Have you ever taken a few minutes or hours or days, to look completely outside your own life and how your loss affects it, and instead look into the world at large? If you have, like I have, you might find yourself staring into a great, big, never-ending, cavernous hole.Read more
In the 3 years and 4 months so far of this death tsunami I'm living since losing my husband, there is something I have learned about other people. Sometimes they suck. A lot.
When it comes to living with the death of your partner or spouse, I have found that there are two kinds of people I deal with: the supporter, and the critic. Technically, there is a third type of person, and that would be the "disappearing magic trick", but since those people sprint so fast out of your life and choose to handle the death of your partner by ignoring and abandoning you forever, I won't count them here because I am not actually dealing with them at all. They are gone. So, that leaves us with the supporter and the critic. The supporters are those wonderful and often unexpected friends and family members, who, although they might not fully understand or comprehend what you are going through, do their best to sit with you inside your pain and to get on board with how you are coping and choosing to live your life. The supporters are there for you, they continue to be there for you well after the initial funeral and first few months period, and they let you be yourself; which means being able to talk about the person who died without them staring at you like you are some sort of circus freak. Supporters are very often people that you weren't even very close with before your person died, but who jumped onto the "I am here for you now" train after your world changed forever. Supporters are wonderful. They are also quite rare.
My husband was a huge animal lover, and even more cool, animals absolutely loved him. They flocked to him. We would go over to other people's houses or just walk to a nearby park, and other people's pets would run up to him and want to play. If we went to anyone's home who had a dog, he was instantly playing with the dog. He always wanted a dog of his own, but because we lived in an apartment that didn't allow dogs, he used to say: "Someday, Boo. When we move to a bigger place or maybe buy a house or condo, I can have my husky/shepherd mix." Well, that never happened.
What did happen was that Don Shepherd packed up his entire life into a moving van in February of 2005, and, with his cat Isabelle in his lap the whole time, drove from Florida to New Jersey non-stop, to start a life with me. His cat Izzy was 13 at that time, and two years later, she got old and sick and we had to let her go. Don wanted to adopt another cat or kitten from the local rescue shelter, so we went there together and found two sisters that were only about 7 weeks old. They told us the sisters were a package deal, and so Don convinced me that we should take them. I was very hesitant about having two cats. I kept saying: "But I don't wanna be the crazy cat lady." He would say: "You'd need at least 3 cats to qualify as crazy cat lady, and crazy cat ladies usually don't have husbands. They just have cats."Read more
I am not sure where it came from.
I am not sure why.
I am not sure what actions or non-actions or grief-work or thoughts led to this way that I feel today.
This week. This moment. This now.
I am not sure of anything, but it happened.
I am back to loving Christmas.
Monday morning of this week, after 3 years and almost 4 months of living with the death of my husband, it happened. It was nothing overly-dramatic or huge in the way that it happened. I was just sitting there, in my room, when suddenly, I found myself thinking, out of absolutely nowhere: Maybe for Christmas this year it might be nice to have a stocking again and some presents. Maybe we can go to my brother's house and have fried dough and hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallow and each get scratch-off tickets with our breakfast like we used to. I'm kind of excited to go shopping for my family. Maybe Ill run up to the mall in New Hampshire after I get back to mom and dad's this year in Massachusetts for the holidays. Maybe I can sign up to do some Christmas caroling with a local group through Meetup.com or something.
Maybe, maybe, maybe .....Read more
On October 27, 2006, I married my forever soul-mate. On July 13, 2011, he died. It was sudden and out of nowhere, and now, 3 years later, I still struggle to understand why I have to live without him, and why he doesn’t get to live. Today is November 6, 2014. Today, Don Shepherd would have been 50 years old. But instead, he will be forever 46. It’s unfair that I can’t throw him the big 50th birthday party that I always pictured throwing in my head. Instead, I will gather with some friends in Central Park, and sing and play guitars in his memory. And I will write this list – here are just 50 of the reasons why I loved, still love, and will always love, my beautiful husband. I will pass this out and share it with the world, because he deserves to be known by many, and he deserves so much more …….
Today is Halloween, and other than a few light-hearted traditions, such as our annual watching of one of our favorites: "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!", this holiday never really had much significance for us as a couple. Except that it did. It does. But not because of Halloween. Halloween just happens to fall right in the center of the happiest week of our short time together. Wedding, honeymoon, his birthday. In that order.Read more
Okay. So I'm probably going to alienate some people or piss some people off with this post today, but you know what? The reason I'm writing it in the first place is because I feel alienated every single day, by the very same people who will be angry or upset by this post. Besides, my intention is not to upset anyone. My intention is, as always, to tell the truth. And sometimes the truth pisses people off.
So here we go. It's been 3 years and 3 months since my husband's sudden death. In that time, there have, of course, been many comments and sentiments said to me by others, that have been hurtful or ignorant or unhelpful. However, in my experience, and I am only speaking for myself here, it is the comments and thoughts made by very religious people that have been the most hurtful and sometimes downright rude. And after 3 plus years of nodding my head or smiling or not saying anything back to them, I am fed up.
Something strange has been happening lately.
Perhaps for about the past month or so, this odd thing has been inside me.
It is the missing of you - which, of course, has always been there since that day you died and I died too - but this is different. This is different than it just being there as a part of me. This missing of you is a force. It is an energy all it's own, and it takes over my thoughts and my brain and my heart, until literally the only thought that plays over and over and over again, is: I miss you. I miss you. I miss you.
Sitting on the train and then on the bus to work - I miss you. Lying in bed and staring at the wall, awake much longer and much later than I should be - I miss you. Teaching a comedy class or an Acting class and giving instruction and being professional, while inside thinking - I miss you. Pretending I'm listening to the man at the register, as he rings up my items and makes uninteresting small talk with me - I miss you. Reading on Facebook that yesterday was your best friend and his wife's 23rd wedding annivesary, and realizing again and again that we never even made it to our 5th - I miss you.
I am warning you ahead of time; this post is going to be a huge, scrambled, all over the place, chaotic, messy, unfocused clusterf**k of nothing. Or something. I don't even know. But when you're done reading it, and you say to yourself: What the hell was THAT? - Well, I told ya so.
Last week, I wrote in here from the lobby of the Marriott hotel on my 43rd birthday, at Camp Widow Toronto, the very first International Camp, and my 5th one giving my comedic presentation. Toronto was incredible. Magical. Life-affirming. Blissful. Beautiful. Addicting. Peaceful.
It is 12:40 a.m. east coast time, on Friday, September 26th, and I am writing this blog piece from the Marriott hotel in downtown Toronto, Canada. I am here for Camp Widow, getting set to give my comedy presentation for the 5th time in a row. Sitting in the lobby where the Wi-fi is free on my laptop, exhausted after an almost 12 hour train ride from NYC into Toronto, followed by a lovely dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory with some of my widowed friends. And then, of course, in classic Kelley fashion - I was just about to snuggle up under my covers in the comfy Marriott bed, when I suddenly out of nowhere remembered: "SHIT!!! I HAVE TO WRITE THE BLOG!!!" So, down the elevator I went, to the Wi-fi hot spot area in the lobby, and here I sit, with no real idea what to say.Read more