Wanderlust 2

Wanderlust take 2.

I need to see new things. 

And, also, I need to see the same things - somewhere else.

I need to stand on different street corners.

And, walk roads that lead to new

people and places.

I need to breathe the air - somewhere else.

Anywhere else.

I feel like I am holding my breath,

Living here in the outskirts of my old life.



I wrote this in August of 2018 and seven months later I continue to feel restless.  I still want to make changes in my life, and I remain at a standstill partly out of necessity and mostly because I am less sure of myself since Mike died. But, this is about to change...  

For the better part of the last two years and a few months, I have simply existed in suburbia.  I am not living.  I continue to breathe in the proximity of my old life, but it is suffocating me.  I go through the motions day to day, but I do not feel connected with the life I'm living.  And, this is a cruddy and unfulfilling way to be. 

As much as I try, I am not overly content with my life without Mike.  I am unsettled and underwhelmed.  And, I know that no one but me can change this.  So, I have decided that I need to follow my intuition.  I need to action something.  And, the exciting news is that I have.



Over the last two years, I have grown increasingly tired of my ineffective, roughshod attempts at reclaiming my life.  I desire change; but, until now, I did not have the confidence inside myself to bring change about.  The difference now, over two years into widowhood, is not that I am more courageous.  I'm not.  I am simply tired and I am out of f@cks for lack of a better way of putting it. 

I have finally accepted that only one of us is alive now and that person is me.  And, accepting this fact has placed the burden of living again squarely on my shoulders - where it belongs.  Recently, I have acknowledged that I can't just wait around and hope time will bring me back to life. I need to create my own joy.  I need to take responsibility for my own happiness.  

Now, it has been over two years and I am not longer in survival mode.  Simply surviving Mike's death isn't enough to satisfy me anymore; and, in truth, I am not sure it ever was.  Now, I want to do far more than survive - I want to LIVE again.  I want to thrive for myself, and for my children. And, thriving is going to involve changes that go beyond buying myself some new shoes and getting a manicure - even if my new nails are painted the perfect shade of rose gold which is currently the trend.  Seriously, I know that the changes I need go far beyond a simple polish change.  Simply put, I have a lot of work to do.

My dilemma is that I find it difficult to make decisions since Mike died.  I used to be confident and very self-assured; but, now change scares me in ways it didn't before.  Maybe this is because so much has changed in the last couple of years; and, now, I hesitate to make further changes in my already unrecognizable life.  Ugh.  However, despite my fears, I know that I have to action further changes. I have to move outside of my comfort zone.  I can not continue living the way I am because I am neither content, nor happy. I can't stay still forever because my life didn't end - that's really what this really comes down to.


Mike is not alive and nothing I do can change this.  So, what's left for me to do?  What can I do?  Well, for starters, I can't just be his widow. 


I have to allow myself to be the woman he loved.  

I need to let my life get louder and his memory get softer.

I need to reenter life. 


And, this summer I'm going to make some bold moves.  I am going to make memories for me.  I am going to travel to far away places I imagined going to with him.  And, yes, I will wish Mike was there with me, but I am going anyhow because I can.  I am going to live because I have been given this shot at a beautiful life.  I am going to start living, what remains of my life, the way he showed me.  I will live forward even though the future is nothing like the one I imagined. 



Since Mike died I feel like I exist in two worlds.  In one world, I  keep him "alive" in my thoughts.  I escape to this imaginary place throughout the day; and, concurrently, I exist in our physical world.  Yet, I am not fully present in either realm.  I have been existing somewhere between these two places for the better part of two years.  I am beyond tired.  Living in limbo is utterly exhausting and completely unfulfilling.  I am not authentically existing anywhere. I am just sort of lost between worlds - wandering between dimensions. It is very tedious. And, I will not and I can not continue to live like this because it is slowly killing me.

Even though I spend hours thinking about it, I don't really know how to genuinely reengage in life.   I've decided that I am going to stop thinking so much.  I will stop trying to "fix" myself.  I will no longer try to think and plan my way to a new life.  Full stop to all of this.  Thinking hasn't lead me out of this mess because it can't.  I have to just move forward into the unknown.  I need to begin to listen to my heartI need to allow my intuition to lead me.  And, my Soul says that a change of scenery will help. 

I need to separate myself geographically from where we created our life together.  I am not able to move forward where I am even though there are almost no physical traces of Mike left.  He is gone from here, but I still feel the weight of him everywhere.  I feel like I am being held hostage; I feel trapped inside a life that no longer exists.  I desperately need to break free. 

I need to wake up and see the sunlight streaming into a room that I entered for the first time, the night before.  I need to open the curtains to an unfamiliar view.  I need to order an Americano somewhere besides my local coffee shop.  I need to walk along paths that are precariously perched above another ocean.  I need to stop on this unfamiliar path and look out over the edge.  I need to breathe the moment in.  I need to stand there, and "be" present in my own life.  I need to learn to be enough - on my own.  I need to have the sunshine fall on me and warm my Soul - somewhere far away from here.  I need to hear the rain fall on the roof of a place with a name I've never heard.  I need to wander through a market that has signs written in a language that I can not read.  I need to enjoy lunch outside, at a charming bistro, in a country I've never been to.  I need to wander off the street, as the sun is setting, and get myself a table for one at a quaint restaurant.  I need to order myself a wonderful dinner.  I need to have someone I do not know interrupt my meal and share a good conversation with me as the light of the streetlamps glow off a cobblestone street.  A street I've never been on before.  A street I don't know the name of.  I need to  drink wine under the light of the moon somewhere far, far way.  This is what I need.  I need to leave everything that is familiar in order to stir life back into me.  I need to leave home because, without him, nowhere feels like home to me.  I need to wander the earth until I am comfortable again.  And, maybe the only way I can get comfortable is to leave the places that are intimate and well worn.   I know myself. I have a wanderlust heart and the only way for me to really move forward, without the man I love, is to leave the place where we fell in love. 

This summer I have decided that I am going to go to Europe to find myself.  I can't wait to meet the new me.  I think I will like her a lot.  I have pictured this reunion for a long time now.  At night time, under a sky full of stars,  I will go to the Eiffel tower.  I will stand perfectly still and I will wait.  And, after a moment, I will be greeted there by the woman I am becoming.  Under the moonlight, like long lost friends, she and I will embrace.  And, while she holds me she will tell me that she's been waiting for me all this time.


Godspeed to me,





Showing 7 reactions

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  • Bruce Bullock
    commented 2019-03-19 13:11:49 -0700
    Congratulations on your amazing story and courageous. Your comments sounded remarkably familiar. I spent over 2+ years in deep, deep grief, in a support group for over a year, read and have a huge collection of books/articles about grief, and shared many chats and hugs with others in the same club. Like you, I was going through the motions daily, but it felt like life was at a standstill. But while grief is truly ever lasting, after 2 years I became restless to make changes. Aftter talking to many, at some point we all seem to get to a fork in the road where you can remain in suspended animation or you can move on with your life. You said it beautifully and respectfully: "I can’t just be his widow. I need to let my life get louder and his memory get softer. " I spend another year tiptoeing back out into the rest of the world, relearning much along the way. Yes, I did a lot of wondering and I left a lot behind. Not so much location as you mention, but certainly the mental mindset and surroundings. I was completely open to the unfamiliar vs looking for replacement and the comfort of familiarity. But in the back of my mind, I rejected the concept of ever loving another again as deeply and my life. After living alone for several years I grew comfortable and happy with my new autonomy and independence. While I had a growing desire for meaningful companionship, I thought I could be complete living alone for the rest of my life sharing transient companionship with another independent person. This led to exploring a series of non-serious dating relationships for over a year. Then to my immense surprise, out of the blue, someone new came into my life that was new and fresh in every regard. That new relationship has grown for over a year. While I’ll always feel both love and grief for my wife, I can truly say that my new love may be even deeper and broader than any I’ve ever felt. I pass my story along to you in the hope that it will add to your confidence that we all have an infinite capacity for new love and that you will indeed find new comfort. Your intention is strong, so it won’t just be luck, it will happen.
  • Beth Ensign
    commented 2019-03-12 06:38:42 -0700
    Brava! Brava! I understand this completely! I, too, feel in a kind of limbo, and I, too, feel the wanderlust. My travels will begin this fall, I hope. But prior to getting in a plane and going far away, I am trying to take myself out of my familiar paths here in the place I have lived for 25 years. I was married for 30: half my lifetime. OUR life is over, yes, but it was also MY life. I don’t WANT to walk away from what we built together. But yet— I need to rediscover who I am and what I can be on my own. It’s daunting!

    As a dear widowed friend said to me: at two years people expect you to be okay, but you are NOT okay. But it WILL be okay.
  • indie
    commented 2019-03-08 20:47:03 -0800
    I have spent the majority of the past six years continually “trying” to live life. I have rehabbed six houses, three of them down to stud, sold two, made one into an eclectic home store I am about to open and taken in a good friend to help him reconstruct his life after trying suicide. I have traveled back to Hawaii (where we used to live) and lived in three states since his death. None of this has made a difference. It has been a major distraction and has kept me from doing the worst but life, as I think should be lived, still eludes me. I simply cannot find anyone or anything that truly gives me pleasure.
    I am so ready to depart. I am exhausted from “trying”. I never know when something will deliver me to my hole but I can hope that others find a way. Good luck Staci, I still think that some people can “get over” rather than just “get through” this test of the universe. You sound like you can be one of them.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-03-06 15:26:30 -0800
    Ron, None of this is easy. Answers are hard to come by. Our worlds imploded it is no wonder we “can’t see forward”. But, with time, commitment and hard work I think things will somehow come together… Best to you, ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-03-06 15:24:39 -0800
    Thank you Jessica. ~S.
  • Ron Marro
    commented 2019-03-05 12:44:41 -0800
    Staci I wish you the best of luck on your adventure. I am 14 months out from losing Sandi and I am completely stuck. Your words hit home and I wish I knew how to move on. I can not make a decision or move or think about what the future will bring. I have lost my everything and can’t see my way forward. I just go through the motions of the day just missing her hoping I can get up the next day. I am exhausted and sleep most of the day away. Thank you for sharing your plans. Wishing you the best.
  • Jessica Jessica
    commented 2019-03-04 14:38:51 -0800
    Woo! Best of luck on your travels. xx