I'm 5 years and 9 months into life without Chuck.
I don't think I'm supposed to call it that.
Life without Chuck, I mean.
I think I'm supposed to structure it, this life after him, in a more positive manner, according to society at large.
The one thing I've done really well since Chuck died is be real about this widowed life shit.
And it ain't sunshine and roses, no matter how I try to dress it up.
Which I don't try to do, honestly, because I don't have it in me to be fake about it, or plant that pretend smile on my face.
I refuse to show it as anything other than what it is.
A shit show.Read more
I wander quite frequently. It's mostly what I've done, and what I do, in this widowland.
For 5 years and counting now.
Physically and mentally...I wander.
Physically, in that I've spent these years since the death of my beloved husband wandering the country in my pink car, towing my equally pink T@b Teardrop trailer behind me.
Mentally, in that my mind is seldom where I am, physcially.
It's mostly in the past, honestly. Or totally daydreaming, a la' Walter Mitty.Read more
I was sick during the entire 12 days of Christmas. And counting. I lost last Tuesday, thinking it was still Monday, when it was actually Wednesday. Also, I thought last year was 2019 already.
I'm so out of it.
I could blame illness. Widows Fog. General lack of interest in Time itself. So many things.
What I choose to blame is that my creative brain is in process, and that kind of takes over.
Let's go with that.Read more
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.