Anniversaries are, in general, a prompt for looking back. They’re an annual reminder to be reminded of the past. While oftentimes, an anniversary is also a milestone, it still remains that, simply put, an anniversary measures the passage of time.
They don’t really MEAN anything to widows. Our person is neither more, nor less dead on their death anniversary than they are on any other day, but damned if we aren’t reminded of the fact that they ARE dead a whole hell of a lot more.
Interestingly, other dates tend to morph into this reminder as well. Shelby’s upcoming birthday? I’m always reminded of the fact Megan isn’t there to see her reach twelve years old. Halloween? Megan loved halloween...she would enjoy being here. The anniversary of the date I was discharged? Oh wow, now I remember how I met Megan a few months after that.
That’s the thing, it’s like I can’t have an anniversary or holiday anymore without feeling the pressing need to remember Megan and either A) remember how she was on that day, or B) point out the fact that she’s not there.
But today’s anniversary? It’s different.Read more
Sometimes, being incredibly, almost comically busy can be a blessing in disguise. Although it’s a short work week for us here in the US, with Thanksgiving being this Thursday, I arrived to an unexpectedly busy office yesterday morning. It was a madhouse for the entire day, and even as I drove home, I was receiving phone calls from co-workers, asking for assistance with their IT needs. I spent at least half an hour hunched over in our “office” after getting home, online, and on the phone.
I didn’t get lunch yesterday. I was unable to even break away for 5 minutes to grab a cup of coffee. I spent almost the entirety of the day away from my desk, with the fleeting moments that I was able to sit down on the phone.
Password resets, email problems, printer outages, accounting programs mysteriously losing information, our president forgetting his laptop at home, broken cell phones, misbehaving monitors, and a bevy of other issues all seemed to occur at once.Read more
I have lived without him now for two years.
I am not entirely sure what to do with this. There is nothing that needs to be done - I know. There was no special fanfare that marked his two year death day. I observed the day subtly and quietly - on my own. Not surprisingly, no one gave me a medal for surviving two years of widowhood. There was no one dripping praise on me for "dutifully" being Mike's widow for 24 months. There was just his deadness looming over the day like it does every day.
Still, two years is a significant amount of time. I felt something, but I am not sure what. Marking year two was less significant to me than completing year one of widowhood. November 15, 2018 marked two years; and, next year it will be three, then the year after it will be four years, and then five years, then shortly after it will be a decade. I realize that the awfulness of this date will arrive every year for the rest of my life. And, really what does this mean? Does this date even matter in the big picture? It doesn't. It is not relevant. His death date is never at date I will "celebrate" because it was the worst day of my life.
Now, after two years, the feeling of Mike being absent, is more familiar than his presence. The life I am living is a wildly altered version of my former life. And, my new life does not fit right yet. Maybe it never will. It is uncomfortable.
I exist in the shadows of our former life and I am not content here. I am restless where I am. But, I do not know how to fix this. In suburbia, without a spouse, you do not fit in with the white picket fence crowd. I am forced to exist in an awkward type of limbo. As a middle aged widow, my heart beats out of time and my breath is laboured because I am completely exasperated by the lack lustre feeling inside me. I continually feel underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the same time. Something has to change...Read more
So, after about 3 and a half years or so of writing and not writing and then writing again, and then the last 6 months or so of REALLY doing a TON of writing and not being able to look at computer screens anymore because my eyes hurt so bad - I am finally finished writing my book. It is FINISHED!!!!
I handed it over to my editor 2 days ago, and now he will edit and make suggestions on things like grammar, structure, spelling, and a little bit of content. And then it will be ready for uploading and publishing and that whole process by early June, so that it will be 100% OUT and available for purchase and shipping etc., in time for July 13th. That weekend is Camp Widow in San Diego. My great hope is that I will be there as a presenter, this time with my book on sale at the Camp Widow bookstore, for the first time. More importantly, July 13th will be the 7 year anniversary of Don's death, so it's really important to me to be able to honor and recognize that day, with this book finally being out there for the public. I hope like hell that it helps people; brings them comfort, hope, or a few moments of knowing someone else understands.Read more
I won't lie, I've cried quite a lot the past few days. It may just be that time of the month making me extra emotional… but it’s also a lot more. It will be my anniversary in a few days… eight years ago next week is when I went on my first date with Drew. The following week, just seven days later, will be the 5th anniversary of his death.
It’s hard to imagine he has been gone 5 years, but surprisingly, this fact isn’t the one getting to me. Perhaps because I spent the first few months of this year already processing the “5 year mark” being here, I almost feel as if that has already passed. The one that is getting me though, is the other milestone.
We would have been together for 8 years now. Instead, we only got three. THREE. And I know, no time is ever enough. Not three, or ten, or fifty. But I do feel like there is a specific kind of heartbreak for young couples that had so very much unfinished life to live. We hadn’t even moved in together yet, much less gotten married or started a family. And so much of that was slated to unfold in that very year when he died. So much was already in the plans to be happening. It will haunt me forever, the unfinished stuff, I know that. And I know it’s normal for it to be worse as I get closer to this day. It just sucks I guess, there’s not much else to say there.Read more
Last weekend, I climbed a mountain with my sangha friends to honour my husband and to raise money for a fund set up in his name. I came home from that mountain imbued with a new courage. My hike up that trail, under the most adverse conditions, has helped me to let go of the fears I have had around conquering other obstacles in my life.
I have been afraid to let go of my beloved husband. I will never let go of his memory, or the love I have for him. Those things will always remain. I think of him every day, in every moment, and his presence lingers in this house and this village and these hills. His love and generosity brought me to the colourful world of Northern England, a place I am happy to call home, and I am so grateful that knowing him brought such a richness to my life.
But I have needed to make room in my mind and heart for who I am to be, and to make this home my own. I have needed to put away some of his things to find the parts of me that have been hidden. I have needed to make space, to clear, to cleanse, to let go.Read more
Tomorrow, the day after this posting, marks the first anniversary of my beloved husband’s death. I can hardly believe it is true. One year.
It feels like yesterday. It feels like a lifetime ago.
So much has changed since he died. I have done many things, in spite of my crushing grief. I have visited my home neighbourhood in Indiana, and sat with pigs and donkeys on an animal sanctuary in Spain. I have travelled to Whitby in Yorkshire and to Ireland and to Snowdonia in Wales. I have spent days and weeks in meditation, study, and reflection with my sangha teachers and friends. I have helped form a grief support group with a widowed friend in Sheffield. I have written for this blog.
And some days, I have not been able to pull myself up from the grief. I have stayed on the sofa with the curtains closed. I have slept for hours throughout the day and into the night. I have had periods of insomnia where I could not sleep more than an hour or two at a time.
Such has been the landscape of my grief. Activity and exhaustion. Periods of joy and hope followed by deep sadness. Despair and loneliness and friendship and gratitude and love.Read more
Today is the first day of June, and eight days from the first anniversary of my beloved husband’s sudden death. While last year, at this time, England was sweltering under a heat wave, the temperature has barely climbed above 55F (13C) this spring. I check the weather forecast obsessively, grasping for some sign of a sliver of warmth. I want to lie in a field of grass and let the sun shed light on the dark and frozen places inside me. I want to warm the parts that are numb.
It’s been almost a year since he was here with me, and sometimes that feels so long ago. I don’t want to lose the memories I have. I don’t want them to fade with the passage of time. But lately, I have felt him slipping from my grasp.Read more
It is the middle of May, now, and we are moving toward the anniversary of your death. Sunday, May 24th, is the day the police came to tell us they had found your son, dead, in his flat. I remember that moment as if it happened yesterday. It was a Saturday afternoon, and we had not long returned from our weekly shop. We were relaxing on the sofa, and watching a silly show. You put the show on pause to answer the doorbell. Our doorbell was set to the melody of "It's a Small World," an apt tune, for us.
Part of me cannot believe it has really been two years since you left us. The other part of me looks back at all the changes in my life since then…and knows. Yes. Two years. It is real.Read more