Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ready for [A Little] New

Overlooking Diamond Head crater on Oahu. 

I've had a roller coaster of a weekend. Yesterday was my fiancé and I's anniversary of when we began dating, and in just a few more days comes the two year mark of his death. I spent the past two weeks in Hawaii visiting a friend, which was incredible and a welcome distraction. Then, on Wednesday, I flew directly to Portland for a conference. Needless to say - not only is this an emotion filled month anyway, but I am absolutely depleted from being gone from home for almost three weeks. By the end of yesterday, my emotions were erupting. It's quite a miracle I haven't gone into a full-blown melt down (yet!).

The worst of it was, I'd had two full weeks of feeling pretty great. And coming down from that - as you ALL know - is the worst. But I'm trying to look for some positives in it all - because despite how tired and run-down I am right now, I had some important shifts while on this trip.

My girlfriends and I went on hikes around Oahu almost every single day… we hiked through rain-soaked forests, to the top of 800 foot waterfalls, open vistas, and ancient craters. We visited Pearl Harbor and floated a lantern for my fiancé at the annual festival. On the last day of my trip, I hopped into a WWII era biplane for an island tour and some aerobatics maneuvers - the most amazing experience of my life. Even though it sucks to be coming down from all of this… I want to focus on the important things I've learned. Aside from wishing that was my life every day of the year (and that my fiancé was there to enjoy it with me) I really realized just how little regular ole fun I have in my daily life.

I've been working so tirelessly for the past few months on my grief photography project that I realized I've really done very little besides create art around grief and write about grief and think about grief and talk about grief. Don't get me wrong, it does feel good to be working on that - to be healing and expressing and sharing and helping - but I'm seeing after this vacation that I really could use a little more plain, ordinary FUN in my life.

I realize as I type that, it's a big deal. The fact that I want for more fun at all, especially NEW fun. The fact that I am even ENJOYING new fun… the fun that he and I did not share together. For almost two years now, I have not felt able to really get out and make new friends or start new hobbies much. Since I moved away from where all our friends live, this has made things kind of lonely. I've mostly kept to the things that I already enjoyed while he was alive... because even if we didn't do them together, they connect me to that life still.

Another little step - just a few months ago I signed up for Crossfit at the local gym, and it has turned into one of my first small reaches into a new life it seems. Aside from giving me a boost of confidence and helping me feel stronger, it's place I am beginning to make friends. And finally, it doesn't feel wrong or off or uncomfortable. It actually feels…. okay. And so did having two weeks in Hawaii spending all my time hiking and exploring the new and just enjoying the present moment. It felt okay that he wasn't physically with me. I definitely feel a shift is happening after this trip.

It still feels like yesterday that the idea of trying anything too new or having to try and establish any new friendships felt completely impossible and really scary. But I guess when the time is right, it becomes a lot less scary. With a lot of work on healing, and some wonderful support from others… eventually we will start to be able to let the new in without being scared that it will replace what we had. It can't ever be replaced, and they will always be here, even in the new lives we forge ahead into. So here's to letting new fun in today… in whatever ways we can - big or small. Aloha!


  1. This picture of you is amazing and says it all. Great post, my friend.

  2. dear Sarah,

    I am so happy for you, being able to welcome in the New and feeling it's okay. and I know exactly what you mean and what you feel about coming down from the high - the inevitable we all know and understand. I had 4 (count 'em four happy days in a row this week, and thought the same thought. but I also told myself grief will take me where I need to go, and to remember that nothing can take away those more carefree and joyful moments - they were a gift and so is the gratitude for it. enjoy your homecoming - you deserve it and your Beloved would want you to savor all the wonderful memories of your vacation. this was such an inspiring post - and I loved the photo!

    much love,

    Karen xoxo

    1. Hi Karen, 4 days in a row is a big deal! I remember the first time beginning to have multiple good days in a row, it was incredible. So many people don't realize how amazing ever little step of this rebuilding is when you have been so fully destroyed. Thank you for your kind words and support, and for reading. Sending you much love!

  3. I suffered a great emotional loss on July 22, 2013. I remember the day I woke up and wanted more fun, too: February 26, 2014. It has been a series of small steps, with being knocked backwards a couple of times, but I still find myself unexpectedly finding happiness in small ways. I try to build on that. You will too. Glad to hear of this healing, and, yeah, great picture! Very vibrant, just like the emerging you! -Snowygirl

    1. Thank you Snowygirl - isn't it amazing how we can remember those first moments so clearly of wanting new fun? One of the hidden blessings in this journey is how big and new and beautiful every single tiny step forward is. Something that we experience that others who have not ever been ripped apart really experience. It doesn't make the pain less, but it does help to have that secret beauty.