This week I began work on a goal that has taken me a long time to believe I could accomplish. It may seem like something very small to most people, but for me, it has been a hurdle all my life. This week, I have started swim lessons.
Something most people don’t know about me is that I’ve always been uncomfortable in the water. I never took swim lessons and though I can swim, I don’t do it well. I’m about the slowest swimmer there is, I hate the feeling of water in my eyes, I almost always have to hold my nose under water, and treading water is enough to send me into a mild panic and have me swimming for shallow ground. It has always been a frustration for me, and occasionally embarrassing. Worst of all, it’s something I have believed that I can never change about myself. And the root of it comes from not trusting myself to be able to keep myself safe in water.
I have always marveled at people who appear to be completely comfortable in water. Drew was like that, like a fish. And Mike even more-so since he was a diver in school and taught swim lessons. I have watched them both in complete awe.
I’ve believed all my life that I can never have that sort of safe feeling in water. That it’s just not in the cards for me. For years, I’ve wanted to at least try to challenge that belief. So this past week, Mike and I got a membership to an indoor pool for the winter, and he has started working with me.
After just two lessons at the pool with Mike, there I was, just effortlessly treading water like I’ve been doing it forever. Suddenly all the fear went away. All the panic and anxiousness that I have felt my ENTIRE life in deep water… GONE. I couldn’t even believe those feelings could vanish so quickly. And suddenly, for the first time ever, I began to feel some glimmer of that comfortable feeling in water that I have envied in others all these years. Some glimmer of trusting myself in the water. Even more importantly, I challenged a limiting belief about myself, and I decided that I don’t believe it anymore. With his help, I am beginning to trust that I can do this.
One of the things I am most grateful for in this widow journey is the people who have been willing to help me stay afloat...Read more
"I don't have any reason, dont wanna waste more time
Im in a New York state of mind......."
Ah yes, Billy Joel had it right with that song.
Its been about 17 months since I left NYC, my second home, to move back to my home state of Massachusetts, finish my book, and see what comes next. I didnt expect to find love here in smalltown Mass, and I didnt expect for that love to provide not only the perfect ending to my book, but a new lease and purpose on life in addition. When I left NYC, in my heart, it was temporary. I kept saying: "I can always come back." But somewhere deep inside, I knew that my soul was being eaten alive by NYC, and my wallet too. So, I have made a lot of visits, and almost every one of them was because I had something professional or career-related going on in the city; a book signing event, a comedy show, this time its a TV taping on the local cable show OPEN TO HOPE. I will be one of a 3-person panel of widowed authors - me , Michelle Miller, and John Polo. We will talk about our books and about grief and loss. It will air at a later time. The evening before the taping, on Friday night, (this will post Friday for you all, but Im writing it Wednesday evening) the three of us will host a fun Karaoke Book-signing party in the city, sort of a "Meet and Greet" with anyone who wants to come out. In between all of that, I will see some friends and have some fun. Back to my NYC people. My NYC vibe.Read more
This past weekend my friend from British Columbia flew to Ontario to come to visit me. I haven’t seen her in a year since we last did a road trip together. I’ve written about her before on my own personal blog about her being The Friend I Never Wanted. She is an amazing and inspiring person. She’s a young widow too and an incredible support. We have been navigating life after loss with very similar timelines across the country.
We talk on a regular basis but it’s different actually being together. We know we’re both moving forward, and we talk about our lives now, but it just feels so much more obvious when we’re together. Our visits are like a timeline of progress in grief, to me anyways. Much has stayed the same but there’s also been change. For example, when I was asking what food she wanted as I grocery shopped for her visit she commented that she doesn’t think she had food in her house the first time I visited. At that time we were both in the first year of loss. We then tried to remember what we even did during that first visit. It all seemed like a blur. We talked about our trip together the last time we met up, just over a year out from the death of our husbands, and how we struggled to come up with a plan between the two of us. We had joked that between the two of us we had a total of 1 working brain and we hoped that would be enough to manage everything.Read more
Today I met up with a couple of my dear widowed friends who I'm working with on a project to support widowed people.
During our discussions, we spoke about how we will need some photographs of widowed people to use in our materials and started brainstorming how we can depict widowedhood - and in particular, a widowed community - with images.
- a person, looking glum and forlorn, while others around them are doing ok...
Unfortunately, I have definitely been this stereotypical widowed person countless times since my husband died. Some days I still am. But today, more than two and a half years on, these images don't reflect the widow I am today.Read more
Before I lost my husband to depression, I was so unaffected by the word 'suicide'.
The word itself and casual references are everywhere in our society. In the lyrics of popular songs and common terms of phrase; it pops up unexpectedly in movies and tv shows and it features in art work, like Banksy's 'suicidal butterflies'.
I'm ashamed to admit that I never gave a thought to just how hurtful this could be before my life was changed so drastically by suicide.
I sang along to songs like Sean Kingston's 'Beautiful Girls' never considering how it must sound to those of whom the word 'suicide' was not just another empty term - but instead the most painful word that exists in the English language.
Of course, after Dan's death, my world became scattered with these triggers that pop up and slap me in the face constantly and without warning.
Yesterday, I heard through a fellow widow that Amazon was selling t-shirts featuring horrible, tasteless images of suicide. These shirts were being marketed as 'humorous' but were nothing less than shocking and, frankly, disgusting.
My friend shared a link to an online petition that had been started by a man from Toronto who was a suicide survivor, calling for Amazon to remove these items from sale and apologise for their lack of sensitivity.Read more
An evening out with friends to listen to my new guy’s band on the water’s edge here in Kona.
Drinks, laughing, dancing. I catch myself: what am I doing here? I can’t believe how much my life has changed. I gaze out to the stars hanging over the ocean waves and mentally reach out to Mike, as I so often do. Are you out there, honey? Can you see me? I think how he would have gotten such a kick out of the lively and eccentric group of folks I find myself in the midst of. How he would be relieved I have found my smile again. How he would have loved swinging me around the dance floor. And how much he loved this place.
I'm feeling very flat tonight. It's been a long day. My office was closed due to bad weather and while, at first, I was excited at the thought of spending a day at home with no agenda, it has dragged and the quiet stillness has started to seep in under my skin.
It's a strange feeling to go to bed at night realising you haven't spoken a single word all day. It happens to me often. I've had a few text messages from friends and family checking in but there's been no human contact, no physical energy in the room to stir with mine and remind me that I'm not alone.
This week I'm all over the place, both geographically and emotionally. It took me a week plus a few days to get from Camp Widow in Tampa, back here to Arizona. In that time, I hit highs and lows, some of them to be so expected that it is given a name "Camp crash".
Additionally, tomorrow would be my and my husband's 25th wedding anniversary. We used to calculate, as we drove the country in our last 4 years together, how many anniversaries we could realistically celebrate, given our ages when we married. It was a second marriage for both of us and believe me, we celebrated our alone time once the kids (4 between us) grew up and went out on their own. No empty nest for us! Sex whenever and wherever in the house we wanted; who has time for empty nest?Read more
Once again, I have no idea what to write about tonight. Im not feeling like myself right now. I have been sick with the worst cold on the planet for almost 2 weeks now. It started about 2 days before leaving for Tampa, Florida, for Camp Widow. Being at camp and sharing a room with 3 other people and giving my comedic presentation and talking, talking, talking all week long, only made things worse. Now, Im back home, and I cant get through a sentence without coughing like a maniac. Im also absolutely exhausted. Camp was incredible, like it always is. But being sick while there kind of sucks. My energy was zapped and I felt like I was faking it all week long. I wanted so badly to hang out with people and go in the pool and the hot-tub and have drinks and stay up late with everyone else, but I was so tired and just not feeling good at all, that I opted out of most of those things. It took every ounce of energy in me to give my presentation, and as a comedian, Im a perfectionist, so I wasnt exactly happy with my results. Everyone will say they didnt notice or that it was still great, but I just felt "off."Read more
I just finished my first Camp Widow and I'm on my way back to Arizona to see our oldest son get married. As soon as Camp finished, I hopped in PinkMagic and headed north to the Panhandle and turned west. All of which is to say...I haven't even begun to filter through the experience of meeting so many beautiful people, men and women who are traveling this widowed road.
There is too much to write about, too many impressions, too much emotion, too much of pretty much everything and I need to focus on driving, so I am.Read more