I am just a couple short weeks away from the 3 year mark of my husband Don's sudden death. I feel like I can't even type that sentence without breathing differently. 3 years. Three. Years. I have no idea how it is even possible. I have no idea how those words could apply to me. I have no idea ....
July 13th will be the 3-year mark. On the first year death anniversary, I created "Pay it Forward for Don Shepherd Day", in which I asked everyone on planet earth to do something kind for someone else, tell me about it in writing, and take pictures if possible. Last year, I did it again, and there was even more of a response. Over 130 stories each year, all of which helped me immensely in getting through that day. This year, and every year, I will continue that same tradition, but Im also in the middle of writing my book, which will hopefully come out later this year. In the book, I will take my favorites of all of the stories from the past 3 years, and create a Top 10 List out of them to publish as a chapter.
I am the Friday writer here at Widow's Voice. That means, that every single Friday, a blog post written by me goes up. Technically, I write the post late Thursday night, so as to have it finished by the deadline of midnight West Coast time, which is 3 a.m. my time. So, you would think that because I have been writing in here for quite awhile now, and because it is the same part of my weekly routine in life, and because I have it in my head that every Thursday night before bed, I write here - AND I have a giant desk calendar that reads in big letters "Write Widow's Voice" in the little Thursday boxes - that I wouldn't regularly forget to write in here. Well, you would be all kinds of wrong.Read more
One of the amazing and inspiring things that has happened as a result of losing the person I love most in this world to death, is meeting so many incredible and beautiful people who have also lost the person they love most. One of these people is my friend Sarah Treanor. Some of you may know of her, as she is the Sunday writer here at "Widow's Voice." Sarah and I originally met on Facebook, in one of the many widowed people private/closed groups I am a part of, and then we became close and exchanged numbers and started calling each other regularly to laugh and cry and ... well ... you all understand. This past March, I finally met Sarah in person at Camp Widow. It was beyond awesome. I consider Sarah family. She is a part of my new, strange, second-family in this new life; my family of widowed people. Today was the 2-year anniversary of the death of Sarah's fiance, Andrew (Drew.) I wrote this piece for her - for them - and posted it on her Facebook page, but it's universal enough to post here too. Aside from a few specifics about my husband and her fiance in the poem, it relates to everyone. All of us. These are just some of the thoughts that I was thinking about today, and that I think about often. What if .....
In exactly one week, Friday, June 13th, it will be one month from the 3-year anniversary of my husband's sudden death. It feels different somehow to me this year, even though the actual day or month is not here yet. First of all, on the first two death anniversaries, I spent them both staying at my parent's house, with my family. We did a big dinner in his honor with all his favorite foods, and whoever could come to that came and it was nice. This year, I will be in San Diego, at Camp Widow, performing my comedic presentation for the 4th time. The day of his death just happens to fall on the Sunday that is the last day of camp. Although I'm not positive what it will be like to be there instead of with my family on that day, I'm guessing it will be a very good thing. After all, every single person there "gets it," and what better place to be if I'm going to have an epic breakdown of 54,000 emotions? And really, even though I won't technically be with my family on that day, I will be with my family. My other family. My widowed family.Read more
There was a moment when life was just life,
and death was a stranger I knew nothing about.
There was a fragment when weekends were just weekends,
filled with friends and movies and dinner parties and couples hanging out together.
There was a glimpse when laughter was just laughter,
and not laughter poisoned with pain and loss.
There was a measure when I was planning the wedding for me and my husband,
and not planning my husband's funeral.
Do you ever have those moments, where you can't really explain why or how, but you just know that the person you lost whom you loved most, is nearby, or in the room with you? It is more of a feeling really - rather than something that can be analyzed or broken down. Sometimes it is inside the gust of wind that whispers by on a cold, crisp autumn day. Other times it is hiding within the melody of a beautiful song, or in someone else's laugh or smile or voice. You hear them. You see them. You feel them. There is no need to question it's reality, because it just is. It exists inside of you, and all around you, surrounding you like air that only you can breathe in.Read more
The other day, I was watching the Yankee game, and the Yankees were playing at home, against the Seattle Mariners. Now, if you know anything at all about baseball or the Yankees, you might know that Robinson Cano left the Yankees at the end of last season, and signed on with the Mariners. It is complicated and has to do with contracts and negotiations and things, but the bottom line is that Cano got a better offer, so he left. Yankee fans are pretty split on how they feel about Cano - some think he is being disloyal to the Yankees by leaving for money, others say "I don't blame him. I'd take the money too. There's no loyalty left in sports anyway." I tend to agree with those people, and I know my husband would have too. He would have said:"Good for him." So, during the game, the first time Robinson Cano came up to bat at Yankee Stadium, in a Mariners uniform - there was lots of booing. The Yankee fans booed him. I was watching the game alone, in my bedroom, and as I heard the chorus of boos, I looked to my right and said out loud to nobody: "Awww, honey. I don't like that they are booing him. Real fans would give him an ovation to recognize the incredible talent he added to our team." There was no response. Why would there be? My husband is dead, and generally speaking, dead people can't take part in commentating baseball games.Read more
A fellow widowed friend of mine recently brought my attention to this wonderful quote, said by the character Reddington, from the TV show The Blacklist. The quote is this:
"There is nothing that can take the pain away, but eventually you will find a way to live with it. There will be nightmares, and everyday when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think of, until one day, it will be the second thing."
This past Saturday night, while at Camp Widow East in Tampa, Florida - I was sitting at one of the tables at the fancy banquet that Soaring Spirits throws for us during each of the camp events. I was talking to my friend Sarah (who writes in here each Sunday), whom I had been talking with in regular phone calls and online for months and months now, sharing our grief and our pain and our love for our partners with each other. She is someone I have cried with over the phone more than once, and there we were - sitting at the same table, in person, finally.Read more