Just yesterday, Sarah and I surprised Shelby (and my nephew) with a trip to Cedar Point, one of the premier amusement parks in the world, just two hours from our home here in Ohio. Shelby has been asking to go back for years now, having only been once, when she was around 5 years old, with Megan and I.
She was far too young to ride anything more than the “kiddie” coasters, carousels, and the flat rides back then. Even then, she was terrified of any ride that was taller than ten feet or so. Cedar point has 18 different roller coasters...over half of which are over 100 feet tall, with one even reaching 400+ feet.
She has always been an incredibly cautious kid. She visibly displays anxiety when anything she is asked to do presents any uncertainty. Learning to ride her bike took years, because she was terrified of removing the training wheels, not because she couldn’t do it. Slowly dipping her feet into the pool, and slipping herself into 2 feet of water was her modus operandi for a decade before finally learning to really swim (and of course, loving it) this past year. Even getting her to try a new food was presented with a stubborn resistance and feigned gags while holding her nose, even before said brussel sprout was placed in front of her.
This has been frustrating for me, because I’ve never been able to put a finger on WHY she seemingly feels fragile or lacks confidence.Read more
So the feelings are the same, just as intense but not as often and demanding. I miss Clayton every day but the immediate sting when the thoughts rush forward is milder with time. My eyes still water each day but there are more days of laughter than tears. The dust has settled and now I’m feeling unsettled. A year ago I feared I would have to move out of the apartment that Tin and I shared. People don’t realize that when you become a widow most often times your finances flip. Your household income drops but all the same responsibilities are there. We, the widowed, are billed for our loss. As if life isn’t taxing already.Read more
Though Shelby started middle school last year, entering the 6th grade, the jump into 7th is more significant to me. In my own schooling, the seventh grade is when I was no longer an “elementary” student. I moved on to a new school, new friends, changing classrooms, more advanced subjects, and so on.
Shelby is doing the same this year. Not only that, she will be turning thirteen soon...officially a “teenager”. She’s already formed her own tastes in music, books, activities, foods, and hobbies. She’s gone through a change in “best friends” in the past year. She’s become more independent, responsible, opinionated, and dare I say, outgoing. Recently, she started her….well, you know.
All without Megan.Read more
Mike and I are both widowed. Which means that there are two days every year that are very specific to our relationship. Two days every year that most couples don’t have, nor have they probably ever considered. These two days are extremely special, but hard. And each year as they approach, in June and in August, we’re not exactly sure what to do with them or how each other will be feeling. After all, these two days are in celebration of a beautiful beginning with someone else, not our beginning with each other.
These two days are hard, and complex, and beautiful. Usually, we go out to dinner on those two days together. Sometimes it’s very joyful and full of love and laughter. Other years, it’s hard. And no matter how great our meal is or our love for each other, nothing removes the sting of why we are there. Or why we are together in the first place. And we never know from year to year which way it will be.
Just last week was Mike’s anniversary with Megan. We went out to dinner to one of her favorite steak houses. And it was lovely and it was hard all at once. The kind of hard I’ve come to know well since loving someone that is widowed. The kind of hard that often times lies under the surface of things. As I sit across from him in the dimly lit restaurant, I can feel it pumping through his veins - entirely unbeknownst to anyone else in the room.Read more
Last weekend I was at a close friends wedding. I loved the people, the venue and the time away from my regular hectic schedule. On a beautiful hill at a colonial inn in rural New Hampshire, we all gathered under three towering maple trees to watch two friends join together.
I wish I could have sat down to write this morning and repeated my often-stated sentiment that I don’t have anything to write about...and that’s OK. I had hoped that today, of all days, is something that doesn’t affect me as much any more, because “time” and all. Even if I thought about Megan more today, it wouldn’t throw my day off or caused any heightened sense of grief.
But it isn’t true. Today would have been Megan and I’s 14th anniversary. I mean, it still IS our anniversary, but we’re not exactly getting a nice dinner and flowers. Nope...she gets to sit in a box in our dining room, and I get to go to work, with the rest of the world unaware that this day is any different than the rest.Read more
This past week, I got to sit down and have a mentoring session with a photographer that I have greatly admired for several years now. We went through my photography - most specifically, all of the photographs I made about my grief after Drew died. It’s taken me years to get to the right space emotionally to be ready to have someone look at these photos with a critical eye and tell me what is working best and least in relation to showing them in galleries and having exhibitions. I’ve thought for years that I’ve just been avoiding it, but I’m now seeing that I just wasn’t ready to take these photos into such an often harshly critical atmosphere as the fine art gallery world.
Deep down though, I have never been able to ignore this pull from inside my gut that wants this work to be out in the world in a bigger way. The parts of me that went through all that trauma and pain and grief and sadness and anger and confusion and brokenness… which is captured in the images. I want this series and this experience to be seen by those who have the fortune of not yet experiencing such pain as well as those who have. I want it to be seen by anyone who has ever been broken by life, because I think seeing visuals about struggle and rebuilding can help all of us feel more connected and less alone.Read more
Another year, another birthday. Megan would be 38 tomorrow. Each time July 24 rolls around, it’s a slightly different experience for me. Sometimes, the build-up to that day is the difficult part. Other times, it has been acknowledged as “it is what it is” and the day passes without much fanfare.
This year, it’s a mixture of both.
While it is never swept under the rug, the theme that past few weeks has been a ridiculous amount of distraction. My work has been beyond what I would normally call “busy”. We’ve just returned from our trip to Texas. There has been some car trouble, and a lot of work around the house. More often than not, I’m just plain tired.
That doesn’t leave a lot of room to remember that Megan’s birthday falls in July. But I do anyway. I remember it at night, when I’m falling to sleep. I remember it on weekday mornings, when I’m up and preparing for work, but the rest of the house is quiet. My commute is yet another instance where I get a few free minutes to think, and in comes Megan.Read more
Monday mornings are typically tough getting back into the grind but when your person’s birthday consumes that first day of a new week’s energy you can barely make it through the day let alone the week. This is the second birthday without him. These milestones seem to be flying by faster and faster but the space Tin filled seems to be just as big as the day he passed. It sometimes feels like I am drowning in the waves of emptiness. There is no other way to describe it.Read more
For some reason, I always feel that this blog should be sad and grief-driven. But, today I just feel AMAZING! It would have been our 10th anniversary last week, and yes, it was hard, I mean really hard. However, it wasn’t nearly as hard as in the past.Read more