We still haven’t been able to put Clayton to rest. His mother’s stroke has resulted in her having to move near relatives and figure out a new life. Until then, Clayton sits in a (beautiful) Urn in our apartment. At first it was unsettling, having to look at a container that holds the dust of the person you want to hold the most. You want to keep it and put them to rest all at the same time for, what feels like, competing selfish reasons but that is another layer of the loss.
I don’t have many friends in the small beach town where I live. When we moved here, my job took a lot of time and Clayton’s job had us with different days off. There wasn’t time to meet people before we lost time. Now that Clayton is gone, I have a lot of empty space and time. This past week I invited 41 people that I knew in the area to come over for wine and some social time. I set up my house and got all the fun drinks and food for a mellow social evening. The house was cleaned and I was ready to go but then Clayton caught my eye. His Urn is in the living room where everyone would be and everyone knows that he is here. I didn’t know what to do. Too urn or not to urn? That was an awful question and a terrible feeling. Do I keep Clayton’s Urn where it is because he was (and is) a huge part of my life or do I put his urn in the bedroom to keep things from being awkward? Either way I felt incredible guilt.Read more
Is loneliness the never-ending story of widowhood?
Does it end if we find another chance at Love?
Does the loneliness exist, even then
Because the loneliness is specific to that person, your person, who died?
Is there ever a moment again
When a widow’s heart feels that lightness of being,
Or is the heaviness, the ache, the sadness of that particular loneliness
A lifetime sentence in the so called new normal?
Because, no matter what I do, where I go, how I push, how I involve myself in life, in relationships with family and friends, no matter how much I join in, engage, power on,
That loneliness doesn’t leave my heart, my soul, or my body.
Counseling and therapy for anxiety and trauma…EMDR, bi-lateral brain stimulation, talk, tapping, retreats, meditation, new environments, connections with others…I’ve done it all, and I continue doing it all…
And…the loneliness that only intensifies as the years pass by.Read more
There are minutes, hours, days that seem to fly by while seconds seem to drag on forever. It has only and already been 4 months since Tin has passed - only and already.
For those that don’t lose their “person”, it is hard to explain that time’s guidelines begin to bend in ways we never knew. Good days go fast. Bad days go slow. Yet the next week reverses and bad days go fast and good days go slow. Either way I’m keeping busy but the one thing I can’t run from is the building feeling of being lonely. I’m filling my days but not with new things and social events…I have to do everything around the house and I’ve also added 2 other side jobs to cover the cost of being alone. I’m busy but when I look at my day:
Weekdays - Wake up, walk Roan, gym, work, walk Roan, check work stuff for job 2 and 3, bed, repeat.Read more
Since losing Tin, I look to each new week as a new horizon that will bring brighter days. This is my fourth post and I thought, maybe by now, my blog would have small sparks of settlement in the chaos. I guess it is good to hope but bad to assume. A very fine line that I often fail to recognize these days. I’ll keep the faith that those brighter days are to come but it is difficult with the unexpected challenges that continue to appear. I feel as though I have never heard of anyone else going through all of the milestone days associated with a loss along with the strange scenarios I have recently found myself cornered in. Yes cornered is a great description of how I feel and this week has been one of the most unmanageable yet.
Those who haven’t lost a partner can’t understand the extent of the loneliness. No one to wake up to. No one texting through the day to see how you are. No one to plan dinner with. No one to fold laundry with. No one in the room at the end of the night to wish you sweet dreams and provide a sense of safety through the night. Worst of all – No one to enjoy those special dates with. The lack of a person makes them almost unbearable.Read more
In July of 2011, my husband died, and I died too. Well, that version of me died.
About an hour after his death, after I had made the phone calls to immediate family and a few close friends – from a random bathroom inside the ER part of the hospital, sitting on the toilet after having just thrown up from shock – I sent my first Facebook status update about my husband being dead. I wrote it in words, so that everyone would know. I wrote about it in a brutally honest way. My post said “I don’t know what to do next.“
From there, Facebook posts became something of a comfort to me. My only way to reach out to lots of people all at once, and say how horrible this all was. I didn’t have a widowed community back then. I didn’t know what the hell that even was. I was 39 years old, and my world was gone.
Sometime around early 2012, my Facebook posts became a blog (ripthelifeiknew.com). People started saying I should write a book about the brutal realities of grief, the dark humors of it, and about my story in the aftermath. So at some point that year, I started writing and slowly shaping my book. I wanted to give him a legacy. I wanted to help people who are going through this. I wanted to share all the things that I learned the hard way while grieving – all the things nobody told me.Read more
Up until about age 30 or so, I was a fairly social creature. I made friends easily, whether it be through work, spending weekends in the woods with groups, or wrenching on cars. Through my twenties, not only did Megan and I make “couples” friends, but I had my own as well. Friends that Megan appreciated herself, but really, they were people that I hung around with.
Most of these friends were around our age and roughly the same stage in life. When Shelby was born, it wasn’t long before our closest friends were having their own children. All seemed in order in the world. Both of our thirtieth birthdays were spent with largely the same people at a local winery, having some drinks, laughing, talking about our children, cars, donkeys (long story), illness, and whatever other mundane subject we all shared interest in.
We would all attend football games together. Or go to the movies, festivals, car shows, or just “hang out”. Even when Megan would be admitted to the hospital, she had frequent visits from our friends. I would go fishing or hiking with my “buddies” whenever I had the chance, and Megan would do much the same with hers (well, not fishing or hiking, but you get the idea)
Seven years later, and that part of my life seems foreign to me.Read more
I'm finding it a bit lonely, this whole “being alone” thing. Back in my real life I often craved alone time. Just one hour of peace and quiet was like winning the lottery, because the last time I had such a thing was somewhere around 1992.
The last couple of decades have been filled with career and intermingled with babies, followed by toddlers, followed by teens. Several of those teen years were particularly difficult, even before Ben got sick, so it has been a long, long time since I experienced peace and quiet.
Now it seems that all the hours are quiet. Not much peace, just endless quiet.Read more
There have been a few instances over the past week or two where I've opened up to people and shared a grief-related feeling only to have them either change the subject or ignore me.
Approaching the 2 years and 4 month mark, I’m very familiar with this experience. As soon as that initial period of sympathy expires, whether it be a few weeks or a few months, the people around you start to have these awkward, uncomfortable reactions whenever we remind them that our loved one died and the bottom fell out of our world.
Some hate being reminded of their own mortality, many want to comfort us but struggle to know what to say (so instead, panic and run) and others maybe just don’t want to bring a downer to their day by thinking too much about the painful tragedy that we’re trying to navigate. Either way, it hurts a lot when you just want to be heard and have your feelings validated.
When I speak about my grief, just to be shut down, it feeds into the sense of isolation, like I shouldn't be bothering people and bumming them out with sad, death-related talk. It makes me want to withdraw and increases sensations of loneliness, like I’m been cast from common society as punishment for being a ‘Debbie Downer’.Read more
These are the facts I’ve accepted recently:
Life without Chuck is, if I’m honest about it, painful and traumatizing.Read more
This week, on an animal sanctuary in Southern Spain, I am surrounded by rock, and the nude, bare earth echoes the inner emptiness I feel. In England, all that green and growing doesn't match my insides. Here, this rock, this heat, this rugged blend of pine and desert wildflower, poking up from parched earth, speaks to my spirit. Here, amongst this rock, my heart feels at ease.
I awaken at early light and walk the dirt path to the pig run, and enter their space. Carmella comes to smell and nudge me with her snout, and I place my hand upon her coarse, bristled skin. I sit in the dirt and wait for her to realise that I will not hurt her, and, after a few moments, she lies down next to me. I stretch my legs around her so that I can rub her belly, and she rolls on her side so that I can get a better reach. She grunts her pleasure and closes her eyes. I breathe deep. I slow my breathing to match hers, in rhythm and depth, and I rub her until she's had enough, awakens from her brief slumber, and rises, moving on toward the back of the pen. Our encounter is a healing balm for us both.Read more