’t easier, it’s just different. I’ll always be a work in progress and, as I practice reflection and present time, I can pull myself from the tough days to look at the big picture of my journey and rebuilding. When I stop and take time to look at my journey I can see that I have accomplished something amazing – I survived and now I’m beginning to thrive.Read more
This will be my fourth Christmas without him. We only shared one Christmas together so, why does Mike's absence weigh so heavy on me when I have lived most of my life without him? Well, there are many reasons outliving Mike is hard; there are just too many things to mention. And, really, it is the intangible things that are hardest to live without. What is really comes down to is that I love him deeply; and, living without the person you are so in love with is awfully difficult.
Simply put, I miss Mike and I want him back. I want to finish living the life we thought we'd share together. And, I know full well that I can't have this. Sunday, I stood above his grave. Physically, I saw the markers of his deadness. My hands touched his headstone. My eyes read his name carved into the stone. My lips kissed the cold stone. As I stood to leave, I whispered I love you to my dead fiance. He didn't answer back because he couldn't. I get it. I know that Mike is gone from here. Still, despite what I understand, I continuously think about living a life that does not and can not exist. This is the quandary of my widowhood.
I need to create these make believe thoughts less frequently. My mind needs more space for the here and now stuff. I need to remain grounded in the present, but I just don't know how to accomplish this. I am in my fourth year of widowhood and I still have not found a way to keep my mind tethered in the moment I am experiencing.