Recently, a widowed person told me I am a “Bad Ass”. She said this in relation to what she views as my bravery and courage. I assure you, I do not view myself as particularly brave or courageous. I feel like an ordinary, if not slightly disorientated and haggard, middle aged woman. Sure, I know that I am capable of tough stuff. Mike's death has assured me of this; but, all this aside, I am just a normal woman who has been forced to navigate some big challenges in her lifetime.
If the past is a predictor of the future, then I know that I should be okay. In my life, I have managed to be successful in most of my endeavours because of my hard work and consistent effort. Even prior to being Mike's widow, I had to exercise my tenacity. I've lived long enough that I have field tested my fortitude on several occasions and the results have usually been favorable. I know I can adapt to the curveballs life throws me. Still, none of this qualifies me as a Bad Ass. Or does it?
I have witnessed the strength of the human spirit. I've stood in awe of ordinary people who have survived very difficult things because they simply must. These people were somehow able to shed their regular run of the mill "strongness" for something extraordinary. They adapted because their survival demanded it. These people traded ordinary for extraordinary because it was required of them. They cloaked themselves in superhuman strength because all human beings have a strong desire to live forward in spite of the awful things that can happen during the course of a lifetime.
Grief requires ordinary people like us to dig deep. And, when we are tired and think that we can not continue a moment longer, grief forces us to dig even deeper. Grief demands that we find our super power again and again and again. As widowed people, we flex our inner Bad Ass every day.
With time and hard, consistent work, grief does bear gifts for time served. Grief, like all things in life changes. The changes are not linear and they don’t come as quickly as we would like, but change does occur nonetheless.
This fourth year without Mike, my grief feels different. Now, my grief is well worn. It is softer and more “comfortable” if that is even possible. It still doesn’t quite fit right. But, I am wearing it just the same. I am learning to wear grief well; or, at least with more ease. With time, my grief fits better. Yours will too.
Rest assure, I never want to be entirely comfortable with grief. This is not where I want to settle. This is not where life is lived. It is a starting point at best. There is hope. Hope for a life that is not filled with sadness and desire only for days gone by. Others, who are further along than me in widowhood, have assured me that their grief has changed. I want to believe them, and I want this for myself too. But, early on, I did not know how this would ever become true. I worried my grief would be exceptional. It was not. And, your grief won’t be either.
Thanksgiving was a beast in itself but Christmas can be the kraken in unicorn’s clothing. I love parts of Christmas like the lights, smell of Christmas trees and giving others gifts. It’s the other parts - families gathering, couples under the mistletoe, Hallmark everything that always ends up like a fairytale…Read more
A week ago I was given an opportunity at a big event to share with my essential oil community about inclusion, community and growth. It amazes me what has come into my life in the past year. Part of my oil journey is the loss of Tin. I share about him in every speech I give. I share about Soaring Spirits and I share about the widowed Facebook support group, A Widow’s Valor, that gives those in the Young Living oily community a place to be surrounded by other oilers. Talking about my loss isn’t easier, it’s just different. I’ll always be a work in progress and, as I practice reflection and present time, I can pull myself from the tough days to look at the big picture of my journey and rebuilding. When I stop and take time to look at my journey I can see that I have accomplished something amazing – I survived and now I’m beginning to thrive.Read more
Yesterday Mike and I booked the first big part of our honeymoon for next summer - a beautiful cabin set in between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. It's exciting for sure, but also, terrifying...
Why does something this simple have to be so scary for me? I spent entirely too much time online checking reviews and double checking other options and stretching everything out that I could last night. Instead of just finding a place, booking it, and moving on. As time stretched on, Mike grew mildly frustrated (understandably!) and just wanted me to book the thing. Sometimes, I really need his push. Sometimes, the thought of committing to a plan that is over 6 months away is so so hard. Sometimes, all I can think about is “But what if you die before then?”.
Travel is always a specifically hard one for me, because Drew was halfway across the country when he died. And what’s worse, is that I had plane tickets fly from Dallas and see him three weeks after he arrived in Washington. He died a week before I was supposed to go up. Ever since then, I’ve had a hard time with actually committing to big travel expenses like plane tickets and hotel bookings. That part of me that was so traumatized by his sudden death is always in the background thinking “but what IF Sarah… what IF…”Read more
Last year I could barely walk through the grocery store during the holidays. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite and the thought of even buying ingredients was too much. This year, I told myself that it wasn’t right to stop celebrating. Tin wouldn’t want that at all. So I took a deep breath, swallowed what felt like a rock in my throat and grabbed a turkey. My eyes welled up and I told myself to go checkout. I had to go to the store three separate times to buy what I needed because I would hit a breaking point each time. Seasonings, cider, wine, apple pie, butter – God did Tin love butter. Those tears started in the dairy aisle and I had to go check out.Read more
I often think about life with Mike. I want the life and love he shared with me back. A part of me will always want to slip back into that wonderful life with him. I know that this is not possible, but I do not know how to stop myself from wishing for my old life to return to me. I know that none of these desires are realistic. And, I know that I can’t live in my reverie where Mike still exists. I know all of this, so why can't I stop myself from travelling to our past in my mind. Why can't I stop imagining a future that will never be?
I have spent three years in limbo. I am not present in my own life. Most days, I do not actively engage in my life because I am lost in some place that exists beyond time and space. I feel sad for my children. When Mike died, they lost the Mom they had grown accustom to. I wonder if I can get my act together before they grow up. Raising them is my responsibility and I don't take it lightly. I have to be present for my kids; but, as a widow, I have not found a way to successfully do this. Death robbed Mike from me and it unfairly took my children's mother from them too.
I wish I could snap my fingers and neatly compose myself. I wish I could rearrange my grief so that my mind would remain focussed rather than filled with frazzled thoughts and scattered ideas. I wish this life without Mike was easier. As a widow, I wish so many things I've lost count. Mostly, I spend my time wishing that Mike was still alive sharing his life with me. I wish he was still here having a wonderful life with us.
This was my second birthday since Tin passed. Last year I was the big 4-0 and I wasn’t ever expecting to be a widow at that age. One year later and another candle on the cake doesn’t add nearly enough light to illuminate this shadowy part of the year.Read more
Holidays are hard for me now since Tin and my father are gone. They passed away 10 months apart and it is very clear that so much has gone on that I can’t process some situations better than I thought I would. Round 2 of the holidays coming and I’m worse than last year. I guess it makes sense. That whole first year is a blur trying to manage what was going on inside with what had to go on outside and nothing meeting in the middle. I swear it was just the start of the summer and now Halloween has passed and I feel the heavy.Read more
Two weeks traveling abroad in the Brazilian Amazon! How amazing! So exciting! I have never traveled out of the country besides Cancun, Mexico so this was a huge step outside my comfort zone. I haven’t had an actual vacation since Tin passed so this would be a break for me to soak up the experience and take the much earned downtime to recharge.Read more