The poem says that April is the cruellest month, but I think it might be February. In England, February is filled with grey days and clouds. We search in vain for spots of sun on the horizon. We witness the lengthening moments of daylight and cling desperately to the vague promise of spring.
For widows, February brings Valentines Day, a holiday designed for couples. It slaps us in the face with the reminder that we are on our own. We try to ignore the messages and hearts all around us. We get through the day however we can. My grief group has decided to celebrate together, albeit virtually, by holding a Grief Cafe online. We'll check in with each other and remember the loves that we lost. We'll post pictures, have a laugh, and wish each other well. We'll linger in that safe place where we are understood.Read more
Another very difficult time of year for many of us widowed people.
Two years ago, Mike came in the door with a delighted grin on his face. He brought me a big box of chocolate from our wonderful local chocolatier, and a new garden hose I’d been wanting, in its own new gift bag he had purchased along with a beautiful card. He was immensely proud of himself that he had made me happy with these small gifts.
Three days later he was dead.Read more
Not sure what I want to write about tonight, but I will begin by telling you where I am. Lobby of Marriott hotel, Tampa, Florida. Attending and presenting my comedic performance for the 6th time at Camp Widow. All of the camp events officially begin in the morning, but Ive been here since yesterday afternoon, and have already reconnected with old friends and met a few new ones. Us widowed people find each other pretty easily. Just look for the nearest bar.Read more
No matter what else is happening on any given day or who I am with, Mike is never gone from my mind. I realize now, after 23 months, that he never will be. One never “gets over” the death of a beloved spouse. I think we just learn how to live with it. One way or another, we slog or float through our days, even though sometimes we don’t want to. And we are changed - some space deep within myself feels altered, warped perhaps, as a result of living through this experience and landing on the other side of the unimaginable. I will never be the same person again.Read more
This has been a difficult week. I have re-entered the work arena, on a 'phased return', as they call it, here in England, and, Tuesday, I had to go speak to someone from Occupational Health, to justify my time away, and my continuing to work part-time for a few more weeks. This meant I had to recount the story of the tragic day my husband died. And it meant that the images of that day, images I have tried to place in the background of my consciousness, were brought, full force, to the front of it.Read more
The other day, my cat Sammy was lying on the couch, when my other cat Autumn jumped up next to him. She looked at Sammy for a few seconds, and then started to slowly lick him and clean him all over his face and neck. This went on for awhile. Then, she sort of kissed his nose a bit, and slowly sat herself down right next to Sammy, leaning against him, and they both went to sleep. In the midst of this, I ran to grab my cell phone and find the video option so I could take video of this unbelievable sight. As I looked through my phone's video, catching only the last few seconds of this madness, I started to cry.Read more
Last weekend a friend who is dear to me and was dear to Mike since nearly the day we moved to Kona in 2001 had a terrible asthma attack. This young man was 11 when we met him. He is now 25, so we have seen him grow up into a young adult. He and his mom were devoted students of Mike’s for many years in martial arts, and since his father was not present in his life, they became like family very quickly. Mike’s death has just wrecked them both, I know, and it has been a long journey of grief for all of us, losing his powerful and reassuring presence in our lives.Read more
On this bleak, grey, England winter's day, I remember the comforting quiet of snow. Stan loved the snow. He would sit for hours, watching it. When we first began to talk to each other, he told me that he wanted to move to the Northeastern coast of England, near Whitby, where he said they had a 'proper winter'. Proper winter? I had moved to England from the west coast of Florida, just a year before, and the bits of snow I had encountered in London, that year, were quite enough, for me, thank you. But he wanted to see more of it.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.
Thursday, December 18th, today, is the 9 year anniversary of the day that Don proposed marriage to me underneath the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in NYC. (You are reading this on Friday, but I'm writing it and posting it on Thursday evening, and it is right now, as I write this, my proposal anniversary.) The first Christmas after he died, going within even blocks of that tree made me panic and gave me anxiety and awful, horrible pains. My stomach would go into knots and I would literally go in a different direction and walk detours just to avoid even seeing that tree by accident, rising in between the buildings that make up the NYC skyline. The second Christmas, I went back there way before I was ready, and had a pretty epic emotional breakdown while sitting under those lights. I sobbed until I couldn't sob any more, and then I sobbed a little bit more. Last year my grief therapist came with me to the tree, and we talked and remembered Don and I cried and it was very hard and very sad. This year, yesterday, one day before the actual anniversary, I was in the audience for the taping of The Meredith Viera Show, and afterwards, the plan was to meet Caitlin again by the tree so she could be beside me for whatever emotions I needed to get through.Read more