This will be my fourth Christmas without him. We only shared one Christmas together so, why does Mike's absence weigh so heavy on me when I have lived most of my life without him? Well, there are many reasons outliving Mike is hard; there are just too many things to mention. And, really, it is the intangible things that are hardest to live without. What is really comes down to is that I love him deeply; and, living without the person you are so in love with is awfully difficult.
Simply put, I miss Mike and I want him back. I want to finish living the life we thought we'd share together. And, I know full well that I can't have this. Sunday, I stood above his grave. Physically, I saw the markers of his deadness. My hands touched his headstone. My eyes read his name carved into the stone. My lips kissed the cold stone. As I stood to leave, I whispered I love you to my dead fiance. He didn't answer back because he couldn't. I get it. I know that Mike is gone from here. Still, despite what I understand, I continuously think about living a life that does not and can not exist. This is the quandary of my widowhood.
I need to create these make believe thoughts less frequently. My mind needs more space for the here and now stuff. I need to remain grounded in the present, but I just don't know how to accomplish this. I am in my fourth year of widowhood and I still have not found a way to keep my mind tethered in the moment I am experiencing.
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
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
Sometimes I am surprised by moments that heal my in ways I never imagined on this journey of loss. I met Mike because I lost Drew. And I met his daughter Shelby because of that too. And because they lost a wife and mother. And here we are, this new little family sort of scrapped together from the pieces of past lives. There are more pieces too… from our childhood quilts as well. For me, the life when my mom was alive. The life when my dad was alive. All of the pieces are sewn together into this new life we’re sharing.
With so many old, tattered pieces, I think it’s easy to wonder if my parts of the quilt are strong enough. If my whole area of our shared quilt will just fall apart at any time. It’s easy for me to doubt my abilities to be a mom for example, because I lost my mom so young that I really feel like I am just flying blind. All I have to go off of is my dad’s parenting, and he wasn’t winning any parent-of-the-year awards, let me tell you!
Every so often though, there comes a moment when I really know, that I am not only rocking at living on as a widowed person - but that I am rocking this mom thing - even if all I have to go on is my own instincts and my dad’s poor parenting.
This past week was one of those moments for me. We had a big Halloween party for Shelby and all her friends. She’s in 7th grade now, and I’m trying to find ways to continue having big, amazing memories around Halloween with her now that she is getting older. Especially because I have heard so many stories from her about how much her mom loved Halloween. From the moment I met her, I knew that we needed to keep that Halloween spirit alive and big. In past years, that meant hand making amazing costumes together and going to a few fun Halloween events. Now that she is older though, I figured a party with her closest friends would be the way to go.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
We all know the dreaded dates. The anniversary of their death, birthdays, togetherness anniversaries, holidays but there’s one more on my list that adds another dark mark on my year - His diagnosis date.
Today is Sarah’s birthday. Not Megan’s, not Drew’s. It’s not Mother or Father’s day, or an anniversary. It’s a day where the focus is squarely on her, and not shared with those who are no longer here. Or, at least it’s not supposed to be.
The rub of it is that I’m a widower. Sarah’s a widow. Damn near every experience we have brings thoughts of Megan and/ or Drew in some way. It could be a significant, life-changing experience like becoming engaged, or some minor thing that I do on a random Tuesday that reminds Sarah of something similar that Drew did. Sarah even mentioning wanting to change the color of a wall for the 400th time always reminds me of Megan doing the same thing.
So, in a roundabout way, I tend to think of Megan quite a bit on Sarah’s birthday, and I’m sure she thinks of Drew on mine. They are both just as much a part of us as they were in life, albeit not actively participating and interacting, for obvious reasons.
It’s exactly the way it should be.Read more
I wish I could have sat down to write this morning and repeated my often-stated sentiment that I don’t have anything to write about...and that’s OK. I had hoped that today, of all days, is something that doesn’t affect me as much any more, because “time” and all. Even if I thought about Megan more today, it wouldn’t throw my day off or caused any heightened sense of grief.
But it isn’t true. Today would have been Megan and I’s 14th anniversary. I mean, it still IS our anniversary, but we’re not exactly getting a nice dinner and flowers. Nope...she gets to sit in a box in our dining room, and I get to go to work, with the rest of the world unaware that this day is any different than the rest.Read more
Another year, another birthday. Megan would be 38 tomorrow. Each time July 24 rolls around, it’s a slightly different experience for me. Sometimes, the build-up to that day is the difficult part. Other times, it has been acknowledged as “it is what it is” and the day passes without much fanfare.
This year, it’s a mixture of both.
While it is never swept under the rug, the theme that past few weeks has been a ridiculous amount of distraction. My work has been beyond what I would normally call “busy”. We’ve just returned from our trip to Texas. There has been some car trouble, and a lot of work around the house. More often than not, I’m just plain tired.
That doesn’t leave a lot of room to remember that Megan’s birthday falls in July. But I do anyway. I remember it at night, when I’m falling to sleep. I remember it on weekday mornings, when I’m up and preparing for work, but the rest of the house is quiet. My commute is yet another instance where I get a few free minutes to think, and in comes Megan.Read more
The Fourth of July - All things summer right? It’s cookouts, pool, family, sunscreen and fireworks. All the freedoms you get living in the good ole USA. It’s funny how the word freedom is used. By definition, freedom means you are not enslaved or forced to act or be a certain way. You are not trapped. Of course, for the USA freedom means all of those things to show our independence. Interesting, that word freedom, because it is purely based on one’s perception of the situation.Read more