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
There are times in life when we struggle,
or when the people in our life struggle,
or when you are both struggling because you pass the stress back and forth
like a virus,
because you are both hurting and you just want to help each other.
You just can't help much.
Not because you don't want to.
But because maybe you can't offer up
what that person needs,
or you haven't been through what they have,
or that person needs to go through some of this alone,
and they need to figure it out,
and it hurts to be witness to their pain and hurt,
but you know that it's what needs to happen,
for eventual healing to occur.
And it's hard.
But love is a verb,
and if you really love someone,
you stay beside them and you figure shit out.
And when it gets hard,
you just ask more questions and become more aware,
so that you don't miss anything important.
I can't say much more than these vague sentences,
but Love will triumph,
and we will make our way through this
latest of struggles.
There was a day last week where I had a really good day.
I woke up early and walked Tango before work. I was able to leave to get there early and there was not much traffic either. I had so much extra time in the morning that I was to finish my personal work for the course I’m taking before anything else. I made applesauce with the kids at school that day and it all went really well. They loved the process, it tasted great, and we had some great learning. Another teacher had extra time and covered my class to give me extra time to do some other work. After work, I went to my tutoring job and that also went really well and the girl I tutor was successful in what we were learning. I got home to a surprise that David had passed by my house between job sites that day. He left a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my kitchen table with a note. I then had time for a hike with Tango in warm weather with pretty, colourful fall leaves. Then I met up with one of my girlfriends at the gym and had a really good workout and talk with her too.
It was a really good day. I was feeling really good.
That’s when 2 things happen.
First, I wonder if it’s too good to be true and start to be extra cautious in anticipation for the “bad” thing that must be around the corner. Second, I feel slightly guilty that maybe I’m *too* happy.
I hate both of these reactions. They try to take away my happiness. I try to take away my own happiness. I self sabotage. I know logically that both are such unnecessary ways of thinking. It does not stop anything bad from happening. Usually, nothing bad happens anyways. And I didn’t do anything wrong that I should feel guilty over. The thinking just ruins my fun. I ruin my fun.Read more
My body felt September 11 approaching, even before my mind became aware of it.
This morning, September 11, I woke up and could feel the nerves edging along my skin. The feeling only intensified as I watched snippets of remembrances on TV.
Why, you might ask, would I put myself through watching something more when my heart was already hurting?
To bear witness, quite simply. It’s my tribute to those who died on that day, 17 years ago. If they could bear to go through what they went through, I can bear to watch it and honor them.
This day of remembrance is a day that hits so hard, personally. Nobody I know died that day, but Chuck and I were living in south Jersey, just a little over an hour away from NYC. He was working at McGuire AFB and, as I watched the news, it seemed as if the base might be another target. Nobody was allowed on or off the base and no phone calls, so I couldn’t reach him.
He finally walked in the door around midnight.
My sense of safety in the world, since Chuck died, is gone.Read more
Well I made it. I made it through the first wedding since Tin passed only two months ago and it was followed by the next day being the first Father’s Day without my father. There were times I couldn’t hold back the tears and times I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt like a stranded fish. How ironic to be a crying stranded fish that needs salt water to breathe but the water is blurring you vision instead of spilling over your gills. I made it through the night with the fun songs, the heartbreaking songs that meant joy to all the others in the room, the condolences from family that haven’t seen me since Tin passed and catching myself rubbing my own palm and realizing I was just hoping to feel Tin take my hand. It’s not just losing the person it’s losing all the plans you had with that person and watching other people be rewarded with what you have lost.
The plane ride home was going well until I fell asleep. Dreams of the plane crashing, my apartment being robbed while I was gone and “Oh my God is my dog safe?”. What would I do if Roan was gone? I need to get home and the panic sets in. I move forward and jolted awake startling the guy in the seat next to me realizing I was locked 10,000 ft. from the answers to cure my panic. Of course everything was fine and Roan was tail wag crazy but as I returned home so did the stomachaches and dark clouds I had been carrying before my trip. It was an unexpected return home to realize how lonely and depressed I was. Skip it and go to bed. Work in the morning.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
This year is the 10 year anniversary of Soaring Spirits International.
This Sunday is the official anniversary day of when Michele founded the non-profit.
July 13th weekend, I will be presenting once again, at Camp Widow San Diego.
July 13th will be the 7 year anniversary of my husband Don's sudden death.
July 13th, my book about his death and our life together and my life in the aftermath, will be officially released and available at the Camp Widow bookstore (hopefully.)
September 30th I am having my Book Launch Party in NYC, something I have wanted to do since this whole thing began. September 26th, I will be 47 years old, and no longer the same age of 46 that my husband was, when he left for work one morning and never came home.
We are in final editing this week, and the pressure is on. It is very important to me that this book be ready for Camp Widow, and that everything goes well in trying to upload it, add pictures, choose page sizes, shipping issues, money issues, on and on and on. I am not sleeping well, my stomach is in knots, and my skin is out of control with the dryness and blotchy patches and rashes that I always get on my arms, legs, and other weird places, when I’m stressed.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 dream of wandering”
That was the simple, unpolished statement written upon my paper heart at Camp Widow. Sarah and I were a large part of the message release there...constructing the large heart, cutting out all of the smaller ones, mounting it in the banquet area, and being the first two to place our torn dreams in front of the rest of the campers. I knew what was to be asked by Michele, well in advance, and so when the time came, I had my answer swiftly.
I enjoy “wandering”. I love finding new places, whether on the road, or trudging through knee-deep mud. Very often, I will pick a dot on the map, and head “that direction” in the most wandering way possible. For me, the journey is truly part of the adventure.
Last week I was anxious and annoyed (raging, actually) over the seemingly endless list of things I thought I could not do without Ben. At the time, the top of my list of stressors was the fact that I was headed off to Camp Widow where I would be attending a Saturday night Masquerade Ball, and I realized there was no one to zip up my dress. It sent me into a full blown panic.
Well, one week later and I’m here to tell you that I survived. Not only did I survive, but I thrived. Yes, I said it … I thrived. And I’ll let you in on a secret I have always known on some level but often refused to admit …
My Mother Was Right.Read more