Missing Him Lately

I spend a lot of time with ALC/LTC patients and residents lately.

Helping them with body care, helping them eat, helping them walk, helping their lives have meaning.

Some of them talk.

Some of them don’t.

The ones that don’t, I try to have “conversations” with them… but I’m not super good and it leaves me with time to think.

Would this have been my life if he’d lived? Or would he have recovered to be independent again? Or would it have been, no matter what, the beginning of the end?

The what if’s get me.

What if he’d lived? What if he’d pushed that one more time? What if?

And WHY THE FUCK DID HE HAVE TO DIE?

Why do I have to navigate this world without him who understood me so well? Why do I (as much as I do love him) have to navigate everything with my new husband who doesn’t *quite* get it? Who I have to work at having good communication with?

Why did other people get to survive what he went through and he didn’t?

Why did I have to be a widow?

Why the fuck?

I’ll never have the answers and this will never be a thing I’m *over* because how do you get over losing someone you love so deeply?

Lately it’s been super freaking hard managing the grief. It hits me out of no where and I always feel like crying.  7 years gone. That’s half the time I had with him. I want more.

Stages-of-GriefMark in Fruitvale

Happy and Sad

My Facebook feed is full of two types of posts today:

I’M SO HAPPY AND IN LOVE AND I HAVE THE BEST SPOUSE EVER!

and

I’M SO SAD BECAUSE I MISS MY DEAD SPOUSE

interspersed with the occasional:

HAPPY SINGLES AWARENESS DAY!  and the memes that go along with that.

And on one hand… I am so very happy with my husband (who is currently making me breakfast as I type) and very much in love with him.

On the other…. I miss the guy who first told me 21 years ago that he loves me. 21 years. That’s how long we’d have been together. That’s how long I’ve loved that man.

6 years ago he woke from his coma, remembered it was our “in love” anniversary and told me.

Today… a completely different man loves me and tells me that every day.

So it is a happy/sad day. A good/bad day. A day of love and a day of grief.

But that’s the way it always is…

Happy 21st anniversary my Love.  I will love you for the rest of my life.

Birth and Death

My newest grandchild was born two weeks ago at 10:17am.

She was a perfect 9lbs 2oz.

One minute, there was a pregnant daughter with one child… the next, there was a new little human being.

Ok, maybe longer than a minute.  But you know what I mean. It was a shift in our worlds.  She went from momma of 1 to momma of 2.

It seems somewhat surreal… just like when he died.  One minute I was a wife, the next?  A widow.

Life happens in moments.  The moment of birth. The moment of death. The moment of “I do.”

Life happens when you least expect it.  And it’s all intertwined. Changes happen and life continues and you miss someone so fiercely you can’t breathe and you love someone new so fiercely you can’t breathe and it’s ALL THERE AT ONCE.

I miss Mark with every fibre of my being.

I love my grandchildren to the moon and back.

I love Ryan with every fibre of my being.

None of these are in conflict with the other. None of these cancel out the other.

One moment I was a wife, the next a widow.

One moment I was a widow/girlfriend/fiance, the next I was a wife.

One moment my daughter was pregnant, the next I had a new baby granddaughter.

Birth and death and everything in between. Everything changes in a moment.

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I Fucking Forgot

19 year today.

I forgot. Sometime last week I had remembered – but this morning I woke up and the date didn’t register.

Until I looked at my phone and saw the memories.

I tried to put it out of my mind… my husband was laying in bed with me, getting all frisky, and I wanted to get frisky as well.

Except he’s sometimes incredibly perceptive and asked what was wrong.

I’m like.. yah… I’m fine… and tried to kiss him… and then he asked again…and there, in the middle of getting frisky with my new husband, I’m crying over the dead one.

Did I mention how amazing my Sexxy Chef is?

He held me close. Loved me. Let me cry.

And I spent the day in and out of tears and sadness.

But he let me cry. He loved me. He held me while I cried over my dead husband.

Truth is… I’ll never stop loving or missing the dead guy. I’ll never stop missing him or wishing he’d not died.

Especially on days like today.

Happy (would have been) 19th Anniversary my love.  You will always have a piece of my heart. I will love you as long as I live. Thank you for loving me and allowing me to be your happily ever after, until death do us part.

Mar & Jane Wedding

The Month of Changes

So much has happened in the past 37 days.

It started with a bachelorette party. On my dead husband’s birthday. Weirdness and shit. But fun.  Glitter dicks everywhere. Drunk me danced the night away. Drunk me decided to walk home late in the night with one of my bridesmaids.  Drunk me had a good time.  Hungover me was not impressed with drunk me. It was a weird thing, celebrating my upcoming nuptuals with a new guy on my dead guy’s birthday. My daughter planned the day and it was fantastic.

Then the wedding.  What a glorious, fantastic day. It was amazing and magical and incredible. My Smith family showed up which made it so much better. I stood there at my reception, staring at what is now all 6 branches of my family. The Smiths, the Cavanaghs, the Teichmans, the Mortimers, the Leylands, and the Beech’s. As I said then… some people are blessed to find one great love in their life. I have been blessed to find two. Loving my Sexxy Chef does not mean my love for my dead guy has changed. The heart expands and grows to encompass more love. And I am blessed far more than I feel I deserve with all the love that surrounds me.

Fairy Tale Wedding
Photo credit Throughout Time Photography

Last night… my 3rd child graduated. Mark was watching, somewhere, I know. The tiny baby who was smaller than our cat at the time… is now a grown up adult. Graduated from high school.  Ready to start life as an adult. But in that face… I still see the tiny baby. I still see the tiny human who kept me up for an hour every hour. And I remember all the plans we had, the promises we made, the hopes and dreams we had for the future and our children and grandchildren…

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Andrew Grad 2018

My heart hurts for all that he’s missing. But my heart is full of love and life and laughter at the same time. It’s a strange dichotomy.

It is June 23. Typically the time between May 18 and June 26 is a slow progression of increasing stress and pain and fighting to convince my brain that suicide is not an option. With all that has happened it has kept me distracted from that. It’s amazing how much LIVING can keep me from wanting to die.

I still hurt though. I sat in my living room last night, fighting tears, fighting the pain of him not being here, not really succeeding but holding it together enough.

The excitement is all done.  The planning/preparation for the wedding is complete.  Graduation has passed. And I’m faced with 3 more days before his angelversary.

I’m left with my thoughts, my feelings, and the reality of somehow balancing my love and excitement of being married to my new husband with the abject, overwhelming pain of not having my dead husband here. I’m not sure how to balance that. Any suggestions would be fantastic.

On the drive up to decorate the hall for my wedding, my graduate asked me why we had a picture of Dad. I said it was to go on the display of people who we miss and wish were here.  He was like… …ok… and I laughed and said… of course if Dad was here, we wouldn’t be doing this.  He laughed as well…and we carried on.

Such is the strange dichotomy of a remarried widow, a new wife, who has been blessed with a man who loves her enough to accept all of her… the past, the present and the future.

I am blessed.

Holding Hands Ceremony
Photo credit Throughout Time Photography

‘Twas the Night Before the Wedding…

Can this be the only time I write this blog?  The night before my wedding?

Because I don’t believe in divorce.  And I sure as FUCK don’t want to be widowed twice…

So tonight, before I marry my Sexxy Chef, I’d like to make sure this is the only time I write, on my widows blog, that this is the night before my wedding.

I am full of conflicting emotions.

Excitement to be his wife.

Sad to let go of the name I’ve had for the majority of my adult life.

There was a conversation between my future sister-in-law and me tonight while we were decorating.

In the “memorial” for those who have passed… we included Mark.

She asked, somewhat hesitantly, “Is Ryan ok with this?”

Yes, yes he is.  He’s ok with it. He knows that I’m not coming into this marriage fresh and free with no past. He knows that part of my heart forever belongs to Mark.  He’s ok with it because Mark was my past and he is my future.

I don’t stop being a widow because I’m getting married.

I don’t just turn off the feelings about my dead husband because I’m about to have a live husband.

Changing my name doesn’t change how I feel about the men I love.

But I am blessed to have someone who loves me enough to walk through fire with me, to weather the grief storm with me, to build a future on a foundation of love with me.

So on the night before my wedding… sleeping alone in my bed for the first time in a long while… I get to reflect on how lucky I am to have loved, not once, but twice, enough to wear the title of wife. How lucky I am to have been someone’s happily ever after. How lucky I am that tomorrow, I get to marry the man I will spend the rest of my life loving.

Part of my vows to him:

I can’t promise to love you for the rest of your life, but I promise I will love you for the rest of mine. 

I will love Mark for the rest of my life.  I will love Ryan for the rest of my life.

My heart is big enough to love them both.

Grief Storms Still Happen

I’m getting married in 24 days.

I was reading a post made by a fellow derby girl who also happens to be a recent widow.

Tears threatened.  I’m at work.  Not cool.

And then I was blogging on the other site (my fitness blog) and adding a picture to it and there was my husband’s face.  His glorious, handsome, full of love, face.

And tears again.

Dammit.

I’m 24 days away from my wedding.

I’m so in love with my fiance. I am looking forward to spending my life with him.

And I am incredibly lucky that he understands that the grief storms do not in any way diminish those two statements.

6 years out. I’m coming up on my hell month – the time between Mark’s birthday and his death day.  And all the dates in between.  And I quite deliberately stuck my wedding date in there.

Because grief storms happen.

Grief happens.

Love happens.

Joy happens.

And I don’t want all my life to be about the grief and the sadness.

I am ok with it when it shows up, like tonight but in the end, I want to celebrate life. His life, my life, my new life, my old life.

I want to celebrate who I am and how far I’ve come.

I miss him. I love him. And he is forever a part of me.

And I am happy in life.