So it's been 7 years since my beautiful husband left for work one morning, and never came home. Seven years since his shocking and sudden death. Seven years of living this life in the "after" of painful and life-changing loss. It's a long time, and it isn't. It's forever, and it's also ten seconds. In all of this time living with the death of my husband, I do get asked one question quite frequently. People often ask me if I feel guilty for being happy. Do I feel guilt when I experience joy or joyful moments? Do I feel guilty for falling in love again?
The answer is no.
Guilt has certainly been a big part of my grieving and healing process. I felt guilty on my first two birthdays after Don died, because he would never get to see another year or enjoy another birthday or another year older. I felt guilty on New Year's Eve for years, and I refused to do the countdown to midnight, because it felt like a countdown to more time without him on earth, and another year that he won't ever get to be part of. I felt guilty for being asleep in our bed, while my husband was collapsing on a hard floor in a Petsmart, and going into cardiac arrest. These are the types of things I felt guilt about, and the types of things I worked on for years with my grief counselor, and came to better terms with.
I have never felt guilty for feeling joy. I have never felt guilty for falling in love again. I have never felt guilty for laughing so hard my sides hurt, or for feeling euphoric about something incredibly awesome or awe-inspiring. Maybe it's because I know for a fact that the most important thing to my husband, was my joy and happiness, so I know that me being happy would give him incredible peace. Maybe it's because I so fiercely want to LIVE, because my husband does not have that choice, so I look for and cling to moments of euphoria wherever I can find them. Maybe it's because it took me FIVE years and a hell of a lot of processing and therapy, to get to a place where I was even able to find love again, so why spend one second feeling guilty about it? I don't know what the reason is, but I have never felt guilt for feelings of joy or love.
What I HAVE felt is this:Read more
I think we all feel “lost” in some way, and sometimes in all ways.
But, understand, feeling lost after the person you love dies doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself forever.
I know that outliving the person you love isn’t easy. In truth, it’s easily the hardest thing I’ve ever been forced to do.
I remember many nights I stood in front of the stove and unconsciously rocked myself, in an effort to become ‘present’, as I half-heartedly cooked dinner for my kids -all the while hoping I wouldn’t die from the aching in my Soul.
The good news is that I didn’t die from Mike’s death. However, from his death, I’ve learned that nothing in life is constant. When he died everything about my life changed - quite literally overnight. I remember feeling completely and utterly disorientated. The days following his death are a blur. I remember feeling like I was having an out of body experience. I stood for hours surveying the mess that was left of my life. All our hopes and dreams were shattered into a million pieces - scattered all around me. I wanted to “fix” my brokenness, but I didn’t know where to begin. I had no clue how to move forward; but, instinctively I knew I couldn’t stay still forever...
Death forces change.
And, these changes are usually unexpected and always unwelcomed - at least initially.
For most of us, accepting change is hard at the best of times; and while grieving change is especially challenging
- albeit unavoidable.
In the early days, grief suspends you in a type of paralysis where your mind becomes frozen; and, all decisions, both big and small, feel overwhelming. I think this happens because death shatters everything we believe about the assumptive world; and, it takes a significant amount of time for the mind to recover from this.
However, I assure you, with time, and hard work you can and will steady yourself. And, once you reestablish your bearings it is possible to slowly regain your sense of self; and, with that, your self confidence...
John turns 4 tomorrow.
The lead-up to his birthday has usually marked the beginning of my 4 month long death-march, as the surgery that triggered Ian's complications and eventual death occurred just 11 days after John's first birthday (and coincidently, John's original due date, so 22nd February is a really solid date in my memory).
The first couple of years, the surgery date has been very significant, and was completely unexpected the first year.
This week has been...
After last weeks post, I head on into my week including attending a combined meeting of two chapters of a lobby/advocacy group that I've belonged to for nearly 20 years.
Over this period, there have been the various internal issues that arise from time to time in such organisations, and those currently around and the resulting pressure were released at this meeting. Unfortunately the release was aimed squarely at me, through a personal attack by a member of the other chapter, in a public meeting.
I've recently been on the search for a new home.
It's not a long distance from my current casa, but in an area I love and come alive in.
During many of the showings of the houses I've found enticing, I've been bombarded with one question over and over from my brokers (aka parents).
As we entered each place and I'd point out something I loved, they would rebutt with....
..... Part 2.
I arrived in NYC today ....... for the first time since taking my youngest child to college.
This was the day I've been waiting for ...... for about a year now. It didn't totally look like I saw it happening in my head a year ago. But that's because I have 2 of my daughters living here with me.
I did NOT see that happening.
It’s been a long time since I cried for three straight hours. I forgot how many rolls of toilet paper I can go through per hour. (Yes, I use toilet paper instead of Kleenex. TP is more efficient, less messy and much cheaper. When you are clocking nose blows at between 2 to 3 RPH – rolls per hour - cost matters.) I also forgot how bad the headaches can be.Read more
Lately I have been thinking a lot about where I have been, where I am going.. and how lucky I am.
I can’t help but think about my husband.
About how he didn't realize how lucky he was.
I know he had no idea how much he would be missing out on by choosing to leave this life.Read more
My life is much different from many of my loved ones.
I find myself traveling 1/3 of the year.
I happily sleep with two (furry) men each night I'm home.
No one gets on my back for the dishes sitting in the sink a bit too long or the dirty clothes on the floor.
I never really liked running. Never really saw the point. For exercise? Sure, but I’d much rather play a sport or go swimming or do just about anything other than feel the pounding of my flattened and worn-out feet, screaming for mercy against the hot and unforgiving pavement. Or feel my knees hurting and buckling and cracking with each breath, showing their severe weakness and obvious disapproval of this evil form of torture.Read more