I sometimes feel like I have 2 identities: the me before and the me after my husband, Mike, died. I was originally going to introduce myself by introducing the me before I became a widow but that wasn’t sitting well with me as a first impression. It’s not really who I am today. It is still important to how my current identity developed but it is not all of it. Who I am today is more relevant because it is me in this moment. However, unlike the Before Me who knew who she was and can be described pretty clearly, the Now Me is still a work in progress and therefore harder to explain.
Some parts of me are still straightforward though. I’m 29 years old. I feel like possibly going on 80 sometimes, but nope, just 29. I am a grade 1/2 teacher in Ontario, Canada. I have a dog named Tango who has to listen to me when I share about my day. He’s pretty good at it and he doesn’t interrupt except to give me kisses, which is also acceptable. I love the outdoors and being active. I go for a lot of hikes with my dog and take him cross-country skiing (skijorning) in the winter. I also like mountain biking, snowboarding, running, travelling, cottaging and working out. I don’t particularly love to cook but I love to eat so I’m a pretty decent cook. I do love to bake. And read and write. I have amazing friends and family who I also enjoy spending time with. I’d appreciate adding a few hours in the day so I have time for all the things I want to do. See, I can do “normal.Read more
I sit here at Mike’s old desk, a glass of wine by my elbow and the almost full moon shining brightly through the window, and wonder what I would be doing now were he still alive.
I got an email today that made my heart do a little dance. It was from a fellow widow friend of mine, whom I've only met online, and who also happens to be a therapist. This was what her email said:
"I was with a client yesterday, and I asked her where she has found support online. She sighed and then said, 'Well, most of the stuff is useless. But I like 'Whats Your Grief' and 'www.ripthelifeiknew.com. (my personal blog). Those are really the only two.' So, there you have it. Not only one of a woman's Top 2. But one of her only 2. "
Talk about powerful. Somebody out there, someone I have never even met, read my words on a page and found "support" in them. And someone else whom I've never met, is this person's therapist, and decided to share that information with me, so that I would know it. And now I share it with you, so that you will know it too. Because if we don't tell people that they have made a difference to us, affected us, shaped us - how on earth will they ever know? All it really takes for isolation to become connection is for someone to say the first word.
It's been a long time since I could say without hesitation "I feel happy".
In the time since Dave died, I've laughed and enjoyed myself, but always I felt that underlying layer of sadness and shock that dampened everything. It made even laughter a bittersweet act. How could I laugh when he was gone?
Lately, though, I've felt happy. Not tinged with despair, not lost in a fog of numbness, not laughing through my pain, just simply happy.
... Christmas, that is.
I won't lie to you, the week before Christmas, I was not feeling great. The weight of another Christmas without Greg weighed heavily on my mind.
I missed him.
I know I miss him every day, but last week I really missed him.
I missed sitting on the couch and snuggling, watching the lights on the tree flicker.
I missed talking to him about everything.
I missed his strong arms.
I missed his safe embrace.
I missed seeing the kids play with him.
I even missed seeing him stuck under a piece of machinery, tinkering away for hours on end.
I'll start today with a few toasts to the holidays! Cheers! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! and drum roll please.....Death still Sucks!
Two more days til Christmas, and as usual....I'm not ready yet. I still have a shopping list, I've still not wrapped my gifts, and I haven't watched all the movies I want to see or drank all the eggnog in the fridge. BUT, I'm working on it!
Michael's my prince charming. He saved me from the poisoned apple, kissed me out of an eternal sleep, slayed the dragon, and swept me up into his safe arms. And as soon as I was swept up, I felt like he was pulled away from me.
But, I still believe in fairy tales. It has been through my fellow widows; their stories, pictures, memories and thoughts....that I realized there were others in this world that had found their Aladdin, Beast, and Prince Phillip. It reinforced that I have felt the greatest of loves yet survived the largest of tragedies....and I was not alone in surviving.
It reinforced that love will always live on.
Six years ago my husband died in a tragic accident (is there any other kind really?). I woke up the next morning, and felt certain that I had been dreaming. With my eyes closed, I slid my hand across the bed to Phil's side, and felt the cold sheets where his warm body used to lie. I wasn't dreaming.
The pain of his absence was searing. There were so many days when I thought for SURE that the gut wrenching pain would kill me. In fact, to this day, I am still surprised that it didn't. I felt like a zombie that was bleeding internally, and dragging my blood soaked bandages as I wandered aimlessly through life. Attractive, yes?
I was looking through some old posts today and this one caught my attention. I wrote it on December 18, 2008. One year after Jim died.
I wrote about that year, and how far I/we came in those 365 days.
I thought I had come a long way.
I had no clue.
I still had so much further to go.
But still .... after reading it today .... that's what I thought: But still ....
It was .... a year.
It was a lifetime .... in 12 months.
We made it. Through all the firsts. The firsts without Jeff at birthday parties, Christmas morning, through illnesses and accomplishments. His absence has been an aching void....almost a presence in itself.
But time has continued its' slithery journey. I look back over the time without my love and see that 365 days have gone by and no time at all seems to have passed. But it has and I have grown stronger.