To my beloved husband, Chuck D, as we approach the 6th anniversary of your memorial service, which we held 6 months out from your death…
I know I did everything as perfectly as I could in those few short weeks between finding the cancer, our hospice time, and your death.
I know this more than I know anything else in my life.
Doubt lingers in the corners of my mind and pops out in my most vulnerable moments, such as now. Such as everyday of living without you.
Just one doubt.
Was I at your side enough in our hospice time? Should I have moved into that hospice room with you and not moved until I had to? Did I err in going, every so often, back to our rented condo, to sleep…even though I never slept when I was there. Shadows of your impending death were ever on my mind. I knew I was a widow in waiting, no matter where I was. I didn’t need to hear a clock ticking away the time: my heart was more of a reminder than any clock.
I didn’t stay with you every night, and that thought has more power over me than I want it to.
There were many nights that I did, and I was there every day, but I wasn’t there every minute, even though I wanted to be. What I wanted was to lay down beside you and never move. Hold onto you for every breath. Breathe with you and for you. Take your place in that bed, with cancer attacking my body relentlessly.Read more
In all honesty, this week has been pretty good. I mean I have had my sad moments and the little things that remind me of Tin have shown up here and there. What I’m noticing though is that my reactions are changing. What used to immediately bring up tears and sorrow now brings up tears and a little smile sometimes a chuckle. I’ve noticed this week that I am talking more about Tin in regular conversations without feeling strangely disconnected from the room. Is it that I’m getting used to my new normal? Is this part of the process? Of course, I ask myself if this is a normal reaction 4 months after losing someone? Does this make sense because I had known last October to prepare for life without Tin? Then I tell myself that it’s ok to settle down and coast a little. I still will have to work through more firsts: My birthday (Never thought my 40th would have so much significance), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and the first anniversary of the day he passed….Read more
My mind takes me into weird places, since being widowed, and today I imagined filling out a questionnaire, titled What has grief taught you?
It would emphasize the importance of filling this out with no filter, thank you very much.
How long have you been widowed? How I’d pose the question: how long since your entire world exploded and evaporated?
It’s been 5 fucking insane, confusing, wandering around not knowing what the fuck I’m doing, years.
What was your initial experience of grief, on the moment of impact?
It felt like my world vaporized and evaporated around me. The ground liquified under me and the world went black around me. But maybe that’s just me.
What has grief and widowhood taught you?
It’s taught me how fucking hard life can be.
Has it made you stronger?
No. Excuse me…FUCK no.
Explain: Well, I was already strong. And I knew it. And I knew that I’d somehow keep standing, no matter what. That’s bullshit, thinking it made me stronger.
Has this experience made you kinder?
Again, fuck no. I was already fucking kind. To a fault. Because that’s the kind of person I’ve always been.
Has this experience made you take life less for granted?Read more
The other week I saw this meme on Instagram about dying and not wanting the person you’re with to be happy afterwards and about how they should get in the casket and die too. It was framed in a “funny” way and meant to be a joke but I didn’t find it funny at all. I felt defensive, like it was an attack on me and other widows who have fought so hard to find happiness again. I felt like I was being judged and that made me mad. Then I thought: That’s stupid to care about what others think and I don’t care. People who haven’t experienced that type of loss yet are very blissfully ignorant and very immature. People who liked that and tagged their partners (including people I follow and “friends”) are pretty much idiots and have no idea what it’s like. I almost pity them to have that outlook on life and the happiness of the person they apparently love should something happen to them. Which reality check: either you or your partner will end up in this position at some point unless you (very unlikely) have some kind of joint Notebook death.
The thought of others finding it funny made me think though. Was there a time I would have found this to be funny? I certainly couldn’t relate to the humour now but would I have before? Would Mike have related to it? Would I have been one of those people who “liked” it or tagged their partner? Was there truth in it? So much in such a silly, stupid meme.Read more
Where are they…
The ones we loved in life,
love still, in death?
Where do they go when they leave our sides?
Do they exist in a far away Universe,
Unseen and unseeable?
Carried only in memory,
That shows itself in the wind,
In clouds tinged with the colors of a sunrise or sunset?
Do they see us as we wish for them?
Do they hear our cries of anguish?
Our pleas and our sorrow?
Do they hear us whisper their names into the air we breathe deeply into our lungs?
Do they see us hug our arms tightly around ourselves…
Remembering their arms around us,
Their hearts beating the rhythm of life and love,
Into our ears laid upon their chests?
Do they know? Do they hear us? Do they know us…still?Read more
Recently, the cable through which my house receives both TV and internet had a major fault. It lasted 4 days.
...and I nearly lost my marbles.
Part of the reason was that I needed to log onto the work system to download the latest files for school, but part of the reason was that I have come to rely on the television to provide an inane, background distraction whenever my brain wandered in to places I'd rather it not revisit.
I lost my husband on February 17, 2013. Mike had a heart attack in his sleep; he was 59. I was about a month away from my 45th birthday, and we were a few months away from our 14th wedding anniversary. I found him that morning. It was the single most shocking and horrible thing that's ever happened to me. The past 439 days have been the longest, strangest trip I've ever taken. And it's not over yet. It will never be over.
Anyone remember that legendary warning from Woodstock not to eat the brown acid, which was supposedly giving people bad trips? A few months ago I was trying to explain to a friend how surreal my life, and the whole world in fact, seemed now that he was gone. It's as if I wake up each morning and take my daily dose of the bad brown LSD and then move on with my day, the colors and sounds swirling around me unrecognizable, the panic and paranoia clenching my throat, my heart racing.
When Michele first contacted me about joining this wonderful community here at Widow's Voice, I was deeply honored and grateful for the opportunity to share my story, and connect with others on this journey of healing. I immediately started writing some introductory paragraphs about myself. And then wrote them again. And rewrote them. Again. And again. And again.
After two and a half years of feeling this soul-changing, earth-shattering loss, I just realized something sort of huge. Well, I always knew it, but I just stopped and actually thought about it, and now I am able to put it into words. It is this: I grieve on behalf of my husband more than I grieve for my husband.
In just a couple weeks, I'm coming up on 3 years. That realization along with the hormones of pregnancy has really been a lethal - and emotional - combination. I found this old post from my blog that jumped out at me as something I've been thinking about lately and thought I would share. Maybe someone, somewhere out there might connect with this too.
I play this torturous game with myself pretty regularly, where I wonder what I would do if you came back today. I don't mean to play, my mind plays and my heart can't help but join. Every time I think about it, I feel my heart jolt, almost fooling myself into believing it could be possible. But the let down after still hurts every time.Read more