I'm batting jet-lag to write my blog today, so I apologise in advance for any typos (or any more than usual!) and if I ramble on a bit. I got home to Brisbane, Australia on a red-eye flight from the USA this morning, after three weeks away. It was a wonderful holiday, with the highlight being Camp Widow West in San Diego, however I reeeeeally missed my boyfriend.
We'd been in constant contact while I was away, counting down the days, and then hours, until we would be reunited. He was waiting for me at the airport this morning and when I dragged my tired ass through the arrivals gate and into his arms, I hadn't realised I'd been holding my breath in fear that I'd never get that moment with him.
You see, I haven't missed someone like that since Dan died and it reminded me of that feeling I had almost every day for the first year or so after - that sensation of aching to hold him and touch his face. However, unlike missing my dead husband who I would never get to hold again - I was missing someone very much alive and waiting to hold me too. The excitement of that was such a stark contrast to the agony of missing Dan, it was a very strange and confusing feeling.Read more
I'm writing this from an AirBNB apartment in the heart of New York City, a loooong way from my home in Brisbane, Australia.
I flew out here for a holiday with a good friend (and fellow widow) after attending Camp Widow in San Diego last weekend, and we've been having a wonderful time.
This was my third Camp Widow and while Kelly Lynn spoke about the concept of 'Camp Crash' yesterday, I've found that for me, the crash has typically been delayed until after I've returned home, as the holiday element of my trip has provided a distraction from the return to every-day life. So I'm still waiting for the reality to kick in... but in the mean time, just going with the distraction.
I'm sorry for the late post, I'm at Camp Widow in San Diego this weekend and while I usually post by 5pm Saturday when I'm in Australian but I forget that with the time difference here in the US, my deadline is midnight Friday!
It's been a very different Camp Widow experience for me so far. For the first time, I'm here with four of my Aussie widow friends, compared to my previous two camps where I came from Australia on my own. It's been a lot of fun to travel as a group and see them experience the Soaring Spirits family for themselves. I think I've been so focussed on my friends and excited about their first Camp Widow that I almost forgot that there is something here for me, as a third-time camper, too.
Coming to Camp as a widowed person who is a new relationships has also affected me. I'm still very much learning about love after loss and what it means to be a widow and a girlfriend at the same time. I'm really missing my new guy, who is back in Australia. We've been talking on the phone regularly throughout the day and sending messages and while it's nice to be missing him (knowing I'll actually see him again in a couple of weeks, which is different to missing a dead husband!!) it's been a big distraction.
Thursday was my third wedding anniversary. This one felt slightly different to the previous two, however it was still as sad.
The night before, I stayed at my boyfriend's place and when we went to bed it all caught up with me. I couldn't believe that this time three years ago I was spending the night with my bridesmaids, getting ready to marry Dan in the morning... and now, he's gone and I'm lying in the arms of another man.
He was great about it, very understanding and sweet and just let me cry while he held me. It's such a wonderful but strange dynamic, loving in the 'after'. I'd heard these stories about widows finding these incredible, thoughtful, sensitive men who accepted that their grief was part of them but almost thought it was an illusive myth or only happened to the very lucky few.Read more
I'm at a strange and new phase in my grief. My third wedding anniversary is looming on Thursday (all of which I've had to mark without Dan, because he died before we had the chance to celebrate one together).
This is a time that is usually difficult and emotional. However... my whole compass for what is 'normal' in this world without him has been thrown off its axis due to a new relationship. My first real relationship in the 'after'.
When Dan died, I thought that was it. I couldn't imagine reaching a point where I would be able to even consider giving my heart to anyone else. It was tattered, bruised and broken. For a start, I didn't think anyone else would even want it, let alone that I'd have the ability to still feel anything for someone.
So to experience the kind of happiness and security that being in a relationship brings has been nothing short of breath-taking. I don't mean security as in financial or in a safety sense. But the security that comes when someone really sees you, in all your vulnerability, and doesn't run away. This man has slowly and steadily helped me bring down the walls I've built to protect myself and rather than been repelled by what he's found within, he's instead helped me believe that there is still value and beauty in what I have to offer someone.
I’ve just returned from Arkansas with Sarah, after a 14 hour drive. It is with tired eyes that I briefly write this morning, but yet, a deliriously happy heart. We planned this trip to a tree house in Eureka Springs, AR over a year ago, not long after we met. Circumstances at the time meant that we needed to book this a year in advance, putting a level of trust in the fact that our relationship would become more than a widowed friendship.
She and Drew had talked of staying in a tree house in this area. Megan and I would have never fathomed going to Arkansas. We discussed this at length as we planned the trip, and were still continuing to discuss this, a year later, on our drive home yesterday. The fact that neither of them were with us in body is indeed significant, yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.Read more
I'm exhausted. I've been packing, cleaning, sorting and lugging boxes all day, actually no - for weeks now. My bones ache, my feet are sore and I'm typing this through bleary eyes.
On Monday morning, two guys in a van will be pulling into the driveway of my big family home, filling it with all my precious possession and moving me into my new inner-city apartment building.
I’m writing you this morning from the bed of a roadside motel in West Virginia. The walls inside are all wood, the entire place looking like a big log cabin. It’s cozy feeling, with ruffled curtains, checkered blue and white bedspreads and warm corner lamps. I’ve woken up in a good mood, which I am infinitely grateful for, and hoping I can keep around.
Mike, Shelby and I woke up around 2:30am, after I barely got any sleep. I dragged myself into the truck and proceeded to try and sleep during the 5 hour drive here… which was minimal. This is usual for Mike. He likes to drive through the night. I have never experienced this, and can say that it’s far from my favorite way to begin a vacation. I fought tired eyes most of the day yesterday, as well as trying to keep in good spirits. I failed quite a lot.
I have to admit, even as we got into the mountains, no part of me was feeling too excited. All I could think of is everything that wasn’t right… no sleep, it’s too early for there to be leaves on the trees yet so everything is brown. It turned out to be almost 80 out in the afternoon, far warmer than predicted and I had only brought clothes for cooler weather.
Back home, in Texas, it’s green and lush already out. Spring has fully arrived. Here, the trees are just barely beginning to bud out leaves this week. Everything is still brown. The comparison could not be more different. The changing seasons is proving to be one of the hardest new losses of moving so far from the place I’ve called home.Read more
It’s been over a year since I really started getting to know the person you were. Yesterday was your birthday, and as Sarah and I had a beer, we toasted to you. We sat quietly on the couch, tapped our bottles, and watched television for the rest of the evening. I wanted to write you a note about things.
There weren’t any big “ceremonies” or special traditions, other than Sarah remembering, and I wishing I could. I thought about Megan a ton. We had leftovers from Easter dinner, and chatted about the random things we always do.
It’s as if you were there, just hanging out.
Megan’s priority in life was Shelby. The fact that it is so unlikely that a Cystic Fibrosis sufferer can even have a child naturally made Shelby that much more valuable to both of us. Her “peanut”, as we call her, completed Megan.
During her hospitalization, Megan and I had to have “the talk”. We knew the odds of her coming home, and we were smart enough to talk over her wishes should she not be around. Sure enough, her most important wish was for Shelby to be happy, healthy, and smart. We had also talked of me moving forward, and that she wouldn’t want me to be alone. Putting two and two together, I read this as her wishing me to be with someone that was good for Shelby.
Little did I know (and surely wasn’t looking for) that a few months after her passing, a few women would sit down beside me at Camp Widow. One of those women would move her life 1400 miles to be with me. It’s been a year since Sarah sat down at that table in the hotel bar and grille. There hasn’t been a single day we have not talked in some form since then.