We all know the dreaded dates. The anniversary of their death, birthdays, togetherness anniversaries, holidays but there’s one more on my list that adds another dark mark on my year - His diagnosis date.
This November it will be three years that I have been Mike's widow. Three years is a decent amount of time to have spent in the quagmire that is grief. I have a fairly significant amount of experience as a widow, but I still feel inadequate in my new life. No matter what I do, nothing fills my Soul. Everything is lacklustre and meaningless. Nothing. Not one thing seems to matter the way it should since he died.
In September, I started back to work and the familiar routine of school and work is taking hold of my life again. And, now that I am immersed in the daily grind, I want to run away from here more than ever. I like my job and my coworkers. My career isn't the problem. It is suburbia itself. All of it feels hollow without him. I do not fit in here anymore.
I am sitting in a coffee shop writing my blog. In my old life I would be with him. We might have gone camping this weekend, or maybe we would have done yard work and had people over for dinner. Anyhow, none of that matters anymore, because that life was buried with Mike. It is over. All of it lost. It is just me now; and, presently, I am here in a coffee shop with my music blaring in my ears while I type this. I am attempting to drown out reality. I came here because my house is suffocating without him; but it isn't any better here. I am homesick for a man who died wherever I am. Nothing can change this.
I can easily say that I do not reach out to Tin’s mother and family as much as I should. I want to speak with them but it’s hard for me and I feel like I am the immediate reminder, that I trigger all of the grief for them. These widowed weights on my shoulders press down hard at times. It’s a double-edged burden. I want to speak with them but I don’t want to upset them. So conversations don’t happen as often as they maybe should.Read more
It's been 6 years and 5 months since Chuck died.
I kind of feel like I need to put that identifier in so that anyone who reads this will have a gauge.
Except that those newly living this widowed life might look at the time since and then read this blog and shudder.
Or shrink back in dismay.
The confusion lasts that long?
And I don't mean to convey that.
It's all personal, right?
That's what we always hear, anyways.
So, apologies ahead of time to anyone who reads this and is discouraged...Read more
It’s time I dive into a topic that is always at the heart of gay men dating – HIV/AIDS. Growing up I watched as the disease came forth, took lives and drove the world to treat the LGBTQ+ community worse than ever. There was fear of being accused and harmed and there was (and still is) fear of contracting the disease. From my biology background, I see medications and treatments have advanced to amazing supportive levels for those affected. A new preventative medication PREP has reached the mainstream and decreases the chance of contracting the virus to almost zero but nothing is ever 100%.Read more
I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. I could say I’ve been busy but really it is because I didn’t feel inspired to write. Writing for me is very specific. I have to feel I need to write to portray an aspect of my life that might help another. I don’t want to just write anything to have something written. There is an emptiness to that method. There was another reason hanging in the shadows and distracting me from being in the moment. I was gearing up for a professional conference that I was going to present at. Was it the presentation? No and yes. The last time I saw all of these people was 2 years ago when Tin was texting me he thought he had the flu. I wish he had gone to the doctor right than but he waited for me to get home. There is unnecessary guilt here, regardless if it is warranted, it is here. Had I only been home, had I only picked a career that didn’t take away valuable time from him. Had I only solved it sooner than he would be here and I wouldn’t be headed to a grief summit.
Shortly after losing Tin I was honored being asked to write in this space. I quickly felt the weight of grief ease as the words hit the paper. An amazing thing began to happen, others started to respond to my writing that they felt connected again and that lifted my grief a bit more. As I continued moving forward, I had started to use essential oils for support and the community surrounded me with support and asked me to share my story with others. No matter how many times I share my story it never gets easier, just different. However, I keep telling my story because each time I see my words create a space of safety for others even if it’s for just a moment where they don’t feel alone.Read more
Recently, I drove the familiar road to Mike’s house. I have completed this drive hundreds of times since he died; but, this time it hurt my heart - a lot. Maybe it is because on August 20th we should be celebrating our second wedding anniversary together. But, we won't be doing this. Mike died. There is no wedding anniversary for us. There is nothing for us to share anymore. Everything we experienced and everything we were is in the past.
Physically, Mike is gone. And, when you love someone who is dead you are left with a profound emptiness and aching that underlies everything in your life.
I know the road to Mike's house like the back of my hand. I can drive it without thinking. On this stretch of highway, my mind often drifts off to a better place in time. I carefully recall our life and I bring him back to life in my mind. So many memories of our life together replay in my mind as I drive past the relics of our past. And, as the missingness sets in, I find myself grabbing my collarbone. This is a thing I do when my grief is swallowing me alive. I wonder if this will ever end; and as I type this, I know the answer. It won’t.
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
Today was a hard day. It was filled with anger, sadness, desperation, and tears. I am angry at the fact that my husband is no longer here. I am mad that my daughter doesn’t get to grow up with her father, and that my husband doesn’t get to experience his daughter grow up. I am mad and disappointed at everything and everyone that was involved with this accident. I have the right to be angry. I wake up next to an empty space, instead of my husband’s embrace. I see my daughter give nosy kisses and try to feed chips to a picture of her father because he is not in the flesh. As a woman, my heart is broken. And as a mother, my broken heart aches with agony as I feel for my daughter. I feel a sense of desperation that I can’t bring my husband back and give her his arms, his love, his kisses, his all. It’s such a debilitating feeling. A debilitating feeling that those who lose the love of their life genuinely know.Read more