So, for the 457,000th time in my life, I have recently added exercise to my "trying to get healthier " life routine. i joined the YMCA, and I have been taking classes, mostly in the pool. Water Zumba, water aerobics, water weights, things like this. It is actually a pretty damn good workout, and at the end of the hour-long class, I am totally wiped out. As an overweight person who originally gained a lot of weight as the result of coping/not coping with trauma, I have been up and down this "getting healthy" routine several times. Normally, I have some level of success, and then ultimately, I don't stick with it, and it all falls apart. At some point, I end up falling back into old habits, and making poor choices with food, and then getting lazy about exercising. When my husband died suddenly, 7 years ago now, I found myself eating sporadically, thoughtlessly, and terribly. Loads of sugar. Anything with carbs. Chocolate. Cakes and cookies. Fast-food. Just all the bad things. It helped to numb me, and it tasted amazing. I did it out of boredom, loneliness, and fear. Fear of getting back up and living a life again, instead of simply existing. If I kept eating and living in a non-healthy way, it gave me all kinds of excuses to not better myself and to not care. There were many years after Don died, that I simply didn't care.Read more
I'm writing this from an airplane, somewhere over the Indian Ocean, as I'm on my way to Bali to spend a week at a beautiful yoga and healing retreat. It's a funny story actually... this whole trip only got planned on Tuesday. Yes, as in four days ago.
It came about through a range of unusual circumstances and has really had me thinking about how (a) we never really know what is around the corner and (b) even the biggest skeptic could struggle to pass these events off as coincidental, when all signs point to my late husband organising me a special post-wedding anniversary gift.
Let me start at the beginning...Read more
Tomorrow, the day after this posting, marks the first anniversary of my beloved husband’s death. I can hardly believe it is true. One year.
It feels like yesterday. It feels like a lifetime ago.
So much has changed since he died. I have done many things, in spite of my crushing grief. I have visited my home neighbourhood in Indiana, and sat with pigs and donkeys on an animal sanctuary in Spain. I have travelled to Whitby in Yorkshire and to Ireland and to Snowdonia in Wales. I have spent days and weeks in meditation, study, and reflection with my sangha teachers and friends. I have helped form a grief support group with a widowed friend in Sheffield. I have written for this blog.
And some days, I have not been able to pull myself up from the grief. I have stayed on the sofa with the curtains closed. I have slept for hours throughout the day and into the night. I have had periods of insomnia where I could not sleep more than an hour or two at a time.
Such has been the landscape of my grief. Activity and exhaustion. Periods of joy and hope followed by deep sadness. Despair and loneliness and friendship and gratitude and love.Read more
Last Wednesday I had a session with an amazing healer right when I thought I couldn't go another step in this life without something major happening to lighten the pain I was experiencing in my heart and soul.Read more
The day Phil died, my world was irrevocably changed. No amount of crying, wishing, or begging could switch my new reality back to the reality of what seems like only moments ago. The first Christmas without him, I sat on the coach alone watching the kids open gifts that only I chose, purchased, wrapped, and stowed under the tree...barely able to keep from bawling all over their happiness. I swear I could hear my heart breaking again as reality slapped me in the face on what is touted as the merriest of days. I didn't believe the pain of missing him would ever lessen. I couldn't see how that was possible if Phil was still going to be dead...and unless there was some kind of amazing magic wand under the tree that could reverse my reality, Christmas seemed doomed for ever more.Read more
(Post pre-explanation & warning: I wrote this post for my personal blog .... on Sunday, the 18th, the 4th year date of Jim's death. This date, this year, was no easier for me than the previous 3. I still cried. I still wished that I were the one who was not left behind. I am still crying, and I think I may forever be wishing. And yet .... this date, this year, also held more than tears for me. It held hope. And reminders. And so I wrote about both. For some of you .... the hope will be too hard to read. You are not there. You're not even in the same state as "hope". And I get that. But push past the hope. Because one day .... maybe not any day relatively soon, but one day ..... you will catch a glimpse of hope. Only a small glimpse at first, but then .... a bigger glimpse. And it will be the one thing, maybe the only thing that day, that helps you put one foot in front of the other. Just one. One glimpse. One step. One hope.)
Somewhere between suffering that terrible first Christmas party alone and “Whoo hoo! It’s a Christmas party!” was my last weekend. This is the third holiday party season without my Angel holding my hand (and likely suggesting I wear a different shirt.) I had been dreading the holiday parties but my anticipation of misery far exceeded reality. I was both surprised and relieved.Read more
.... is a month to remember?
Truth be told, it wasn't all that difficult.
All I did was agree to have surgery today.
And then, to make it even MORE memorable .... I agreed to have my middle son's wisdom teeth extracted.
Yes, as in .... today, the 14th of December ..... both procedures.
I guess that's one way to ring in the "death day" of my husband (which really isn't until Sunday, the 18th).
I am in the 7th year AD (after Daniel). The 6th anniversary was in November, and this will be our 7th Christmas without him. I was thinking the other day, as Carl, the kids and I decorated the Christmas tree, that I could never have imagined this life that first Christmas in 2005.
That Christmas is a dark blur in my mind's eye. I vaguely remember shopping (on-line, no way I was going to the stores). I remember trying to pretend like it would all be okay, and I vividly remember having to take a cry break in my bedroom after we opened presents. My mom found me and sat with me while my brother entertained Grayson with his new toys.
Anyone who reads this knows what each and every one of us would like for Christmas if we could have whatever we wanted....We also know that's an impossibility.
We could sit and count every moment that we are missing our love. Every scenario that lacks our spouse. Every tradition that falls flat without their presence.
Or we can try to find the glow that once existed in the holiday season. We can remember the laughter and hope to feel the love that was and, hopefully, is somehow still held for us by our loved one.Read more