I have a dear friend here in Kona who recently lost her mother. She was a new friend when Mike died, but had met him, and after discovering we were both writers we decided to get together every so often to write and support each other. She has since become a good friend who saw the rawness of my grief right there in the beginning, but since I've been gone for so long this year, and so busy since my return, we hadn't connected in a long time. So I called her the other day to express my condolences and catch up.
Every writer experiences it. Staring at the blank page. Sometimes no words come at all, and sometimes, there are so many words we're not sure which ones to put down.
Grief is kind of like that. Sometimes we sit in blank stupefaction while the horror of our new reality without our spouses showers down around us. Other times we are inundated with so many different emotions we don't know which direction to turn. Confusion, fear, loneliness, nostalgia, anxiety, stress.
Mike was never good at dealing with grown up problems. He truly did have a childlike spirit - that was sometimes fun, and sometimes frustrating. When it came to taxes, phone calls, fixing things, filling out forms, and bigger worries, he was often useless. I did most of all that. And when he died...well, widowed people understand all the bureaucracy and agonizing paperwork that must be completed. It never seems to end. One final time he had left me to sort it out alone.
The day before this posts is my birthday. I am now 49. Mike was 45 when we met; I was 31. It's hard to imagine I am that old now, and I spend a lot of time thinking back to Mike at my age. And I remember all the birthdays we spent together...I have kept all of the cards we gave each other. We always did something special, but he made me feel special every day of the year.
After two and a half months in Virginia helping my family through a medical crisis, I am finally back in Kona for a few final months. Kona, Hawaii, where I moved with my late husband in 2001. This magical, special and most beautiful place where we made so many memories.Read more
For the first few years after Drew died, I lived in between lives. Back then, I remember distinctly feeling that way. Many of the photographs I took spoke to this. I wasn’t in my old life, nor was I in what I would define as a new life.
I recall wondering what it would be like to one day live in a new life, instead of the in-between. Back then, I couldn’t even fathom that idea… and largely, I didn’t want to. I had found an odd comfort in my in-between world. It’s the place that first began to rebuild myself - this new self. I actually didn’t even know how that new self would be able to enter into a new life. I didn’t know what a new life would look like.
I also remember those first glimpses into a new life… it was an internal feeling inside me. A feeling I don’t know how to explain, other than it being a shift that I didn’t consciously make myself. It was as if my soul, or the universe, or something began to whisper to me, saying that it was time… that change was on the horizon. I could feel it in my bones, even before meeting Mike - which I would define as the catalyst that throttled me into new life.
I was in no way prepared for my “re-entry” into life. I had grown so comfortable in the space of my grief, to the point that we became friends. I didn’t really want to leave that space, though I knew I would one day have to. I had spent years exploring in my own emotions and soul… through words and photographs and paintings and such. Creating from my grief became such a part of me, that I didn’t know how to keep creating as I re-entered life. I really still don’t know how, to be honest...Read more
In a few weeks we will hit the four year mark of Mike's death. Four years. On that day I will have survived 1,460 days without him.
I only got 5040 days with him.
Life for those of us left behind continues to speed by. Some days I panic a little that grief has stolen so much time. Then I realize how much grief has taught me, and how much I have grown during this period.Read more
After Mike died, the story of his stuff was an ongoing issue for a long time. His elder daughter and I cleared his closet a couple of months out because I had to make room for things being moved upstairs in preparation for renting out the downstairs. Then later that year, both girls spent several days with me dividing and clearing most of what was left. It was agonizing, but for me, it was harder living with all his things the way he left them day after day, like he was coming back any minute, when he was not. Then this past year I did another enormous clearing out in preparation for moving, and came across many more items either belonging to Mike, or which we accumulated together. The memories and tears just kept coming. I have finally whittled down what I want to keep of his, and ours, but it has taken this long, almost four years.Read more
Earlier this week I made the trip from my home in Kona, once again, to my parents' house in Virginia. I am grateful for the reprieve back on the island, where I was able to attend my stepdaughter's wedding, visit with friends, my boyfriend, and find some rest. Now, I am in Charleston, SC with my mom. We planned this trip to see whether this area is a place we could all relocate. We will look at facilities for dad here, as well as some real estate. Dad is being cared for in a home in Virginia now, and my brother is back there as well at the moment, working on their house to be sold, and checking in on dad.Read more
I've lived in lots of places in my life so far. I was born in Maryland and raised in Arlington, Virginia until I was 6, at which time we moved to nearby McLean. I attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC and lived on campus there, moving each year, in the dorms and residential housing. After college I moved back in with my parents, and then in with my boyfriend in Arlington, and then he and I moved to another house in DC for awhile after that.Read more