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
I’ve always felt that, 5 years after Megan’s death, I wouldn’t feel like a widow anymore. Not counting those first few months, when I swore up and down that my life was over and that I would never, ever move forward or be able to love again, I consider myself very realistic. I have a stable career. Shelby is and always has been well-adjusted, smart, and healthy. I’m not under mountains of crushing debt, or struggling to make ends meet.
By 3 months, my focus had already shifted from being “lost” to being “off track”, if that means anything different.
Most of the time, my premonition rings true. I don’t focus on the fact that Megan is dead on my day to day life. I do not identify myself as a widower anymore than I identify myself as a Marine, network engineer, or high school graduate. The titles are no more than a minor addition to the whole sum that is “me”.
Then again, with my sixth Camp Widow attendance, in Toronto next weekend, the title of “widower” gains greater significance. It becomes “who I am” for a few weeks.Read more
Before I was Mike's widow I did not know the depth and breadth of grief.
I had no idea that grief lasts forever.
I never considered secondary losses.
I did not think about how the dead are missing from our futures.
The day Mike died, I did not know that my grief would stay with me throughout my lifetime.
I just didn't know.
I couldn't know.
Now, I intimately understand that grief profoundly changes who you are and how you see the world. From the outside, people in my proximity, think that I am moving forward and getting my shit together.
Well, I am a work in progress at best. In nineteen days, I will have been widowed for three years. What does that even mean? Am I good at this now? Am I used to living without Mike? Am I thriving in this alternate life? Am I okay?
The truth is, I am not okay. And, I still don't know how to live fully without him. Yes, I survived his death, but am I thriving? Not yet. Maybe not for another year, or two or ten. Who knows. Nothing is simple anymore, even three years later.
Sometimes I am surprised by moments that heal my in ways I never imagined on this journey of loss. I met Mike because I lost Drew. And I met his daughter Shelby because of that too. And because they lost a wife and mother. And here we are, this new little family sort of scrapped together from the pieces of past lives. There are more pieces too… from our childhood quilts as well. For me, the life when my mom was alive. The life when my dad was alive. All of the pieces are sewn together into this new life we’re sharing.
With so many old, tattered pieces, I think it’s easy to wonder if my parts of the quilt are strong enough. If my whole area of our shared quilt will just fall apart at any time. It’s easy for me to doubt my abilities to be a mom for example, because I lost my mom so young that I really feel like I am just flying blind. All I have to go off of is my dad’s parenting, and he wasn’t winning any parent-of-the-year awards, let me tell you!
Every so often though, there comes a moment when I really know, that I am not only rocking at living on as a widowed person - but that I am rocking this mom thing - even if all I have to go on is my own instincts and my dad’s poor parenting.
This past week was one of those moments for me. We had a big Halloween party for Shelby and all her friends. She’s in 7th grade now, and I’m trying to find ways to continue having big, amazing memories around Halloween with her now that she is getting older. Especially because I have heard so many stories from her about how much her mom loved Halloween. From the moment I met her, I knew that we needed to keep that Halloween spirit alive and big. In past years, that meant hand making amazing costumes together and going to a few fun Halloween events. Now that she is older though, I figured a party with her closest friends would be the way to go.Read more
So, since I have been writing for this blog for a number of years now, which I love doing, there are times when I either:
A: cant really think of anything new to say or write about without sounding like a broken record, or
B: get tired of hearing the sound, or the type, of my own voice and my own story.
When that happens, which is the case tody, I prefer to focus on all of you instead.
I think it would be kind of fun to ask you all some informal questions, to my widowed community, so other fellow widowed peeps can see your replies in the comments and we can all get to know each other a little bit more. I have been asked by adminstration to please remind you that when you post comments and replies on this blog, your comments are not anonymous and they are public. So if you dont want your words posted public, I will not be offended if you choose not to participate. Its all up to you, 100%. Also, if you dont feel like addressing all of these widow-related topics below, feel free to only answer five, or two, or none! Ive done a lot of writing in this blog over the years, and I just thought it might be kind of fun to hear more of your stories, from your words.
So, lets have a conversation:
I look forward to your replies.Read more
Well, I made it through the long three days of Mike being out of town for work the other week. He made sure to text or call at every turn so that I knew he was safe - which helped so much to keep the panic at bay a bit. So no, he didn't die. Much to my relief. Although I will say, the whole ordeal of having to cope with my new person on a work trip after my previous person died on one, has stirred up a lot. In fact, Mike is currently fixing my car and as I watch him underneath 3000+ lbs of metal, the thoughts just come again. Before I know it I’m imagining the entire thing crashing down on him and me, standing there, not knowing what to do. Or what if it crashes down on him and kills him instantly, and there I am, standing there, my whole world flipped upside down again. Only this time I have a kid and no job. How will I take care of her? How will I get a job to pay for everything? There goes my mind... off on it's own horrific adventure. Although this is all highly unlikely, you all know, that doesn’t stop the stories in my head, or the physical reaction.
I wish I could do something about this. I wish I could go back to not knowing what that would be like for my partner to die suddenly and instantly have my entire future taken away. Most of all, I wish my body didn’t remember the trauma. Seven years later, the thoughts, feelings, and sensations are quieter though. Or at least, I have gotten much better at calming myself and just allowing it to mildly be there.Read more
Its been a little over eight years since the sudden death of my husband and my world came crashing down like a tsunami,
and so far, it sure has been one hell of a storm.
Today, for no particular reason at all, I suddenly realized how the word "widow" has shifted and changed for me over these years.
And, Im guessing, how it may continue to shift and change.
Just as there are phases in any new reality,
there are phases of widow, too.
I will try to explain, although Im guessing that in this blog,
Im mostly "preaching to the choir" on this one.
You guys get it.
But for those who don't,
here's a little peek into the phases of the term widow ...Read more
I can easily say that I do not reach out to Tin’s mother and family as much as I should. I want to speak with them but it’s hard for me and I feel like I am the immediate reminder, that I trigger all of the grief for them. These widowed weights on my shoulders press down hard at times. It’s a double-edged burden. I want to speak with them but I don’t want to upset them. So conversations don’t happen as often as they maybe should.Read more
The other week, we stopped by a field of sunflowers on our way home. This isn’t just any field of sunflowers… it is a memorial called Prayers from Maria. Each year for the past five years, this field has been planted with hundreds of sunflowers. Towards the end of every summer, they bloom into their full glory. I’ve seen this covered on the news each year since moving to Ohio, but this is the first time that I had set foot there in person.
So what is special about this place? It was started because of death, and because of love. Because of the death of a beautiful daughter to a family, who lost a battle with childhood cancer. What has unfolded now is a powerful place for so many to come to have a moment of quiet. What I didn’t realize before stepping through the field, is that there would be notes and prayers, written on cards they provide, tied gentle to the stalks of the flowers.
As we first entered the main path through the flowers, I was completely overwhelmed by all the messages. Many of them were messages to loved ones who have died. Not just children that died from cancer, but moms and dads and grandparents and friends and spouses. It was beautiful and terrible all at once. The further we walked, the more there were. Message after message. Row after row. So much loss. So much death. But also… so much love. So much deep, enduring, beautiful love.Read more
It seems that my imagination...what goes on in my mind to help me manage this life...has ramped up.
Almost any situation I encounter has a counterpart from various movies I've watched over the years.
The big picture of all of this is me in the middle of a romantic comedy.
I've always loved watching romcoms.
Chuck used to watch them with me.Read more