Reflecting on 2013

2013 has by far been the most… unsettled I’ve experienced. 

I was dating someone. 

We broke up. 

I stepped away from derby as a skater for the season.

I had several first dates. 

I met someone from my past. 

I was the head NSO for my league. 

I did a lot of travelling back and forth between Squamish and Quesnel.

I found out I was going to be a Grandma. 

I went to San Diego for Camp Widow. 

I went to Edmonton to surprise my oldest. 

I quit my job. 

I packed my house and moved to Quesnel. 

I moved in with someone.

I started up a Regional group for Soaring Spirits

I started a new job. 

I became a full time step-mom to 3 more boys. 

I bought a truck.  (Ok, I didn’t buy one… WE bought one)

I went through my 2nd Christmas without Mark. 

I went through my first Christmas with Mike. 

So many blessings, so many amazing things, so many changes. 

I love my life.  I love where I am and who I’m with and how my life is going. 

I love the opportunities that are presenting themselves. 

I love the man who has become my Chapter 2.   I love his boys, I love our life and where it’s heading. 

2013 was the year of change for me.   

I’m looking forward to what 2014 brings. 

Happy New Year…. and many blessings to you and yours. 

2014 New Years





The Man Who Changed My Journey

Widowhood is a club that no one wants to belong to.    You’re welcomed with open arms and love and compassion, but we’d rather you didn’t join us. 

I didn’t want to be a part of this club.  I didn’t want to be a widow.   It’s romanticized in movies and they tie everything up into a neat little package at the end of the movie where everyone is happy and grief is overcome, and life is grand. 

That’s so much bullshit. 

Real widowhood is full of pain and grief and loneliness.   Real widowhood is having your world rocked to the core.  Real widowhood is having the ground under you (so solid one moment) disappear.   Real widowhood is feeling like you are completely alone. 

And then, I met someone. I posted on one of the websites I found… that I was hurting and sad and in pain.   

This man reached out to me. 

He talked to me.  We talked.  We emailed.  We texted.  We became friends. 

He sent me flowers on Valentines Day.    

And then he did something incredible for me – he made sure I could go to Camp Widow

camp widow

He found his second chapter.   They got married this past summer.. and I am SO happy for both of them.  I love them both dearly.  They are amazing awesome wonderful people who are incredibly suited to each other. 

My life has been incredibly busy the past 6 months since Camp Widow.   I went on a road trip, packed my house up, moved, helped my boyfriend get his kids back.   Everything has been incredibly focussed on *my* life. 

I haven’t been as good a friend as I would have liked to be these past 6 months.   So I just wanted to say… publicly, how much I love and appreciate you Cory. 

By being there for me at the beginning of this year… helping me get to Camp Widow… you changed my journey through widowhood and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without your support. 

You and Beth are incredible together.   I love watching your life unfold on Facebook… it brings joy and love to my heart.   

Thank you, for being a part of my journey.  

Friends Bacon Bits

Merry Christmas

My heart is breaking today.

It has been breaking for the past couple weeks.

I have had  REALLY hard time getting into the Christmas spirit… and here it is Christmas Day and I’m alone again.

Last year, I was alone Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

This year, I’m alone.


I’ve talked to my mom, I’ve talked to a friend.  I had a friend over for coffee.

But the kids are playing with their toys and I’m sitting in my living room, alone.

Staring at his box.  Staring at his urn.  Wondering how to stop hurting so much over the past and what’s gone and focus on what’s in front of me and the love and joy in my life now.

I want to just be full of joy and remember Mark with the love he and I shared.   I want to look back on our life together and think of all the good stuff and be HAPPY about the time we shared and the path we walked together.

It was a good life.  It wasn’t perfect. It was all smiles and roses.  But it was good.

We had 14 years of learning each other.  Of building a history together.  Of creating a dance that was unique to us.

I would do it again, even knowing the outcome, the ending.  I would again… move with him, marry him, have his boys.  I would hold his hand and kiss his forehead as the life left his body.

I would do it all again.

I loved him, I LOVE him that much.



Moving on


Some days, I feel like I’ve accepted it all, that I’m at peace with what happened and life is just good.   Then others… the tidal wave of grief hits and I’m stuck riding the wave.

And I try to restrain it – try to control it – but I’m left in a worse position than when I started


Grey's Anatomy


I was told a long time ago that you grieve as hard as you love.  I love him enormously. I grieve for him enormously.

It’s been 18 months tomorrow.  My life has changed in so many ways.   Some things remain the same.

I love him.

I miss him.



Eighteen Months

I find it hard to believe that it’s been almost 18 months without Mark.

The days leading up to the 26th are always especially poignant, particularly painful, but for some reason, these days seem harder.

Christmas maybe?

I don’t know.

What I know is that it is 2am, my boyfriend is snoring beside me, my eyes are burning with the need to sleep but my body won’t shut down.

It’s not for lack of trying.

I’ve closed my eyes. I’ve tried to fall asleep.  I’ve done deep, meditative breathing.

My body just won’t fall asleep.

And then there’s the man snoring beside me.

No matter how many times I get him to roll over, within minutes, he’s facing me again, snoring.

And not gentle snores.  *sigh*

But I’m coming up on 18 months.  I’m determined that this will be a wonderful, cheery Christmas.

That the tears won’t overwhelm me.

That the pain won’t consume me.

I won’t be alone this Christmas – my daughter, my two youngest sons, my step sons and my boyfriend will all be here.

It doesn’t change the facts.   This is the 2nd Christmas without him.  Another milestone.

I’m curious why it seems harder as time goes on?  Shouldn’t it be getting easier?  These “dates”?

I wish I could sleep.  That… that would just be perfect.  I have a 9am appointment tomorrow – I need sleep.

Eighteen months.   It seems like a lifetime.  It seems like yesterday.  I still look around wondering WTF happened to my life…

Life Is Short

Panicky Feelings

When does the panick stop?

After my husband had his heart attacks, I panicked for about a year.  The phone needed to be on my person and accessible at all times, there were numerous check in texts and phone calls and I stressed if I didn’t get a response from him or hear from him when expected.

After about a year, the panick slowly released it’s stranglehold on me.  I stressed less and less and learned to live with uncertainty again.

2 1/2 years after that – when we’re all “ok” my husband went into the hospital.  Again, the panick of not being able to be reached, the stress of having to keep the phone on me at all times, the worry that this illness or that illness will finally kill him.

And then he died.

My son is sick right now with influenza.   When I left for work, I could hear him snoring – I knew he was ok.   On my drive home for lunch however (this is a 5 minute drive, mind you) I started to panick.

What if his fever spiked and he died in the 4 hours since I’d left for work?  What if he was laying there and I never got to say good bye?  How would I handle my baby’s death? (he’s 12)  What if he was DEAD????

Not really productive – and my relief was overwhelming when I walked in my house and he’s watching TV in the basement.

But I want to know… when will the unreasonable, irrational panick stop?

He’s a healthy 12 year old boy.  I know that bad things happen to healthy boys – a friend of mine almost lost her son to an unidentified brain infection.

My husband’s illness and passing was not expected.

Healthy people get sick and die suddenly.

I want to move past that panick.  I want to not wonder if my child is DEAD because he’s got influenza.

Friends who are on the same journey – how long before the panick subsides? How long before my child with a fever won’t have me worried that he may not survive?

How long before I can breathe easily?

Death Leaves A heartache

Talking To Kids

I’ve been debating the merits of counselling and grief support for my sons.

I found a grief counselor who wanted me to come in and have a session with her before she would see my son.

Yesterday, we’re watching PS I Love You and the widow in the movie is having flashbacks/visitations from her deceased husband and Andrew turns to me and says “Does Dad talk to you still?”

He does sometimes.

I asked him if Dad talked to him – he said no.  I asked him if he dreamed about Dad.  He said no.   I asked him if he ever woke from a sleep, not having dreamed but in a really great mood.

He said yes.

I told him that it probably was his Dad, coming to him in dreams, and he seemed satisfied.

It’s the first time in recent memory that Andrew’s brought up his Dad to me without my prompting.

Makes me feel better that he’s not seeing a counselor.   Because he’s still talking.

Pictures 087

My Greatest Fear

Stupid me, watching PS I Love You.

Quick recap – it’s about the love letters a man left for his wife to be opened once a month after he died.

I love Mark.  I loved our life together.  I know that he wouldn’t want me to be alone.  I know he had a hand in Mike and I getting together.  I know that he wanted for me to love and live life to the fullest.     He and I had talked about that, many times.

Mike and I are awesome together.  I love him. He fixes the cracks in my broken heart by being who he is and loving me.

My greatest fear is that I will go through widowhood again… with Mike.  I’m afraid of losing him and having to go through the enormous, overwhelming, painfully torturous grief again.

I am a widow.  Regardless of where life takes Mike and I, regardless of what my legal relationship status ends up being…. I will always always be Mark’s widow.

I’m terrified of being Mike’s widow as well.   I’m terrified of having to go through Mike’s stuff and of losing Mike’s smell, and not ever hearing Mike’s voice again.

It’s not going to stop me from loving Mike and creating a beautiful life with Mike… but the fear lingers, in the back of my brain… in the deep recesses of my emotions….

How will I cope if he dies?

Tucked In MY Heart

Source of Anxiety (Daily Prompt)

A lot of my blog posts are emotionally driven.  Something happens, I have a reaction, I must write about it.

Lately, more of my posts are prompted.

I wonder – does that mean my ability to write is being compromised?  That my creativity is waning?  Or just that the emotional turmoil is settling and I don’t get as much charge out of writing the more mundane things about being a widow?

I’m certainly more articulate, more passionate when there’s feelings fuelling the posts.  But when I’m chronicling the little bits… I wonder if I’m still having the same impact.  Do my readers still get the same satisfaction out of reading this?

Then I remember… I’m writing for me.

Except I’m not anymore.  I am, but I’m also writing for the people out there who may come across my blog and realize… they are not alone in this.

They are not the only one with multiple kids who’s husband died after a long illness.   They are not the only widow who started dating shortly after their spouse’s death.  They are not the only one involved in a new relationship barely a year after their spouse’s death.

They are not the only one dealing with twin rivers of grief/sorrow and love/joy.

So I worry… does my writing suffer when I’m not “divinely inspired” but have a prompt to guide me?   Or does it make me a better writer because I can start something based on 3 words… and realize that I’m not the only writer out there who worries that their writing isn’t good enough?

The book is still coming… I just have to heal enough to write it.   In the meantime, I’ll try to keep the anxiety about my blog writing at bay…  The source of my anxiety is not that I *have* to write… it’s that I wonder if I’ll ever run out of things to say… if I’ll run out of things to write about.

Twin Rivers of Emotion

It’s been said that hate is the opposite of love.  That sorrow is the opposite of joy.

That, my friends, is simply untrue.

Hate and love and sorrow and joy – they are all the opposite of apathy and indifference.

Feeling versus not feeling.

Some days I’d like the “not feeling” because the feeling is just a bit too intense at times.

As the holidays approach, as I create a lovely Christmas for my family, the level of joy I feel about my first Christmas with my new love and his boys is directly proportional to the level of sorrow I feel that we’re spending another Christmas without Mark.

It’s entirely possible to feel two things at once.  To feel happiness and sadness together, like twin rivers of emotion running through my body, running through my soul.

Some days, the river of joy catches me and carries me along.  Some days the river of sorrow catches me and pulls me into it.

Some days… I’m fighting to stay upright as they both pull at me.

Christmas hurts.  Christmas is awesome.  Christmas is joy.  Christmas is love.  Christmas is sorrow.

I want to just feel one or the other – the constant tug of both is exhausting…

All I want for Christmas

One Year Ago…

I was so so deep in grief… I don’t know how I managed to survive that first 6 months.

I was angry.

I was at peace.

I was all over the place.

Now… I’m just here… low level depression and sadness punctuated with deep grief and intense joy.

Not nearly as all over the place as I was, and much more relaxed about life.

I still miss you Mark.  Almost 18 months since you’ve been gone.

Mark's Urn