As of today, my husband has been dead for 500 days. That just sounds so utterly ridiculous to me. 500 days. It might as well be an eternity. During those first few weeks, each day felt like a marathon. It was the greatest challenge to make it through every. single. day.
I'd lay in bed at night with a heart heavy and a broken spirit, exhausted from feeling every second of time that had passed without him here. The days were long and sad. And now there's been 500 of them.
Here, in my 17th month of missing him, the days are definitely easier. There is still great pain and sadness at his loss but - I guess like an athlete who's body becomes conditioned to their sport - I move through them easier.Read more
It is the week of Thanksgiving, and all around me there is the message to be grateful, to be thankful for what I have, and to count my blessings.
I am thankful for many things—my brothers and their families, who made sure I got to visit them, my cousins and aunts and uncle, who made special efforts to see me while I am here, my son and his girlfriend, who travelled from faraway places to support me in my visit.
I am thankful for Stan’s family and for the beautiful part of the world he gave to me. I am thankful for my spiritual community, and for Stan’s friends and neighbours, the loving people who have supported me in the aftermath of his death.Read more
Thanksgiving was easier this year. I think. It was certainly less terrifying than the first year. I still remember that first year, when we changed the tradition from being at my in-laws' house to Drew's aunt & uncle's house near Houston. His aunt did assigned seats… and I was sat next to the ONLY empty chair in the whole room. Which also happened to be at what I affectionately call the Widow table. Myself, his grandmother (widowed), his aunt (also widowed). Now I know it was accidental, but I had to laugh at the complete irony of the whole situation. Sometimes you have to laugh or you'll cry, am I right? I was paralyzed by the fear that I would cry during the prayer (which I did anyway, so fearing it was futile). It ended up being a fun table to be at in the end. We had plenty of dark laughter to go around, after all. Still, I remember wanting nothing more than to be alone and just erupt in tears for hours on end. The feeling was literally a pain in my heart. You all know that pain.Read more
The first Thanksgiving Mike and I spent together in 1999, we went out for Indian food. We thought it would be a lark to be totally untraditional, and we did that together for a few years until we moved to Hawaii. Once we got here we started hosting the holiday ourselves with various groups of family and friends over the years. I have a lot of fond memories of it all. But in truth, Mike and I together were never super big on any of the holiday kaboozle. We could take it or leave it…and some years, we did leave it, preferring instead to take it easy. Those were good years too.
Honestly I can’t believe another year has gone by. Today is my second Thanksgiving without him. If not for the hoo-hah surrounding the holiday season, on TV, in stores, I probably could just very well ignore the whole thing. Last year, I did. Like an ostrich with its head in the sand, as much as I could avoid it, I did not mark either Thanksgiving or Christmas really at all. I couldn’t bear any sort of special meal or event with that empty chair staring at me.
I am not sure where it came from.
I am not sure why.
I am not sure what actions or non-actions or grief-work or thoughts led to this way that I feel today.
This week. This moment. This now.
I am not sure of anything, but it happened.
I am back to loving Christmas.
Monday morning of this week, after 3 years and almost 4 months of living with the death of my husband, it happened. It was nothing overly-dramatic or huge in the way that it happened. I was just sitting there, in my room, when suddenly, I found myself thinking, out of absolutely nowhere: Maybe for Christmas this year it might be nice to have a stocking again and some presents. Maybe we can go to my brother's house and have fried dough and hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallow and each get scratch-off tickets with our breakfast like we used to. I'm kind of excited to go shopping for my family. Maybe Ill run up to the mall in New Hampshire after I get back to mom and dad's this year in Massachusetts for the holidays. Maybe I can sign up to do some Christmas caroling with a local group through Meetup.com or something.
Maybe, maybe, maybe .....Read more
Australian children have just come back from their 6-week summer holidays.
So have their teachers....
The first year after Greg died, I dreaded the Christmas holidays. All those long weeks of just me and the kids. NO trips away (every holiday doubles in price during the holidays as we all know). No will to do more than walk the tracks to the beach near our home and photograph things. ... and always the uncertainty of what work I could come back to.
I'm not sure that the second year was any better.
Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.
It's a new year and, with that, I'd like to rewind to the beginning years of Michael's death.
I dreaded a new year.
One in which he hadn't lived.
He hadn't existed.
A new year.
Bringing hopes and dreams for a year brighter than the last.
I remember the first new year after Greg died.
I did not want it to happen.
I hated the passage of time.
I did not want to welcome a year in which Greg had never lived.
Back in Ye Olden Days (ie - before we had children), we had a tradition of going up to a house near a lake just outside the city to celebrate the new year with our dearest friends.
The house was owned by my friend's parents and was used solely as a holiday house.
A party house.
A place where we would gather.
With plentiful food and booze and motorbikes and books .... and the boys would ride off into the hills and my girlfriends and I would chat and read and chat and drink and chat and play pool and chat and dance and welcome the boys home and light firecrackers and roman candles and generally yahoo the night away.
I don't have any resolutions.
I wish that I could say that's because Jim died 6 years ago.
But I didn't make resolutions before that.
I tried, for years ...... really.
But I found that most years, I failed at whatever it was.
Maybe I set the bar too high.
Most likely I set the bar too high.
But one year I just gave them up.
Tomorrow I move onto my second calendar year without Ian. Moving from 2012 to 2013, to a year that was no longer the year I lost him, I found difficult, but got through with a small group of friends.
Tonight I move one more digit further away from the 2012 in which he left us.
I realised this morning that I will no longer be able to say 'he died last year'. I'll have to say 'he died in 2012'. And I'm not sure how I feel about that additional distance - if it's a turning point or a mill stone.