I'm sitting here in my parent's beautiful backyard on this kind of surprisingly balmy early fall evening in Virginia wondering what on earth I can say about what's going on in my life right now. How can I describe the agony of change and decision and helplessness while keeping private things private? How can I honestly tell my dear fellow widows and widowers the truth of what we've been dealing with while also maintaining the dignity of my father? How do I reveal to my beautiful community of friends in Hawaii that I may be leaving? How do I reconcile the pain of the thought of that move with the many, many signs that are appearing that my future may lay elsewhere?

My brother has been here helping for several weeks, but he has his own health and family issues to deal with, which are now also quite serious. So I flew in Tuesday morning after that grueling trip from Kona and fell right into it. My dad had a fall last month and it has snowballed, in a nutshell. He's in a care facility right now and we don't know if he will rally enough to bring him home again, and even if he does, extended care will most certainly be something we will need. Most of our hours are spent with him. As it should be.

Mom has been so strong throughout it all, but I can clearly see my presence and help is needed, both to support her and to relieve my brother at least for long enough for him to take care of his own issues. Meanwhile my boyfriend is, thankfully, caring for my house and dogs...both of us knowing the gavel is coming down on that literally in a matter of hours. I will be calling in to the final court hearing in Kona tomorrow. Then we will be starting to search for a place in Kona that will allow dogs because my house will be on its way to foreclosure, officially, and it's only a matter of months before we will be evicted. It has been hard on him, me being gone, but he knows I am doing what I must do, what I need to do, what I want to do, to be here for my parents and brother. But none of it is easy. We miss each other, and I miss my dogs. I traveled on a one-way ticket because I have no idea how long I will need to be here. What this means for the job I had just started I don't know. They generously gave me leave to help family, but...I just don't know.

What this means for my long term future I also just don't know yet either. I need to take responsibility for helping move the dogs, and probably what's left of my stuff, somewhere in Kona, but I will also be helping plan the next steps for my parents...and me too. It's becoming more and more clear that being close to them during this time is paramount. The pain of losing Mike and our life together will continuously resonate...and now, I will have to contend with the pain of losing another life, one I worked so hard to develop in the wake of his loss. And yet, I must consider that something good, something I was meant to discover, remains around the corner for me.

Right now it will just be timing, and logistics, paperwork, financials...all the hard stuff, aside from the hardest part, which is caring for my dad. He gave me such a wonderful life though, I would do nothing less for him, or my mom, who is the strongest woman I know.

I'm telling a lot. But this is what's happening. After my post last week, Michele here from Soaring Spirits contacted me and gently and generously acknowledged my predicament in terms of my continuing writing for Widow's Voice. This posting is not meant to be a hardship. And I am deeply grateful for that. My answer was I am so intimately and intricately interwoven with this community that giving this up now would just be felt as one more loss. And I feel very sincere in the thought that I need to finish off this chapter here in this public space...for myself, and for the community of people out there reading and perhaps finding some similarity or relatability for their own situation. I want to look back at my time here knowing I did the best I could do. My dad taught me that, among so many other things.

Transition. Since Mike died in February 2013 I can see now I've been transitioning. But slowly. Until now. Starting school, which is going amazingly by the way, feels like the most positive culmination of my regaining a sense of self confidence and purpose. And suddenly, when I had finally reached that point, all this.

Mike used to say there was no such thing as coincidence, only synchronicity. Well, the universe seems to be synchronizing things in a most interesting way.

My mom said about it all, well, you kind of just have to laugh. I mean what else can you do? When my year of the monkey began last February I wondered what changes it would bring, but I never anticipated all of this.

But if we can't find a way to laugh, or at least share the hard times together with love and compassion, we'd all just collapse under the weight of it all. At least that's what we're telling ourselves.

At the end of the day, we have each other. Throughout it all I consider myself incredibly blessed to have my family, my friends, my boyfriend...and all of you out there reading, my beautiful fellow members of this most terrible club. And somewhere out there, Mike. In my heart he is here, guiding me, giving me strength, purpose, and the wisdom of experience. I have walked over the fiery coals of grief and I know them well. I will survive.

Showing 4 reactions

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  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2016-10-22 14:32:04 -0700
    Hi Cathy…yes certainly a lot on my plate right now. One day at a time. I’m going to try to continue here as long as I can. Thank you so much.
  • Cathy
    commented 2016-10-20 21:21:02 -0700
    So very much on your plate, take one thing at a time. Sounds like you are right where you should be, with your parents. I so understand, having gone through the loss of both of my parents after my husband died. And likewise I understand, as I’m sure others do, too, that your posting weekly is not priority. Take care.
  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2016-10-20 18:12:30 -0700
    Oh Karin thank you, thank you for being a friend. I value your support so very much. Miss you too. Xoxo
  • Karin Pearson
    commented 2016-10-20 15:33:23 -0700
    How difficult this all is, but you will survive because you’ve already survived the most horrible thing you’ll ever have to, losing Mike. You are strong & smart & sensible & amazing & we’re all In your corner. Miss you. XOXO