Sometimes I am surprised by moments that heal my in ways I never imagined on this journey of loss. I met Mike because I lost Drew. And I met his daughter Shelby because of that too. And because they lost a wife and mother. And here we are, this new little family sort of scrapped together from the pieces of past lives. There are more pieces too… from our childhood quilts as well. For me, the life when my mom was alive. The life when my dad was alive. All of the pieces are sewn together into this new life we’re sharing.
With so many old, tattered pieces, I think it’s easy to wonder if my parts of the quilt are strong enough. If my whole area of our shared quilt will just fall apart at any time. It’s easy for me to doubt my abilities to be a mom for example, because I lost my mom so young that I really feel like I am just flying blind. All I have to go off of is my dad’s parenting, and he wasn’t winning any parent-of-the-year awards, let me tell you!
Every so often though, there comes a moment when I really know, that I am not only rocking at living on as a widowed person - but that I am rocking this mom thing - even if all I have to go on is my own instincts and my dad’s poor parenting.
This past week was one of those moments for me. We had a big Halloween party for Shelby and all her friends. She’s in 7th grade now, and I’m trying to find ways to continue having big, amazing memories around Halloween with her now that she is getting older. Especially because I have heard so many stories from her about how much her mom loved Halloween. From the moment I met her, I knew that we needed to keep that Halloween spirit alive and big. In past years, that meant hand making amazing costumes together and going to a few fun Halloween events. Now that she is older though, I figured a party with her closest friends would be the way to go.Read more
These past few weeks have been incredibly hard for me. I’ve been reliving what happened last year. It’s not that I welcome these thoughts, it’s that my brain keeps bringing them up. I remember the last lunch that we had as a family, just the day before my husband’s accident. I remember my daughter and I went to go have lunch with at his work. It bothered me that day that he didn’t like the color of my lipstick and made a joke out of it. Which seems so ridiculous now. It was a beautiful day though. We sat together in the courtyard and we had Asian cuisine. He held our baby girl and fed her, as we shared our last lunch. We joked and talked about our plans for that weekend. Life seemed so beautiful.
That evening, when we all got home, he made me our last dinner together. He made me shrimp with a quinoa salad. It was delicious! He read a book to our baby girl and put her down for the very last time. After our daughter was down for the night, we went outside to our backyard and enjoyed a nice glass of wine. That night he told me that he wished I could step into his shoes to know how much he loved me. He had said that in a serious manner, which was normally not my husband. Those words had so much depth and sincerity, and little did I know I would never hear those words again.Read more
I recently came back from taking my daughter to Disneyland. It was a bitter and sweet vacation. It was the first time we vacationed without my husband. It was very hard to not have his physical presence with us. I decided to take my daughter to Disneyland because that is something my husband and I had talked about. I am aware now, that you can’t wait years to complete something in life. Some people may have the time, but others don’t. Therefore I try to live in the now.
I shed many tears while I packed, struggled at the airport with a toddler, stroller, and luggage, and dealt with the rental car company. Oh, and yes, I had to carry all the luggage up a flight of stairs just to put the cherry on top. It didn’t feel like a vacation for me. I have the bruises and the soreness to prove it.Read more
My Dearest Alex,
Today marks 11 months of your passing, and it still feels like it happened yesterday. I miss you greatly my love, but I wanted to write this love letter to thank you for all that you gave me. So I want to start by saying thank you for loving me unconditionally every day of your life. From the moment we met, to the last words you said to me, I always felt just pure love from you. Thank you for that.
Thank you for always making me feel so special, from writing me little notes to celebrating all of my accomplishments. You made me feel beautiful, even when I didn’t feel my best. Thank you for all the times you brought me flowers, made me chicken soup when I was sick, and for picking out the best shows to watch.
I thank you for holding me up when I felt I couldn’t stand. Thank you for wiping my tears and holding me through all of the peaks and valleys we walked through in the years we were together. Thank you for all the wonderful dinners, and the special things you did for me. Thank you for bringing so much laughter into my life, and for helping see life more beautiful.
I enjoyed all of our conversations whether deep or not and all of the games we played. I miss our late-night snacks, just laying in bed, and watching reruns of Seinfeld. We didn’t get to watch them all like we said we would. But I will finish watching them all for you.Read more
Today I went to go see my doctor about an issue I am dealing with. While at the doctor’s office, they noticed my heart rate was 125 in resting mode. They checked me 20 minutes later, and it was still beating the same. My doctor told me that she will have to monitor my heart and determine what course of action she will take. This can include getting on heart medication at the age of 32. She said if this route is taken they would need to be very careful how they would slow my heart down since I suffer from low blood pressure.
As I walked out of the office and into my car, a scary reality set in. I wanted to call my husband and my father, to tell them the news and share how scared I was. But I couldn’t call them. They are not physically here anymore. They would normally offer a sense of protection and words of comfort in which I needed at that moment. So, I set in my car and cried. As I sat there, I saw my little girl through the rear mirror, just playing in her car seat not knowing how scared her mama was.Read more
It's been 6 years and 5 months since Chuck died.
I kind of feel like I need to put that identifier in so that anyone who reads this will have a gauge.
Except that those newly living this widowed life might look at the time since and then read this blog and shudder.
Or shrink back in dismay.
The confusion lasts that long?
And I don't mean to convey that.
It's all personal, right?
That's what we always hear, anyways.
So, apologies ahead of time to anyone who reads this and is discouraged...Read more
I felt my heart stop when your heart stopped beating
I felt the air in my lungs leave my body, when you took your last breath
I felt the world crumbling down on my chest, with every shock wave that went through yours
I was an empty vessel walking above ground, while yours lays down in the soil empty as well
I cried storms of sorrow, while rain poured down on your resting place
Lifeless is how I feel at times, lifeless is what you became
When you left this earth, part of me went with you
The part that stayed also stayed with a piece of you
She is all you in every wayRead more
My hands hurt from the day from carrying heaving boxes and fixing things around the house. Today, I had to build my little girl a toy box. I will say it took me some time, but I got it done correctly. My back hurts from all the lifting I did, in loading and unloading Costco groceries in 110-degree weather. I miss the days where I had my husband and he would just tell me to get in the car with our little girl. I have bruises on my body from carrying heavy things. Why don’t I just ask for help people might wonder? Well, it’s because everyone has their own life. This is the reality of being not only a single parent, but the only parent.
My husband used to fix everything at our house. He would even help me cook and clean at times. He would help me make decisions, as we shared a beautiful partnership in our marriage. I reminisce on those times, and I wish I can go back in time. But the reality of it is, that I can’t. Nothing will bring my husband back. So I just have to deal with the reality of things and push forward.Read more
In France, where I live, early September, with its “back to school and back to work” is known as “la rentrée”.
This week is “la rentrée”. Schools go back. Three-year olds begin pre-school, known here as “Maternelle”. Six-year olds begin primary/”Primaire”. Eleven-year olds begin secondary, known as “Collège”, and 15-year olds begin “Lycée”.
In our home, I used to say that the entire month of September was “la rentrée”. We might have three kids in three different schools. We often had a new au pair to onboard into our family’s way of living. We had a whole long list of activities including music, sport, theatre and English-language learning to schedule.
It somehow always fell to me to figure out how it would all work, and how many able-bodied adults over the age of 18 would be required to schlep the kids around. I always had an eye on whether or not the schedule would still work if there was only the au pair available, for example when Mike and/or I were working late or travelling – or both.Read more
These last few days have been a mad rush. I accompanied my "now youngest" daughter Megan, who is 18, to start university in the middle of the UK. We live in France, so it’s a bit of a schlep, and since we take a flight, there’s a limit to what we can carry. Furnishing her student digs, then, becomes a race against time and my credit card’s flexibility.
We had 1 ½ very full days together. The first was spent filling up trolley after trolley with duvet, duvet cover, pillows, cushions, sheets, towels, pots, pans, cutlery and crockery. And then another with food items ranging from bread, milk and butter to cumin, olive oil and sriracha sauce. To non-food items like toilet paper, washing up liquid and bin bags. Via some fresh produce of course. I have rarely done such big shops. Only when moving houses and countries.
It was hard, effort-wise. Physical effort from the schlepping, and emotional effort from the semi-conscious countdown to the moment we’d have to part, when I would head to the airport and home. We don’t have plans to see one another till Christmas.
I am not a very good parent for shopping drudgery. I have never much enjoyed it. Mike was better at it. Or he did it with a better smile on his face.Read more