So the feelings are the same, just as intense but not as often and demanding. I miss Clayton every day but the immediate sting when the thoughts rush forward is milder with time. My eyes still water each day but there are more days of laughter than tears. The dust has settled and now I’m feeling unsettled. A year ago I feared I would have to move out of the apartment that Tin and I shared. People don’t realize that when you become a widow most often times your finances flip. Your household income drops but all the same responsibilities are there. We, the widowed, are billed for our loss. As if life isn’t taxing already.Read more
I was talking with another widow the other day, and she told me that lately when she looks at the pictures on her wall of her and her late husband, it feels like it was someone else in those pictures. It feels like some other life, or another lifetime ago. She said she used to feel really sad when looking at the pictures, but now its more of an emptiness, and a big void. She stares at the picture, as if trying to feel something, but it just feels like nothing. And then THAT makes her sad.
"I know that feeling," I empathized. "It's like you feel removed from that life. Like it wasnt you who was in it, or it's somehow been detached from you."
"YES!!!! Exactly! Removed!!!", she said in loud agreement. "Why do we feel removed from our own lives?", she wondered. "That sucks!"Read more
After nearly three years, my grief is different than before. It is what happens. As human beings we are made strong. From the beginning of this mess, my Soul has been striving to continually adapt to this alternate life. And, I have. I have managed to live without him - even when I was certain I could not. As people, we are hard wired to survive awful things. The human experience is not all good, and if you consider what people endure and survive it is pretty awe inspiring
Recently, my grief has evolved a lot. And, no I am not "better". I am just different. My grief has become somewhat easier to carry. I don't struggle to take it with me as much as I did before. Most days, I sling my grief over my shoulder and march out into the world. This is not some heroic feat, it is just what I do each day. It is what all grievers do. And, really, what else can we do? We carry on. We live forward because there is no other choice.
And, because we carry on, most people assume that we have somehow become "okay" because our eyes are not usually glistening with tears anymore. Well, it is kind of a facade. As widowed people we make something incredibly hard look easy. We live without the person we love and it is damn hard. Beyond hard actually. And, still, somehow, I am mostly "okay" without him. I have created a way to move through life more gracefully now, but my grief is still there. It underlies everything. It is part of who I am.
I started my blog by saying that my grief is different. And, it is. The changes in my grief that I am most happy about are not visible. The changes that have made the biggest impact on my grief can not be seen from the outside because these changes are changes of the heart. For the last 2.8 years, I have been working hard at processing my grief and I have made big gains. But, for the most part, I continued to feel out of sorts no matter what I figured out in my head. I felt restless and I lacked contentment. And, largely, I still feel restless, but I am more content now. A strong sense of peace has washed over me because I have finally begun to accept Mike's death in both my head and my Heart. I have had a change of heart and this is making all the difference.
I have really enjoyed contributing to this blog, but now it is time to move on and giver others a chance to share. I thought over time I would find other widows and widowers to connect with, but it hasn’t really happened. However, as I reflect over my life, it makes sense because my life experience has always been outside the norm—I have always felt isolated from society which is what made my wife so special. She gave me a deep, deep connection with her for 15 years, and now, I have this deep, deep connection with my daughter.Read more
This Sunday, I woke up early because I drove my son to work for 7am. I found myself at a local coffee shop which isn’t any big deal, except that it is.
I drove by the coffeeshop that Mike and I went to when he was alive. I drove by it on purpose. I made a choice not to go there this morning.
Drinking coffee in our coffeeshop doesn’t bring Mike back to life. Death and coffee don’t work like that. Obviously, I’ve always known this; but, early on, I did it anyways. Hoping against hope, I would sit in our spot desperately praying that Mike would walk through the door. Now, after 2.8 years of widowhood, those days of wishful thinking are nearly over. It’s different now.
Recently, I’ve begun to accept the permanence of his death. In my head, I’ve know the foreverness of it all for a while now; but, in my heart, I just couldn’t grasp it. And, truthfully, a part of me still can’t. But, I’m starting to make headway with acceptance; and this is making all the difference.
This past week, I got to sit down and have a mentoring session with a photographer that I have greatly admired for several years now. We went through my photography - most specifically, all of the photographs I made about my grief after Drew died. It’s taken me years to get to the right space emotionally to be ready to have someone look at these photos with a critical eye and tell me what is working best and least in relation to showing them in galleries and having exhibitions. I’ve thought for years that I’ve just been avoiding it, but I’m now seeing that I just wasn’t ready to take these photos into such an often harshly critical atmosphere as the fine art gallery world.
Deep down though, I have never been able to ignore this pull from inside my gut that wants this work to be out in the world in a bigger way. The parts of me that went through all that trauma and pain and grief and sadness and anger and confusion and brokenness… which is captured in the images. I want this series and this experience to be seen by those who have the fortune of not yet experiencing such pain as well as those who have. I want it to be seen by anyone who has ever been broken by life, because I think seeing visuals about struggle and rebuilding can help all of us feel more connected and less alone.Read more
Im Widow Tired.
Tired of being widowed.
Tired of milestone dates, grief triggers, and sleepless nights.
Tired of the simplest things that used to be easy, taking me forever to accomplish.
Tired of fearing the future, honoring the past, being in the moment.
I want to be in the moment.
Its just tiring to have to remind myself all the time,
to stop projecting.
Stop panicking.Read more
I'm continually searching for new and fascinating podcasts to listen to as I drive my Odyssey of Love. Podcasts by people who think outside the box. Live outside expectations. See beyond what we've generally been taught, whether intentionally or culturally.
This perception in thinking isn't new to me; I was raised to read and question and educate myself.
When Chuck and I started our traveling days together, we let go, willingly, of our material possessions. A huge bit of it was donated to friends. What we kept, we'd go through each time we visited our storage unit.
And what I found was that, as our pile of possessions grew smaller and smaller, I began looking inside of myself.
Why did I believe what I did? Where did my absolutes come from? And were they serving me in my adult life?Read more
I recently had a scare over someone close to me dying again. It wasn’t even a true emergency, or anyone in fact having a close call by any means. But this wasn’t just anyone. This was one of my oldest friends and someone who has been a mother to me since my own mom died when I was nine. Now that both of my parents are gone, she is one of only a few people left who were there when I was growing up. And really, she is the last of the keepers of all of my history. All of my stories.
The other week, after having just returned from a Texas where I got some time to visit with her, I found out she was in the hospital. It wasn’t anything life-threatening, an intestinal issue that she has dealt with before. But, she is getting older, and I’ve been becoming more aware over the last year that her health isn’t as good as it could be. So my brain went into immediate overdrive when I heard she was in the hospital. Made worse by the fact that I had just seen her 3 days before, and was now sitting in my house, some 1400 miles away in Ohio. The pain of not being able to be right there by her side was so big.
I don’t usually react to triggers in such a big way. But this time, I did. My brain immediately went back into that place of shock and trauma that hit me when Drew died seven years ago. That place where suddenly my life is completely altered and though I am there, still breathing, and my life is still there, something about it is very very wrong. Suddenly I felt the room spinning around me, just like when he died. I began to hyperventilate and exploded into panicked tears that I could not stop for what felt like ages.Read more
The Fourth of July - All things summer right? It’s cookouts, pool, family, sunscreen and fireworks. All the freedoms you get living in the good ole USA. It’s funny how the word freedom is used. By definition, freedom means you are not enslaved or forced to act or be a certain way. You are not trapped. Of course, for the USA freedom means all of those things to show our independence. Interesting, that word freedom, because it is purely based on one’s perception of the situation.Read more