I caught myself today. I caught myself leaving for work, locking the door and checking the handle – 7 times. I pulled and pushed on the handle to make sure it was definitely locked. Then I pushed on the door itself. “It’s locked”’ I said to myself. I walked down the hall to the stairs and paused. I felt sick to my stomach. I turned around and went back to check the door again…
I didn’t sleep well last night. My dreams were all over the place, in and out of new scenes mixed into others that seemed hauntingly familiar. People I knew in my life were all gone and all the new people I met were untrustworthy, up to something, lurking in the shadows. I ran around this new world struggling to find an anchor. Then I saw my dog Roan. He was running toward me and was knocked into the street and run over. I woke up screaming and in tears. I felt that everything was out of control and the fear grew stronger.Read more
Today, Tuesday, is an anniversary of sorts for me.
It isn’t an anniversary connected to Chuck, since it happened after he died.
And yet, it is entirely connected to him.
Because today is the day, 5 years ago, that I picked up my new Ford Escape from the garage, and the man, I’d taken it to after buying it from the dealer.
I took it directly from the dealer to a man named Anthony, who had his own garage.
He and I had spoken a week or so earlier, when I’d called him and told him that I was looking for someone to create a shade of pink for me and paint my car in the created color.
I shared with him the Love story that Chuck and I had for 24 years. I told him what Chuck said about me wearing pink after his death. He knew I’d need color around me. I told him about our Happily Homeless travels for our last 4 years together. I told him that I was staying on the road, alone, and I was terrified and devasted and didn’t know how to do it, but I was doing it.
The price he gave me was just too high for me, but I told him how very much I appreciated that he listened to me and we hung up.
Not half an hour later, Anthony called me up again and quoted me a lower price. He really wanted to create a color for me and paint my silver car.
The first shade of pink that he did was too dark, and I told him to lift the brown out, and add a creamy white, but that I didn’t need to see the second shade. Paint my car in the color you get and it will be the exact right shade.
A couple weeks later I went with my daughter to pick up my car. She cried and I cried when I saw it, and we cried more when Anthony handed the can to me, with the formula for the paint on it…and the name he’d named it.Read more
Another school related story today. So much seems to come up at work. One more week and I’m on holidays though so this might be the last one for now!
Our last unit in Math is on probability. The expectation for the grade ones is that they need to understand and identify scenarios that are certain, impossible, likely, and unlikely. Do you see where I’m going with this? Right from the start my mind is preoccupied with the likelihood of being widowed at 27. Unlikely. Yet it happened. Not impossible. But when I think of the word unlikely I don’t frame it in terms of things that might happen. I frame it in terms of things that probably won’t happen. And when I think of things that probably won’t happen then I pretty much stop thinking of them because, well, it probably won’t happen. That makes sense to me and apparently many others as well since when you look up “unlikely” in the (google) dictionary the synonyms that come up are: implausible, unrealistic, inconceivable, far-fetched and the list goes on. Unlikely events are simply dismissed because it is thought that they won’t happen. However, that also doesn’t sit well in my brain now. Because then where does that leave my thinking when something that is highly unlikely to happen, so unlikely that you don’t think of it, actually happens? Again, I know that the actual outcome can be different than predicting the probability but still, that’s not how I thought of it.
What I do think and feel is cheated. I feel like “unlikely” was actually supposed to mean close to impossible which it certainly does not. It never did mean that in the first place. It was just made up that way in my mind. It feels like unlikely meant almost impossible for me but maybe slightly more likely for someone else that I don’t know somewhere off in a distant place. It also does not mean that. It means exactly as it is presented - not likely to happen but it still could. I had just cut out the last part that it could happen.Read more
It is Thursday evening, and in the morning, around 7:30am, my boyfriend of almost one year, will be having surgery. It's not life-threatening surgery or anything, (hernia operation) but my "sudden death widow anxiety brain" is screaming at me otherwise. I have been thinking about all of the things that could go wrong, thinking about sudden death, thinking about all of it. He will probably and most likely be fine and okay and life will go on. But I am a widow of sudden death, and so my knowing that someone can be taken from you in an instant, when you least expect it, is impossible to un-know.
On top of that, I have the story of my own sudden death loss, but also all the many widowed friends I have met over the years, and all THEIR stories of minor surgeries gone wrong, freak accidents, doctors making mistakes, on and on and on. I will be driving him to the hospital in the morning, staying there by his side , waiting in the waiting room while he has the procedure, and getting him back home whenever they release him. He also gave me the numbers for all his family members and people close to him, for me to text and call and let them all know the updates. I am the "point person", and I will do it gladly, because I love him, and he is my person.Read more
So, after about 3 and a half years or so of writing and not writing and then writing again, and then the last 6 months or so of REALLY doing a TON of writing and not being able to look at computer screens anymore because my eyes hurt so bad - I am finally finished writing my book. It is FINISHED!!!!
I handed it over to my editor 2 days ago, and now he will edit and make suggestions on things like grammar, structure, spelling, and a little bit of content. And then it will be ready for uploading and publishing and that whole process by early June, so that it will be 100% OUT and available for purchase and shipping etc., in time for July 13th. That weekend is Camp Widow in San Diego. My great hope is that I will be there as a presenter, this time with my book on sale at the Camp Widow bookstore, for the first time. More importantly, July 13th will be the 7 year anniversary of Don's death, so it's really important to me to be able to honor and recognize that day, with this book finally being out there for the public. I hope like hell that it helps people; brings them comfort, hope, or a few moments of knowing someone else understands.Read more
I’m back in Kona after a whirlwind trip across two very large ponds. Being that it is 11 hours time difference between Hawaii and the UK, I am still suffering the lag, but it’s getting better. It was well worth it, both for time with my boyfriend’s family, and refreshing the spirit during a time of looming change in my reality. So now back to the grind.
And back to a cold, hard reality as well. Hearing about the shooting in Las Vegas chilled me to the bone. In years past, when Mike was alive, we used to come together during moments like that, during the other horror shows we as humans have lived through during the years of our marriage, from 9/11 to Sandy Hook. We would talk about what we really thought happened…we would try and translate the news into some language we could comprehend. Really for me, having his wisdom, his soothing presence, his protection perhaps, made me so much less fearful, both for myself, and the world.
Early this morning, I woke up to the bed being empty next to me. It's an ordinary Saturday, and I can hear Mike downstairs, tinkering around, packing up for a short backpacking trip. Eventually, I hear the stairs creak as he comes back up to the bedroom kiss me goodbye. These moments are always sensitive for me, since Drew left on a trip and never came back. But this isn't some 3 month long work trip like Drew's... Mike will be back tomorrow. Or will he? Because of course, now, I never really know that anymore.
All morning now, the thought of him not coming back has been with me. I’ve not cried or even been upset over it… it’s just…. There. Haunting me at low volume. As I make my morning coffee, I have to go through three cups before I can drink it. The first is one of my favorite mugs, with skulls on it. I decide not to drink from a skull cup while he is out. “If he dies and you drank out of a skull cup that day, it will feel like a creepy omen”. So I pour my joe into his favorite coffee cup, one with a woodland scene that says “The Good Life” on it. I decide that one makes for an equally bad omen - as I never use his favorite coffee cup, and it’d be horribly ironic if he died while I was drinking from the "Good Life” cup. I finally settle on a random cup with no irony apparent and am able to let it go for a moment.
There were half a dozen other situations just like this for the next hour. Putting on his hoodie - which I wear around the house almost daily... "What if he dies today and I am wearing his hoodie?!". The little surprise love note he tucked into my laptop, so that I would find it after he left "Oh my God, what if he dies today and this is the LAST LOVE NOTE I EVER GET?!" Worrying about ice on the roads, cars flipping, him slipping on ice with a heavy pack on his back in the woods alone... it goes on and on of course. Even writing these words, sends chillful thoughts of "What if he dies and THAT is what my post next week is about?!" It's scary. And tiring. All of this because of “the knowing”...
“Which do you want: the pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth?”- Judith LasaterRead more
So this is the first occasion of my newly assigned day.
A day of sun, as I see it, is a true blessing. For so many of us, worry, hardship, and the basic toll of life, can really bring us down. When the weekend is upon us, we tend to wonder how much we can get accomplished on Saturday, and how we want to spend a day of leisure on Sunday. For those shaking off the trauma of loss, a day of sun can feel quite foreign.
Last week, I fell.
Too many stressors on top of an already stressful life.
…and then the person who keeps work flowing my way resigned.
and I panicked.