"I want my old life back."
I've heard a lot of widowed people say that, as I have, and continue to, some days.
I miss a lot of little things about being married to Mike. It was a comfortable, familiar life, after nearly 14 years of marriage. I can still hear him shuffling across the tile floors, whistling. The refrigerator door opening and closing. The toilet flushing. His computer game blips coming from his room, or the strum of an ukulele from the porch. Maybe his truck pulling up outside after a run to the dump. The thwack of an arrow hitting his archery target outside.Read more
Seriously there are just not enough hours in the day. And then when I think about it, there aren’t enough days in the year, or years in a life.
There’s always so much to do…so much stuff to deal with, bills to be paid, shopping and work to do…I can’t remember being this busy when Mike was still alive, at least after we closed our school. Looking back I am so grateful we had what seemed like slow, happy days together before he left us, and after he’d retired. Maybe that’s not how it was; sometimes I panic that I can’t just quite remember how it was anymore. Am I starting to forget things about my previous life? Is this just how it’s going to be?Read more
I have been nestled inside the winter for months, it seems. It has been so cold and dark. Even today, at the end of April, spring struggles to gain a grip, the wind and rain overtaking its warm and promising breezes, painting the hilltops white, again, pouring pellets of icy hail onto the ground. This weekend, there are predictions of frost.
Each day, I walk past the newly budding lilacs on my way to the train station, and I kiss them, and tell them to be strong, and reach deep, and find warmth. I so hope the cold will not kill them before they flower.
I have sat inside an inner winter, too. Some days, I am able to look around, and revel in the rainbow coloured tulips and the deep blues and violets of the evening sky. But other days, I cannot reach deep enough to overcome the cold, and the world feels frozen, the wind biting at my fingertips.Read more
It is a glorious spring day on the northern coast of England, and I am seated on a bench overlooking the sea, in a village called Robin Hood's Bay. It is an ancient settlement, with remains found that date back 3000 years, and first mentioned by a topographer of Henry the VIII in 1536.
Yesterday I walked to this village from Whitby, where I am staying, this weekend, on the first part of my pilgrimage to visit the places Stan and I loved. Of all of them, the village of Whitby, and this northern coast, were his favourite. He often spoke of retiring here, where he said they had 'proper winters.'
I awakened last night, and reached for my husband in the dark, only to find that now familiar, empty space, instead. And I remembered how I would drape my leg over his, at night, and press my stomach against his back. Sometimes, he would stir, slightly, and tell me to take my leg off of him. He said my legs were too heavy. He referred to them as tree trunks. And I'd tell him that his legs were like twigs.Read more
An evening out with friends to listen to my new guy’s band on the water’s edge here in Kona.
Drinks, laughing, dancing. I catch myself: what am I doing here? I can’t believe how much my life has changed. I gaze out to the stars hanging over the ocean waves and mentally reach out to Mike, as I so often do. Are you out there, honey? Can you see me? I think how he would have gotten such a kick out of the lively and eccentric group of folks I find myself in the midst of. How he would be relieved I have found my smile again. How he would have loved swinging me around the dance floor. And how much he loved this place.
Ian and I never particularly did Valentines day. Although I *like* getting the gifts and stuff, I never felt it a necessity. It's a more than a bit over-commercialised to me, which is thankfully quite a protective view-point in my after.
But the day still holds memories. Some good. Some that trigger a sense of guilt.
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