The change in the air from humid to crisp, warm to slightly cool - puts a loud ringing bell on your death - as I ready myself for my birthday, then your birthday, Halloween, our wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving, our proposal anniversary, Christmas, and then ringing in another new year without you.
This time of year filled with holidays and family and love and my favorite weather and atmosphere, leaves way for a big red button on your forever absence - a button I'm forced to push again and again and again, letting off sirens of being left here on Earth alone, without my person. A future without you still frightens me, as panic and anxiety curl their way back into my bed each night, grabbing the blankets and stealing my sleep.Read more
There is something I have noticed in relation to both 9-11 and Don's death. I refer to it as "the 9-11 Effect." Remember right after 9-11, how NYC and America, became a totally different place, and people changed overnight from bitter, hurried grumps who didn't have a second to spare to patriotic, beautiful, generous, patient souls? Remember how in the wake of that awful horror, our city came together as one; with the mission of helping one another however we possibly could? Suddenly strangers talked to each other, held doors for one another, gave each other a smile or a hello. There was an instant chemistry and bonding between everyone who lived here; as if every person you saw looked at you with their eyes and said: "I get it. I understand your pain." You saw American flags on the outside of every home, people lit candles in the streets and prayed for humankind, for peace. Everyone put aside their differences and their attitudes and really came together. It was a thing of beauty. And then it was over. After awhile, the newness of the fear of that day went away, and with it, so did the unity. The flags started to come down, doors were slammed in your face once again, and people began to move on with their lives, and NY became moody NY again.Read more
I am crying tonight, because Joan Rivers has died.
I did not know her. I have never met her. She was not my friend.
But something, many things actually, about her, resonated with me - and so I felt this unspoken kinship with her. Female. Comedian. Widow. Those are all me. Those are all Joan. As a woman, I identified with and respected like hell her ability to be such a fierce lioness in the world of Hollywood and comedy, and her almost insane discipline and work ethic. She was probably the hardest working woman, or maybe even person, in show business. As a comedian, I identified with her courageous and edgy material, and her natural way of taking something tragic or horrible, and somehow using the darkness to find the funny. As a widow from sudden death, I understood the way that losing someone in a flash, changes every cell inside you, forever. In Joan's case, her husband Edgar, ended his own life. Somehow, incredibly, Joan was able to simultaneously make dark and thought-provoking jokes about the suicide (always putting herself as the punchline), and also be a voice and an advocate over the years for those who have lost all hope. I found this quote from her tonight, and it stuck with me for so many reasons:
"Edgar was gone. Melissa wasn’t talking to me, my career was in the toilet, I’d lost my Vegas contracts, I’d been fired from Fox. Carson and NBC had put out such bad publicity about me. I was a pariah. I wasn’t invited anywhere. I was a non-person. At one point, I thought, 'What's the point? This is stupid.'
What saved me, was my dog jumped into my lap. I thought, 'No one will take care of him.' I had the gun in my lap, and the dog sat on the gun. I lecture on suicide because things turn around. I tell people this is a horrible, awful dark moment, but it will change and you must know it’s going to change and you push forward. I look back and think, 'Life is great, life goes on. It changes.'"
I never forget that I'm a widow. I never forget that my husband is dead forever. I never forget my reality.
There are times. Moments. Feelings.
There is being with my family, staying at my parent's house, like this weekend, and getting lost inside of something that is beyond my widowhood - something that sees far past my life without my husband.
There is eating "lazy lobster" and steaks on the grill and mom's famous Red Cake, and having my brother prepare my lobster for me with the drawn butter the way I like, and taking away all the green guts and gross parts, so I don't have to look at it.
There is doing an Ice Bucket Challenge Video with my 5 year old nephew, who is insanely excited to be able to dump ice-cold water on Auntie Kelley's head, for all the world to see. There is sitting around the dining room table with an my parents and an old family friend, who is now elderly and alone and depressed, and sincerely trying to talk with her and maybe give her an ounce or two of hope.
As heartbroken as I am about the death of Robin Williams, I am not entirely shocked. Not entirely. I recall about 4 or 5 months ago maybe, seeing him as a guest on some late night talk show. (cannot remember which one) I remember distinctly thinking to myself that he looked exhausted, withdrawn, and old. Not old in the way that he got gray hair or wrinkles, but old in the way that life had beaten him up one too many times. He was coming up with insane one-liners and jokes like always, but his eyes looked vacant to me. He looked lost and in slower-motion than normal. I remember just silently thinking to myself: “He seems sad.” Then, about a month or two ago, I remember reading that he had checked himself into a rehab facility, “for precautionary reasons.” Everyone was saying good for him and all that, and it was – but I just felt like something was off. Like it was the beginning of the end somehow.Read more
I go to a lot of places alone.
I have never had a problem with spending time alone, even before my husband died.
I moved out of small town Massachusetts when I was 18 years old, to NYC, to go to Theatre school and pursue a career in acting and comedy. After having roommates for years on end, I lived by myself for 4 years in an apartment in New Jersey, before my husband moved in with me. I have been to countless movies by myself in my lifetime. I have no issue with going to a cafe and sitting down for lunch, by myself.
I feel honored to be a part of this special writer's club that gets to speak and type my voice on this blog.
I really do.
I am one of seven voices, and that feels really nice, that people would even be interested in hearing or reading what I have to say.
Sometimes I feel as if I am typing into a great big void of nothingness.
Sometimes I put my heart and soul into this blog, and then I notice that nobody has commented.
Or maybe three days go by and only one or two comments, after I painstakingly spent hours trying to formulate how to use my words, and what to say in just the way it needs to be said.
In my mind, which is constantly in panic mode and on fast-forward, this lack of comments means that nobody cares at all what I write or say. It means that I am talking to a wall, which I do a lot of anyway. I just don't type it out. It means that I start doubting myself and questioning myself and my validity. Who the hell do I think I am anyway? Why am I writing about this stuff - as if Im some authority on grief emotions or being a widow? Why would anybody stop to read my silly words?
I think I'm confused. Am I actually doing better? Have I turned a very large corner? Is the worst of this hell actually behind me? Or is there no such thing as that being true? Am I about to set myself up for a ginormous fall? Like I said, I think I'm confused.Read more
So, last week, you may have noticed that my post was strangely invisible in here.
Yeah. That is because I totally forgot to write one.
I realized this fact somewhere around the time when my name was being called out loud by my friend and Soaring Spirits board member Janine. We were in San Diego. At Camp Widow West. At the Saturday night formal dinner banquet party. Janine was asking the writers of Widows Voice to please stand and be recognized, and as I stood up proudly, something inside of my brain screamed. And then I screamed out loud, to nobody and everybody around me: "Crap! I forgot to write my blog this week!"
So, today is the 4th of July. I do not have any plans. In exactly 9 days from now, on July 13th, it will be the 3-year anniversary of Don's sudden death. I think that what happened is that I got so anxious and determined to make sure I had a plan for that day, that I completely forgot about the major holiday that comes the week before, and all the trauma and guilt and anxiety associated with it for me. So now, here I sit, wondering once again, just like last year, how to handle this very complicated day, which brings sadness and numbness to me, usually without even trying.
I am going to copy below, a portion of the blog that I wrote in here last year on this same day. Not because I am too lazy to write something else, (well, maybe that's part of it) but because what it says is EXACTLY the same thing I want to say again this year, because I still have not been able to figure this all out in my mind, and I still don't like "celebrating" on the 4th of July. It is sort of weird that, in this particular area, I feel like I have not had forward motion or any breakthroughs at ALL in my thought process. I had hoped I would feel differently about this day now, than I did a year ago. But I don't. So that is why the exact same words I wrote last year, are just as relevant today. Here is a part of what I wrote last year on this day: