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
This has been a difficult week. I have re-entered the work arena, on a 'phased return', as they call it, here in England, and, Tuesday, I had to go speak to someone from Occupational Health, to justify my time away, and my continuing to work part-time for a few more weeks. This meant I had to recount the story of the tragic day my husband died. And it meant that the images of that day, images I have tried to place in the background of my consciousness, were brought, full force, to the front of it.Read more
On this bleak, grey, England winter's day, I remember the comforting quiet of snow. Stan loved the snow. He would sit for hours, watching it. When we first began to talk to each other, he told me that he wanted to move to the Northeastern coast of England, near Whitby, where he said they had a 'proper winter'. Proper winter? I had moved to England from the west coast of Florida, just a year before, and the bits of snow I had encountered in London, that year, were quite enough, for me, thank you. But he wanted to see more of it.Read more
The weather is warming up here in sunny Queensland, Australia, with Spring in full swing and Summer just around the corner. Last weekend I popped over to visit my sister and her family, who live a few streets away, and they'd just enjoyed their very first swim in their brand new backyard pool.
The sun was getting ready to set, casting its golden glow over the sky. My brother-in-law was cooking a BBQ, with a beer in hand and the football on in the background while my three nephews were running around to dry off from their swim. My sister and I sat amongst it all enjoying a glass of wine. And I felt happy.
Of course I wished Dan was there, the ache for him is ever-present, but in that moment, surrounded by people I love and looking up at a bright blue sky I was content and my heart was at peace.Read more
Even though our adventure together did not last a lifetime as we expected - my fiancé and I certainly lived our days adventurously. He convinced me to go skydiving a week before we began dating to my surprise. I am not an adrenaline junky, but somehow he had a way of making me surprise myself by the things he was able to bring out in me. I always liked that. He took me up for several helicopter flights while he was in flight school. He was so elated because apparently I was the only girl who ever accepted his invite to go up with him for a flight - and not only did I accept - I was extremely excited. It's beyond me that anyone would have had any other reaction to someone asking them "do wanna go up in a helicopter?" Certainly one more reason we fit so well together.
In the three years we had together we did lots of other adventurous things. We took a rock star trip to Vegas, took up kayaking together, did lots of camping and hiking, hot air ballooning, parasailing, race car driving school for a day… this was most assuredly NOT the girl I was before I met him. It was the girl I wanted to be - but without the right companion to do it with. I think that is one of my favorite things that he brought into my life - a perfect match for my sense of adventure that brought it out even more so in me.
...... of Christmas Past.
I know that most of you out there wish this day was just an ordinary day. Just the 25th day of December, no more, no less.
Actually, I know that most of you wish that you could've fallen asleep around December 22nd or so and stayed asleep until January 2nd. Or February 15th.
I get that.
All too well.
"Why don't you reread your Widow's Voice posts from the beginning and see what kind of progress you've made."
My smart smart dude's advice the other day when I talked to him about the possibility of identifying so much with widowhood that it was keeping me stuck in some ways.
I was spending my Friday evening perusing a used book store when my eyee were caught by this very catchy title.
Being an avid "Wizard of Oz" fan, the switch of HOME with HOPE struck such a chord with me.
Home, for me, has never equated to a physical structure, but rather a place to fully be me.
Today is my birthday. I am 42 years old, three years older than Phil was when he died six years ago (crazy to think he would be 46 right now!). My first birthday without him I remember wishing time could just stand still. I didn't want to age without him;I didn't want to celebrate being alive with birthday songs and presents; and I didn't want to continue on a forward path that moved away from the life I loved with Phil. Overall, December 29, 2005 was not my best birthday.
Truthfully, finding a way to appreciate the opportunity to live another year took some time. I moved from being down right pissed off about my repeating birthdays to being a bit ambivalent about the passing of time to finally accepting the fact that until my number is called my job is to seize the day.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