Then there’s that moment when…

… your heart is breaking and you want to reach out… but there’s only 2 people who would do…

… one is dead… and the reason your heart is breaking…

… the other has chosen not to be there for you regardless of how many times you’ve asked so you don’t see the point in asking again…

Stupid Grey’s Anatomy.  Amazing writers.  Amazing acting.  Breaking my heart.  Dammit.

Change

I don’t handle change very well.

I get cranky.

I get snappy.

I get grouchy.

And in the end, I realize there was change afoot and I level out.

4 years ago I had a life.  It was solid. My husband and I, raising our children, surrounded by friends and family, I had a good job, he was the primary parent, we had a plan for the future. (mostly involving a lot of fishing and camping and grandchildren)

Then… He got sick.  And was in the hospital.  And then he died.

Since his death… there has been a series of changes.

Dead husband.

Wife to widow.

Back to work.

New relationship.

Quit work

Moved to new town.

New job

Full time step-parent to boys who desperately needed structure and routine in their life.

Mental crash.

Lost my job.

Got new job.  (summer job)

Relationship ended.

Living on my own.

Back to school.

Back to summer job.

Amazing summer job.

Enter into a contract to buy a house.

Summer job ends.

And here I am.

My last 2 years in a nutshell.

Likely, I am not going back to the summer job.  The summer job rocks.  I am sad to leave the summer job.  It is hard.  I worked my ass off to gain the respect of the people I worked with and for.  And I did.  But I also worked my ass off to get to a point where I can go to school and become a nurse.

The change is killing me.  I like stability.  I love my job.  It’s not sustainable, but I love it. In 3 years?  I could just keep going with it.

But I can’t right now.

So I”m in the midst of some huge changes.  Changes that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for my husband’s death. Changes I wouldn’t have even IMAGINED if he were still here.

And I hate change.

But I love where my life is going.

Best advice given by one of my co-workers: “Time to grow up and get a real job”

There’s dreams I never knew I had that are coming true.  People I can’t imagine my life without.

And with every change that takes me further away from the dream I had with my husband… I get to grieve again.  I get to go through the days and days of crying and trying to adjust my brain to “things are different”

And I’m reminded over and over again…  life is never constant.  It always changes.  I’m rolling with it much better than I have in the past, but I’m rolling with it.

And I wouldn’t change things if I could…

Well.  Maybe I’d be skinnier.  But that’s in my control.   So meh.  It’s all good.

I miss him though.  These are celebrations I miss being able to have with him.  Celebrations of what’s new and exciting and I’m celebrating them on my own.

WIdowhood sucks.   But widows rock.

My Widow Card

Someone I admire, I look up to, I have on the *teeniest* of pedestals wrote a blog today that resonated with me.

Especially given that I thought I had a chapter 2.  That I thought I had a forever love again.  And especially given that that ended and here I am, once again, on the eve of my wedding anniversary, alone.

Tomorrow I will go to a waterfall near where I am working and spread some of my husband’s ashes into the river that leads to the water system my husband so dearly loved to fish.

I am deliberately taking two people with me whom I have very little knowledge of who make me laugh while I’m at fire camp.

I’m on purpose not doing this alone.

I may cry.   That’s ok.

But the blog that was written – it expresses how I feel.  I am a widow.  I would have been a wife to the man I love, had it not ended. I would have been both.

I can love the dead guy, at the same time as loving the live guy.

I will not give up my widow card.

HIS LIFE MATTERED.  MY LIFE WITH HIM MATTERED.  THE PAIN MATTERED.

Everything I went through with my husband, through his illnesses, 6 months in the hospital before he finally died with me at his side… IT MATTERED.  And I will not pretend that he is replaceable or that loving someone new means I am no longer in love with him, or that the life I shared with him, the love I shared is irrelevant because I love someone new.

I am a widow.

At some point in the future, I may be a wife again.  I will still be a widow.

None of those facts exclude the other.

Take a moment to read Michelle’s blog.  She’s an amazing woman who I was blessed to meet accidentally in San Diego at Camp Widow 2013, and whom I am sad I won’t get to see in Toronto at Camp Widow this year.

I am a widow.  And I am not revoking my widow card.   Because that part of me MATTERS.

Well Loved 2014

Memories tearing at me…

I have been working close to Squamish for the past 2 weeks. The place where we met.  The place we fell in love. The place we raised our kids. The place he died.

The place I left when I thought I’d found my 2nd chapter.

And while I’ve come back here before… it didn’t seem to affect me the way it had before.

Now. .. the memories are ripping and tearing at me.

*blink*

Where we got married.

*blink*

He’s fishing at the river.

*blink*

He’s walking with our dog.

*blink*

We’re going for a family bike ride.

*blink*

Celebrating a friend’s birthday.

*blink*

The way he looked at me.

*blink*

The morning he had his first heart attack.

*blink*

His brother visiting.

*blink*

Teaching our daughter how to tie flies.

*blink*

Our children’s Christmas concert.

*blink*

Our life.  Our future.

The memories hitting me hard and fast in disjointed sepia and black and white and grey but with the vivd red of his hair….

*blink*

I am here alone.  Without him.  Living a life I never wanted.

The tearing at my soul… all the memories I’d shoved down into the box… he reality of *BEING ALONE*

I am jealous of my repartnered/remarried wid friends.  I am pissed off because the man who waited for me for 23 years gave up on us so easily

I am hurting because at the end of the day. … I go to bed alone and I was supposed to have a forever love and both of the men who promised to love me forever…. both left.

One by death.  One by choice.

And I’m here… alone… missing my life.  Missing my past.  Missing the future promised to me.

And the memories continue to shred my soul.

That Moment…

You’re helping someone pack their house up and you accidentally cut yourself…

And you realize you’re hurting more than you thought because the pain felt GOOD and you want to cut yourself again…. the focused physical pain is easier to handle than the generalized emotional pain.

it’ll pass.  I know it will.   But right now I’m alone in a house that’s not mine with a very sharp knife.

Slow sinking

For the past 4 or 5 days…. I’ve felt this slow sinking into sadness and grief.

The weight of his death getting heavier and heavier.   Yesterday I could feel it in my shoulders and neck. It would occasionally overwhelm me and I’d end up in tears.

It’s an interesting observation.  I hurt so much ibwant an escape.  I want to not feel.  But I know that it’s temporary. I know that when I get through today and I wake up tomorrow… I will feel lighter.  And each day as it comes will also bring the ascent back to enjoyment of my life.

Littler dips happen during the year.  Those dips are not as devastating and not as painful…. but this one…. I fell like I am being dragged down in quicksand…. like someone keeps piling lead blankets over me one at a time…

Tomorrow they’ll start to come off.

But today…. today is about remembering.   Actively remembering who he was and how much he meant to us.

Today, 3 years ago…. my life changed irrevocably.

Mark in Fruitvale

Because it Mattered

I saw tonight that my ex has blocked me from twitter.   He’s blocked me from every social media we shared and yet claims he wants to build a friendship.

It bugs me.  It hurts.

Because it mattered.

Because HE mattered.

and things he does still hurt me.

He said and did some things today that made me wonder if he’s deliberately trying to hurt me.

This is the week.

It matters.  I’m trying to get it to stop mattering.  Eventually one day.

but today?  It matters.  And it hurts.

Epiphanies

I’ve been having a number of small epiphanies lately.

The first started with my counselor.    Oh.  I forgot to mention (or really, have just been too fricken busy to blog) that I finally got in to see a counselor.  Lovely lady.  Just who I need.  Doesn’t sugar coat.  Doesn’t have that soft gentle let’s be nice crap that a lot of counselors do.  She’s kind… but blunt and to the point.

So the first epiphany.

I GET TO BE PICKY.

Seems like common knowledge doesn’t it?  I get to be picky.

If I want a redhead who wears glasses, laughs like the “Navigator” and is passionate about fishing…. well… I’d mostly be trying to replace my husband.

But if one of my deal breakers is that he’s shorter than me…THAT’S OK.  Because I get to be picky.

if I expect that whomever I’m involved with will be living caring and supportive on my wedding anniversary when I’m crying over a dead guy…. THAT’S OK.  Because I get to be picky.

If I want to wear my pendant with my husband’s ashes in it on a date and I expect my date to be ok with that, THAT’S OK. Because I get to be picky.

You see…. I’m who I am. I love deeply.  I love strongly.  And I love to a depth that will affect me for the rest of my life.

I have family, friends who cringe when I post things about my husband’s death.   They grieve in their own way.  For me… the memories don’t go away if I don’t share them.  They fester.  They infect and inflame and I end up laying on my bed again wondering why I bother.

They can grieve how they want.  I will grieve in a way that I need to.  As hard as I need to.  As long as I need to.

And anyone I’m involved with will have to accept that.

Because I’m allowed to be picky.

I got lucky with my dead guy.  He was amazing.  I wasn’t picky…. it was happenstance.

This time…. I am going to be picky.   Because there are other men/women out there who are just amazing as my dead guy.

And he or she is looking for me.

Still Finding Dimes

When I first started finding dimes… I’d tuck them into my bra, and at the end of the night put them in my dime jar.

I still find dimes.  I still tuck them into my bra.

The best part about it now?  Forgetting they’re in my bra and re-finding them at the end of the day.

it’s like a double reminder that Mark is always around.

I am Unmedicated

This may not be a huge deal to a lot of you, but it is to me.

It’s the first time I’ve been deliberately unmedicated in years.   As in, I made a consious choice to be unmedicated.  As in.  I weaned myself off my medication and still have half a prescription full of them.

And I’m sitting here, knowing I have to study for my biology exam tomorrow, and realizing I’m dealing with a freaking anxiety attack.

Not over my exam – I’ll be fine.

But the generalized anxiety that I was hoping was gone forever.

It doesn’t seem to be.

It seems to be a permenant resident in my life.

I don’t want it to be.  And I don’t want to be medicated.

I think back to the things that I could do to alleviated it, without medication.

And the things I’ve used in the past?  Not available to me right now.

Sex was one of them.

Sensations were another.

Anything that would get me out of my head, in my body and centre myself.

And mostly – I got them from my husband.   After my husband, I tried alcohol… I tried drugs… I tried many things.

But none of them were the same as what he did.

My ex?  He was amazing at helping me get to a happy place.

Now… I’m alone… and anxious.  And unable to get to my happy place, my centred place, my wonderful place of peace.

I miss that.  The happy place. I miss him being able to reach over and pull me out of my anxiety.

And I am unmedicated.

I’ll find it eventually… But for now… I have to find my happy place on my own…and soon.  I have a biology exam tomorrow.