This has been a week during which my world has been dominated by Biology 101. I have to smile as I type that, because I never, ever imagined I would be excited about studying biology, of all things. You have to know, my mom was a biologist and spent most of her career as a college level teacher. She’s retired now, but she was always telling me about how people “of a certain age” would come through her doors preparing for a new career, and that it was never too late for me. I always shooed her and her science aside, me of the right brain-dominated world. So I think she’s a little surprised herself that I’ve taken this leap towards a healthcare field. And something feels right about it for me, that maybe I’m finally taking a little of my mom’s advice. And it’s nice to parley with her in that very specific lingo.
Usually I would write a blog post separate from my personal blog for Widows Voice. However this week has been a rough one, we all have them. Rather than write a totally new post I want to share a post I wrote earlier in the week that shows the dark side of grief. The side that most feel they need to hide.
I want to tell you, it’s ok to not be ok!
So today I am ok, but not that day.
That day emotions ran wild and it felt as though I was thrown back into December. To the month that shattered the world as I knew it. That day I was not ok, but that’s ok!
That day I hurled breakable possessions at walls, I screamed at the top of my lungs with no one around to hear. That day I tore the house apart, I stared at my broken reflection and watched tears fall from blood shot swollen eyes. That day I wanted to die.
That day I was angry that I have to be here, that day there was so much pain. Digging nails into my flesh and pulling at my hair, I screamed for him to take the pain away.Read more
One of the often-discussed topics between widowed people, at least in my circles, regards dating and other relationships we develop after the death of our husbands or wives. Only we widowed people know the challenges surrounding that issue, and each and every one of us has different ways of approaching it.
Over the weekend I attended John’s son’s swimming lesson. He jumped off the diving board for the first time. Every first brings with it pride for my children along with the inevitable thought, John is missing out or we are missing out on experiencing this first with him. Whichever way you look at it, it’s unfair that he is not here.
I left the swimming lesson in a fog of sadness that I couldn’t share this first with John. Lost in my thoughts I began to reverse the car without paying complete attention. I had to brake suddenly when I realised I was going to reverse into a car that was about to drive past behind me. I stopped about half way out of my car park, leaving quite some distance still between myself and the other vehicle. However the lady in the other car was cross at my vague driving skills, she threw her hands up over the steering wheel and proceeded to yell profanities out the window.
My marriage to Mike wasn’t perfect. I mean come on…there is usually at least some issue that arises even in the happiest of partnerships. And we had plenty. Most of our concerns stemmed from his unhealthy eating habits and the results of that but we had other little annoying problems and arguments too. On the whole, though, we were happy. We both felt deeply that we were meant for each other, that we were each other’s true soul mates, and so we worked through all the other issues as best we could. There was never a question that we wouldn’t stay together. I really meant my vows…til death do us part…I just never imagined it would really come to that. At least so soon.
This image perfectly sums up my post for today. There are times in our life when our path to somewhere ends, and from that moment on, we have to begin making decisions for another journey. We have to decide to stay on the shore, at the end of that life, or wade out into the unknown and swim toward some unknown future, trusting we will be able to make it to a new and beautiful shore.
Last week I had a really bad day. I don’t know if it was just a buildup of emotions because I’ve been so busy lately, or if hormones were just doing their thing randomly, or I was trying really hard to just not feel some stuff, but wow. I went over to my place to pack some more things to bring over to Mike’s place… and I just lost my shit. I cried, and I cried, and I cried some more. I felt so completely sad to be moving. For a lot of reasons... but mostly, I am figuring out, because I'm feeling thrown back into the currents a bit again. And every time I feel that way, I am reminded that my life is currently a "plan-B". That the path I was on ended one day, and I just had to get out there and swim...Read more
Moving went as smoothly as possible, I culled a lot of old belongings like toys, baby clothes and little knickknacks. The new apartment is fresh and has a positive ambiance about it. My positive mindset however took its time to catch up.
I was undecided on whether or not I would hang John’s clothes in the wardrobe of the new house. As I happily listened to music and hung my clothes in their new space, I then came to John’s clothes. With no hesitation I hung them side by side with my clothes, as though it were an automatic reaction. Once they were all unpacked I stood and stared and cried.Read more
The past few weeks I feel as if my life is flowing forward full throttle. This week was the 3 1/2 year mark of Mike’s death, on the 17th, and I can honestly say it has taken this long for me to be able to handle this kind of momentum and change. But I can also say that somehow, in some way, I feel more than ready for it, suddenly.
The fact that a decades old friendship is dead in the water and it doesn’t bother me says to me that it’s been floating belly up for some time, and I just never really noticed.
Friendships die for various reasons; it can be something small that suddenly becomes a catalyst, or it can be something big and you just can’t ignore it.Read more
My sister came to visit last weekend, and we went out for a girls night to see that movie Bad Moms. It’s the first time in my life I could relate to such a movie… and to parts of my sister’s life, having raised three children herself. The movie was hilarious, we laughed so hard, and it felt so good to finally just have some girl time together.
At the end of the movie, the actresses sat down with their own moms to do little outtakes. Sharing old funny stories and memories of motherhood. Laughing and crying and bonding together. And of course, here we are, two sisters without a mom, watching all we have missed out on with our own mother being gone 25 years now. Insert ticking time bomb of grief here.
I sucked it up that night, trying not to here the tick, tick, ticking. "Eh, it's nothing new, just let it slide off your back" I said to myself. Sure. Because that works.
Mike asked a few times in the days following if everything was okay, because I was noticeably a bit bitchy. I shrugged it all off, thinking I am just overly tired. But I wasn’t just overly tired. I had a time bomb of grief inside me. For my mom. And for every single moment of the day that I want to be able to call her and vent, or ask her advice about mom stuff, or just share and feel “normal”.
When I finally unloaded to Mike, the tears welling up in my eyes, he acknowledged that it must be really really hard to be helping to raise a child without your own mom’s guidance. Time bomb activated! I burst into tears. I try my hardest on a daily basis to just not feel this truth, because it sucks, and it isn't going to change. But there are new layers now, that I never was challenged with before. Like the feeling that I am somehow less capable of mothering because I lost my mom so young. That somehow her death has created a deficit for me.
Here I am, 33 years old, with an instant 9 year old to care for, no mom, and no clue what I am doing. And this shit sucks. Because now I am grieving for my mom all over again, and also trying to parent. And I just do not know... how the hell do you grieve and parent all at the same time?