I often get told, “you’re always smiling” or “you smile a lot.” It’s meant in a positive way of course but I can’t help but reflect on it. A year ago, I might have felt guilty for being told I’m smiling. I had questioned whether I was allowed to feel happy after such a loss and if I was happy, just how happy I was allowed to be. I wanted to look up in a rule book: how often is a “good” widow supposed to smile or feel happy? I didn’t want to be disrespectful to Mike or for others to think I wasn’t sad anymore. I was sad but there was room for happiness too.
I don’t feel that way anymore about smiling. Part of it is I really don’t care what others think of me and my happy/sad balance. The bigger part and more important realization is that it is only because I have been so incredibly sad that I can genuinely appreciate when I feel happy. You see, when I smile and laugh I am so aware of it. I’m so conscious of feeling happy. I don’t think there has been a time since Mike died that I smiled or felt happy for a prolonged period of time without internally acknowledging that, “hey, I’m feeling happy right now and this is really nice.”Read more
Photo source: mapofthenight
Grief takes us to a secluded, dark place.
We resist settling into this lonely realm.
But, in order to slowly breathe life back into ourselves,
We have to temporarily take residence in this muted, mysterious environment,
I resisted this shadowy, hidden place for a long, long time.
I ran from it whenever possible.
Because, I was scared to be alone in the "nothingness" of this place.
I had the notion that my fears would swallow me alive.
I thought I would drown in the silence.
Maybe you feel like this today.
If you feel lonely,
Displaced and rootless,
You are not alone...
If you are drifting in a place of "nothingness"
Does it comfort you to know,
I am here - in this abyss - with you.
Take my hand,
Let's find our way...
We need to turn to our hearts for direction.
If you listen, in the stillness, past your heartbeat, you can faintly hear the breeze.
The Winds of Change are here...
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek" - Joseph Campbell
I am starting to have a realization that my choice to restart pretty much ALL areas of my life since Drew died means that there is still a hell of a lot to rebuild and build anew. Probably way more than I even can understand right now. When he died, I quit my job and moved out of the city we called home to live with family for support. Not only did my heart have a major change, but my city, and home, and support system changed too. Looking back, it is astonishing how much change I endured all at once. No wonder it seemed like I was floundering for at least a year or two.
Even during those first few years of aimlessness - which I think are vital after a major trauma like this - I was always trying to create a new direction for my “after” life. Though most of that ended up in my hopping around from one thing to another or just wandering about. I learned that, though I felt like I had no sense of direction, there was in fact a direction slowly taking hold.
Over time, one failed direction after another, I kept trying to find a new direction I could to pour my heart and soul and guts and sweat into that would one day hopefully, be able to sustain me financially too. A direction that - even though he was not standing beside me for - he would somehow be the core of. That was it. Something that would give purpose and meaning to his death happening.Read more
Photo: Circus skills class
As this pregnancy draws closer to the end, I’ve found myself thinking about how different John’s early childhood’s been from what Ian and I had wanted – particularly what I’ve done and how I’ve engaged with John as a mother.
We all have grand plans of the childhood we hope to give our kids. Play dates, sports activities, educational outings, visits to library readings, heading to the playground all sit in on the plan – whatever falls within our means financially and time availability. And often our wishes don’t fit our means.
In hindsight, widowhood has also had an impact. In some ways, it’s given me the means to provide John with these activities than I possibly would have had. I put some of Ian’s estate aside to pay for activities, and by studying part time rather than working, have had the time to give him.
But simply getting out of the house. Socialising with other parents.
That’s been much tougher.
And it doesn’t help I wasn’t the most social creature before Ian died, let alone after.Read more
I’m naturally a person who likes to have a few things on the go at once. Hence I’m currently combining solo parenting and John’s various activities, studying and a pregnancy, plus involvement at the leadership level of a community organisation.
I’d not say I’m making a success of being busy (2 finals this week and I am WAAAAY under-prepared), but I like idea of having things that need to be done and places to be. It stops me from feeling unproductive and lazy.
You’d have thought the crash-and-burn of trying to maintain a similar load in the first 9 months after Ian died would have taught me a lesson in moderation.
Friday was a mixed day.
Great result on one of my subjects.
Speeding fine in the mail. My first EVER!! Not a happy camper. On the up-side, many friends & acquaintances seem to go more than I did above the limit - my fine is about half theirs.
In the beginning, I couldn't imagine talking about anything else. Did you hear? My husband died. I'm a widow. You have something else to talk about? Why? Is there anything else in the entire world that matters as much as this fact?Read more
It's been said that once we have found the true path, destiny unfolds before us like a red carpet.Read more
Each morning I wake up, knowing I slept, so I'm glad for that, but not feeling rested at all. By the evening, after a day spent getting through, well, the day, I'm done in. I take melatonin when I remember and that helps sometimes.Read more
I was stuck for ideas the other day in art class and the teacher was trying to help me brainstorm. Make it autobiographical, he said, in his cheery 20-something voice, about the movie poster I was assigned to create.Read more