About four months after Phil's death, I returned to my nail salon for the first time since being widowed. As I sat in the chair trying to keep it together while idle chatter swirled around me, my manicurist looked up and asked if I was going to take off my rings. Absently I handed them to her (my engagement ring, my wedding ring, and Phil's wedding ring were all crowded together on my finger) and she set them down awkwardly on the table next to us. Then she looked up at me and said, "Isn't your husband dead?" At first I was sure I heard her wrong. "Excuse me?" I said. Turns out my hearing was fine, because she repeated herself.Read more
Filling in for Jackie today with a post I wrote almost four years ago. Even today, I can clearly remember the feeling of wanting to be dead. It would have been terrifying if I were capable of feeling anything besides empty, but in that moment all I wanted was to be with Phil. Of all the words I have written over the past 5.8 months the ones I share here remind me most powerfully of how far I have come since the day that one life ended, and another unwillingly began.Read more
Pictures of me in my current state of happiness make me nervous. I look at this photo with a sense of wonder at the fact that my smile looks genuine. The empty look that has shadowed my features for years appears to have faded. I am tempted to compare this photo to one of my "before" photos to see if I can tell the difference between these versions of my happy self. Will the scars of loss be somehow visible? Is the shadow of death really gone, or is it just lying in wait?Read more
I love the idea that there is a time, and a season, for all things, but change has always been hard for me. I like sameness, actually I used to thrive in the familiar. But the transformation that has happened in my life since Phil's death has taught me to accept my uneasiness regarding change as par for my particular course knowing that some of the most amazing blessings in my life are a direct result of changes I would not have made, should anyone have given me a choice.Read more
And I can't sleep. This used to be a normal time to be sitting at my computer fingers tapping, and tears streaming down my face. I can't count the number of times my feelings have been pounded out on my keyboard, but its been a good long time since the familiar ache of missing Phil has kept me awake into the wee hours of the morning. My heart is aching in that unforgettable way, and I knew you would understand. So here I sit covered in blankets, futilely trying once again to reconcile the fact that Phil is dead.Read more
Over the past five years any time that I have done something that I believe Phil would have either actively disliked (getting a tattoo) or probably didn't appreciate (leaving his ashes in a locked safe for three years) I have used this phrase, "Well then you shouldn't have died," to justify my behavior.Read more
Over the past month or so I have introduced Michael as my husband in a variety of circles. The responses to the word "husband" have been fascinating to me.
When we are out with a group of friends or new acquaintances, the response is enthusiastic and congratulatory. These folks are just happy to see love in action.
When in the company of people who have walked with me through loving and losing Phil there is a sense of wonder that life has made a turn for the better and that somehow I have survived the blinding glare of grief.
At Church on Saturday evening we heard a reading from the Bible that included a widow. As the lector read the word "widow," she changed the inflection of her voice. Later, during the sermon, our priest talked at length about the widow in the parable we'd just heard. Every single time he said the word, I cringed. He changed his tone too. There was an implied sense of fragility that I found myself wanting to reject whenever the widow was mentioned. In addition to the implied weakness was a shadow of sorrow that irked me. Sorry, I was sitting in Church seriously annoyed.Read more
"Hi, it’s me. I forgot to ask you to be sure you ride in the second or third car of the train. Thanks."
"Wow, you are awfully close to the side of the road. Don't get hit by a car."
"Bike ride? Um, sure that sounds like a good idea. Are you going out alone?"
"Hi, you said you'd be home around three and it is three-thirty now. Just checking in. Can you call me as soon as you get this? Thanks."
"Have fun. Be careful. Drive Safely. Call me when you get there. Love you. Don't forget to call."
When I first was able to entertain the thought of marrying again, I was certain that I would fall to pieces when asked to utter the phrase, "till death do us part." Those four words mean something completely different now that I know what parting actually feels like. In fact, I often teared up when discussing my fear of this phrase with Michelle...before there was any threat of actually having to say it! So as my wedding to Michael approached, I was nervous about the vows section of our ceremony. Would I be able to speak?Read more