Dreams

I dreamed about him the other night.

It was the first time in… I don’t know how long…

He was sick. I had already met my Sexxy Chef.  Fallen in love.  We knew he wasn’t going to survive. I don’t understand how in the dream I could have fallen in love with someone else… but there it was.

So I went to see him again as they were taking him off machines.

Then… weirdness… he woke up.

They disconnected the ventilator.  He started breathing on his own. He started talking to me.

And suddenly, I found myself stuck in the position of having to explain to my husband… that I was engaged to my Sexxy Chef.  Showed off the ring and everything.

In my dream I was crying because how? How am I supposed to love someone else when my husband is RIGHT THERE?

He spoke to me. He let me know that it was ok, that he loved me and that it was ok for me to be in love with someone else.

Which made waking up next to the Sexxy Chef even more … discombobulating?

How do I go from hugging and holding my dead husband to hugging and holding my live fiance?

The dream didn’t make me cry – but I did have difficulty processing that one.

I struggle with just being “happy” about my future.  I feel the need to modify statements like “I’ve never been so happy” with things like “… since Mark died”

Or if I’m blogging here about how very happy I am, there’s always got to be some “but that doesn’t take away from my life with Mark” type sentence or paragraph.

I loved Mark, with all my heart and soul. I will always love him.  He was the love of my life… then.

I love my Sexxy Chef… with all my heart and soul.  I will always love him.  He is the love of my life… now.

The two can co-exist.  And I think he came to me in that dream to let me know that I don’t have to modify my love for the Sexxy Chef with something about Mark because the one does not cancel out the other.

Long-Live-Love

That moment when…

… Christmas is coming and the stress of missing him is getting harder to handle.

… you’re focussed on everything Christmas and every single moment is blocked off between Christmas crafting and school stuff.

… you’re getting more and more on edge… snapping at those you love.

… your amazing fiance calls you on what is really bugging you… pokes the “Mark box” you’ve been trying to keep closed inside your heart and emotions.

… you fall apart… in his arms…

… he just lets you cry

… he spends time doing all the amazing things that make you feel incredibly safe and loved…

… he tells you he loves you and that it’s ok, the grief storms will always be there and he’ll be the shelter you need.

I finally told him about my nightmares. And the visitation.  And he held me while I cried.

I am so very grateful for the man who will weather my storms.  I am so incredibly lucky to have found a man who loves me to pieces…and picks me up and puts me back together when I fall apart.

20160807_145635

 

Content

I am content these days.

I miss my Mark every day. He was my love, my sexxy man.  Had a lovely conversation with his brother last night… was feeling so incredibly lonely and then out of the blue Wade calls me to catch up.

I miss Mike every day.  He was mo chroi. It’s so weird to know he lives 5 mins away from me and we’re just *not* together. I don’t know if we’ll find a way back to each other.  I wish him happiness either way.  I hope he finds what he’s looking for, even if that’s not with me.

I have a tattoo for each of them on me.  They are both forever a part of me.

But overall, I’m content with my life.  I am more or less happy with the direction my life is going.  I have amazing opportunities appearing in my life.  I’m slowly building a circle of friends who I enjoy spending time with.  My boys and I are getting along and I think I’m doing fairly well with this whole ‘single parenting teenaged boys’ thing.

I said to someone about 2 months after he died… “If he wasn’t already dead I’d kill him for leaving me to raise teen boys by myself!!”

But I think I’m doing ok.

I’ll be ok.  I still grieve.  I still cry.  I still have moments/days of intense loneliness.   I curl up on my couch those days and pretend I’m being snuggled from behind.

But mostly… I’m content.   It’s a weird place to be, content.  It hasn’t happened in at least 4 years.

Peace

Grey’s Anatomy

I have been watching this show since inception.

After my husband had his heart attacks, he couldn’t watch it anymore… too much close to home.

After my husband got sick, I kept watching it.

And then my husband died.

And then they killed off Mark Sloan – an entire episode of watching a major character die.  And then another episode of the lead up to it.  And they turned off the machines, withdrew life support and watched him die… exactly the way my husband died.

And I kept watching.  Because they wouldn’t do that again, would they?

And then Derek died.  Meredith had to decide to turn off the machines.

Fuck, again?  Another major character.  Dead.  The same way my husband died.  Hooked up to life support, care withdrawn.

So for the last 3 or 4 weeks, I’ve been watching the ENTIRE series.  All of it.  Including Mark Sloans death.  And Derek’s death.

You have to ask.. why watch a show that brings up so much pain? Why watch something that causes me to relive those moments?

Why hurt myself that much?

Because I need to feel.

Because every time I watch a character I love die…. I’m reminded that it’s ok to feel.

It’s a form of therapy.

I’ve had one other revalation lately.

I want a Derek. *jump to 1:39 for the part of the scene that I’m talking about*

I want to be loved enough (again) that being together – finding a way to be together despite differences and arguments and stresses – being willing to WORK on those things because the love is more important than holding onto a grudge or a hurt or a mistake or 10.

And I keep watching Grey’s Anatomy, because despite the fact that it is a fictional show with fictional characters, that kind of love exists.  I lived with it for 14 years.  And I know I can have it again.

And I still torture myself by watching Grey’s Anatomy.   Because watching Grey’s means that I can’t hide from the grief.  I can’t pretend it doesn’t still exist.  I can’t ignore that a part of me is still missing, will forever be missing even when I find my Derek again.

Reason for Everthing

I’ve been in Squamish for the past 2 days.

Well, sorta. I’m an hour north of Squamish in the rain forest.   There’s a massive fire up here and I’m part of the team that is working to put it out.

I’m living in a camp. It’s nice. Camping, but food is supplied and cooked, there’s showers and bathrooms, and a place to hide out from the rain if it happens.

But I’m *this* close to Squamish.

I went for a walk this morning before work started – sat on the river and meditated.   Realized that this was one of the rivers Mark fished.

For the first time… there wasn’t an overwhelming sadness, a grief storm, there was only a tug of longing that made me wish I could be sitting there with him.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be camping right there? Quiet and peaceful and listening to the river?

I miss him. Every day. I don’t have a day that goes by that I don’t think of him or what our life could have been.

And I wish, every day, that I had gotten to share my life with him.

But I loved him to his last breath. And I know he’s still with me. I know he’s still around, checking up on me, loving me.

There was a post on Facebook by a widda sister who had someone tell her that “things happen for a reason” and a lot of the other widows agreed that that was one of the most insensitive, throat-punch deserving comments that could be made.

I believe that things DO happen for a reason.   I may not like the reason. I may not WANT the reason. I may not SEE the reason, but there’s always a reason.

If my husband hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have reconnected with Mike. If I hadn’t reconnected with Mike, I wouldn’t have loved him and his kids. If I hadn’t loved him and his kids, I wouldn’t have moved to Quesnel. If I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t have found the job at BC Wildfire. If I hadn’t had the job with BC Wildfire, I wouldn’t be in school. If I wasn’t going to school, I wouldn’t be working towards nursing.

Everything happens for a reason in my life. I truly believe that. I met Robert and Patricia and Ellen and they inspired me to be better, be more, be who they were for me.   And because of where I am in my life and my job situation – I can be.

The relationship with Mike – I love him and I miss him. But there’s things *I* need to do, things I need that I don’t know if he can give me – at all, or just not now. There’s a reason we’re not together, I’m just not sure what the reason is. (yes we can go on all the reasons that things failed but they are not the *reason* why we’re not together. There’s another reason, a deeper reason why all the minor reasons caused the relationship to end) I want to get back together with him – but I think if that were to happen right now, we’d both end up miserable again. There’s some things we both need to do.   My TimeHop showed me a status that I made a year ago about how grateful I was that he had the faith and the conviction that we’d end up back together. That he’d held on to that belief for so long. I have a hard time believing that he held on to that belief only for us to not end up together.   There’s a reason for what’s going on right now.  I just don’t know what the reason is, yet.

The broken-ness is healing, I think. I’m at just over 3 years, and a lot of the broken parts of me feel whole… some of them for the first time ever.

I don’t know where my widowed journey will take me – if I will always identify as a widow. I’ve met a couple widows who don’t identify as widows any longer. They’ve remarried and they say they are a ‘former widow’ because of it. For me, that makes no sense.   But for them, it makes perfect sense.   And so, I don’t know.

But I do know that I get to find out.   There’s a reason for everything… I just have to be patient and wait to see what it is.20150727_071513[1]

The view as I sat contemplating my world, my widowhood, my life….

It’s Been a While

I want to write, I really do.  But I have a confluence of messed up things keeping from writing.

I have spent a lot of time crying lately.   It’s something about letting down your walls, becoming entirely vulnerable and fully open only to have someone shatter you.

You see, we were trying, one last time.  My ex and I.  We were giving it one more shot.   I had some issues.  I was concerned about those issues.  And we got into a fight about those issues.   And he did something he’d never done before.  And at that moment… the walls came down.    All boxes open.  The grief and vulnerability over the dead husband.  The intense love of the live man in front of me.  All open.  And in the middle of a sentence… he got up and left.

Done.

Over.

And in that moment… my heart shattered.

All the boxes that had been opened.. every one of them suddenly jumbled together.

So now… for the past week… I have been actively grieving again.

Grieving over the loss of the man I was supposed to spend my life with, until he died.

Grieving over the loss of the man I was hoping to spend my life with, until he walked out.

Grieving the loss of a future I’d planned for 14 years, until he died.

Grieving the loss of a future I’d hoped for with the man I moved 8 hours to be with, until he walked out.

For him – there’s a whole lotta reasons why we didn’t work.

For me – it came down to one.  And he walked out when I mentioned the dead guy’s name.

So for the past week, I’ve been actively grieving.  I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy on a marathon basis.  And bawling my face off.  Denny died.  Kathryn Heigl did an amazing job of portraying a grieving widow.  I bawled.  Other people died.  Other people got hurt.  Major characters went through transformative, emotional moments.

And I bawled.

It’s easy to say that I’m crying over the show, but in truth, I’m grieving.  I’m back in the place I was shortly after Mark died… all of it due to me dropping my walls far enough and completely enough for him to walk out and shatter me.

And he has no idea.

I haven’t told him.

I won’t.

The closest I’ve come is when he texted me something and I mentioned that I was struggling and I really couldn’t do this at this time.

But he has no idea how much I’m hurting.

Grieving again… it sucks.  I am the queen of disassociation.  I am good at putting things in boxes.  I am amazing at compartmentalizing and not letting the different parts of my life touch.

Until it overwhelms me.

Until the boxes open.

Until everything is all mixed up, jumbled up, and I’m grieving again.

I really really really want to be looked at like my husband looked at me.  Like Derek Shepherd looks at Meridith Grey.  I really really want that again… but in the meantime… I’m grieving.

Grey's Anatomy

There’s Something About Loss

There’s something about loss after you’ve lost a spouse.

Every small loss becomes a painful big loss.

And the big losses?  The “end of relationship” losses?  Those ones are devastating.  I don’t know how to deal with those.

I know he reads these…and I’ve tried to keep it out of my blog because they get thrown back in my face later.

The fact that I mention this on my blog will probably get thrown back in my face later.

But in the end… I’m sitting here, bawling, because I LOVE someone.  And that someone has broken my heart.  But blames me.  And I have taken my share of the fault.  I own my mistakes and my douchebaggery.  I own those.  I screw up.  I’m human.  I am not perfect.

And I love him.  But my heart keeps getting ripped in pieces.

And still I love him.

I have moments of listing all the things that I don’t want, all the reasons why it will never work and as soon as I see him, as soon as I am in the same room as him, sometimes even when I’m just thinking about him… the list just gets lost in the clutter of my mind and the only thing I can think of is “IlovehimIwanthimIneedhimImisshimIovehim” and that runs through my mind over and over and over and over and I can’t shut that up.

No matter how much I want to.

I want him.  I love him. I miss him.

We hurt each other.  We misunderstand each other.  We take each other wrongly.  We assume the worst of each other.

I want him. I love him. I miss him.

The loss… the ending.. the pain… its overwhelming because I *do* love him.  Enormously.

I can’t put him in a tiny little box in my heart.  It keeps fucking breaking open.

I put my dead husband in a box.  He stays there, mostly.   But right now… I am overwhelmed with pain and sadness and tears.

Because somehow… the loss of one… rips apart the boxes of both.  The hurt of losing one… destroys my defenses against both.

I’m in love with a dead guy.

I’m in love with a live guy.

And I’m alone and crying.

overfilled suitcase

Why Am I Grieving So Hard?

I had someone ask that the other day.  Why are you grieving so hard still?

And it occurred to me to stop and think about that.

Am I grieving hard?

Am I putting too much focus on my “widowhood” and my husband’s death?

It’s not the first time it’s come up.   It was one of the pivotal things that ended my relationship with my Chapter 2.  (who, btw, I still freaking love and I don’t know how to grieve THAT relationship).   It was asked of me when I asked someone why… why for the love of God did my husband have to die?

And I was thinking today…. would I change my life if I could?

I watched a movie last night – Predestination.  Good movie.  Interesting twists and plots.  Thought provoking.  Someone had a chance to change the outcome.   Would he?

So if I could go back in time.  To the summer of 2009… would I make my husband go to a doctor and have his heart checked out?   I believe the heart attacks were the beginning of the end. Between the meds he was on for his Ankylosing Spondylitis and his heart issues, I believe that’s what caused the pancreatitis that ultimately killed him.

So would I go back?

Would I change things, knowing it would change the outcome?

Would I alter the course my life is on… knowing I’d never get to know Liz or Dorine or Jennifer or Roxanne or have the opportunity to work at BC Wildfire or get to know my sister better or move to a completely new place or have Mike in my life or skate with the Gold Pain Girls or go to Camp Widow or meet all my widda peeps or go back to school to become an LPN?

Would I change that?

Who I am has CHANGED.

I like who I’m becoming.

I like the person I am, the woman who can fly across Canada on a wing and a prayer.  The woman who supported someone in fighting the Ministry, who helped 3 boys get into a stable loving home.

I like that I am finally getting my adult dogwood and going back to school and becoming a nurse.

I like that I’m going to get to help people.

I like that I’m figuring out who JANE is, not who MarkandJane is.

I don’t want to be MarkandJane.  I want to be Jane.   I don’t want to be MIkeandJane or AlandJane or DaveandJane or JulieandJane or AmandaandJane.

I want to be Jane.

I want my husband back.. the way he was before the heart attacks changed our life.  I want him back even after that.  He wasn’t sick.  He was strong and independant and determined.

But I want the life I have now, too.

I know it’s a futile exercise to think and pretend that he could just *walk back in* to my life… but I wonder… if I had a choice… would I change my life back?

The truth is…. I don’t know.

I miss him so much it hurts.  If I let the box open, the pain of his death overwhelms me.   But the joy of our life together… that’s been more prevalent lately.   Remembering all that was good and amazing.    There was some not good, and not amazing.  But what I miss most… (aside from him) is how COMFORTABLE we were together.  I miss knowing the dance steps.  I miss knowing the routine.  I miss the life we had together.

There was a lot of our life that was restricted.  There was a lot of our life that was limited by his limitations.

But there was a lot amazing. And I miss it.

But the reality is that I’m becoming someone I didn’t know I could be.   I found strength and joy in places I didn’t know they could exist.    I found a life.  I found a person I didn’t know I could be.   And I wouldn’t want to lose that.

There’s a lot of “I wish” still… but there’s a lot of “I’m happy with…” as well.

So would I change things if I could?   I’m kinda still on the fence.  I still wish he were here… but I like my life.

So yeah.

For some reason this was a hard post to write.  I miss him. I wish he’d never died.  But I’m happy with the life I’m building.

It feels a bit like a betrayal.

Peace

5 Years

The best advice I’ve been given to date about being a widow and being in a relationship AS a widow, came from another widow who’s now 14.5 years out.

Wait at least 4 – 5 years before getting into another relationship.

That seems like a long time to me.  I’m gonna be 42 by then. 42 and a half, even.

But…. It kinda makes sense.

Year 1… I was numb.  Couldn’t think.  Couldn’t feel.

Year 2… I was not numb.   Couldn’t stop hurting, let it override everything.

Year 3… I am in.  And I’m becoming more clear as to who I am and what I want and where I want to go.

Her advice kinda works for me.  My plans for the next 2 1/2 years has changed, somewhat.   I’ll be busy with school, getting my kids through high school, buying a house (I will own a freaking house before I’m 45, dammit!), and generally just learning who I am and what I want.

The other part of her advice?

Find a FWB.   Just keep the emotions out of it.

I’m pretty sure I’d be ok with that – but I’ve used FWB as a way of escaping the pain and loss and emotions before and now… I want… no I NEED to feel them. I NEED to go through them.  I can’t let go of any of it without FEELING it.

And until now – the feeling part has been missing.

My relationship with my 2nd Chapter came to a complete close yesterday.   As in, we’re both done done.  No going back.   And I won’t go back.  He doesn’t want to be my 2nd chapter – he wants to be Chapte 1 of OUR story… which is fair… except he’s got a chapter 1 already… he just doesn’t see it.

I hurt.  All the emotions of being a widow, of losing my husband, of being alone… all came back.   Only multiplied because now I hurt because I’ve lost my relationship, too.

I want to NOT hurt for a while.  Pretty please?   Just for a while, feel joy and freedom.

It’ll come.  I caught glimpses of it when my son and his lady and my grandbaby were visiting in August.  The joy of the new generation.  The freedom of a life unmarked by pain and suffering and sadness.   A blank slate upon which a new story will be written…

And I get to do that for myself now.  I get to write the story of the rest of my life, make plans for my children and me and focus on OUR happiness.

For the past year, the focus has been on someone else’s happiness… but now… it’s my turn.

Now… I get to change paths.  I am still a widow, and I don’t know that that will every stop being central to my life, but my future looks different.   My future looks bright and open and full of possibiliities.  For the first time in 3 years.

Peace PhoenixRising Dance in the Rain

Father’s Day

I wasn’t thinking about Father’s Day in terms of what it means to me and my boys.   I was thinking about my three step-sons and how I was going to make it special for my boyfriend.

It didn’t occur to think of us… I get to spoil *someone* and be happy with his enjoyment of the day.

And then I saw this:

Father’s Day can be a grief trigger for widowed people in so many ways, here are just a few possibilities:

* You miss parenting with your partner
*Your kids miss their Dad
*You miss your kids Dad, too
*Your partner never got to be a Dad
*You have a new partner who is great with your kid/s, but they still miss their Dad
*You are a widowed Dad, and you miss celebrating this day with your love
*Maybe you also miss your own Dad, if he has died, too

However Father’s Day challenges you, remember that love never dies. Remember that Father’s Day is a reminder of the love Dad’s have for their kids…a love that can’t be erased by death. And if you are in the fortunate position of having even more love in your life this Father’s Day, know that your kid/s will find a way to do the same thing you’ve done, welcome the future, while valuing the past.Give them time and space to find their way, and the unique understanding that only you can give them. 

Every loving person who comes into our lives brings something important, and unique, with them. Embrace love, friends, in it’s many forms, because love lives on and on. 

– Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
And I remembered… it’s the 2nd Father’s Day without my husband, without my kids’ father.   It’s the 4th Father’s Day since my Dad died.
And that…. sucks.
Seriously sucks.
There’s 4 days until Father’s Day.  I don’t have any plans for the boys and their father.   I don’t have any plans for Father’s Day at all.
Because it hurts again.
I was ok until I saw that.  I’m very good at putting  my emotions in a box and keeping them segregated from the rest of my life… most of the time.
4 days…  And I’m going to do my damnedest to make it happen for my boyfriend and his boys.
But I hurt.
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