I'll be very blunt here. Christina Rasmussen, the visionary of Second Firsts, continues to help save my sanity by holding out hope. Her story helps me know that I just might get through this devastating grief brought into my soul by my beloved husband's death. I personally don't feel hope but I see the life she's built after her husband's death and I recognize intellectually that it's possible because she has shown that to me.
Her story inspired me to take the life insurance my husband left for me and use it as a springboard to create a new life without him. I don't want to create a new life without him. I must create a new life without him. I read some of her story just a few weeks after Chuck died, where she wrote of using her husband's life insurance to start a new life for herself and that was the first time I started thinking about how I could live a life without him, logistically.
I'll keep on the theme Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation has run on their facebook page for International Widows Day - what I've achieved since Ian died.
Well, working on achieving.
One of the big changes I made was to go back to school. I knew my job would end about 12 months after Ian died, and I opted to work towards a change in direction. But one semester into my 2-year accounting course, I was a bit unsure if it was the right direction, even though I'm getting decent marks and enjoy the studies.
I'm struggling writing this week. I know the general gist of what I want to say, but some of it keeps seeming harsh, uncaring, like I'm an insensitive bitch. Because it's about the relief and positivity I've figured out I find in Ian's death anniversary.
This past weekend was the second anniversary of Ian's passing. And although it may sound odd to many, my experience of it was a positive time of transition. I was sad, and there were some bitter sweet moments, like me mentioning to John that daddy played field hockey, while we watched some highlights from the world cup, so John went up and asked which was daddy... little hard. I explained again that daddy died, but stifled a bit of a giggle, since daddy wouldn't have been playing women's field hockey!!
But I also felt a weight had been lifted. And in general living life terms, it was just another ordinary Saturday with swimming lessons, me working on uni stuff, cleaning, laundry, playing with John.
Having now passed through 2 cycles of anniversaries, I'm certain my really hard period is March, when Ian got sick and I went through what was for me the most traumatic part of the illness that lead to his death. He should have died that day, and I spent most of the day feeling the weight of that. And I began to grief the loss of what our life would have been from that moment. But as much as March is my heavy anniversary, there is a weight that sits in the background up until his death anniversary.
FWG. A term I made up myself and one that may or may not be offensive to people.
Words are funny, aren't they? My mom used to say that people are the ones who give power to words and I believe the same goes for those who hear the words. They receive it according to how they define the word.
When people ask me what FWG means, I generally ask them if they want the PG version or the real one. I'm not intentionally setting out to upset people, so I do that. How great am I?
FWG means Fucking Warrior Goddess. When I say that word I say it fiercely and I mean it fiercely. Not angrily. Not as a swear word. But fiercely. You hear it however you hear it.
One of the things I've maintained since Ian died is a theatre subscription with a couple of friends. It gives me an opportunity to flex the grey-matter and escape to other worlds.
Over the weekend I went to a show I'd been looking forward too in terms of performer and composer. It was a short, caberet style show and was a fantastic showcase for the solo performer, and I could hear the composer's influence.
However the show sat uneasily with me, and it took me a while to figure out why.
I watched a documentary last night about Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn. Pretty heavy watching, you might think, and you'd be right for so many reasons.
My husband and I shared a love for American history and traveled to so many National Parks over the 4 years we traveled as Happily Homeless. Little Bighorn in Montana was a powerful place for us both and we carried away intense memories from our time there.
My ears perked up when the documentary discussed the wives at Ft Lincoln waiting for news of their husbands, not knowing that the battle had ended and all the soldiers had died. Elizabeth Custer, George's wife, wrote a letter in which she spoke about the "unendurable yearning" of each of the wives for their husbands.
I've been trying to delay the onset of June. For example, I spent a couple of weeks writing appointments in the wrong week of May; a couple of weeks early. But the calendar has flipped, and it's my month of anniversaries.
June 4, marks Ian and I's third wedding anniversary.
The 11th will be 5 years since we first met.
The 14th is his second angelversary. On to year three of widowhood.
Widowhood is this weird time-warp.Read more
I'm near the end of the first month in the second year since my husband Chuck died. The nights and the days blend one into the other. When people ask me how I'm doing, I ask them in return if they want to hear the polite answer or the real answer. That's pretty polite of me to ask that of them, isn't it?
I've run out of words to describe how much I miss my husband and how little investment I have in this new life I'm necessarily creating without him.
I've written before about how my personal routines went out the window after Ian died.
John was only 13 months when Ian got sick, and 16 months when he died. Getting him into a bedtime routine, let alone to going down at a regular time just never got re-established after the initial "everything gone haywire" period. We both developed bad habits, which now need to be broken.
I've tried a few times to get something resembling a bedtime routine established. The issue I have is with consistency.
Those bad days, when you're just exhausted from life AND grief, when there's no one to back you up and tag team with, when you can't keep your own eyes open long enough for 1 round of The Gruffalo, let alone 4 or 5, it's so easy to just revert to bad habits (like letting him fall asleep in front of the TV in my bed).Read more
I'm down to my last month here in Phoenix, staying with our oldest son. On June 21 my daughter and I will hitch up my PinkMagic rig and head north and then west on our Nothin' But Love cross-country tour.
We could head directly west and then north along the California coastline. We could, but we won't. Quite simply, I can't. If we head due West, she and I would be driving the very roads that my husband and I drove a little over a year ago, headed to our 3 month rental in southern California, where he died. And as much as I've pushed myself in this last year since his death, I just can't do that trip. Maybe someday. Not now. My heart is too broken. With our more northerly route I'll still be traveling the roads he and I did, but those roads will carry a different meaning for me.
My next 6 months on the road will be, in many ways, my final farewell to my husband, as I scatter his cremains in our favorite places. There is bound to be pain-how can there not be as I stand where he and I last stood together? But I know that there will be beauty also. The beauty that comes from knowing how deeply I was loved in this life, and the beauty that comes from knowing that I will always have that love in me and with me.