Happy New Year!

It’s a hard time of year for those who lost someone.

I received an email from someone this morning who lost their husband on Christmas morning.

I can’t offer her any words of comfort.  There is nothing comforting I can say or offer her.

I had a fantastic, amazing, incredible New Years. I rang in 2018 with my Chapter 2.  I thought about my late husband for a bit before my Sexxy Chef got home.

I reflected on the way my life has changed this past year, the things that have become very important to me and the things that are no longer important.

I miss him.  I miss the life we had.

I wouldn’t trade my past with him for anything. It still boggles my mind that he’s NOT here.  It still seems incredibly surreal that he’s been gone for 5 1/2 years.  Each June 26, each January 1 brings me that much closer to him being gone for longer than I had him.

If you’re reading this and you’re hurting from the loss of a loved one… it does get different.

Not better, just different. It did for me, anyhow.

I miss him. I love my life now.  The two are not diametrically opposed.  They co-exist in my heart (mostly) seamlessly.

If you’re hurting… reach out. If not to someone in your life, find an online group, send me an email, anything.  But reach out.  Life is good.  It sucks right now but it can be good again.

Happy 2018!  happy-new-year-wishes


18 Years

Today would have been 18 years married.  We were together a year and a half before we got married, so we were coming up on 20 years together.

It has been 5 years since I’ve seen him. Touched him. Heard his voice. Listened to his heart beating.

I am afraid, most of all, of being without him longer than I was with him.  I am jealous of those people who had 30, 40, 50 years.  One client I talk to was a few months shy of 60 years before their spouse died.

Every day, every month, every year, takes me that much further away from when I last saw him and that much closer to the day when I’ll have been without him longer than with him.

I’m not destroyed today.  But I am sad.  And I am doing a lot of self care. And my lovely sexxy chef has been amazing in supporting me and helping me through this day.

Happy Anniversary to the dead guy.

Mar & Jane Wedding

It’s Your Birthday.

I’m writing this a day early.

You see, tomorrow is your birthday.  But it’s also date night. And while it’s your birthday, you’re DEAD and I have date night with my LIVING fiance.

I had to think this morning. I had to count the number of years you’d been gone vs how old you were when you died in order to remember that this would have been your 54th birthday.

It’s not that I don’t miss you – I miss you with every fibre of my being. It makes me cry when I stop and think about it.  I keep myself so busy that I don’t have time to stop and think a lot of the time.  I don’t want to miss you that much when I’m snuggled up to him. I don’t want to be laying in bed with him and wishing it were you.

I don’t want to be sad about you and have him make jokes to cheer me up when I just want to miss you.

I need those things to be somewhat separate. I need to miss you when I miss you and love him when I love him. They do intersect – he’s freaking amazing when it comes to my grief over you.

But there’s a shame, a guilt about missing you when I’m so happy with him. I don’t want to make him feel bad for not being you – but I don’t want him to be you – I want him to be him.

But it’s YOUR birthday tomorrow.  My 5th without you. My 6th without you at home. Actually my 7th without you at home – you were with Wade on your 48th, remember? You spent that birthday with Wade, the next birthday in the hospital and then you were gone.

Happy Birthday my Forever 49 Love.  You are missed. You are loved. You are always remembered.



4 days ago, it was the 19th anniversary of Mark telling me he loved me.

4 days ago, it was Valentines day.

I’m not big on the “hallmark” holiday that is Valentines Day.

He loves me… he tells me daily.  He shows me in the little things he does.  I don’t need a holiday to celebrate our love.

I have our anniversary.

I have the anniversary of the day he first told me he loves me.

I have those little days and moments and memories.

And now I don’t share them with him.  I remember them. I remember that on the anniversary of the day he told me he loved me, he told me “Happy Anniversary” 5 years ago.  Only 4 months before he died.

I remember the day he told me… how everything in my world tilted on it’s axis.

And I have my Sexxy Chef who works on Valentines…. so the day for us is fairly meaningless. We did have a dinner a couple nights before, he gave me the most beautiful purple rose, and he gave me some chocolates.  It was sweet, romantic and amazingly beautiful.

But Valentine’s Day? I spent a couple hours being sad. Remembering Mark and the love we shared.  Missing him.  Missing the connection we had.

I love him still. I always will.

February 14 is a day on the calendar. It’s also the day he first told me he loved me. But it means nothing in terms of the hallmark holiday that generates so much income for local businesses….


End of Another Year…

Here I am, 6 hours away from the calendar flip over from one year to the next.

I am alone, sorta.  Hanging with my youngest son and his friend.

My Sexxy Chef is working, my older son is with his girlfriend.

While my Sexxy Chef will be off work in about 3 hours, I’ve volunteered to DD to help raise funds for my roller derby team.  We’ll spend maybe half hour, an hour together on our first New Year’s Eve together.

I will spend the evening with my daughter.  My oldest is in another town, and I’ll send him a text around midnight.

This is not the New Year’s Eve I anticipated.

I accept… that the Sexxy Chef has to work. I accept it. I understand it. I understand that the nature of his job means that he can’t join me in volunteering because of tomorrow’s work schedule.

I accept that.

I don’t like it.

I have spent too many New Year’s Eve’s alone in the past 5 years.

Before Mark went into the hospital, New Years was puzzles. Drinks.  And after I met Kathy it was a party.

It was surrounded by people.

This alone thing… feels weird.

New Year’s 2012 – Party at the Dunlops’
New Year’s 2013 – New relationship, don’t really remember New Years – was in a relationship that ultimately failed and posted *nothing* about what was going on on Dec 31, 2013
New Year’s 2014 – single, quiet evening.
New Year’s 2015 – single, went to a party. Won (?) mother of the year award by dragging my kids to said party (it was kid friendly) and let them have a couple drinks.  Sent them home, stayed and tried to make myself feel better about my life by hooking up with a random.

This year, I’m in a fantastic relationship with a man I love.  I am looking forward to our life together.

I’ve cried less over Mark.

I’ve cried more intensely over Mark.

I’ve found someone who will hold me and keep me together while I fall apart over Mark.

Christmas came and went… no tears shed, although it felt like I was going to on several occasions.

So another year has gone by.  Every year marks one more that I’ve been without him. Every year is one closer to longer without him than I was with him.  That frightens me.

It’s been almost 5 years since he got sick.  4 1/2 since he died. And while my future looks fucking amazing… I miss the future that isn’t.

But it’s a happy New Year.  Despite being mostly alone, I’m surrounded by people who love me… I am blessed with many friends and a whole ‘nother family.

I hope your New Year shows promise of joy and laughter.  If you’re reading this, fresh out from the loss of someone you love, know that it doesn’t get better, but it gets different. The pain you feel now will become a part of you, and you will feel joy again. It’s not the same as before…there’s always a thread of sadness and missing your person that will run through everything, but it becomes a part of who you are and the laughter and joy will be genuine.

You’re not alone, no matter how alone you feel right now. There’s a whole community you can reach out to – starting with me.  And I can help you find someone closer if you’re looking for someone in your time zone.

Happy New Year to all my widda peeps and to all the friends and family who have been there for me the last 5 years.


The Curse of Conflicting Emotions

It’s been 3 1/2 years.  Almost exactly.

He’s dead.  He’s not coming back.  They took his body, stuck it in an incinerator and presented me with a very lovely, beautifully decorated box of what remained of him.

Some of his cremains are in the Squamish River.

Some of them are in various other rivers.

Some of them are in my skin.

Some of them sit on a shelf in my living room.

Some of them travel with me as I go to various places.

But he’s GONE.

And his absence leaves a hole in my heart that I don’t know how to heal.  Every new thing, every milestone that hits the wound rips open and bleeds a little more.

At the same time, I can’t live in constant pain.  I get told by people that I am grieving too hard, having a pity party, holding on to the past.

I get ripped open by people because I still love a dead guy and the dead guy’s absensce still causes me enormous amounts of pain.

How do I live with both? I thought it was going to be a matter of I fell in love again, the new love would give me joy, the joy would buffer me against the sadness but when the sadness hit, the new love would be the blanket I would wrap myself in while the pain washed over me.

The new love didn’t see it that way, and that fell apart, and now I live with loving a dead guy AND a live guy, neither of whom I can lean on, neither of whom I have a promise of growing old with.

I want to be happy again. I have been. I am.  But I want to be HAPPY.  I want to be sitting in my own living room, not dragged down by depression and sadness and grief.  I want to be as ok alone as I am when I’m snuggled up to someone.

I wonder; am I holding on too hard, missing him too much, trying to be the “perfect” widow? ?

Or am I just feeling, just loving, just being?

Someone said it’s at least 5 years before the pain won’t rip me apart anymore.  And then I read from other widows who are STILL going through pain as fresh and acute as it was 3 1/2 years ago, 2 1/2 years ago, a year and a half ago, 6 months ago… it still hurts.  It’s still painful and lonely and sad for them.

And I don’t want to be there.  But how to live with both?  The joy of a future being built as the pain of a future lost?

I don’t know.  I don’t know the answer.

Just as I can’t act my age because I’ve never been this old before, I can’t manage my grief because I’ve never been 3 1/2 years a widow before…

It's Going to be Ok Someday

I am Naked.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

At least long enough to read this… LOL  then go back to the gutter – I’ll meet you there 😉 😛

Lately, I haven’t been wearing any rings or necklaces.

The only jewelry I’ve been wearing is my UP! band, my Hope Matters bracelet from Camp Widow and the watch my mom gave me.

I frequently touch my fingers, my chest, looking for the jewelry that normally adorns me.

But I am naked.

Part of this is deliberate.

The rings I was wearing were my wedding ring and my family ring.

The necklace was either my ash pendant I had bought after my husband died, or the heart pendant my ex gave me for my birthday last year.

I have removed them… because I want to find me.

So I am naked.

Taking them off for me is a symbol of finding myself.  Getting naked to my soul.   Breaking out of the labels of who I was and forging who I am and who I will be.

My daughter made an observation to me this morning… about how I will make a decision:

It’s true! You’ve got the first to steps down, you just tend to loose the confidence after you’ve decided to do it.
Then you feel like your not doing te right thing. It’s kinda funny actually.
And it got me thinking…
And when I thought about it… she’s right.
I make a decision.  I head in that direction.  And then I doubt myself.  I doubt my abilities, my decision making, my choices.
I can feel it happening with school.  With my job.  With my life.
And I want it to stop.  So… I will.
My resolution for 2015 is to trust myself.  Trust my choices.  Trust my decisions.   Believe in me.
I am a widow.  I have learned so much about myself and who I am and what I want.   Now I get to believe in it.   I get to be my OWN Chapter 2.   I get to write my OWN story.   With me as the star.   There’s a blog post in that.   I’ll write it later.

Just Like That New Beginnings PhoenixRising