Tonight is opening night of the theater show at Adelphi University that I have been directing and writing for the past month. I am unbelievably proud of this show, it is hilarious and even poignant in parts, and of course I am missing my husband like mad right now. I want him here for this. I want him to be standing there after the first show ends, and the second one, and the third and the fourth -with that proud and happy look on his face - that look that said: That's my wife, and she created this. I want to feel his arms wrap around me as I go out into the lobby area where people's friends and family wait to greet them after the show is done, and take the flowers in my hand that he got for me, and talk about the show all night long with him like we used to. I want to have my somebody, my person, waiting for me in that lobby like everybody else. I want all of that and more. Yes.Read more
Being here in the United States on my own this week has been a very enlightening experience. I have had moments of feeling vulnerable and isolated and also moments of incredible confidence, like I can take on the world. After my husband died it's been a struggle to adjust to being alone again. I know I can do things without him - I just don't want to. Travelling to America was at the top of the list of things we were excited to do together and it was a pretty big deal for me to book this trip without him, it was always going to be a tough one.
When I started making plans for this trip to Camp Widow I was initially going to be heading over with another widow from Australia and was really glad to have a buddy with me. To be honest, I don't think I'd have had the courage to book this holiday if I knew I'd be coming on my own. But about a month out my friend had to cancel due to some financial issues and for me it was too late to turn back.
I am just a couple short weeks away from the 3 year mark of my husband Don's sudden death. I feel like I can't even type that sentence without breathing differently. 3 years. Three. Years. I have no idea how it is even possible. I have no idea how those words could apply to me. I have no idea ....
July 13th will be the 3-year mark. On the first year death anniversary, I created "Pay it Forward for Don Shepherd Day", in which I asked everyone on planet earth to do something kind for someone else, tell me about it in writing, and take pictures if possible. Last year, I did it again, and there was even more of a response. Over 130 stories each year, all of which helped me immensely in getting through that day. This year, and every year, I will continue that same tradition, but Im also in the middle of writing my book, which will hopefully come out later this year. In the book, I will take my favorites of all of the stories from the past 3 years, and create a Top 10 List out of them to publish as a chapter.
I have so much now in my second chance. I'm forever scarred and forever missing someone I expected to be with until I died, but I get to live on for some reason and I'm doing it well. I've been lucky in some instances but in most, I've worked hard to be where I am now. I have a lot.
I'm in a healthy, loving relationship. I have a beautiful home, healthy pets, a new career field to explore while going back to school for art. I live in the best city EVER. Seriously, Portland seems like a fairytale more often than not. I'm healthy, my guy is healthy, I'm financially okay and I have the love and support of wonderful friends and family.
I'm finding that even still it's hard for me to accept the good things. My mind is rigged to search vigilantly for the disaster right around the corner. When will the next bad thing happen, not will the next bad thing happen is the question I ask the universe over and over. I wake up early in the morning with my mind on automatic pilot - listing things to worry about that haven't happened yet. To stop the thoughts and focus on the positive is uncomfortable because it means I will no longer be vigilant. It means that bad things could be coming and I'd have my back to them. Face them head on, says my subconscious. Be ready for them! Worrying is more uncomfortable, but my brain has its patterns and it likes those patterns, regardless of how awful they make me feel.
I was leaving the house yesterday when I realized, with amazement, that I wasn't filled with dread at leaving my cats and house unattended. After Dave died, I would leave the house and immediately my mind would fill with images of the house burning down in my absence, the cats unable to escape the fiery death trap.
In less than 3 weeks, it will have been 3 years since Dave died on a heart-breakingly beautiful June day. It has been the most terrifying, wrenching, altering event of my life so far and I will spend the rest of my life dealing with it to some extent.
I'm beginning to understand just how much we learn to carry our grief rather than get over it. It's not that it never fades in intensity. It does. It's just that it's not something I can finally set aside. It colors my every moment. It won't always be in the forefront of my mind. It won't always cripple me. It's impact on me is permanent though. Like scar tissue.
I'm not sure how I'll be able to handle my new partner getting sick, especially. I can imagine the fear being almost too much to bear.
I'm heading into the run of second anniversaries that begin in February and run for about 4 months - his surgery; the complications hitting and the roller-coaster of his illness; him dying. Something I'm acutely aware of.
In my journey, the big anniversary for me is the March "complications hitting" anniversary. That's the day from which my life was never going to be the same again. Ian's death itself changed the tone of "never going to be the same".
And right now, year three and beyond looks scarier than the first two.Read more
I used to love Corn Nuts. My husband Don hated Corn Nuts and used to make fun of me all the time for eating them."What is the attraction to these things?" he would say. "Its like eating plywood."
"Yes, but it's cheese-flavored plywood!", I would retort as I crunched close to his face to purposely annoy him. "Jesus, could they be any louder? I think that's the loudest food on earth." "You're the loudest food on earth".