Friday, May 31, 2013

Dream a Little Dream

(Hi strangers!  It's Michelle D. filling in for Chis this week)

I had a dream about Daniel the other night.  After 7 years of believing Daniel was dead, I found out he was in prison.   My dream was filled with the details of going through the entry process of the prison and waiting for what seemed like forever to finally be admitted for a visit. 

Once I was through the doors and into the waiting area, I sat down to wait.  The room was sort of a forested area with picnic tables.  I had a book, not sure which one, and I was reading it quietly.  I looked up to see that the room had changed and I was now in a sort of bunkhouse, and it was clear that Daniel was laying on the top bunk of one of the beds.  He didn't know I was there, and I didn't want to tell him.  I sat quietly trying to avoid making a sound so he wouldn't notice me.  In my dream I felt guilty for a moment for not wanting to see him yet, and then....he saw me. 

Of course, he was young.  In all my dreams he is 25 year-old Daniel (even though he was 35 when he died) - and I am always MUCH older.  This dream he looked the same as he always does, but this time, unlike every other dream I've had of him, I could touch him.  I hugged him, and he kissed me hello.  I woke up.

I have no idea what this dream was supposed to mean, and I felt so sad when I woke up.  Not sad that he wasn't really still alive and just in prison (although that would be great!), but sad that I didn't get to talk to him and "catch up".  I wanted to hear how he was doing.  I wanted to catch up with my long lost best friend.  I wanted to tell him all about G and how fantastic he is. 

I hope he watches over G and is as proud of him as I am.  I hope he can see him and isn't really missing out on his whole life.  That is the hardest part for me:  knowing how much each of them is missing out on the other.  It just isn't fair to either one. If I'd been able to sit in the prison lobby (forested or bunkbeds) and tell Daniel the story of his that would have been a wonderful dream.  Maybe next time we'll be able to finish our chat.  I hope so.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

grief is everywhere


Today marks 6 months since my sweet friend Amy lost her husband, Jim.
I've thought about her constantly over the last few weeks, mostly cause my heart ached remembering what the 6 month mark felt like for me. Probably the darkest place of my life.

This past weekend for the holiday, we did our annual trip with my parents to Kentucky for a family reunion, then stopped at King's Island on our way home. This was one of the few trips in my adult life that I got to take with my brother, Brian. The trip just isn't the same without him there, and I ached for his son who came with us, because I know how much he misses his dad. And even though it wasn't a conversation we had out loud, I ached for my parents and the grief I know they still struggle with. Since we didn't go last year, this was the first time back since he died.

Grief has been present this week, but oddly enough, the majority of it wasn't my own. It made me recognize that grief really is everywhere. And even though in theory we all know this, when I really step back and take it all in, it can be overwhelming and humbling. I wasn't able to see anyone's grief but my own. Now, it feels like I absorb others.
My friends.
My parents.
The devastated families in Oklahoma.
My nephew.
My children.
People on the news I don't even know.

I am not the only one on this journey of grief - which is oddly comforting to know, but awful to understand.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The End of May ......

...... has always brought my family many new beginnings over the years.

Our twin daughters were born on Memorial Day weekend.
Our oldest son was born on Memorial Day weekend.
All of our children graduated from high school on Memorial Day weekend.
In fact, our youngest son graduated this past Saturday.

But the biggest beginning for our family ...... began 30 years ago ...... on Memorial Day weekend.
Thirty years ago ...... today. (This Wednesday post is actually being written on Tuesday.)

Jim and I were married thirty years ago.

And so what was once viewed by me as a month full of beginnings ...... is now a reminder of the biggest ending I've ever experienced.

Today should have been my 30th anniversary.
But it was not.

Jim should've been here for Son #3's graduation.
But he was not.
Exactly like he wasn't here for Son #1's or Son #2's, not to mention the various college graduations that we've celebrated without him.

Thirty years ago today I cried.
I was nervous.  I was scared.  I was nauseous.
But mostly ...... I was so in love with him, that those feelings were short-lived.
And the tears I shed were tears of love, joy and relief.

I know that I wasn't the only one who cried that day.
Jim also cried as we spoke our vows to love each other until the only thing that parted us was death.

We fulfilled those vows.

And thirty years later, I still cry ...... although the tears I shed today were very different from the ones I cried that day.
The day of our new beginning.

I didn't expect to cry today.
But then, after five and a half years of living without him, I rarely expect the tears that come.
Which, as usual, seems to make them worse.

I shed more tears this weekend than I have in a long time.
I never stop missing him, but sometimes the missing feels larger than usual.
It felt very large as I watched our "baby" walk across that stage Saturday night.
It felt enormous this morning, as it occurred to me two hours after I awoke, what this day used to be. And it grew as I realized that on this day ...... 30 years later ...... I was the only one crying.

As time goes by, I do cry less.
I am happy more often than I'm sad.
 And I'm starting to recognize the days that symbolize the new beginnings in our lives.

But I think that I will most likely always feel, that the 28th day of May ...... feels more like an end.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No Goodbye

Filling in for Amanda today...she will be back next week!

Phil and I were blissfully unaware while we shared our last kiss. The morning of his death was the last time we went out for an early morning coffee run. Our last phone conversation ended with Phil telling me that hearing my voice made his day. I laughed because I had just finished ranting about a problem I needed to solve, and he somehow found that pleasant. Days before his accident we took our last family photo. Weeks before that day in August we'd taken our last family vacation. Minutes before he left for his bike ride was the last time he told me that he loved me. None of these daily moments were recognized as final or even finite. Because we never said goodbye.

As a person who was widowed suddenly, I have mourned the fact that I had no chance to consciously burn my last moments with Phil into my brain. In the first months after he died, I obsessed over what I would have said to him, if I knew when he left the house that he would never come back. Our last words were so ordinary. Our last kiss a quick "see you later" peck. My last memories blurred, because I didn't know how significant they would become. I would eventually fill three journals with all the things I wanted him to know. But, still, I never said goodbye.

It took some time for me to begin to wonder what final words he would have said to me, given the chance. One day about eighteen months after he died, I was out on a run and frustrated because I couldn't FEEL him anymore. Tears were welling up as I talked to him (out loud, because why not?), and I could feel the sobs beginning to rise in my chest. I screamed at him, I stumbled; I bent in half and tried not to throw up then sat down on the dirt trail. You'd think all that drama would conjure him up, right? Nope, just me and the dirt. I sat for a while covered in sweat and tears, and wondered for the first time what he would have said to me on his way out the door...if he knew. 

I was stunned by how quickly the words came to me. Be good to yourself. Take care of the kids. Keep running. Don't forget where I hide the cash. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I loved being married to you. Love everyone enough for me, too. Be happy. Don't let my death kill you.

These words have stayed with me through every step of my life without him. And he never said them. But he would have, I know for absolutely certain, that he would have.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Where has my motivation gone?

I don't care about anything other than people anymore. The people I love. Loving myself. That's all that matters to me right now.

A job? Who cares. My passion? I don't know. No, maybe I do know. My passion is people. My people. After losing my life with Dave, all I want is to surround myself with those I love and spend time gazing at them, listening to them talk, holding them and being held by them. So little else matters to me now. It's a phase, I know, because nothing lasts and I've been here before and I've ridden the wave back up again to a place where I felt somewhat motivated again, but motivated now is a completely different thing that it used to be.

In general, the graph looks like this:

It turns out I don't care about getting a job. I care about supporting myself, but I don't care about what it is I'm doing to support myself. I've lost my passion. Maybe that's not true. It's not lost, it's just changed form. My passion now isn't succeeding or making a good income. It's not teaching. It's transferred to a desire to be okay again. To feel at home again. To heal. To love.

Those four goals have become paramount and have proven to be so difficult now that they could easily become a full time occupation.

I didn't know how hard it would be to allow my heart to thaw out, even slightly. I didn't know how scary it would be to take a leap. I didn't realize how this new life would keep me up at night with anxiety, even after 2 years of it.

This is such a long haul. Making it back to where I used to be is impossible. I have to travel in a direction that leaves that life behind in some ways and that is hard to accept.

I find that I stare in wonder at people who have kids and a spouse and a job. It feels a little like being at the zoo, looking through the glass at a little world I can't get to, watching a species so different from my own. I examine them and wonder how they feel. I wonder if they feel lucky to have so much to live for. I wonder if they feel the sense of belonging I miss so much.

It's that sense of belonging I wish I had built into me, regardless of where I go or who I'm with.
I imagine it's in people who seem happy and relaxed and who have kids and a spouse to hug when they get home.

I know the picture I have is only in my mind and that other peoples' reality are very different than I imagine them to be.

I know everyone struggles and grieves and feels alone at times, I just sometimes wonder what it would feel like to be someone who hasn't felt so much loss.

But I'm not one of those people. I'm a part of a tribe of warriors who have battle scars and a weary heart. I'm brave and I'm strong. I've lived through some awful stuff.

I can survive. I can feel a sense of belonging. It won't be the same as before, but it will come. And with it, maybe the sense that there's something I want to do with my life.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Different Kind of Anniversary

Hi there...Michele here, I am filling in for Melinda today. She will be back next week!

We mark anniversaries relatively regularly here on Widow's Voice, but they aren't the "usual" types of anniversaries. As a community we stand side by side, in our virtual world, and honor the day someone we have never met took their last breath. We leave comments on posts written about wedding anniversaries being noted by one person instead of two. Together we feel the pain of celebrating the birthday of someone who has died, and heads nod at our computer screens as the years with no one around to blow out the birthday candles are counted. (You didn't think we could see you nodding, did you?) Together, we remember. And, we understand.

Tomorrow marks yet another anniversary. This one belongs to all of us, and to all of the beloved men and women without whom none of us would be here, writing or reading. Soaring Spirits is five years old on May 27th...interestingly, our 'birthday' falls on Memorial Day. So, I honor the servicemen and women whose lives have been lost in the service of our country on the same day that I stand in awe of the fact that five years have passed since my crazy dream became a reality.

For those who don't know, Soaring Spirits is the organization that hosts this blog, and is also my personal labor of love. What started as a desperate desire to know whether other widowed people wore black after the death of their loved one (you can read more about that here) morphed into the desire to bring a huge group of widowed people together as a community. I wanted to find other people like me, and I figured if I wished for a community, than some other widowed person probably did, too.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that more than a million widowed people would be served by that small thought. I didn't yet understand the power that a community of widowed people would have to lift each other up, to see each other through, and to slowly, slowly change the face of widowhood in the world at large.

Honestly, if you asked me nine years ago to profile a widowed person, I very likely would have started with their age. I may have then moved onto how I imagined someone whose spouse or partner was dead would have felt, and perhaps even ventured a guess as to how long it would take for a widowed person to recover from their loss. You are laughing, right? Because now we all know what we couldn't have known in our before lives...I had no clue about the realities of widowhood.

The fact that I had no clue about life as a widowed person, became the foundation for Soaring Spirits as an organization. I wanted to find people who could talk to me about my loss openly. I needed to see their faces, hear their voices, read their writing, pepper them with questions (I really did pepper 30 other widows with questions...50 questions to be exact. When they asked me to answer my own questions, this blog was born.); looking back now, I think what I needed most was proof that people actually survive being widowed. The widowed community that I accidentally created, showed me that I could rebuild my life. I believed them ONLY because they were also survivors of this kind of loss.

Five years ago there were very few communities of support provided for widowed people, especially younger widowed people. According to the census numbers, young widowed people are not a "statistically significant" group. I took that statistic as a challenge when it was first quoted to me, and I still do today. There is very little information collected about widowed people in general. That lack of information results in a lack of funding for support programming, and perpetuates the many stereotypes that are called to mind when the word "widowed" is uttered.

I am very proud of the fact that Soaring Spirits is making an effort to change the limited amount of data available about widowhood in general, widowed people specifically, and most importantly, what types of programming and support most improve the lives of those who are widowed. If you want to help us, you can take the Soaring Spirits Survey on Widowhood, created by Dr. Carrie West. Carrie has been widowed, and has more than ten years experience in teaching, researching, and consulting on communication behaviors. Her doctorate is from the University of Denver in family and interpersonal communication with a minor in research methods. Carrie has spent three years working with Soaring Spirits on developing this survey.

This survey was created for any widowed person to respond. You will notice questions about specific Soaring Spirits programs (like Camp Widow), if you have not participated in any one program, just respond accordingly. Our purpose for this survey is two-fold. First is to gather information about our community (who are you, how old are you, how long have you been widowed) and to further identify what types of support most impact your ability to recover from this significant loss. Our second purpose is to find out how effective the current Soaring Spirits' programs are in meeting your needs, so we can make whatever adaptations necessary to best support you.

You can make your voice heard, by taking the survey HERE.

I view our work on this survey as a way of taking care of the widowed people who will come after us. I am always aware that right this minute another person has joined our widowed ranks. That newly widowed person is the inspiration for the work done by Soaring Spirits. We want every widowed person who has come after us to have the best support we can provide, and access to all of you. Because community creates hope, and hope truly does matter. Even statistically.

Thank you for sharing your lives with us. You have helped us create a safe space for widowed people all over the world (in 157 different countries!) to express both their hopes, and their fears. We embrace our differences, as well as our similarities. Each loss is honored here. Various ways of coping are shared, and suggestions are thoughtfully made. But maybe the most important thing we do here at Widow's Voice is cheer each other on as we each move slowly into futures of our own creation.

Here's to the next five years, and the next five years, and the next five years of changing the world!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Taryn And Michael 012“Giving thanks for the moment is the only way to glimpse eternity.”
One moment.
When he walked through the front door and our eyes met.
When our lips first embraced.
When I said “I love you.” And he said it back.
When he slid the ring down my finger.
When he boarded the bus.
When he surprised me at the front door for the last two weeks we’d share together.
When we’d kiss for the last time.
When we’d share our last words and see each others faces over the computer screen.
When I heard his last “I’m so in love with you.”
When the explosives went off.
When he took his last breath.
When I got the call.
When I drove home to find out he wasn’t coming home.
The moments.
Theses are some of the moments that made up our physical time together. Our unity. Our love.

Talking to him in the darkness of our empty room.
Remembering the things he said and taught me while on earth.
Feeling his love and warmth, in my heart and soul, when the rest of the world felt cold.
Knowing that with each leap and fall, he’s there by my side.
Knowing that I am never alone.
That I will never suffer when I stay in the light of what is the now.
Feeling alive in the beauty all around.
Still telling him every night how in love I am with him.
Falling, again.
Getting up.
Finding my purpose and passion through his example of having found his.
Living an utterly beautiful and confusing, yet clear life.
The moments.
These are some of the moments that make up my life after his passing. Our unity. Our love.

The moments before and after that allow me a glimpse into the eternity. Of our love. Of our lives. Of his legacy.
The moments that make up life. The moments that I cherish and can never give enough thanks in sharing and in having with the best man I’ve ever known.

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Screw" You, IKEA!

So, my new roommate and I took a trip to IKEA last weekend so that we could begin the process of furnishing our new apartment. For me, specifically, I was in desperate need of a small computer desk, because up until now, I had been typing with my keyboard and monitor sitting on top of boxes and things. Now, my only memories of the hell that is IKEA, are from the apartment that my best friend Sarah and I shared together in Forest Hills about 14 years ago. I remember we bought, among other things, a tiny end table called “LACK”, and it lived up to it’s name in every sense of the word. We also purchased a small dresser for Sarah’s bedroom, which she was hoping to use to put her clothing and undergarments into. Well, since IKEA specializies in crushing people’s hopes and dreams, the dresser turned out to be about as large as a Weeble Tree House, and I think Sarah was able to fit her nailfile and one sock into the microscopic, horribly designed drawers.

For any of you who have not had the honor of shopping or buying from IKEA – you should know that almost everything you buy there has a sign that reads “some assembly required.” Anotherwords; what you are sent home with is a large cardboard box filled with endless screws, european pieces with names that you’ve never heard uttered or printed anywhere ever in your lifetime (it’s a Swedish company), instructions that have NO WORDS IN THEM but only pictures that involve lots of circles and big X marks drawn through things, stick figures of people with question marks above their heads, and endless arrows that lead to absolutely nowhere. It is a cardboard box filled with confusion and mind-games, that leaves you a baffled, frustrated, manic-depressive mess on your floor, screaming at the universe to please let lightning strike you now, so that you dont have to put this goddamn desk together. It taunts you and it laughs at you and it mocks you with it’s Swedish pieces with names like “divet”, that are supposed to somehow fit into other pieces that they never actually fit into at all.

So there I was – in my new bedroom – the pieces of my new, tiny corner desk and all it’s assembly parts scattered across my bed – trying to decifer and make sense of these directions. I think it was somewhere around the time that I saw the big square with the X through it, next to the other big circle with the square with an arrow through it, next to the smiling stick figure guy with a cartoonish-looking hammer in his puffy hand - that it really started to hit me. My husband, who was soooooo good at this kind of stuff, will never again be able to do this for me. He will never again take care of the stupid instructions that don’t make sense, or change the oil in my car, or check to see what that noise is in the other room, or find the mouse and get rid of it, or kill the cockroach without pause, or take out the smelly trash, or open the door for me, or hold his umbrella over me or give me his coat to wear when its cold, or make sure Im safe and lock all the doors at night, or send me a text to let me know he arrived at work safely, or hold my hair and put a washcloth on my forehead when Im sick from a reaction to percacet. He would never do any of those things, and so many other things, ever again.

Of course, I already knew this. I already knew that he wasnt ever coming back. But somehow – sitting there attempting to put together this stupid desk in this stupid new life that was forced upon me because of his stupid death – I really felt it. And suddenly, without warning, the emotional breakdown came. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, and then sobbed some more, like I havent done in a long while.

It wasnt the organ donation reception honoring my husband that my mom and I attended a week earlier, or the moving for the 2nd time in 7 months, or the rejection from my ex-roommate, or the sheer stress from the past few months of my life that brought me down. No. It was IKEA. It was those damn Swedes and their “do it yourself” furniture that finally did me in.

7 hours later, and with the help of a fellow widowed friend who very sweetly walked me through each step of the idiotic instructions on the phone, my task was complete. I now had a desk. And if anyone reads this and says some shit about how I should feel empowered because I did that all by myself and “Wow! Look at what you can accomplish all alone!” or any of that type of bullshit, please dont. Just dont.

I was 28 when I met Don. I was 35 when I married him, and I was 39 when he died. For all of those years before meeting him, I did everything by myself. I moved out of my parents house when I was 18 years old, and came to NYC to become an actor/performer. So, I have had decades worth of “empowerment”, and by the time Don and I moved in together, I was so grateful and so ready to have this partner, this teammate in life, and to no longer have to do every goddamn thing by myself. Now there were two of us struggling through this mess called life instead of just one. Two of us to pay bills, get groceries, talk about having kids in the future, buying a house one day, figure out the logistics. And then it was ripped away – just like that – and suddenly, I was back to doing every goddamn thing alone again. Im sorry, but when you have the right person, two is sooooo much better than one. It just is. There are just so many things in life that are so much harder to do alone, and so much easier to do with two of you.

Things like:

Parallel parking. Changing the litter in the litter box. Carrying a large box or other large items up the stairs. Having someone to shut the light off. Sitting in the car when you have to double park it in a city or busy neighborhood. Brushing the kitties teeth like the vet instructed. Clipping their nails. Locating a foreign “thing” that appears on your body in a place where you cant see it. Scratching an itch on your back. Say

Saying your vows. Then repeating. It takes two people to look into each other’s eyes and feel love. Two people to make love. Two to dance a foxtrot that you spent 8 weeks of dance lessons getting it choreographed so you could have a lovely First Dance at your wedding.

And it takes two people to figure out how the fuck to put together a crappy computer desk from IKEA. One to hold up the piece of wood, and one to screw in the weird-plastic-looking-screwy thing. One to decifer the picture instructions, and one to put them into action. One to light the match to set the whole damn thing ablaze when you finally lose your mind, and one to call the police and make it look like arson.

So, Congratulations IKEA. Because of your unbelievable incompetence and inability to create items or directions that humans with brains can follow, you have forced me to start feeling my feelings again. You have  made me sob like an infant again, and shoved the grief back into my life, much like you shove those divets into the holes that are way too small to fit them.

Are you happy now, IKEA? Have you had your little fun with the widow? Good. Glad to hear it. You should know that your desk sucks and it’s a bit wobbly and thats not my fault. It’s your fault, cuz your furniture is questionable and shady on it’s best day. Screw you.

Pictures In order: 1: IKEAs stupid picture directions. 2: my desk, in pieces, ready to be created. (cat not included. Although if he was, some assembly would be required.) 3: Our first dance Foxtrot from our 2006 Wedding. 4: The piece of crap tiny desk, finally finished. I need a drink ....... or six.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thank you


Today, I just wanted to say thanks.

Last week, I was hesitant to share my fears and also my joys of being pregnant and all that comes along with that when it's attached to grief. But I don't know why I was so reluctant, because I was overwhelmed with the support of so many.

So I needed to take the time and share my appreciation for this community on Widow's Voice. I'm so thankful that I have a space filled with people from all different stops on their grief journey, but who all come together to support, encourage, and bring hope to one another. Whether I'm struggling through my grief, or sharing the often guilty joys that come in the aftermath of loss, I know there is someone out there connecting. Someone who needs to hear what I have to say, or someone who brings me hope. That's the magic of this place.

Thank you for allowing me to continue to share my journey with you all. Good & bad, I have a place here. That really means something.

You guys rock.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

No One Ever Said ......


...... that life was fair.
But damn, sometimes the scales seem to just get stuck over there on the unfair side.

My youngest child went to a funeral last night.
The funeral of a friend.
A friend who was also a senior in high school.
A friend who was not the only high schooler in our community to die this year.
And that beyond sucks.

My son has seen too much grief in his 18 years.
He, along with the rest of my children, grew up in ways that children should not have to grow up.

Life is not fair.
And death does not discriminate.

A family that planned to watch their son graduate this Saturday ...... has had its dreams cut short.
The future will not be as they had planned.
Or hoped.

And though I have not experienced the pain of losing a child, my heart hurts for them.
And it hurts for my child.
My heart hurts for all of our children.
Because most of them learned, at an earlier age than we did ...... that life is not fair.
Their care-free days of childhood ended too soon.
Cut short by a fact of life.
And death.

Sometimes that fact gets re-enforced ...... over and over again.
And grief comes raging in like a tsunami.
Leaving so much damage in its wake.

No one ever said that life was fair.

But I wish someone would've told me ......  how hard I'd have to swim.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Two nights ago,  I lay down to sleep and cried for an hour straight.
I haven't cried that hard for some time now.
I haven't felt the immense unfairness of my loss so hard for ages.
That bewilderment that he SHOULD be here, but isn't.

....and I went back to that locked room in my brain.
The room that contains the memories from of that afternoon when I found out that Greg had died 5 hours earlier.
I turned the key.
I unlocked that door.
...and was swamped by the intense grief as that pitiful wraith in my head was unleashed,
her screaming ... no
....  her keening howls drowning all other thought
drowning all other feeling.

Her shrieks so loud that I am not entirely sure that my head can contain them.

I know her screams too well.
Her screams are the echo of mine from that day that is forever etched into my mind.
They are the ones that came from my every pore when the policeman tried to tell me that Greg had not survived the accident.
They are the screams that started that day and which have never really stopped.

Most of the time, the door is locked and those screams are muffled.
Most of the time, the screams are quiet.  Whispered screams....
Most of the time, things are OK.

But sometimes, I revisit that day and it knocks me down.

....yet I know that each time I am knocked down, I get up again,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Shining Beacons


This summer will be the third summer since Dave died.

The part of my brain where I store the memories of that day in June, 2011 is as tender as it always has been, and occasionally, I dip into it to see if it still hurts as much to think of it. Not because I want to torture myself, but because it is what a brain does. Or at least my brain.

The other day I had to read an account of Dave's last day on earth written by a stranger. It hurt, it hurt, it hurt. I felt waves of nausea and cold and hot all at once as I read, feeling the story carry me unwillingly to the conclusion. The conclusion that I still can't quite believe is fact. The final words ended with "...he was pronounced dead on June 4, 2011." Upon reading them, a wail escaped my lips before I could realize what was happening. The intense wave of despair only lasted a few moments, but the feeling is the same as always - a mixture of shock, fear, dread and disbelief.

He died. His heart stopped.
People die. They die when they're old and they die when they're young.

We don't do a great job in this society of understanding it. We ignore the truth until it arrives in our life. It's an "icky" topic. It makes people bummed out and it makes them shut down.
But those of us who've been around as a spouse left this earth, have seen it close up and will never be the same.

It changes us elementally. Our brains are wired differently, our hearts battered and tired. It makes us understand finally that we are all really really going to die.  It makes life look different.

Seeing life through the filter of It Can Happen to Me changes everything.

Hanging out with the lucky people who haven't experienced it is always an interesting experience. It's a little like watching the old me, not expecting grief to arrive in my life, excited about the future without picturing what was coming my way.

I can never again be that person. That's as permanent as Dave's absence.

I'm grieving the loss of both of us.

I miss both of us.

Part of what helps me the most is to attempt to not be so attached to that outcome. That future is not to be. Wishing it back is natural but not helpful for me to get mired in day after day.

That future ended on June 4, 2011 and a new future began. This future is murkier but as I know now that old future was as clear and as a known as could be and still evaporated like a mirage.

I don't have the future. I only used to think I did.
I only have today. And maybe that's a lesson that I should be more proud of. Not everyone gets that insight. It's not something I'd wish on anyone else, but it's something hard-won and gives me depth and wisdom, even though I mostly feel neither deep nor wise.

That last paragraph is an attempt to feel better and maybe make you feel better too, so I almost deleted it but then I realized that that's what I've been doing since Dave died. I've been trying to make myself feel better. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it's better than not trying to find a silver lining.

My silver linings have kept me from falling forever into a pit of despair.

They don't change the future or the past, but they can make the present more bearable. That's something else about this new life that I've noticed. Making the present more bearable is now a big deal. Tiny beautiful moments, simple pleasures and seemingly insignificant kindnesses are now shining beacons.

Often they were all I had and I'm grateful for them. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Good Times Are Better Forgotten

Source - a facebook friend

In two months and 8 days, I will be forced into the 3 year anniversary. I have been treading lightly, trying to come to terms with the 3 year, and well.. I haven’t accepted these terms.

I never signed on a dotted line. I never accepted “You are widowed, sign here”, some crappy contract I got stuck with. I didn't sign up for some service, that would throw me into the widowed club, yet, I’m stuck with it.

There are times (like today) that I think “Holy shit, I am widowed!” Then comes the “I didn't sign up for this shit, it was Seth’s decision to leave this world, not mine, he should have to live in this hell, NOT ME!!”

Yes, I’m a tad angry. Every year before the anniversary, I start falling into the anger stage... And it’s here, sitting next to me, slowly swirling my hair, and saying oh so softly “Let’s be angry, it will be fun!”

What the anger stage doesn't realize is I hate it. The anger stage scares the crap out of me every time. There is nothing worse than being stuck in this hell, and pissed off at the whole world around you.

I can finally see that every year I fall into the anger stage shortly before the anniversary.

Stupid anger and stupid widowhood.

Did I mention I’m a tad angry?

Yes, just a tad. My really angry posts don’t get posted here, because let’s just say, that are above and beyond R rated.

Lately I have been flooded with good memories of my life with Seth. Up until this point, I had very little good memories with Seth.. at least, I couldn't remember them because of my pain and widow brain. The memories are slowly starting to leak in.. and I’ll find myself smiling at myself at the most unacceptable times. Some days it’s almost easier to not remember the good times. Remembering the good times makes it hurt worse. Makes me miss him more. Slaps me with “look what you lost, ha!” And gives me a case of the “I wish.” I wish this wasn't my life. I wish this wasn't my husband’s life. I wish that tomorrow I will wake up and this will all be gone. I wish there was a magic pill to wipe away the pain and anguish.

So it’s almost easier to remember the bad times then it is to remember the good times.

The good times hurt.. hurt really bad. Looking back at the times gone by, leave me confused, hurt and feeling alone. I have been tip toeing into the past, for very short time spans, but trying to allow the good memories back into this poor brain of mine. (I’m starting to wonder when this brain of mine will have enough of my crap and leave me.)

I've been thinking about the upcoming 3 year anniversary and I am honestly really scared. I have realized with each anniversary, birthday and holiday, I step into the events in sheer fear..

Fear because I don’t know how I’m going to handle it.. and fear that there will be one last grief breakdown that I won’t be able to get up from. What if this is the one that makes me snap and I never recover?

I think because I have fallen into the deep hole of hell and depression before, I am afraid of going there again.. if I go there again, I doubt I will reemerge. I doubt I will recover.   

But I realized the fear of upcoming events, is actually a good thing.

That means I am fully aware how bad this is going to hurt. I am fully aware that I might need 4 days in bed, or a bottle of wine. I am fully aware that I am walking into a trap. And I am fully aware that the lining between life and that black hole of hell is really thin. One miss step and I could be in the hole.
It means, that I finally have self awareness. Awareness of what I’m walking into, and caring enough about myself to fear what this anniversary could bring.

I’m sure come the 3 year anniversary,  I will be able to give you a whole list of what I've learned.

But for now I have learned the good times hurt and it’s okay to care enough about myself to know (and be prepared) for what is coming up.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


tarynfromtx on Instagram_20130518-092952.png

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.”
— Joseph Campbell

Since getting my Firewalk Instructor Certification, meditation has become a part of my life.

What started as 3 times a week with a tiny spot in my room, is now a daily practice with its own room.

But more than that, what became a specific time that gave me a short time of awareness, acceptance and peace...

Has extended far outside my time on the cushion, to be a huge part of every waking second.

Without a doubt, meditation and Buddhist concepts are a huge component of my life.

I know you may be wondering, "What's up with the meditation speech?".

Well, it is meditation that led me to choosing this year's "Once in a Lifetime Trip, Once  a Year" trip that I wanted to share with y'all.

In less then 2 weeks I'll be heading solo over to Bangalore, India, to deepen my practice and invest a bit more into one of my greatest head and heart.

My mind and soul.


Friday, May 17, 2013

So Happy She Died!

(This great image is from Cory Parris' web site)

On Maggie’s Angel Day, at the suggestion of friends, I hosted a simple get-together.   When asked about hosting such an event, I immediately felt…  Yuck!  Why the hell would I want to have a party on the day my sweetie Maggie died?  She DIED that day.  What is there to celebrate?

Reflecting on that day four years ago is an exercise rich with many layers of emotion, no matter what the impetus.  My feelings that day were so complicated and fluid moment to moment that it’s difficult to capture in words.  It’s a day like no other I’ve experienced or frankly wish to ever experience again.  But I wouldn’t have rather been anywhere else on Earth.  I was right where I was supposed to be - by her side.

Just moments after she died I remember being so peaceful and happy.  I was relaxed and quite simply just happy.  Until now, I’ve tried not to dig too deeply into the psychology of why that would be a good moment for me to be all smiles and while I can assure you that the happiness didn’t last very long, for a while that evening, I was quite relaxed and happy.

My guess as to why I was Mr. Smiles that evening is, quite simply, that for the first time in way, way too long, my sweet wife wasn’t suffering.  I wasn’t watching her body slowly being eaten by an awful disease.  Our lives were no longer being painfully ripped apart.  Our futures weren’t being destroyed, one happy dream at a time.  We weren’t saying goodbye anymore.  The beatings had stopped.  It was over.

Last Saturday for Maggie’s Angel Day v4.0, while others were here having fun, enjoying the hamburgers and company, I celebrated that happiness again.  It may seem twisted to some but I never, ever want to forget the happiness that I felt that day after Maggie died.  I hope that feeling stays with me for the rest of my life.

I believe that the happiness that I felt just moments after Maggie died is my super power.  It reminds me that I have felt love and have loved so powerfully that my soul rejoiced when her suffering ended.  Yes, I realized that I had a lot of grief and more hurt was coming my way.  But that evening, while time warped around me, my tired soul savored the end of the suffering.  It was the happiest sad moment I’ve ever experienced.

That night four years ago, blissful and shell-shocked, I spent the next several hours in the kitchen with friends, laughing, telling jokes and just being not sad.  Oddly enough, the get-together for Maggie’s Angel Day ended the exact same way - me in the same kitchen with friends, laughing, telling jokes and just being not sad.  Perfect.

I’m very, very careful to not say things like “Maggie would want” because I learned early in our relationship that I really had no ability to predict her preferences, but in this particular scenario I’ll say with confidence that Maggie would have wanted me to spend that day just the way I did, in the kitchen with friends, laughing, telling jokes and just being not sad.  Thar.  We dun did it.  And fun was had by all.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Joy and sorrow


Several weeks ago, Steve and I announced to the world that we were pregnant.

After we posted the adorable video we made with the kids (you can watch it HERE), I tried to write a post to talk about this sudden twist of events in our life. A baby was not in the original plan for us when we met, but we came to a place where we felt ready and desired to walk through the journey together as a couple and with our kids as a family. But the post sat on my heart for some time before I could get it right or feel good about it.

Here's the thing: I am thrilled. But in this space, I know I can be honest and say to my fellow widow(er)s that I am also terrified. I didn't know how to talk about both pieces without taking away from the other. Last week, I felt so encouraged after posting about my two worlds colliding, because the truth is, you guys just get it here. Joy and sorrow run side by side in life. And becoming a widow while pregnant sure made the scary factor of this pregnancy even greater.

It took me a long time to get to a place where I felt ready to face this journey again. I didn't think I would ever have to, so there were a lot of pieces I had not grieved before. Knowing that I am having a baby that isn't Jeremy's feels strange. Knowing I get to have a baby with Steve feels wonderful. Experiencing a lot of PTSD about losing Steve is something that he was willing to deal with during this pregnancy because it is truly my worst fear. But somehow preparing my heart for new life and the excitement that comes along with it has overshadowed so much of that.

I had someone on my blog accuse me of committing 'emotional adultery' against Steve because I was 'dwelling' on my life with Jeremy. I was even more shocked that she herself was a remarried widow. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but how do you just 'forget' and move on from the most significant relationship you've ever had? How do you undo building a life and three children with someone? I'm sorry, but it's not possible for me. I carry Jeremy in my heart forever, and Steve knew that full well when he met me. He accepts that and loves me for that. That doesn't, however, mean that I dwell on it or even that we spend half of our marriage talking about the past. Steve is my present and the man I want to walk through the rest of this life with. My relationship and marriage with him is just as valuable as my marriage with Jeremy was - I wouldn't have married him otherwise. But I am and forever will be Jeremy's wife. I will always have his children, love his family, care about his friends, carry on his legacy. I am who I am because of the life I had with Jeremy and no amount of moving forward can erase that.

Phew. End soap box.

Thank you for giving me a safe place to express my joy and sorrow as it runs side by side. Truthfully, as scared as I am to walk this journey again, I am thankful for the opportunity to redeem my last experience and to celebrate the love I have found in Steve. I am ecstatic to bring another life into this world and watch our family come together even more.

But a few extra prayers and good wishes couldn't hurt ;)

Even Now ......


...... depression sets in.

I rarely see it coming.
I just seem to wake up mired in it.

It's usually accompanied with the sense of feeling completely overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by all that I'm "in charge of",  all the upkeep that comes with owning a home that is slowly becoming way too large, way too lonely and getting larger ...... and lonelier.

I feel overwhelmed with being the only one.
The only parent.
The only home owner.
The only care taker.
The only decision maker.
The only bill payer.
The only appointment maker.
The only receiver of phone calls/emails from well-meaning schools and teachers.
The only responsible party.
The only mistake maker.
The only safe person upon which to vent. 
The only one who has to decide when to sell this house.
The only one who has to decide what the hell to do with all of the "stuff" inside this house.
The only one to talk to many days of the week.
The only one to talk to almost every single night of the week/weekend.
The only one having to come up with health insurance for 5 people.
The only one to eat dinner with.
The only one in my bed every night.
The only one who can't sleep most nights.

The only one.

In a life that was meant for two.
And more.

But though it still comes ...... even now ...... it doesn't come very often anymore. 
In fact, I can't really remember the last time depression paid me a visit.

And though it still comes ...... even now ...... I know that it will leave again ...... sooner, rather than later.
I now know that depression is not moving in with me, with no end of its occupancy in sight.
I know that I may feel sad, blue, tired, depressed ...... for a day or three, but then depression will move on.

I didn't know anything about depression in my "before" life.
But in my "after" it became something I learned a lot about.
More than I  ever wanted to know.

Which has turned out to be a good thing.
Because though it still comes to pay me a vist ...... even now ......
I know that it won't take me down.

Because I've grown stronger over the past 5 years.
And I'll continue to grow stronger ...... in spite of, and because of,  being the only one.

Even now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Authentic Life

Mothers day card by corymbia 
Mother's Day card from my girl...

On Mother's Day, Widow's Voice alumnus writer Jackie Hannam-Chandler posted these words:

I... am an authentic mom. I am real person who makes real mistakes.

She lamented on her role as a solo Mum..... a widowed parent, muddling through this parenting gig alone, without her beloved Jeff,  trying her best for her kids that she can.
.... and her frank admission that she sometimes lets it ALL hang out  - her emotions, her frustrations, her feelings that are not always pretty  - made ME feel like someone else really understood the hard bits of this solo parenting gig. 

So I wrote back to her ....

Your mother's day would describe my day before mother's day - I lost my sh!t  temper at my kids because of the fighting and me having to tell them to do their chores every few minutes.
...and what you describe fits me to a 'T'.... I worked in forestry for a while and picked up the dialect..... I elevate swearing to literary genre.

In other words - the F-word makes its appearance when I am stressed.
In our house, we don't do elaborate holidays, or expensive presents.
We do home grown and home made.
And I lose my freaking shit temper at them more times than I think I should, but I would eviscerate anyone who hurt my kids. 

Jackie wrote: I hope that as they look back at their childhood and shake their heads at my mothering foibles, they also realize that it is okay to be themselves, to be real, to mess up, to be "authentic". Their mama sure was.

Just like Jackie, I hope that my kids can look back on their childhood and not see the messed-up stuff that has happened since their father died, that they see my failings for what they are (grief and stress) and that they also understand that it is important to be themselves and feel their feelings. 
Its OK to mess-up. 
It's OK to stress about things. 
It's even OK to chuck a tanty and swear your head off, so long as you back it up with positives and lots and lots of love.
That grief can change you and bend you, but not break you.
To live your life as a REAL person, and not a phoney. 

To live an Authentic Life.

So I am putting my hand up as being an Authentic Mum (thanks to Jackie) .... with all of my faults.  ...and after receiving my mother's day card (above) I reckon that I am doing OK....
In fact, I think Greg would be proud....

Monday, May 13, 2013

One Thought at a Time

my momma and me

My brain works so hard. Every  minute of every day, even when I'm sleeping, it's chugging away. Its main responsibility is to keep me safe. It does this by worrying. Some of the worrying is useful. It can result in my actual physical safety and it can result in problem-solving.

Some (and I'd venture to say most) of it is useless worrying. Seems like my brain has a tough time distinguishing the difference.

And it seems like it's always had this problem.  I've been realizing that the trauma I've experienced even before Dave died has wired my brain for this. When you're a little girl and your world is turned upside down when your momma is taken by cancer and your dad is taken by alcoholism, you learn to be vigilant. Your mind becomes ever-alert for more danger. You don't necessarily learn to relax and let others worry about you when you're still small.

And this is my brain. This was my brain before Dave died. That brain warned me that every fever Dave spiked and ever pain he had was the end to that love too. I was just starting to process this in therapy when he actually did die.

Can you imagine a better way to program my brain that the worrying was legit?

It didn't prepare me for widowhood. It didn't make it less shocking that he was Dave one minute and then a body the next. But try explaining that to my protective worrying subconscious mind.

The useless worrying doesn't help me, but knowing that is never enough to make it stop.
For those who've never been through complicated grief or trauma or who don't suffer from PTSD, I bet this is a really hard fact to grasp.

Letting go of it all will not only mean a reprogramming of a brain that has been programmed this way for 30+ years, but will also mean letting go of what my subconscious perceives as protective.

Why would it want to let go of that easily? It won't. It's not going out without a fight.

I suppose the vigilance of my efforts to overcome this have to be at least equal to the vigilance of my worrying mind. 

If my mind suggests something to worry about every few minutes than I've gotta counteract that with some sort of new neural pathway thought every few minutes too.

I'm tired just thinking about that, much less carrying it out.

Some days, 2 years out, are still challenging enough without adding the element of this reprogramming project.

But each day I get to try again. Each day is another chance. And the scientist in me likes the challenge. It's my own little research project. Can a brain this intensely programmed be rewired? Can PTSD, if that's what I have, be conquered in some way? In what ways can I heal my mind? I like the task of gathering information and trying out different strategies, noting the results each time.

I'm pissed though. I'm really pissed off that I didn't get to feel protected and safe as a kid. I'm unspeakably sad that I don't get to celebrate mother's day with my mom. And of course, I'm gutted by the fact that my husband is no longer here.

And all those facts are still just facts. I was dealt this hand for reasons unknown and it's my job to make my dad's, my momma's and Dave's existence worth it by making mine worth it. One day, one hour, one minute at a time. One thought at a time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Seth and I at Tulum in Mexico, 2007.

Last weekend I flew to Lake Tahoe to photograph a wedding.

I have had a long time extreme fear of flying. During the weeks leading up to the flight, I was anxious about the flight.

The trip came and went, and I found myself flying back home. As I was flying home, I realized that I was not afraid of the flight. I realized that during the flight to Tahoe, I was not anxious at all.. and I wasn't anxious that I was trapped in a plane, a billion miles above the earth.

The realization that I had no anxiety over the two flights caught me by surprise and made me ponder.

Where did my fear of flying go? When did it go? How is it possible that an extreme fear that I have had for years and years, is suddenly gone?

I started thinking about when my fear of flight started. I remember when it started.

Early in my relationship with Seth, we both started having a reoccurring nightmare. The nightmare was always so real and always the same. Seth and I would be flying to somewhere tropical. For some reason, the plane suddenly crashes into the ocean, and we were left in the middle of the ocean with just one flotation device (the seat) to share. The other passengers were always fighting, trying to take other peoples flotation devices, and there was always the same man.. this man would try to drown me and try to take my flotation device. Leaving out the gory details, Seth would kill this man in a very violent, but necessary way.. it was this man’s life or mine. We would take the flotation device, and start swimming away from the plane and fighting passengers. Leaving us alone in the ocean.

The dream would always end with us swimming and swimming and swimming, then waking up in a pure panic.

Seth and I shared this reoccurring nightmare. The details were always the same. The only difference was there was my perception of the dream and Seth’s perception of the dream.

We shared the same nightmare through our entire relationship. Every couple of months, one of us would have the nightmare.

I thought it was ironic that two people could share the same nightmare. I eventually thought.. what if this is our destiny? What if this is the way we would die?

Every year Seth and I would vacation in Mexico. Every time I boarded the plane, I would think of the nightmare. The ocean, the tropical place, the plane crash.. my extreme fear of flying etched it's self into my soul.

I have been thinking about some of the stories my widow friends have told me.. it involved my widowed friend having a recurring nightmare of finding their husband deceased  in a certain way. Then in real life, when their husband passed away, it happened the same way they had dreamed about for years. I have several widow friends that have had this experience.

I have been thinking about my fear of flying and the reoccurring nightmare.

I realized I haven’t had that nightmare since Seth died. In 33 months or 1,020 days, I haven’t had the nightmare that chased me for 10 years.

The dream and fear of flying died with my husband.

But why?

Since my flight, I have been wondering if this was mine and Seth’s destiny. What if he altered destiny with his suicide? 

Where does that leave me? Alone in the ocean? Fighting the man in my nightmare alone?

Maybe that’s why my fear of flying and nightmares have stopped. Maybe that is no longer my destiny.

Maybe my husband’s suicide changed far more than just my present. Maybe it changed my destiny.

I may never know the answer to my destiny, but it does make me wonder.

Now if I die in a plane crash, you will be left with things that make you go “hmm..”

Saturday, May 11, 2013



Someone once said, "You never need to apologize for how you chose to survive."...

6 years later, and I still couldn't agree more.

I've been madly happy.

I've been madly sad.

I've been mad.

But above all else.

I've been.

That is enough.

That is amazing.

That is something that is the proudest of my accolades after being Michael's wife and widow.

I have and will love.

I will prevail.

I will fall.

I will get up for the millionth time.

But I will never ever doubt or talk down on the decisions and life I have and do lead.

For it is all I know.

It is all I grow with.

It is all I will be flawed in.

It is all I will become.

It is.

I've been.

I am.


No apologies.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Room With a View

This is going to be a short one. I am freakin' exhausted.

I am writing this on a keyboard that is sitting on top of a printer, which sits on top of a BluRay DVD player, which sits on top of some folders, which sits on top of a book and a calendar. The monitor Im staring at is resting uncomfortably and wobbly on top of 3 white moving boxes. I am slouched over forward because the keyboard is way too low to the floor, and my mousepad is placed on top of a speaker that is toppling over and only stays upright on hope. I do not yet have a computer desk/table, and I needed to get some work done immediately for my job as an adjunct professor coming up on the end of a semester, so I made a desk for my computer out of random objects; piling them up like a house of cards. It isnt pretty, but it will have to do for now. Oddly enough, thats sort of been the running theme from the past year of my life.

Those of you who have been following and reading this blog know that when my husband Don died suddenly in July of 2011, I had to leave our apartment and move in somewhere new with a roommate. You may also remember that only 6 months after living with this roommate, he decided that he no longer wanted me living there, and asked that I please find a new place by June. Well, fast-forward to May 10th, and here I sit, in Flushing Queens NY, talking to you all from my lovely bedroom, which features a view of an elementary school. Not exactly the beautiful, gorgeous, picturesque room with a view that I had just 4 days ago in Forest Hills. The NYC sunset - or the city lights, twinkling and speaking to me in the dark. No. This view is much different. It is a new view, seen from a person who has new eyes. This room has a view of new things - things I didnt ask for, but got anyway just by the experience of living. Things like perspective. Peacefulness. Calm. The very second that I pulled away in that moving truck with my awesome friends who helped me transition from A to B, I could feel the tension and the anxiety and the insecurities being lifted from my being. I could feel myself returning back to me again. I cant predict the future, and I dont know whats going to happen with my new roommate situation and my new apartment. But I have a good feeling here, and I dont feel like I need to hide inside of myself or that Im not good enough or that Im constantly being judged. It just feels like my home, and its that simple, and that complicated.

Its like my grief counselor said to me a few weeks ago when I was feeling sad about leaving the neighborhood of Forest Hills and that amazing view I had from my bedroom: "Its like this: you can have a view of an elementary school and feel good about yourself, or you can have a beautiful sunset view and feel like shit all the time."

I think I made the right choice.

When two worlds collide


So much of my life has changed since Jeremy died.

I live in a different house, a different city.
I drive different vehicles.
I shop at new stores that weren't around just three years ago.
I have super long hair, which Jeremy has never really seen.
I have some new, amazing friends.
I've lost some friends. Heck, I've been lifted out of some of my own support groups.
I have new family.
I got re-married.
I am a different parent than I used to be.
I've had new experiences that have changed me.

For crying out loud, I have more of Jeremy's children now than I did when he was here!

It's safe to say that things look very different. But what I find so frustrating and yet so odd is how much I hate that he is missing the very things that are only in place because of his death. Experiences that I was only able to have because Jeremy died, I ache for him to see it, to talk to him about it, to celebrate/laugh/cry with him about it. Only, my two worlds will never collide. The irony is not lost on me.

Somewhere, in a land created of 'what-ifs', there's a place where I get to talk to Jeremy about Steve, where I get to see his reaction to a new song that came out, where he smiles and celebrates the milestones in my life I only get to have in light of losing everything. The opportunities that were created out of his loss are the very things I want him to witness. I would never have been able to move to this home if Jer were still alive. And yet, it feels like he's missing here. I would never be able to claim Zada and Reagan as my beautiful daughters if he were alive, but I want so badly for them to know each other, for him to love them like I do.

I try not to venture into the land of 'what-ifs' very often, cause it generally just leaves me exhausted and unsatisfied. But every once in awhile....

....I would just love to see my two worlds collide.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Widowed Friends ......

...... are some of the most amazing friends I've ever had.
Hands down.

And I've had some pretty amazing friends.
For years.
In my "before".
And in my "after".

I'm not saying that widowed people are better friends.
I've had some non-widowed friends that would be pretty hard to beat.
Not that I'm comparing.
Because I'm not.

There's no comparing people ...... which I think is for the best.

It's just that most widowed people that I've met, and friended, are so ...... easy.

No, not "easy" in THAT way!  Sheesh.
I know exactly where some of your minds went.
Shame on you.

They're "easy" ...... as in ...... easy to talk to, easy to be around, easy to joke with (especially with that very dark "widowed humor"), easy to laugh with, easy to sit with and say nothing, easy to express my grief to, easy to cry with, easy to vent with, super-easy to hug and ...... easy to love.

I feel so very blessed to count many of you as my friends.
Even if we haven't met I.R.L.*

Some people (almost always non-widowed) find that difficult to understand.
But you don't.

And I love that about you.

I love a lot about you.
And I treasure every friend I've made ...... in my "after".

But you know what I love most about you?
The one thing that tops all of the other dozens of reasons to love you?

It's that you know, in spite of how much I love you (and it's a lot) ...... and totally understand ......

...... that I'd give you all up in a heartbeat, if that would bring Jim back.

But since we all know that's not going to happen ......
I'm so very glad that we're friends.

And I can't wait to see you New York people this weekend!

*In real life

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


lashed by corymbia

I'm kinda struggling tonight (and this post is late).  I just can't seem to catch my breath....
Last week, my daughter was sick so I had to take a day off work and look after her.  This lead to my class of kids Not Coping Well with my absence, so the rest of the week was spent calming and redirecting about 7 students and reassuring the rest of the class that order had been restored and everything was OK again. 

Not to mention worrying about the sick kid at home with the temperature of 41°C (trust me when I say that is scarily high in centigrade).

Then my Mum had an accident on Friday afternoon - she was knocked down by some dogs, and long story short ... she ended up in the ER with concussion and a memory loss that scared the living daylights out of me.  She also ended up with a broken tibia, but this wasn't picked up until her GP ordered an xray on Monday.  She is now in a moon boot for the next two months.

Mum is my main support person.  She also cares for my Dad but I would have folded in a heap a long time ago if it weren't for her. ...and to see her so utterly confused and in pain was like a cold, hard kick in the guts.

As an added bonus to that drama, one of the paramedics was talking to me as the ambulance made its slow journey into hospital with Mum in the back, and I mentioned that  she was my Person now as my husband had been killed in a car accident..... which lead to him asking about Greg's accident. I saw him pale as he tentatively asked if it was That accident with the Porsche.  
...and so my brain being what it is, I spent quite a bit of Friday night contemplating just how badly a person can be injured when a seasoned paramedic pales when speaking of it 3 years later.  Its times like this when I wish my brain wasn't that kind that always needs to know more, research more, find out what puts the "bad" in "bad accident".  But you don't get to be a research scientist from not wondering too much about stuff....

...and now tonight, the tiredness has caught me.  I am trying to catch up school work that was missed due to the Not Coping last week. 
... the insanity of coming home to find my tack-sharp mother not remembering what day it was nor what she'd said 5 seconds earlier (she still has a memory loss of about 5 hours from Friday evening that she'll probably never get back).
... the stupid, sleepless hours imaging what horrors are imprinted on that paramedic's memory from Greg's accident.

....and it all leads to the grief coming up to the surface. 

...and I find myself struggling tonight.

But I will sleep soon, and I will wake tomorrow, and I know that like every grief cycle, the grief will ease off again and calmness will return.