Ever since that calendar started to read 2015 about 24 hours or so ago, I have been feeling a little bit down. I keep forgetting that New Years Eve and New Years Day make me incredibly sad. I don't know why I keep forgetting this, but I do. Each year since my husband's death, the sadness surrounding New Years always seems to come out of nowhere and surprise me. So here I am again. Sad. Alone. Down.Read more
A dear high school friend I had dinner with when I was back in my home town for Christmas told me something that resonated quite deeply. She was making the point after we started talking about what my reality has been like for me the past nearly two years after losing Mike, how my perspective has shifted so enormously, and that I find myself at a crossroads in terms of life decisions. She has a very high powered position with the government and explained that she often has her staff visualize and plan their workload by working backwards from the desired conclusion. Like, here is what the memo should say, so let's then tackle the details that will create that reality.Read more
Even while I'm engaged in various activities, my mind's eye, my heart's eye, is searching for something that will ring a bell of recognition within me. Something that will make my heart say oh, that's what I've known all along and didn't remember I knew! That something that will ease some of the devastating ache of my soul and heart and body. That something that will bring light back into my life, that will help me not only believe but help me know that Chuck is still with me. That he is around me in ways that are in no way as he was but in a way that may, that will, help me feel less alone and less without him.
I'm not a Christian. I believe in a Higher Power that was forged in AA but everything I ever believed in went up in flames the night Chuck died and since that time, any belief I have is intellectual more than something felt. My brain seems to know so much that does me no good at all because I can't connect to it emotionally. Emotionally, all I feel is the pain of grief or numbness. The missing-ness. If Chuck were here, he'd tell me to get out of my head. I don't know what action to take to implement that, is the thing.
How to get out of my head...Read more
As I write this we're full swing into the holidays and I've survived Christmas Day, Boxing Day and am about to head to my parent's house for a large lunch celebration with 20 or so members of extended family. I'm absolutely exhausted, but hanging in there.
I've heard many widowed people say that the second year can be harder than the first, because the shock has worn off and reality has set in. However for me, this Christmas has been slightly easier than last year. I guess it just goes to show that everyone's time line is different and you shouldn't try and measure your grief against anyone else's.
I did it. I survived, and sometimes even thrived, Christmas day.
It is now Christmas night, and I sit here in my parents dining room on my laptop writing this blog.
I am staying with them for 10 days over the holiday, in Massachusetts, away from my usual NYC apartment and life.
I love being here. I love my family. However ...
and there is ALWAYS a "however" with grief ....
sometimes it hurts being around my family. It hurts a lot.Read more
Somehow it ended up that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day all fell on Thursdays this year, my day to write. It is the season so I know it doesn't really matter what day we write or what, if any, religion we practice - holiday time in general is hard for us widowed folk, but it certainly rings very clearly that I'm posting on days that are meaningful to many of us.
It makes me search for something special or meaningful to write about, but there isn't really anything particularly insightful that comes to mind. I'm just surviving as best I can, this second year without Mike, this time around at my parent's house almost on the other side of the world from my little house in Hawaii. Here in Virginia the air is crisp and cold, memories from my childhood stir and wobble my brain, old dear friends are revisited, and my house, dogs, new guy and "normal" (for what is normal anymore?) day-to-day life are very, very far away.
On Tuesday, I am going away for four days on a Buddhist Retreat. I will spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day there. This is my first Christmas without Stan, and it seemed the best way for me to let the holiday pass, as much as possible, without notice.
I won’t be celebrating Christmas this year, but I have wrapped some simple gifts for the people who have held me up when I felt I would surely crumble. Stan’s friends and family have found their way through their own grief to reach out to me and remind me that I am in their thoughts and hearts. I hope my small token of appreciation will help them to know how important their generosity of time and presence has been to me.Read more
This morning I was watching the news and saw a feature about a young girl - 14 years old - who is working hard to achieve a very special Christmas goal. Her wish, is to put a wreath on every single grave at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery here in San Antonio, TX. To date, there are over 144,000 graves of fallen soldiers buried here. To say it is a big goal is an understatement. They have yet to reach that goal in a single year, but she is relentless. Partnered now with Wreaths Across America, she does 15 or 20 speaking engagements and fund raisers around the San Antonio, TX area in the fall to help raise money and bring in volunteers for this massive effort. The focus and resolve are nothing short of incredible to watch - particularly in someone so young.
I could not help but be completely inspired by the boldness and determination of her spirit. It allowed me to put my own pain aside for a moment and think about just how many ways on any given day there are to do something to remember or appreciate those who have died - whether as soldiers or otherwise.
I went to a Christmas party the other night. A year ago, there is no way I could, or would have been able to socialize like that. And I was going alone, as my guy works evenings. So I know I have made vast strides this past year. This time around I found myself really looking forward to it. I felt happy to have been invited; it felt nice that someone had thought of me and asked me to join in, as invitations from people Mike and I met here together have really dwindled since he died, other than a few dear exceptions. This hostess is a beautiful person I met this past year who lost her husband about six years ago. Well, re-met, actually, since after a couple of conversations we realized she had taken Mike’s last class session before he died. That happens a lot around here, running into people who remember him. Which is nice.Read more