A week ago I was given an opportunity at a big event to share with my essential oil community about inclusion, community and growth. It amazes me what has come into my life in the past year. Part of my oil journey is the loss of Tin. I share about him in every speech I give. I share about Soaring Spirits and I share about the widowed Facebook support group, A Widow’s Valor, that gives those in the Young Living oily community a place to be surrounded by other oilers. Talking about my loss isn’t easier, it’s just different. I’ll always be a work in progress and, as I practice reflection and present time, I can pull myself from the tough days to look at the big picture of my journey and rebuilding. When I stop and take time to look at my journey I can see that I have accomplished something amazing – I survived and now I’m beginning to thrive.Read more
This will be my fourth Christmas without him. We only shared one Christmas together so, why does Mike's absence weigh so heavy on me when I have lived most of my life without him? Well, there are many reasons outliving Mike is hard; there are just too many things to mention. And, really, it is the intangible things that are hardest to live without. What is really comes down to is that I love him deeply; and, living without the person you are so in love with is awfully difficult.
Simply put, I miss Mike and I want him back. I want to finish living the life we thought we'd share together. And, I know full well that I can't have this. Sunday, I stood above his grave. Physically, I saw the markers of his deadness. My hands touched his headstone. My eyes read his name carved into the stone. My lips kissed the cold stone. As I stood to leave, I whispered I love you to my dead fiance. He didn't answer back because he couldn't. I get it. I know that Mike is gone from here. Still, despite what I understand, I continuously think about living a life that does not and can not exist. This is the quandary of my widowhood.
I need to create these make believe thoughts less frequently. My mind needs more space for the here and now stuff. I need to remain grounded in the present, but I just don't know how to accomplish this. I am in my fourth year of widowhood and I still have not found a way to keep my mind tethered in the moment I am experiencing.
Last year I could barely walk through the grocery store during the holidays. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite and the thought of even buying ingredients was too much. This year, I told myself that it wasn’t right to stop celebrating. Tin wouldn’t want that at all. So I took a deep breath, swallowed what felt like a rock in my throat and grabbed a turkey. My eyes welled up and I told myself to go checkout. I had to go to the store three separate times to buy what I needed because I would hit a breaking point each time. Seasonings, cider, wine, apple pie, butter – God did Tin love butter. Those tears started in the dairy aisle and I had to go check out.Read more
I stand staring into the cupboard. My eyes see all the familiar coffee mugs lined up. Though they are inanimate objects, the mugs seem to be shamelessly shouting “pick me” from their distinguished spots on the shelf. *Sigh.
Which one should I select.
Which mug do I want to use?
This decision should not be this hard.
Except that it is.
This simple task is hard for me because every little thing becomes more challenging when you live with loss. Even picking a coffee cup can be momentarily overwhelming for me. And, this feels completely out of character for me because I used to be very decisive. I could multitask with ease. I coordinated a career and a household. But, now, I am standing here unsure about what coffee mug to pick from an assortment of mugs displayed on the shelves.
After staring at my choices, I reach for my well worn mug; and, then, at the last second, my hand instinctively grabs his mug. And, I know exactly why I did this. I did this in an effort to feel closer to him. I know that Mike’s lips touched the rim of this particular mug; and, if I use his mug, then maybe our lips can meet somewhere in the space that exist between where he is and where I am.
This was my second birthday since Tin passed. Last year I was the big 4-0 and I wasn’t ever expecting to be a widow at that age. One year later and another candle on the cake doesn’t add nearly enough light to illuminate this shadowy part of the year.Read more
Soon I will have been your Widow for three years.
Should I be good at widowing now? Should this feel "normal" to me now?
No one gave me a manual when you died.
So, I am going by feel.
I fumble forward on instinct.
I hate your death date. November 15th, 2016 - you took your last breath and I fought to catch mine.
You died on a Tuesday. For over a year, I hated Tuesdays. Then, after a while, I stopped raging against Tuesday; but, I continued to cringe on the 15th of every month. Now, nearly three years later, the 15th of the month doesn't sting the way it used to. I guess this is progress.
It has been almost three years since I last spoke to you. Three years since I have heard your voice. Three years since I kissed your lips. Three years since I held your hand. Three years since I felt your physical body next to mine. Three long years. And, as I am typing this, I see three roses from your funeral. These red roses are frozen in a frame, casually displayed in my living room. How ironic that these particular roses are on display in my "living" room. *Sigh...
What is a girl to do with any of this?Read more
Holidays are hard for me now since Tin and my father are gone. They passed away 10 months apart and it is very clear that so much has gone on that I can’t process some situations better than I thought I would. Round 2 of the holidays coming and I’m worse than last year. I guess it makes sense. That whole first year is a blur trying to manage what was going on inside with what had to go on outside and nothing meeting in the middle. I swear it was just the start of the summer and now Halloween has passed and I feel the heavy.Read more
We all know the dreaded dates. The anniversary of their death, birthdays, togetherness anniversaries, holidays but there’s one more on my list that adds another dark mark on my year - His diagnosis date.
The other week, we stopped by a field of sunflowers on our way home. This isn’t just any field of sunflowers… it is a memorial called Prayers from Maria. Each year for the past five years, this field has been planted with hundreds of sunflowers. Towards the end of every summer, they bloom into their full glory. I’ve seen this covered on the news each year since moving to Ohio, but this is the first time that I had set foot there in person.
So what is special about this place? It was started because of death, and because of love. Because of the death of a beautiful daughter to a family, who lost a battle with childhood cancer. What has unfolded now is a powerful place for so many to come to have a moment of quiet. What I didn’t realize before stepping through the field, is that there would be notes and prayers, written on cards they provide, tied gentle to the stalks of the flowers.
As we first entered the main path through the flowers, I was completely overwhelmed by all the messages. Many of them were messages to loved ones who have died. Not just children that died from cancer, but moms and dads and grandparents and friends and spouses. It was beautiful and terrible all at once. The further we walked, the more there were. Message after message. Row after row. So much loss. So much death. But also… so much love. So much deep, enduring, beautiful love.Read more
Mike and I are both widowed. Which means that there are two days every year that are very specific to our relationship. Two days every year that most couples don’t have, nor have they probably ever considered. These two days are extremely special, but hard. And each year as they approach, in June and in August, we’re not exactly sure what to do with them or how each other will be feeling. After all, these two days are in celebration of a beautiful beginning with someone else, not our beginning with each other.
These two days are hard, and complex, and beautiful. Usually, we go out to dinner on those two days together. Sometimes it’s very joyful and full of love and laughter. Other years, it’s hard. And no matter how great our meal is or our love for each other, nothing removes the sting of why we are there. Or why we are together in the first place. And we never know from year to year which way it will be.
Just last week was Mike’s anniversary with Megan. We went out to dinner to one of her favorite steak houses. And it was lovely and it was hard all at once. The kind of hard I’ve come to know well since loving someone that is widowed. The kind of hard that often times lies under the surface of things. As I sit across from him in the dimly lit restaurant, I can feel it pumping through his veins - entirely unbeknownst to anyone else in the room.Read more