The last couple of weeks have consisted of a whirlwind of new experiences, new people, new opportunities, and new challenges. Generally, I drop into bed exhausted and with little time to reflect due to my constant need to plan for the next day...not a new problem for me. When I do stop to look at the path my life has taken over the last 44 months, I sometimes find myself wondering whose life I am leading. How did I get to this place? In what universe did I ever see myself speaking to rooms full of people about loss, grief and recovery? And where is Phil? Oh yes, he is dead.
And that is the one fact that centers me, odd as that may sound. Knowing that the best way to honor my love for Phil is to live the fullest life I can pushes me to do things I wouldn't have attempted before. The certainty that meeting other widows changed my life provides motivation to spread the word about the work my foundation does. Having the honor of hearing other people's stories of love and loss provides the on-going desire to create a community that people who have lost a spouse can call home. Because death has changed our definition of home, and we have to find a different safe place. I have watched what happens when random strangers share the common bond of loss, and I am always astounded by the results of these meetings. Watching this kind of interaction is like viewing hope dawn like the sun--to be understood is priceless.Read more
This is my four year-old nephew Ethan posing with his beloved cousin Caitlin. Yesterday we celebrated several family events with a day at the park. In a quiet moment Ethan and I had a conversation that went like this....
E: Auntie Neechelle, where is your husband?
M: Well E, my husband was your Uncle Phil and he died when you were just a baby. You might not remember him, but here is a picture of him. (I show a photo)
E: Was he sick?
M: (deep breath) Noooo....he was hit by a car. Remember how your mom tells you to look both ways when crossing the street? She does that because sometimes cars hit people and when that happens they might be hurt so badly that they die.
E: (thoughtfully) That is not good.Read more
The other night I was excited to be watching a new episode of "Grey's Anatomy". As odd as it sounds, I always know something in the show will make me tear up, whether I can relate to it or not. It's almost like watching "Extreme Home Makeovers"....I always end up crying at the reveal.
Well this episode of "Grey's" was no exception, and I sat on my couch in my quiet living room with a few tears streaming down my face. It was not a waterworks show at Sea world, but enough to make me wipe my cheek.Read more
Dear Wonderful Widow.
For the next 3 weekends, three performances per weekend, Anneke, my 15 year-old, will be playing the part of Wendy Darling in Peter Pan. Anneke is afraid of heights. Flying across the stage requires that she put a great deal of trust in the backstage crew who orchestrate her flying. This is not easy for her. Anneke has chosen to face her fear of heights in order to be able to do what she loves. Anneke is an actress.
We who are widows also make choices, many choices.
Remember when your friends said to you, “I don’t know how you do it?” (show up, be a mother, make dinner, go to work, breathe…)
And you thought to yourself, “What choice do I have?”
I am not comparing being Wendy Darling to widowhood. But like Anneke, we choose to show up. You might think you don’t have a choice, but you do. Every time you make dinner, check homework, every time you get out of bed, you are choosing.Read more
I had sand all over my feet and the wind in my face. My eyes were closed as I stretched my arms out wide as I could and I balanced against the railing of the life guard tower. I held my palms up as if waiting... expecting David to take them, I almost felt as though he did. I took deep, careful breaths... I wanted David. I caught myself whispering, "Come get me... please... come get me." I meant those words with every cell in my body. Come get me. Rescue me. David. I let my mind dance around whatever memories volunteered themselves.Read more
I've been thinking about regrets a lot lately. Not about Jim and me. No way. He knew that he was seriously loved and adored ...... as did I. I have no regrets about us and our marriage, other than it wasn't long enough ..... not by a long shot.
This past weekend was our youngest child's (Son #3) Confirmation. This was our first Confirmation without Jim. I had been dreading it for a while, as had Son #3, I think.
It was a very difficult .... and yet good, day.
Many tears were shed. And not just by me.Read more
I'm in Bloomington Illinois today to watch Michele, my WSM (love that Taryn!), receive one of the 2009 Embrace Life Awards presented each year by State Farm Insurance. The program recognizes people who have suffered the loss of a loved one and tried to make it into something positive. Obviously, Michele fits the bill perfectly.Read more
My life path has never included poverty. Or prejudice. Or destitution. Or the feeling that my current life position was all I could ever expect. Overall, I have been greatly blessed. I live in a country where widows are able to inherit, own property, pursue a career, and manage their own affairs. Though prior to my introduction to the global state of widowhood, the concept of not having these privileges would never have occurred to me.Read more
This weekend was the Central Austin Relay for Life. This is the fourth year that Team Dippel has competed, and the fourth year that we have been in the top five fund raising teams on the day of the relay. Our team is made up of family and friends, all of whom have been touched by cancer, most of us in more than just one way.Read more
What is a W.S.M.? A little acronym I came up with which stands for: Widow Soul Mate
After losing Michael I had the fear of never meeting anyone else who could or would understand the pain, love, and grief that I was feeling. Luckily with my line of work, I have met many amazing people who are the epitome of survivors. In my travels through widowhood I have met a certain few which I truly care about, one who has come to be known as my WSM.