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
Along with being a writer, many of you know that I'm an artist. You may also know, as I've sometimes shared here, that I've been working on a photographic series for the past year all about my journey through grief. What began as just a small idea, to take a self portrait every week and share it on my blog, has snowballed into something of a whole new direction for my life. I was only a hobby photographer before I set out on this journeyRead more
Today was my fiance's birthday. The third year without him here. You always think it's going to get easier. And you never really have any clue how it's going to hit you. That's no mystery to me. I've been dealing with the milestone of my mom's birthday for over 20 years now since she died... and some years are just harder than others, for no real reason at all. I gave up long ago trying to understand the "why" of all this.
I feel like this 3rd birthday has been even harder than the 2nd without him. Maybe this is because it is the same amount of birthdays I shared WITH him... we only had 3 short years together. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking it has a lot to do with it. This officially kicks off the first of many milestones this year that are going to be even harder than last year, for that one reason. By June, I will officially be entering into having lived more time after his death than I actually had with him. It's heartbreaking, even now just thinking of it. And it's weighed so heavily on my heart today that I've scarcely even had words.
For two years and nine months now... I have had one of those weird widow "things" that I have done. Or really that I haven't done. For all of these days, weeks, months, and years... I have not cleaned the bathroom mirror. Not once. The reason for this is simple, and anyone widowed will likely understand. When I shower every morning, I get out and look up at the fogged glass of that mirror... and across it are the faint streaks of a hand that once wiped it clean. A hand much bigger than mine.
For two years and nine months, I have been comforted by this... every time the mirror fogs up, there he appears again. For that moment, I can still believe that my fiancé is somehow right around the corner. I can believe that he is nearby even though I can't see him - just like his handprint on the mirror has been there all along, even when I can't see it. It has been a daily reminder to believe his love and his spirit still exist despite his body not being here anymore.
This morning I went for a hike out on the ranch scouting my next location for a photo shoot. I started out at a particular dry creek bed. Parked the truck, walked down a shallow slope and stood a moment taking in the world around me. This was where Drew first taught me how to shoot a gun. Back when I was so terrified of them that my hands would shake just to hold one. I have only been back here twice since he died… always I can feel the absence so strongly here. This time was no different.