Nobody Knows

7 years ago everyone knew me as MarkandJane.

They knew that Mark and Jane were an entity.  They knew Mark’s love of fishing, flyfishing especially. They knew that he had disabilities (although he was careful not to show anyone else how bad it could get).  They knew he adored his kids, and they knew that he was the primary parent in our household.

They knew he was well read, articulate although they might not have known he wasn’t formally educated.

They knew he liked to play World of Warcraft.  I was the only one who knew that he waited until he was alone to do so. He’d tuck me into bed, snuggle for a bit, then get up and go do his thing while I slept.

They knew he was passionate about the environment.  He was angry beyond belief when the train derailed and sanitized the Cheakamus River. And he was heartbroken over it.

They knew he was the go-to guy for all things fishing.

They knew he was an amazing cook who made incredible Bailey’s latte’s.

They knew he and I had an incredible connection, an incredible Love that spans time, distance and death.

And now… I am married to Ryan.  And no one I know up here knows anything about Mark.

How could they? I moved up here a year after he died. I knew no one up here when I moved.

NO ONE KNOWS.

So how the FUCK, if they don’t know… am I supposed to explain to them why I’m crying randomly? Why a stupid song will reduce me to rubble? Why I start leaking for seemingly no reason?

How am I supposed to explain to anyone who sees me in the middle of a grief storm how much it still hurts every. single. day. that he’s gone.

Widows always feel the need to explain… “I DO love my living husband… but…”

It’s horrible. Unless you’ve lived it, how do you explain to someone how much you miss the dead husband even as you’re snuggled up to the live one?

I don’t go looking for grief triggers – but lately they’re finding me. And the leaking has started again.  Randomly, without warning or control.

And at 6 1/2 years out… I look like a mentally and emotionally unstable person instead of a grieving widow.

Which really sucks.

I miss this look:

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I miss the love that shone out of his eyes whenever he looked at me. I see it in all the pictures.  Times I didn’t realize he was looking at me like that.

And so I grieve in this new world of “Mark who?” and hope that the people who catch me at it understand that I’m not emotionally unstable – I’m just missing him.

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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

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to the newest member of my family!!

My daughter gave birth to a beautiful little man on December 21. He is my second grandchild.

This is also my fourth Christmas without him.

It seems so unreal that he’s not here for his grandsons…

I don’t even know how to fathom that.  He wanted grandkids. I wanted more kids, he kept saying that we’d wait for grandkids.

He’d play Santa.

He’d play with them.

He wanted grandkids so very badly.   And he’s not here… Zeddicus Wellington

 

I’m told there will come a point where the pain, the stabbing reminders that he’s NOT HERE will eventually subside and be replaced with joyful memories and gratitude for a happy life shared.

I’d like that for Christmas this year please.

That’s all.  All I want is to smile because it happened, not cry because it’s over.

I want to remember him and honour him and be joyful in the life we shared… while I’m living an amazing life I’ve built.

It hurts… as much as I am joyful, as much as I am in love with my grandsons, it hurts that I can’t share them with him…

I am a Grandma without a Grandpa.

At some point, I’d really like to have my life be about all the things it IS, not what is NOT.

Peace

I am not at peace… not yet… not all the time…

But it is a happy beautiful Christmas this year.  I got a grandson. I got to be there for his birth.  I got to be with all of my children, and my children’s grandparents for “our” Christmas – which we did 2 days early – and I got to see my older grandson over Skype.  And I’ve found 2 dimes from him these last few days.  So I know he’s been around.

It is, it was a beautiful Christmas.

I still miss him.  I still miss our life. And I miss the Metalhead Poet.

But it is an amazing Christmas – even if it didn’t feel very Christmas-y.

Who’s Going to Remember?

Besides me?

Who’s going to remember that he was doing SO well today 3 years ago.

Who’s going to remember that the doctor got the bleed and things were going in the right direction?

Who’s going to remember how tomorrow night I would call after blowing off my visit only to be told that the doctor’s needed to talk to me tomorrow?

Who’s going remember how guilty I felt that out of the last 4 days of his life, I only was there for him 1 of those?

Who’s going to remember that I was in a panick, and that Jeanne showed up to help me stay calm after that call tomorrow?

Who’s going to remember that tonight, 3 years ago, I was NSO’ing a derby game, oblivious that this would be my husband’s last few days?

Who’s going to remember how awful I felt for stealing a tiny bit of joy for my week only to discover that it was his last few?

Who’s going to remember besides me?

Who’s going to care besides me?

Who hurts because of what they missed besides me?

Who, besides me, hurts so much they can barely breathe this week because the angelversary is coming up in 3 days?

I don’t want to be the only one who remembers him.  I know for some, it’s a birthday or just another day, but for me… this is the day my life changed.

Who cares about that besides me?

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This Week

I’m somewhat surprised I’m not more emotional this week.

Mother’s Day 2015.

Alone-ish.  I was with someone I love in the morning… a lovely snuggle and time together.  He wished me happy Mother’s Day.

My kids got up.  My oldest-at-home made me breakfast.  No cards, no big to-do, just a simple breakfast, a hug and a lot of love from all my kids.

I miss the time and effort that was put in before.

And then Thursday morning.

Mark was an avid fisherman.  Loved everything to do with fly-fishing.  Loved watching shows.  Loved doing it.  Was going to teach me how the summer he died.

One of his favourite shows was “Sport Fishing On the Fly”

And then I saw this:

Sport Fishing

And the host.  And there was this instantaneous “OMG-I-HAVE-TO-TELL-MARK-FUCK-HE’S-DEAD” punch in the gut.

And right there… at the gas station… grief storm hits.

Crying on the way to work.  Big ugly sobbing tears.   Wishing I could talk to *someone* about it.

But really?  Who gets it?  Who understands?  Who would be able/willing to just let me lean into them… and be loved while I cried it out?

It’s been close to 3 years.  Specifically it’s been 3 years less 40 days.

I get things like… “why do you still grieve so hard?” and “shouldn’t you be moving forward?”

So who do I talk to? How do I tell someone that a fucking BOAT reduced me to tears?

I don’t even want to talk.  I just want to be wrapped up in his arms and cry until I’ve cried out and then move on with my day.

Instead… I cried my way to work… cleaned up my tears… put on more make up… and went in and smiled a lot.

And in 2 days… 2 more days.. it would have been his 52nd birthday. The man who was supposed to be 50 before I turned 40 will forever be 49…  Gawd… 52… I’m 41… we’ve got one grandbaby and another on the way… and he’s forever 49.

I had wanted to go to visit with his brother for his birthday.  His brother shares the same birthday as he does.  3 years apart.  (and there’s a sister in between!  Their mom must have lost her mind… LOL)

Unfortunately – fire season kicked in and I’m sitting 5 mins away from work in case I get a call.   So no camping with the brother-in-law and nephew for me and my boys.

Between Mother’s Day, the stupid boat, the birthday, and the relationship that is unsure and unsteady with a dash of WTF is going on mixed in… I’m feeling incredibly lonely.

I want the dead guy I love back (but don’t change my life because there’s lots about it I like).

I want the live guy I love to just pull me in his arms and love me until I’m ok again.

I am sitting, waiting for work to call.

The summer before Mark died, he went to visit with his brother on their shared birthday.  I was a little put out that I couldn’t go, that I wouldn’t be around to help celebrate his birthday, but overall, it was a good thing.

I insisted that they take a picture of the two of them on their birthday.

It has been Wade’s profile pic on Facebook since that day.

It reminds me… to take the moments.  Don’t say “next time” because next time, you might be saying goodbye.

Mark & Wade

Happy Birthday Mark & Wade.  I love you both.

Took It Off Again

When my ex-boyfriend and I were trying to work things out, I took off my ash pendant.

For a while… I forgot that I had taken it off. It didn’t cross my mind that I had taken it off.

And then a couple days ago, I found it on my end table.  I wanted to put it away but was in the middle of something else, so I just put it on again.   I forgot about it… wearing jewelry just becomes part of my skin.  If I wear it long enough I feel naked without it on.  If I take it off…after a while I don’t notice its absence.  (ask me about my wedding rings – i haven’t noticed that my fingers are bear in months)

So I put the ash pendant on.

And it bugged me.

It’s heavy.  I don’t know how I didn’t notice that before. It’s REALLY heavy.

And it sits right in my cleavage.  Right where my heart is, right between my boobs. So as I move around it bounces against my boobs.

And… it wasn’t comfortable.   I love it.  It’s beautiful.  It’s a lovely reminder of my dead husband.

But it didn’t *feel* right being on my body again.

I wear him in my skin.  I wear him in my heart. He is forever a part of me.

Maybe, just maybe, I am coming to that place of accpetance and moving on?  Almost fully at the “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened state of mind” that would be so lovely?

Peace

I’d like to think that I’m coming to a place of peace.   To a place of… yes, I am a widow.  Yes, it’s part of what defines me much as being a mom did, being a wife did, being a student does.  It defines me, shapes the way I look at the world, but it is no longer my WHOLE world.

It is a big part of it.  Until I get married again, I’ll still check “widow” on the box, even if I have to write the box in because someone didnt’ think to put it there. Because it is so very much a part of who I am.

But it is no longer the focus of my entire world.

I miss him with every breath.  I wish with ever fibre of my being that we could have had the life we planned.   I think though, that I’m coming to a place of acceptance of what is.   Of the change in our relationship, in the change in my life, in the story I am writing for my own life.

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