Lately, Mike feels so far away. It is very hard to properly describe, but I will give it a try. He has taken on the feel of a memory. Now, Mike feels like more of a memory than my person. I feel lousy admitting this. It sort of feels like he is dying all over again.
In my head, Mike feels like someone who lived once upon a time - in another lifetime. Writing this and committing these thoughts to paper feels unsettling to me. It is completely jarring. I dislike that the man I love has taken on the feel of a familiar character in my favorite book. Once upon a time, Mike was real. He was flesh and blood not so long ago. And, now it seems like he lived in another place and another time. And, really, I guess he did.
Today, it does not feel like it was in my lifetime that he shared his life with me. This is the stuff that fills my head and breaks my heart. This is the stuff that widowhood is made of. Dammit. There is no happy ending I can possibly write to any of this.
The man I love now feels like a memory.
Read that again.
And, now read it another time.
The man I love now feels like a memory...
He feels so far away.
He feels like a lifetime ago.
He does not feel real anymore.
He doesn't feel real anymore because he is not.
He's not real anymore...
I thought of you last night.
One night among all the thousands of nights that have passed since your hand last grasped mine,
As we lay next to each other in the dark.
I thought of your breath
Your arms braced
As you raised yourself above me,
The passion in your eyes
A mere reflection of mine.
Our bodies sweaty and slick
As we moved this way and that,
Our combined breaths raspy and raw.Read more
So many people in our modern society are not well versed in the ways of grief. When you have never lived a year, or five years, or 50 years with the death of someone you love, you just don’t know what that will mean or be like. I have both the fortune and misfortune of having lost people at a young age… and so while I still have relatively fresh grief from my fiance dying 7 years ago, I also have long term grief from my mom dying almost 30 years ago now.
Having lived so much of my 37 years with her death has given me time to go through a lot of different phases with her. In my early 20’s is when I truly began to grieve her death in a big way. Not really capable as a child, it took time to mature to a place to break that pain open. It was my first breakup from a serious relationship that broke my grief open for my mom. And so I learned, sometimes it is like that - sometimes one loss in your world will rip open the old wounds of another loss WIDE OPEN.
In my 20’s I also began to celebrate and build a relationship to my mom once more. My family was the type to not talk about dead people, or painful things, so I learned just to think she was gone and no longer existed. But I never believed that on the inside I don’t think. It was in my 20’s that I started to celebrate her birthday again, quietly on my own. I began writing a card to her on that day to talk about all the things in my world and thank her for all the lessons she continues to teach me.Read more
I’m halfway through this winter warfare others call “the most wonderful time of the year”. The annual arrival of the four holiday horsemen. Just as one battle ends another commences giving us barely enough time to heal the wounds and gather back the troops. Thanksgiving with grief in the gravy. Christmas’ hallmark heartaches. Now the approach of a New Year further away from our yesterdays with the final horseman named St. Valentine charging into battle just a month after.Read more
I’m sitting in a coffee shop that is brimming with hustle and bustle and holiday cheer. And, amid all the merriment and the hum of constant conversation I am realizing, for the thousandth time, how very detached I’ve become.
Sitting here alone at my table, I put in my earphones, then I cranked up my music because I just can’t listen to the idle conversations that are going on around me. I had to drown the sound of their voices out before the ridiculousness of it all swallowed me whole.
I don’t care.
I’m different now that I’ve had to outlive him. I won’t apologize for how I’ve put myself back together. I’ve survived. I’ve been forced to reinvented myself. And, I’m changed for better and worse.
Thanksgiving was a beast in itself but Christmas can be the kraken in unicorn’s clothing. I love parts of Christmas like the lights, smell of Christmas trees and giving others gifts. It’s the other parts - families gathering, couples under the mistletoe, Hallmark everything that always ends up like a fairytale…Read more
You would think that becoming widowed just before the holiday season could make said holidays an overbearing mixture of grief, stress, and memories going forward. That remembering that first Christmas without Megan, watching a seven-year-old Shelby bounding down the stairs to a room in which her father was already bawling, would not be the ideal nostalgic thought of the ghosts of Christmas past. Family traditions, like ice-skating, making hot chocolate, decorating the house, or cutting our own tree to trim would always be stained with the term things we “did”, rather than things we “do”.
For the most part, I suppose those sentiments are true, but in the grand scheme of things, the holidays have been a stressful time for most of my adult life. Megan’s death was just the cherry on top of a season already filled with anxiety, frustration, and a sense of being pulled in every which way but the one I wanted to.
Perhaps I’m a bit of a scrooge.Read more
A week ago I was given an opportunity at a big event to share with my essential oil community about inclusion, community and growth. It amazes me what has come into my life in the past year. Part of my oil journey is the loss of Tin. I share about him in every speech I give. I share about Soaring Spirits and I share about the widowed Facebook support group, A Widow’s Valor, that gives those in the Young Living oily community a place to be surrounded by other oilers. Talking about my loss isn’t easier, it’s just different. I’ll always be a work in progress and, as I practice reflection and present time, I can pull myself from the tough days to look at the big picture of my journey and rebuilding. When I stop and take time to look at my journey I can see that I have accomplished something amazing – I survived and now I’m beginning to thrive.Read more
This will be my fourth Christmas without him. We only shared one Christmas together so, why does Mike's absence weigh so heavy on me when I have lived most of my life without him? Well, there are many reasons outliving Mike is hard; there are just too many things to mention. And, really, it is the intangible things that are hardest to live without. What is really comes down to is that I love him deeply; and, living without the person you are so in love with is awfully difficult.
Simply put, I miss Mike and I want him back. I want to finish living the life we thought we'd share together. And, I know full well that I can't have this. Sunday, I stood above his grave. Physically, I saw the markers of his deadness. My hands touched his headstone. My eyes read his name carved into the stone. My lips kissed the cold stone. As I stood to leave, I whispered I love you to my dead fiance. He didn't answer back because he couldn't. I get it. I know that Mike is gone from here. Still, despite what I understand, I continuously think about living a life that does not and can not exist. This is the quandary of my widowhood.
I need to create these make believe thoughts less frequently. My mind needs more space for the here and now stuff. I need to remain grounded in the present, but I just don't know how to accomplish this. I am in my fourth year of widowhood and I still have not found a way to keep my mind tethered in the moment I am experiencing.
Last year I could barely walk through the grocery store during the holidays. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite and the thought of even buying ingredients was too much. This year, I told myself that it wasn’t right to stop celebrating. Tin wouldn’t want that at all. So I took a deep breath, swallowed what felt like a rock in my throat and grabbed a turkey. My eyes welled up and I told myself to go checkout. I had to go to the store three separate times to buy what I needed because I would hit a breaking point each time. Seasonings, cider, wine, apple pie, butter – God did Tin love butter. Those tears started in the dairy aisle and I had to go check out.Read more