When Tin passed away, my social media was flooded with posts and photos showing just how much he was loved and how much support I had to lean on taking my first steps on this new beach. Each day had been continued support helping me step forward and weather the waves.Read more
Losing the Holiday Weight
The holidays were rough. My first without Tin and there were days I just could barely keep it together. Christmas is over and I spent New Year’s alone for the first time in years with no one to plan a new year of adventures with. It’s been a struggle and I have 3 more months before I hit the anniversary of his passing. I felt like I was carrying a thousand pounds through the holidays. I get holiday weight but that was not what I was ever expecting.Read more
In the beginning, there was music.
Back in 1998, in the days when AOL was a thing, I went into a music chat / trivia room about 1980s song lyrics, and met Don Shepherd.
We talked about Lionel Richie songs, great singers, guitar players, and more. Then we just kept on talking.
Seven years and lots of plane trips from Florida to NY and back later, he packed up his life and moved to New Jersey to be with me.
We married a year later, and just 3 months before our 5-year wedding anniversary, he would die suddenly from cardiac arrest.
At first, I could not hear music.
It was too hard.
It hurt too much.
Every song was a reminder that I would never hear him strumming his guitar again, in our apartment.
We would never sing and play together, just for fun.
He would never use my leg or knee to try and figure out a chord or a beat again.
He wouldnt ask me to come into the living room and "listen to this song I just threw together. Do you like it, Boo?"
We wouldnt rehearse Natalie Merchant or Fleetwood Mac or Beatles or Aerosmith songs anymore.
Or sit on the couch and listen to CD's.
Everything about music started to hurt.
I wander quite frequently. It's mostly what I've done, and what I do, in this widowland.
For 5 years and counting now.
Physically and mentally...I wander.
Physically, in that I've spent these years since the death of my beloved husband wandering the country in my pink car, towing my equally pink T@b Teardrop trailer behind me.
Mentally, in that my mind is seldom where I am, physcially.
It's mostly in the past, honestly. Or totally daydreaming, a la' Walter Mitty.Read more
This past week, some married friends went away on a family vacation, and asked me and Nick if we could stay at their house for 5 days while they were gone, dog-sitting and house-sitting. We were both happy to do it. Not only did it help our friends out, but it also gave us an opportunity to spend some quality alone time together. Without getting into too much detail here, our current living situations are not ideal, and do not allow us much private time at all. So a whole week in a big house together, alone with a dog, sounded like heaven.
It was. Well, my version of heaven anyway. Entire hours and days where we could freely kiss one another or hold each other's hand or reach out and flirtatiously grab the other's waist or ass, without anyone nearby or looking. Cooking and eating meals together, making shopping lists of what things we needed to buy to be prepared for the week ahead. Putting on meditation music to sleep at night, or other varied music throughout the day to help create different moods. Relaxing on the couch watching a hockey game or a movie, our legs wrapped around each other or me leaning my head against his shouder. Having my brother over for homemade pizza and some overdue chat time - meeting Nick's sister for a nice lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. Staying in on New Years Eve and making tortellini and sausage with marinara sauce and garlic bread together. These are the things that I now cherish, in this new version of life.Read more
On New Year's Eve everyone is looking forward. But, for those of us who have lost our beloved, we want to back up. It is a hard spot to be in. We know that we must move forward with the rest of the world, yet our hearts are in the past.
This is my third NYE without Mike and it has been the gentlelest so far. I miss him to the depths of me, but the rawness of my missing it is being replaced with fondness. I tenderly remember him without as many tears as before. I love Mike. I always will. And, I can do this while I continue living my life and seeking joy in this new year. ~S.
I wish I could back up and start all over…
I would stand, and pause
And, take it all in.
I would drink up your laughter,
And, I’d fill up on your words.
I would love you deeper.
I’d kiss you softer.
I would hold you longer.
And, I’d never let you go…
I’d let your fingers softly imprint on my skin - over and over again.
Then, your touch could live on me forever…
If I could back up,
I’d memorize the warmth of your body against mine.
I’d hang on your every word.
I would ask you to tell me another truck story,
I’d listen longer and harder to everything you said.
I’d look into your kind eyes,
And, I would hold my breath,
And, then I’d stay there forever.
I’ve made it through our anniversary, his birthday, Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving and now Christmas. Each one felt empty in ways I couldn’t explain. You truly don’t realize how much a person is part of you until that part is suddenly gone. I made a point for me to be back home with my family for Christmas. My career has made me miss many holidays with family but I couldn’t miss this one. I’d feel too lonely, or so I thought…Read more
So it's three days after Christmas, I've had a terrible virus/cold for almost 12 days now, Im coughing up a lung, and my headache is just irritating and monotanous enough to keep me the appropriate amount of moody, while still somehow managing not to bite off the head of the nearest human.
Seven years post-loss, and Im not even sure how I feel bout this set of holidays. Is it weird that Im kind of sick of talking about it? I appreciate people asking how Im doing, truly, but I feel like Im out of words to explain what it's like to live in a world without your person.
Im also extremely tired this year. Probably from all the coughing and being sick.
Whatever the case, I just dont feel like dealing with my emotions right now.
And truly, Im not even sure what my emotions even are.
I just feel blah and vague about everything.Read more
It has been 7 and a half years since my beautiful husband Don Shepherd's sudden death.
About 18 months ago, I found new and wonderful and beautiful love.
Somewhere in the first few months of the relationship with my new love, the topic of "Don's things" came up. I think I was the one who brought it up. We were in my bedroom talking, or kissing, or something. I forget. But in that moment, I looked over to my nightstand next to my bed, and noticed, as if for the first time or through my lover's eyes, the shrine that it was to Don. Our wedding picture was there. The American flag folded up and in it's frame from the Air Force funeral. The framed certificate from the Sharing Network for being a tissue/organ donor. And his rally monkey stuffed animal that was his lucky charm. I asked Nick very honestly: "Does it bother you that I have so many of Don's things all over my bedroom? Is it weird for you? I feel like it must be weird. " He paused for a minute, and then said just as honestly: "He was your husband. And he died. I think it's normal, and I don't ever want to be someone who would ask you to subtract anything about him from your life. I don't believe in subtracting . Just adding. " Then we talked about how we both looked forward to the day when we have started to build our own memories and private jokes and "things" that could be added to my life's collection.
I remember loving his response that day. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and it was comforting. It also made me fall in love with him just a little bit more.Read more
It seems I made it to adulthood with a rather enormous stack of self limiting beliefs to shuffle through. For a lot of years, I wasn’t even aware of it. I was so used to these beliefs that, in my mind, they were just truths. I always had all my ducks in a nice, neat row… and they were all well-fed and had an ample security system around them at all times to ensure safety. There wasn't any big risk taking going on, nothing much unexpected. Drew was more of a “leap and build your wings on the way down” sort of person.
In the years when I met and dated him, I started to become more aware of my negative beliefs, and started to challenge some of them. He was always a big supporter of me pushing past my own perceived limits. He got me to go skydiving, something I never imagined I’d ever do. And fly a plane. And submit my first photographs to an exhibit. He was the first person I truly felt took me under their wing and attempted to nudge me gently upward and forward.
When he died, I didn’t want that to die along with him. It was a part of myself that I had been with him that I didn’t want to lose. I think, it gave me something that I could choose to keep during a time when so much was taken away without my having a say.
So I kept doing things to push my limits. It was harder without him there, but also, his death made me more determined… more fearless.Read more