19 Days

19 days.

In 19 days I will have been a widow for 4 years.

19 days.

The blanket of sadness, the heaviness of grief, it pulls me further down each day.

19 days.

My world changed forever that day. Everything I am, everything I wanted in my life, it all spun out of control and flipped me upside down.

19 days.

There’s a new someone in my life. He makes me smile.  I’ve smiled more in these last 5 days than I have in a long time.

19 days.

Each moment that I get closer to that point brings me further from him. Brings me further from being Mrs. Mark Smith.

19 days.

Each day I spend with the new someone… brings more smiles and more joy.

19 days.

The grief does not end.  It does not stop hurting. The wound may have started to heal, but it still reminds me, if I move the wrong way, that it is very capable of being ripped open at any moment.

19 days.

Interspersed with the grief is the joy and anticipation of what’s new and exciting.  The anticipation of what may be.  The now of what is.

19 days.

Nothing will stop the passage of time. Time will keep moving me towards June 26.  And I will, one day, one hour, one minute at a time, remember and grieve over the loss of an amazing man, incredible father, and wonderful husband.

19 days.

Nothing will stop the passage of time.  Time will keep moving me towards June 26. And I will, one day, one hour, one minute at a time, enjoy the fuck out of the smiles I’m getting with my new someone. I will enjoy the hell out of the joy he’s bringing to my life.

19 days.

In 19 days I will grieve, hard and heavy, over the loss of my old life.

20 days.

I will wake up on day 20… and embrace the new.  Because as much and as hard as I grieve over Mark… I want joy in my life again.  And joy and grief are not incompatible.  I can live an amazing life, experiencing them both.

Tucked In MY HeartNew BeginningsMoving on

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I was on a short road trip with a couple of my derby peeps today. At some point, someone said to me something about my posts on Facebook being more relaxed, calm and more at peace with being alone.

I sorta had to stop and think about that for a minute.

I am at peace with being alone.  I am at peace with not having someone to snuggle up to every night.

I am not lonely. Not right now. I am not struggling with how to do everything on my own, and who am I going to share my life with.

I have 2 beautiful, intelligent, articulate, funny and amazing young men I get to call my sons living with me.  Some days they are more than enough company. Some days they drive me nutty.  But I like just the “them and me” parts of our lives.

I wish they were a bit smaller, but then if they were.. .they wouldn’t have gotten as much time with their Dad before he died.   So I’m glad they’re not.

But they are amazing. And when they give me their time and attention, it’s an awesome time.  My Andrew is so funny and so fun to be around.  Luke is mostly his awesomely sweet self (unless he’s in hell monster teenaged mode)

But for the most part, I’m good with my time alone.  I get to control the TV.  I get to control the music.  I get to decide if I want steak or macaroni for dinner.  I paint the walls the colour I want.

I don’t feel a desperate need to find someone who wants to fill the hole because the hole HAS been filled.  I filled it.  I filled it with memories that make me smile, joy in my children, a life I love, and enjoyment of my own company.

Life is truly good.  And I don’t know that I’d trade what I have for what I had.  I miss him terribly.  But my life is GOOD and that’s amazing.

Peace

(disclaimer: I’m a widow, with widda brain.  I reserve the right to feel completely the opposite tomorrow… LOL)

It Was Meant To Be…

When I was in employment flux, between my first and second seasons at BC Wildfire, I went to a career counsellor, jumped through some hoops and decided on Licensed Practical Nurse as my upgrade/career path.

My reasons:

  1. The amazing nurses who inspired me.
  2. To be of service
  3. To be there for other people going through what I went through (simliar to #2)
  4. Employability.
  5. Mobility OR stability.

What I didn’t remember… was it was something I had thought about a long time ago.

This was part of an update post on April 13, 2012.  Almost 3 months after he initially went into the hospital.

Mark Healing Community Post

I can’t do a point/arrow/highlight on a picture in a wordpress blog, but right in the middle… It says..

“If I could do it over again I would go into nursing or surgery because that was AWESOME to watch.”

 “I would go into nursing”

And yah.  In 2 months, I will be in nursing.

It was meant to be.  It is happening.

I know for a lot of widows/widowers, the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is cause for white hot rage, seriously offended, going to throat punch the speaker reactions.

For me?  It’s the truth.

Everything happened.  For. A. REASON.

I am exactly where I should be in my life.

I am doing what I am supposed to.

All avenues, all options have closed off and the path towards nursing is brightly lit, clear and safe.

Path

I know where I’m supposed to go from here. I can see the way, and without EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED…

I wouldn’t be here.

I’d be in Squamish still (miss my friends!) working with Co-operators, selling life insurance and probably doing an amazing job at it.

I’d have a husband who requires round the clock care with a recovery measured in years not months.

I’d be exhausted.  My kids would come second to my husband’s needs.  My husband would feel guilty about that.  He’d feel helpless and hopeless and lost and a burden.  I would probably spend more time trying to make him understand that he’s not a burden than just loving him, because he’d need that from me, from us.

The reality is, life would have amazing beautiful moments.  I would still be Mrs. Mark Smith.  I wouldn’t resent it for a moment.   But it would be my life, focussed entirely on my husband.

But now, I’m allowed to shine.

A friend of mine blogged a long time ago… he gave me my life back.  I know that he’d be here if he could… but in the end, he loved me, loved his family enough to let us out of the limbo we were in.  He loved us enough that he would have fought if there were any real options left.  But there weren’t.  So he let go, and let us move forward.

And now… where I’m supposed to be is coming to fruition.

I love him so much more for being willing to let go.  For doing what’s best for EVERYONE, instead of holding on and keeping us in that holding pattern.  It shows how amazing of a person he was.   And I wish everyone who reads this could have met him.  Could have known him.

He was so incredible and I was so blessed to have been loved by him.  So blessed to have been his wife for 13 years.  So blessed to be the mother of his children.  So very blessed to have loved him to his last breath.

The “Perfect” Widow

WTF does that even mean?

Seriously?

I was accused of trying to be the “perfect” widow – go to all the widow camps, connect with all the widowed people, have all the widowed friends, blog about what it’s like to be a widow, hold on tight to the memory and love of a dead guy…. ?

I *have not* dealt with the death of my husband.  Not in any *meaningful* way.

I have adjusted to the pain and the grief.  I have found joy again.  I have lost that joy.  It still sits there, the pain and grief, snuggled up just behind my heart, waiting for a moment I least expect it to claw it’s way to the surface again.

I am living a full, rich life.  I am living it alone, but it’s me and my boys against the world.

So WTF?  What does it mean to be a “perfect” widow?

I’m not perfect at anything.  I wasn’t a perfect wife.  I wasn’t a perfect girlfriend.  I am not a perfect mother.  I fail to be perfect at as a sister, a daughter, a friend, an employee, a co-worker or a human being in general.

I am not perfect.

I am just me. 

I myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” – Augusten Burroughs

I am just me.  I am broken.  But I am healing.

Kintsugi My_Bruised_Heart_by_murtada_king (1)

And I will not deny a part of me, a life that was forced upon me, an event that irrevokably changed me.

I am a mother, I am a sister, I am a daughter, I am an employee.  And I am a widow.

It is a badge I wear with pride.  I loved someone until his last breath.  And that, my widowed, non-widowed, about to become widowed friends… is a magical fairy tale they said did not exist… I loved him as long as he lived. 

And I will love him as long as *I* live. 

Mar & Jane Wedding

 

Would You Change?

For my widda peeps. If you could… would you change the outcome? Looking at your life now, would you change what happened, alter your life as it is to have your late spouse back? Or would you leave your life as it is? I know we all miss our spouse… and for many, it’s the first year, first couple years… but especially for those who are further out… would you change it? Would you give up what you have now to have what you lost?

(These are the questions I’m pondering lately)

This is the question I posed to all my widow friends yesterday in a facebook status, and in a private group. 

The answers ranged from HELL YES!  to NO!

Most ranged somewhere in the middle.

What I found interesting was… the widows/widowers who are in a new relationship, the ones who have found their 2nd Chapter… they all said no, they wouldn’t.   But most of the singles?  Most of the ones who were still fairly connected to their deceased spouse?  They would in a heartbeat.

One gentleman, I don’t know what his situation is.   But he was one of the hell yes! people.   I assume he’s not re-coupled.

For myself?  When I was with my man who was my 2nd Chapter, the answer was no.   Before?  It was a hell yes!   Now?  I’m on the fence.

But what about you dear reader?  Would you change your life as it is NOW to get back what you HAD if you had the choice?

Tucked In MY Heart

Almost 2 Years

I’m in the home stretch.

2 years ago we were in the midst of a miraculous recovery from lactaid levels that were “not compatible with life” that came down to a healthy level again overnight.

I wish I’d known it was the beginning of the end.

I wish I’d known I would have just over 3 weeks left with him.

I wish I’d known.

I wouldn’t have done anything differently… maybe that last weekend I’d have visited instead of assuming that everything was going to be exactly as it had been for the past 5 months.

But I didn’t have the gift of foresight.  I did have the gift of 3 more weeks… but I didn’t know they would be the last 3 weeks.

It’s been almost 2 years.

I miss him as much now as I did the day he died.

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Big Bike Ride

In 2009, my late husband had a heart attack.  He had been having chest pains for about 2 weeks prior, but neglected to tell me because he figured they were related to his ankylosing spondylitis.

 

That changed our world forever.

 

Then 3 months later, he had another one.

 

I wouldn’t have gotten another 3 years with him, without the amazing skills of the doctors and nurses.   All of which was backed by the reasearch done by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

 

In just over a week, I’ll be doing the Big Bike Ride with the Heart & Stroke Foundation in Williams Lake.

 

I’m hoping to raise at least $250.

 

If you have $5, $10, $20 or more that you’re willing to donate – please go here to donate: http://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1096476&lis=0&supId=408088118

 

He died in June 2012.   In 23 days it will have been 2 years.   I recently was looking through old texts and saw one from him that said he was going to get serious now about losing weight and getting healthy.

 

3 days later he went into the hospital.

 

He didn’t die of a heart issue – although his heart was affected – but I believe that the pancreatitis came on as a result of the many medications he was on due to both the ankylosing spondylitis and the heart condition.

 

I am grateful for every day I got with him.   I want to help others have those days with their loved ones.

 

Mark in Fruitvale