This week I felt like writing about how the arrival of the holidays has already been extremely difficult for me. These are the first holidays without Clayton. Those Facebook “memories” that pop up in my news feed are like a sharp knife from a friend. Nothing is safe from the reminders. I don’t know if I can even decorate this year but decorating is not what my words are for this week. It is the place that no one would ever think could be a heart-wrenching trigger. A place everyone goes that is designed to help you live but, as a widow, it is a place that can take more of you away…The Grocery Store.Read more
In my 38 years, I have never once not been with my parents on either Christmas eve or Christmas day. Even when I was in the military, I lucked out in that I wasn’t deployed over Christmas, and I was able to drive from North Carolina to Ohio, even if only for a 48 hour visit. Since 2002, I’ve added Megan’s family to that tradition, always ensuring that my second family was part of the holidays, but simply splitting time between both.
It was convenient that both my family and Megan’s family lived within 15 minutes of each other, and we never lived farther than 30 minutes away from either. Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas day with hers.
Since Megan’s death, that tradition has remained the same. Now, however, there’s a third and fourth family.Read more
Life isn't always a walk through the fucking tulips. Which is not a new concept for me, in widowhood; I learned this hard lesson in 1996 when my younger brother, Kysa, died, followed by my mom 6 months later. Cancer cured me of the walk through the tulips perception. My husband's death only solidified this realization.
The people I appreciate in life are those who are willing to show up as their real selves. Those willing to sit with me in darkness. People who genuinely want to hear the tough stuff. People who will call me and say Let's go for a cup of coffee and talk real talk. People who respond to me in this way free me up to actually be who I am and truly be in the moment. Good, bad, and indifferent.Read more
Seconds filled with thoughts turn to minutes and the minutes to hours. It’s only been 3 months so there isn’t going to be a whole day that I won’t be affected by losing you. In all honesty, I will never go a day without missing you. So why does it feel like everyone else has forgotten you?
When you left, I was surrounded by family and friends. They were watching my every move and analyzing my every word. I was instantly under a microscope being dissected in hopes they would find a cure. There is no cure for life without you. There is only numbing and bandages until the break in my heart heals enough to beat stronger again but the scar will always remain.
“Do you feel you are getting over it?”
It? It? What is IT? Losing my person? Being left suddenly alone? Being made responsible for all of the bills? Having to empty closets? Having to watch objects in my life be taken and sent away to others because instead of signing a marriage license we had to rush a Will? What exactly is the “it” you are referring to?Read more
I have struggled with Mother's Day all my life. I lost my own mother when I was nine, many of you know. I don't really remember my father knowing what to do with that day anymore afterwards. We had no other family around to celebrate, and so it just kind of became a non-holiday in our house. I sometimes wish we had continued to make it about her - but maybe he had the right way of doing things. Maybe it was too hard for him, and so he changed it. And perhaps, that was just the better way for us, who knows.
I've been feeling the strains of beginning anew lately. Let's face it - starting to date someone is always messy. New person, new energy, new triggers and sensitivities. But being widowed makes it even trickier. After almost 3 years without a man by my side... I am a completely different person than who I was with Drew. I am far more independent. I don't even think of it as being alone these 3 years, but that I have been in a very deeply committed relationship to myself. I'm discovering this is making it hard for me to navigate the landscape of a relationship with someone ne
I've had little time to think in the past few days. I came down for the weekend to the beach a few hours south of where I live, with a bunch of friends. Like everything in this After Life, even the most ordinary stuff - like a beach trip - has significance and can feel heavy.
I woke this morning early to write this - all my friends still dozing away from a late night of fun. As I brew up a pot of coffee in the morning quiet, I am able to finally think things over.
It's been a great trip, but I have found myself having to really try hard to put on a smile. I am just having a diffiult time getting excited about things...Read more
I struggle tonight with what to write here. Not because I have no words for my pain... but because lately, I have been... happy. And I am struggling to write about that. Lately, my new life has become one I genuinely love. It may not be the life I had with him - but it is rich and full... and to be completely honest, it is actually far richer and more full than the life I had when he was part of it. I am a deeper, healthier, more open hearted person. I have deeper relationships with everyone I am close to now and have kicked the unworthy ones to the curb. My artistic career, although very challenging and still in the fledging stages, is meaningful and fulfilling for me. While I still have my bad days and occasional triggers and there are still certain aspects of my life that I am working to change... for the most part, I have a very full and fulfilling life.Read more
I have been thinking a lot lately about something Michele Neff Hernandez, our editor, said in a workshop over a year ago about finding new love. Back then, I was nowhere near wanting new love. But I knew someday I would want it. So I attended this workshop at Camp Widow in Tampa, and listened to what she had to say. The thing I remember most is her explaining that her new husband is the perfect fit for the new Michele. And her first love was the perfect fit for THAT Michele. She was two different women, and there was in fact a perfect match for each of them.
I've held onto this bit of wisdom a long time. I like the idea of it, although I have not been able to grasp just what that feels like until now. How right she was.Read more