Friday, November 29, 2013

Turning the Corner

So, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and I write here on this blog each and every Friday. Except that I don't. In actuality, in order for the blog to go live on Friday, midnight Pacific time, that means my writing deadline is 3 am on the East Coast, the night before Friday morning. Last night. Now you know all the ins- and -outs of the widowed publishing blog world. Riveting, isn't it?

Believe it or not, there is a reason I'm telling you all of this, and it's not to bore you into a deep, deep sleep. I'm telling you this fascinating tale, because it's now 9:30am east coast time on Friday morning, and here I sit, post-Thanksgiving day, furiously typing this piece and hoping that Soaring Spirits and Michele don't finally realize how unorganized and forgetful I really am, and kick me out of this exclusive widowed writing club that I came into kicking and screaming in the first place. Bad Widow! 

Here's the thing. This is not the first time I have simply forgotten to be a responsible, good widow and write my weekly assigned Widow's Voice blog piece. The first time that I forgot, it was because I was so stressed out with my new "after" life, and I had just been informed, literally, that night, by my roommate that I just moved in with only 6 months earlier after making the heartwrenching decision to leave the apartment my husband and I shared for 7 years, that he was in fact, kicking me out. So there I was, back to that shaky and frightening place in my life where I didn't know where to go or what to do next, and so I forgot to write the blog. And much like today, I found myself furiously typing out words that I hoped made some sort of sense to someone, the very next morning.

But here is where my little story gets good. (Finally!) When I forgot the first time to write in here, it was because my life was so awful and I was in such a bad place filled with anxiety, dread, and fear - that a writing deadline completely slipped my mind.

When I forgot the second time to write in here, last night, it was because my life took a slight turn into a new corner of my healing, and the anxiety, dread, and fear that have preceded each of the 2 years of holidays without my husband, that was always there - wasn't. It wasn't there this time. Instead, I felt mellow and calm and "okay." Sad, yes. Hell yes. But I can handle sad. Sad is a cakewalk compared to the terror and the panic and the dark, black hole of nothingness that I experienced the first 2 years of this "new" life. Honestly, Im ecstatic that I have finally come to a point, where it's just about being sad. Yes, I still have the 947 other emotions that we all go through during grief, but they no longer overwhelm me from the very second that I wake up. Now, I'm just generally sad, but within that sadness, I also have moments of joy - and life. 

So, yes, I almost forgot to write this completely. But the reason I forgot is so much better than the reason I forgot, just 8 short months ago.

I forgot , for a few hours last night, at least on the surface, that I was a widowed person with a sad story I needed to go and write about. I was too busy basking in the very nice, peaceful day I had just had, with very good, dear friends I've known since college, and their family. Sometimes , for me at least, spending holidays with my own family, while I love them so much, can be so much more painful than being with another's family. In my family, that empty chair where my husband would be sitting , is glaringly obvious every single second that Im there. And it hurts. A lot. Especially when the people I'm with don't usually mention how obvious it is, so then I feel like I'm the only one who misses him, and nobody else cares. But if Im with someone else's family, I can almost pretend that Don is just working and couldn't come with me, or I can at least have his absense get a bit lost amongst all the many other people at the gathering. And that is what I did yesterday. I ate turkey and drank cider and wine and listened to my friend Dave play piano with his 7 yeaar old son - and I never for one second forgot that my husband wasn't with me. That isn't possible. But I was able to feel the missing of him, and also feel the joy of being with really good friends.

And that is the first time I have felt that, on a holiday, since my life-changing loss happened, just 2 years and five months ago.

And that is pretty epic.

(Pictured: me and my husband, at my cousin's house on Thanksgiving Day, 2007. me with some amazing New York friends, yesterday, celebrating Thanksgiving.)


  1. Dear Kelley, I am so very happy for you to have reached this point. Even breathing feels a bit easier, doesn't it?

  2. Another good one. Love the look on your face in that picture with Don.
    This was my 6th Thanksgiving without Bill. I was alone, by choice. And, yes, now I do forget that I am a widow a lot of the time. It takes time to build a new life, but it can be done. They are always part of us, but we do find our new selves to be pretty special too.

  3. wonderful Kelley! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Sorrow will always be there, and there will always be a Don-sized hole in your days....but you are starting to get through it, and I am so happy for you!

  4. Beautiful piece as always, Kelley. So nice to hear you had a more calm & peaceful holiday. xoxo

  5. Now, I'm just generally sad, but within that sadness, I also have moments of joy - and life.

    Yes! and as an added bonus, I'm not crippled with massive guilt at just being sad, as I would have been in previous years. Win.

  6. Thank you so much everyone for your awesome and thoughtful comments. I love coming on here and reading what you all have to say xo