Last weekend I was at a close friends wedding. I loved the people, the venue and the time away from my regular hectic schedule. On a beautiful hill at a colonial inn in rural New Hampshire, we all gathered under three towering maple trees to watch two friends join together.
When I first became widowed, I remember asking someone who had been a widow much longer than me, if the pain would ever get easier.
Her response was: "Not easier, but softer. It gets softer. "
I didnt really understand what she meant.
I find that my deams often reveal the detail of my grief. In a recent dream, my wife was scolding me for my parenting approach, “You too often let her get away with not eating fruits and veggies!” Clearly, I have not moved on from feelings of self-doubt about my parenting skills. I know most parents struggle with healthy food options, but I know it would be A LOT easier to feed my daughter if Natasha were still here. She wasn’t just a good cook, she was a great food researcher: I didn’t have to read labels and search websites, Natasha would just say, “Buy this, and not that.” This is where relying on our community is very helpful.Read more
One of the most fundamental aspect of our species is that we are constantly comparing everything. Walking down the street, our brains are constantly comparing the faces of strangers to faces of people we know. Isn’t that? …no, she’s too tall to be her. Comparing helps us cross the street and be safe—we have an image of a safe crosswalk in our brains, and we compare what we see on the street with that image before our feet leave the curb. Most comparisons keep us safe and healthy, while others simply make life far more complicated than it has to be.Read more
Today has been a good day so far. I love waking up and feeling passion for whatever is going to happen next in my life. Like my daughter saying, “I have a Valentine’s Day card for Dada! Here it is!” As I help my daughter get ready for school, I take a deep breath and remind myself of one simple truth; getting Anisha ready and walking her to school in the sun and snow IS what life is all about! I love that I truly appreciate simple things more, but I still miss so many things about Natasha, such as her food.Read more
My birthday was hard. Thanksgiving was hard. Christmas and New Years were both hard. Yet it is the “Hallmark Holiday” that seems to burn more than build the wave of sadness.Read more
I have to expect that my widowed parent journey is, and will always be, just that: MY widowed parent journey. It is unlikely that I will meet another single parent who like me stood over his father-in-law, mother-in-law and wife while they all took their last breath. Whenever I share this fact, most people’s jaws drop in surprise, and then people get quiet, and struggle to say something meaningful. My grief for my wife is intertwined with my grief for her parents and the life we had. I used to get really annoyed with people who quickly try to change the topic. Now I have more understanding for them. How can I expect them to respond correctly? No one truly knows what to say in times of grief. Besides, words that work today may not work tomorrow. Or, words that work for me may not work for others. Also, since my grief for my wife is intertwined with my grief for her parents, how can I really expect others to understand the complexities of my grief, grief that can quickly turn into anger? This is where gratitude is very helpful.Read more
When Tin passed away, my social media was flooded with posts and photos showing just how much he was loved and how much support I had to lean on taking my first steps on this new beach. Each day had been continued support helping me step forward and weather the waves.Read more
I am jealous of old people.
Every single old person that I see walking down the street. I am jealous of them.
The bitter ones.
The wrinkled up, exhausted by life ones.
The healthy ones.
The sick ones.
The ones who have made it into their late 80's or even early 90's, and who are still walking side by side with their partners.
The husband who grabs his wife's fragile hand, pulling her up that last small step, into their favorite diner.
The wife who rubs soothing lotion or cream into her husband's back and neck, in places where he can no longer reach on his own.
I have been working really hard at being upbeat and positive this Christmas. I consciously remind myself of the wonderful things in my life - amazing kids, great friends, a rewarding job, an amazing community, etc. I don't want to whine. I certainly don't wish to have others internally groan and roll their eyes if I talk about how lame the holidays are as an only parent or a widow. I keep beating myself over the head with intentions of positivity and quotes about gratitude. I very often feel that I have reached the lauded grieving stage of "acceptance".
But sometimes, just sometimes, I feel myself thinking, "This sh*t blows."Read more