Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It's a different world but everything looks the same...

I did it. I made it through my first Christmas without you, S. I can sum it up in two words...it sucked. Want more? How about three words? It fucking sucked. I haven't posted here in a while...a long while. I thought I was doing okay. I thought I was really getting through this. Then the nine month marker hit right around American Thanksgiving. Hoo boy did nine months hit me hard. I have no clue why. Six months was pretty hard but nine months was unbearable. I don't know what made that one so bad but it was torturous.

I didn't quite recover from that one because then all the Christmas stuff started. My widow brain returned full force and I have been walking around like a zombie all month. I actually got the energy to put up all of our decorations and it was a lot. We really decorated, didn't we S? I was up until four in the morning but I was so glad I did it. It was good to have that familiar Christmas grotto (TM my wonderful husband) that our apartment turned into every year.

Then Christmas week hit. Boy, I have never felt exhaustion like this. Everything exhausted me and annoyed me. It didn't feel like Christmas, it felt dirty, like everything was taunting me. My mom came up and spent the time with me and she was a trooper at dealing with my moods. I was glad to have the bonding time with her, even if I wasn't at my best but the actual holiday part of it was for the birds. I didn't like it. I'm so glad it's over.

I don't know how New Year is going to be. I dread it but also look forward to it. I don't want to be in the year my husband died anymore. I want to be in a new year to go along with this new life I'm building for myself. I want to leave my husband's death behind because I know that I'm taking him with me. He and I have a new relationship now and he will travel with me into 2017 as I continue to find out who I am becoming. I know S will be there for that. I don't think he wants to stay behind in the year of his death either.

There is that feeling of the more time goes on, the further I get away from him when he was alive. I do carry that. It is a burdensome feeling and I put it next to all the guilt that's still there. Those are things I will have to still work on but I won't let them stop me from moving forward. There is room for them and joy and heartache and hope. There is room for all of it. I can't make myself wait for the bad feelings to be worked on before I let myself feel the good feelings. I want to feel them all. That is who I am now. Somebody who has made friends with both sadness and joy and all the emotions that swirl around both of them.

I wouldn't be able to do that without love. S and I had that in spades, we still do. Love is the reason I feel so many conflicting feelings all the time. I am blessed to have had the love that I did. I am blessed to be the person I am now because of my husband. I fucking hated Christmas this year, it hurt, it sucked and it felt like a heavy cloud over me but the lining to all of that is love and I'm still filled with all of it, like an earth sized blanket of warmth...and pain but the pain is a reflection of that love. What more could I ask for besides the impossible notion of having my husband back?

Our eleventh wedding anniversary is next month and then the first anniversary of his death is the month after that. There is a lot of pain ahead of me but there is also so much more. Just like Christmas, it is going to hurt and it is going to suck but that is part of life. I know how short life is now and I can't wait to move forward and find this new life I see ahead of me. Thank you, S. Thank you for everything you did to make me who I am now. You did a lot and I am so grateful for the time I had with you. I would have loved more, you sonofabitch, but I'll take what I can get. I cherish every moment we had together.

If this blog seems conflicted and all over the place, welcome to my head. That is grief. That is moving forward as a widow. That is life and death. It's all so weird and mind bending. Happy New Year.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What is this life?

I don't get it. I really don't. I'm not unhappy about that, just making an observation.

I went out with a friend tonight and yes, I'm a little bit drunk. I was hoping to get hit on. Can you believe it? I was wanting to be desired. I wouldn't have thought that would come out this early on but it did and it isn't the first time.

What is this life? Why do I want to be desired when I still pine for you, S? I know you would be okay with this, in fact, I know you would be ecstatic. You would be so overjoyed to see how well I'm doing. But am I? I really don't know. I haven't had a grief wave in almost a month and I have been able to overcome the sad moments quite easily. I'm still sleeping in the whole bed, not keeping your side sacred and I'm feeling like I want to be a desirable woman. What is that? I don't know. All I know is that I miss you and would have you back in a fucking second but I also really want to live and am excited about my future all at the same time.

What does that make this life? What is it that drives us and makes us want one thing while at the same time wanting the complete opposite? I will never know. Maybe you know now where you are. Send me a clue, S. Send me something. I want to know that I'm not crazy because it's really hard to tell right now.

I love you so much, S. Just because I don't cry for you as much anymore doesn't mean I don't miss you with every cell in my body. I do. I just focus on other things now. It's hard to reconcile that at the moment. How can I still love you and miss you just as much as I did and not be devastated by it anymore? I really don't know and sometimes it really does bother me.

What the hell is this life? I just don't recognize anything anymore and sometimes that's okay, other times it feels empty and numb. Sometimes it feels fucking exciting and I won't sugarcoat it, it really does.

Just tell me, S. What is this life? What can I do to not screw up the rest of the short time I have on this planet? Or does that even matter? Just tell me what I can do to make the next few months feel more sane. Just tell me anything. I miss you. I miss knowing what life was with you.

As for now, I just have to keep asking, "What is this life? What is anything anymore?"

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Something happened...

Not long after my last post, I was hit by a huge grief wave. I'm talking the mother of all grief waves. It was like the first week all over again. It was like the first day all over again. I couldn't stop crying, it was a major breakdown.

But then...as the wave stopped crashing against me, I saw...life. I felt like I wanted to live again. At first I couldn't believe it and thought it was some sort of mania that would pass but as I came out of that horrible tar pit of what felt like eternal misery, I felt like a person again. Not just a person but a person living in this world who wants to live in this world again.

I have been absent here the last few weeks because that first week was the grief wave and then when it let me be, I have been marveling at the world again. It's like I'm seeing it for the first time. At the end of April, I remember seeing things start to bloom and recognizing that there was beauty there but that it wasn't for me this year. It was almost like the beauty of everything was looking at me with the same dead eyes I was using to see the world.

But now I see it with vibrant eyes and everything feels so much more alive than it ever has before. It's like a kaleidoscope out there for me right now and I'm feeling almost giddy. I wanted to give it a couple of weeks to make sure it wasn't some anomaly but it really feels like it is here to stay (I hope).

Now, I don't know what it is that is making me feel so much more alive and excited for the next chapter of my life but what I do know is that part of why I'm feeling this way is because I am carrying my husband's love with me instead of over me. I can now look back on our life and cherish it, not be sad by it. I was able to put his stuff away, for the most part. I was able to sleep in the bed again. I was able to sleep in the middle of the bed and not hold his side sacred anymore. I realized that he didn't need me to do that and I didn't need to do that to myself.

But it's only been three months! How is that possible? I honestly have no idea. I am definitely scared that another big huge wave is going to take me down again but you know what? This time, I know there is sunshine on the other side and I just have to ride it out. Now that I have this feeling of life again, I am not letting go of it (I really hope I don't).

Don't get me wrong. Things are not perfect. My concentration levels are still zilch and my appetite is still very, very small but that's okay! I would be even more worried if I were all of a sudden perfectly out of my grief. Grief is still with me, I know it is but now it is residing alongside life.

I don't know how this happened, I don't know why it happened, all I know is that I can now safely say that it does get better. I have heard that so many times from so many widow(er)s and now I fully understand what they mean. Yes, I know it is very early for that but everybody has a different timeline and somehow this is how it is happening with mine. I can only hope for the same quickness for others. If not, please know that I'm so sorry and I know there is no way to tell you that it will get better until you actually feel it. I hope you do as soon as is humanly possible for your personal grief. It is my wish that we all feel this thirst for life again.

I love you so much, S and I love us and I also love that I still have a life to live. You taught me so much, including how short life is and I am going to enjoy it for the both of us for whatever time I have left. I am going to laugh as boisterously as you did and smile at everything the way you did. I am going to dance and sing and carry you in my heart through it all. I am going to love you with everything I have while I live my new life with the joy that I know is possible from my life with you.

Thank you. Thank you for everything. This is a new beginning for me, for us because you are always going to be a part of me. I couldn't be happier about that. I had such a wonderful person be the biggest presence in my life during our time together and how lucky am I to still have your love with me? I am the luckiest girl in the world. I never would have thought that even three weeks ago but now I get it and I can feel you smiling and nodding your head. I know you are happy about this and that keeps me going.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The H Word

I haven't been a big fan of the word "healing" since my husband died. That word just didn't sit right with me for a while. It felt too tidy, too neat. It didn't describe a way out of this mess to my shocked brain. I think I'm ready to take another look at it. I think I might be ready to give it a chance. If you ask me again tomorrow, I'll probably say something different but tonight, I'm setting an intention to heal.

I don't want to be stuck in this darkness forever. I do not want to feel insane forever. I can't feel this miserable for what short time I have left here. I want to heal. I want to learn how to live in a way that I feel honors my love for S. I want to nurture the love, not the loss.

This is not to say that those who nurture the loss are wrong. They aren't. I understand it and I'm still there myself, to be honest but I am putting it out there that I want to try to do it a different way. I just don't know how yet.

This is just an intention I am setting for myself. The darkness is still there and will be there for far longer than I could ever predict. There is a lot more pain to go, I won't delude myself. However, hopefully, as I swim through this black sea, I will eventually find a raft and then instead of swimming through this muck of darkness and pain, I can float and will be less likely to drown.

As I float down the dark waters of hopelessness and despair on a raft that saves me from drowning, at some point I will see a clear blue sky and calm blue waters in the distance and hope will fill me again. I will show S that I remember life and beauty and wonder again and it will be even better because our love will be in everything. He will be in everything.

I love you, S. It is my intention to heal, not just for you but for us...for me. I am the best memory of us there is now.

(Last line borrowed from Patton Oswalt's amazing Daughter)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

He made the moon shine for me...

I had somebody in this life who just had to look at me for me to see a universe of love.
His smile swirled around me and filled me with joy.
He soaked in my pain with the deepest empathy a human is capable of.
He brought out the best in me, a side of me that I didn't know existed before him. 
We held each other up, creating such a strong foundation that it felt like it would never crumble.

Part of our strength was that we were real.
He had flaws, I loved him anyway.
He annoyed me, I loved him anyway.
We argued sometimes but we never went to bed angry.
We were important to each other because we allowed each other to be authentic even when it was ugly.

He was a storyteller and full of magic.
He created rituals that made our house and our little tiny family feel so cozy.
He called me duchess, doll, gorgeous and played with my name in the best ways.
He made characters for our dog and cats.
He created worlds out of words and they were all for me.
He made the moon shine for me...

I miss you, S.
This world is so dull without you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Who are you?

I look in the mirror
I don't recognize who is looking back at me
I am what's left
One side of the portrait

Is there beauty in pain?
Maybe, but the pain remains
I am half of what we were
No beauty of life can replace that

I am what remains
It is a very different view
I don't like it
But I must see it

You are so alive in my dreams
The waking world wants more
I can only survive
I can't offer what we would

I am alone in this beautiful hell
Of love and family shattered
If only you could come back to me
Until then, I am lost.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Where are you?

I write this as I listen to cars traveling in the snowy, slushy rain making that lovely swooshing sound that used to send a sense of calm through me. It is a calm that I can't quite capture through my grief but I am reminded that it used to be there. It is unseasonably cold but I have the windows open anyway. I need the fresh air. Is it a coincidence that you leave me in the same year we don't get to have a spring? I don't know but it feels like the weather is mourning you too.

I search for you everywhere I go. I know this is common but it still feels so lonely not finding you anywhere. I look for you in your chair, on your side of the bed, when I'm out running errands. Every time I walk the sidewalks we traveled together I imagine you there next to me, smiling that beautiful smile of yours but then it isn't real and I keep walking alone, without you.

Our animals look for you still, not as much as they did at first but I think they still haven't quite figured it out yet. I've tried to explain it to them but I know they don't understand and probably never will. I don't know how their minds work but I just hope that they don't think you left them on purpose. I don't know why but that is important to me. Your love for them was so beautiful and I want them to know that it still exists somewhere. It has to because it has to still exist for me too.

I was always the skeptic in our relationship and you opened my mind a little bit but I don't know where to put my beliefs right now. Christianity was never our thing but some sort of spirituality was always a part of us and without you I don't know where my spiritual beliefs land. All I know is what I have learned from the moment I met you, I believe in love. I believe it has its own energy and energy never dies. I don't know if we keep our consciousness when we go but something tells me that that love energy is so strong it remains with us after we leave our bodies. I have to believe that.

You were my everything, S. In fact, you still are my everything. My grief for you consumes me but I don't know where that will lead me. I don't know how long I can hold onto that and still exist in this earthly realm where our energies are tied to these human bodies and we have linear time and responsibilities...and loneliness and emptiness.

I would love to figure out time travel and relive the last ten and a half years with you, maybe even be able to save you this time but that would get me nowhere as we don't have the power to stop death. We don't have the power to stop time. We don't have any power at all over how this deep love takes us over and then is replaced with deep gut wrenching pain when it is broken into pieces.

I will keep looking for you, I don't know how not to. You are still everywhere around me...but now you're nowhere too. I love you so much, S. To the moon and back. Always.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Your picture sits on my desk with those eyes, those wonderful, beautiful empathetic eyes full of love. They have little galaxies in them. Is that where you are now?

I can almost feel your touch as I cry surrounded by deafening emptiness.

It's Saturday today. Before you left this world, we would be enjoying the day, working, goofing off, working, goofing off. You would ask what we were ordering for dinner in that impish way of yours knowing that I should cook but am too weak against the joy we both got out of ordering in.

We would have a movie decided on by both of us and be looking forward to watching that with our takeout.
Right now, you would be showing me something you found that you were excited about either work wise or home wise and we would be planning furniture for our new apartment, for our new adventure. The adventure that you were a week away from signing on before you left this world.

Who am I now? What am I now? I am so lost without you. Me, the woman who was so independent and loved living alone before meeting you. You were the first man I ever wanted to truly marry. I was so proud to call you husband.

I keep staring at your beautiful eyes, wishing and willing them to become real and for you to step out of the photograph and hold me and reassure me that this was all a nightmare and everything is just as it was. This was just a test to see how much I missed you and I passed with flying colors. You knew I would. I would punch you and say what a cruel joke but I would also cry with tears of sheer joy and happiness as I did it. I would laugh and dance and sing as loud as my terrible voice would let me. You would smile and laugh as you watched me celebrate the fact that you're back for good and I never have to lose you again.

Alas, none of this happens and I am left staring into your eyes in a two dimensional photograph. All that I have left of you. Now my life feels like it's missing that third dimension. I now know what a two dimensional life feels like. It is a life without meaning.

Is it better to have loved and lost then not to have loved at all? I honestly don't know. This pain is harrowing but I also can't imagine the past ten and a half years without you. Why must all love come with pain? It doesn't work the other way around. Not all pain comes with love. So why does love have to do this to us in this realm we live in?

I long to be where you are, I long to be in the ether looking down on us poor fools who chose to come to a place where you can't have love without pain. What is wrong with us? Let's promise that we'll never come back here. Let's stay up there together and never part.

I don't know when I'll see you again but please know that my love for you will never die. When my body does, my love will carry up to you and we can join together as one again. Then, I can be whole once more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I Fixed His Old Computer Tonight

So, S has this old computer that he was oddly attached to. It quit working about six months ago. Even though he replaced it with two laptops, he still wanted to get this computer working again. We would turn it on every once in a while to see if it would work and never hit the jackpot. We had planned to really look into it and dig deep to fix it together after the holidays.

Well, as often happens, things got in the way. Business was calling and we got super busy with an exciting project (a project that would be happening right now if sepsis hadn't stolen him from me). Since he passed, I have had a lot more free time. I normally use it to read about grief and go on grief forums because I am not doing well but last week I decided to fix the old computer. It didn't start out too well. Nothing worked but I don't give up and that is one of the things that S loved about me. It consumed me for days and tonight I finally hit the jackpot. It was the hard drive and tonight it finally verified. Celebration! Well, at least it would be if S were here.

Once I got the computer turned on and his lovely wallpaper came up, which I had completely forgotten about (tears!), I felt a surge of joy and then it instantly fell to emptiness. I sat down and went through this old computer that has years of our life on it and sadness and longing engulfed me. Grief draped over me but I pushed on and went through all the gems in there. I'm glad I did.

I am now sitting at my desk with a celebratory vodka (also a numbing agent since I haven't numbed myself in a while). This is what we would do if he were here. He would make a loud celebration noise full of joy and he would declare this a drinking night and ask for a vodkie in his charming little way he did. I miss him so much.

Every time I turn my head now, I see his wallpaper and it fills me with sadness but the idea of turning it off fills me with more sadness. That is what most of my decisions have been like since he left this world. Taking the least painful route but a route still filled with pain. A pain that feels as if it will never leave. An all consuming pain that makes me wonder what the point to life is without him.

I'm grateful to have our animals (2 cats and a dog) and I'm so grateful for my friends and family. I just wish I could find some way to bring him back and fill this gigantic hole that was blasted out of me when my S died.

For now, I am letting myself drink a vodka and toasting to S. I love you, S. I love you forever. I hope you are celebrating wherever you are that I got that damn computer working again.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Well, it's officially spring now. The weather will get nicer the sun will shine more and hope and happiness will be everywhere.

Except in my house.

Spring was S's favorite time of the year. He was able to get out more, his mobility always got a little better and he loved watching it stay light outside later and later. Spring brought him strength and hope. That spirit of hope always surrounded both of us around this time. We loved spending Saturdays looking at Zillow, planning our future for when the big project we were working on for our business finally got financed. This spring is actually when the everything was set to happen.

Now, I can't even think of moving or staying. Both are painful so the only thing I can do is stay and be surrounded by him and our life together. That is the best option for now. This apartment was supposed to be a very temporary placeholder in our transition to a brighter future. Because of his mobility problems and problems with our business, we ended up staying here much, much longer than planned. April will be six years.

This apartment that never felt like our permanent home ended up being the last place he lived. The place we made a life together even though our spirits were living in other houses and a better future together, we still made so many memories in this little place that was only supposed to be a transition.

It ended up being the place where he transitioned on from life. Zillow never showed the real estate up there so I can only hope he ended up somewhere amazing, somewhere better than any of our dream houses. And now I'm here without him and all of those hopes and dreams we had so much fun sharing with each other have been stomped out.

S was so full of joy no matter how much pain he was in and our little Zillow days made him even more joyful. If he were here, as the weather gets warmer, we would have an aperitif out on the balcony and talk about how much we were going to enjoy working on our next project, living in a better house, being able to afford experimental medical treatments for his pain and just feeling more free in life, together as a team.

He is free now and I still think of us as a team but now the conversations are all one sided and the future is much different. I miss his advice. I miss his smile. I miss his laugh. I miss his humor. I miss how he would listen to me babble and babble and still be present with me. I miss our hugs. I miss our kisses. I miss how excited we would both be to watch The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, two shows I will never be able to watch again. I miss how excited he would get when I would cook certain things like beef stew with Irish soda bread. I can't cook at all now. I even miss how he used to love to taunt me (never in a cruel way). He just loved to get me riled up and I would know he was doing it but we both just enjoyed the energy of it all. It always ended with us laughing.

He was my best friend, confidante, lover, emotional support, mentor and everything else in between. We spent every single day together all day and never got sick of each other. What do you do when that is ripped away from you? You just exist, moment to moment in a grey world that is depleted of joy. They say it will get better and I hold onto that but I don't know exactly what better means.

All I know is it will never get as good as it was and for that I will grieve forever.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The “What Ifs” and “Should Haves” Will Eat Your Brain

This quote by John O'Callaghan is something I'm really trying to hold onto. There were so many signs that something was really wrong with S but we just thought he had the flu. Oh, how wrong we were.

Today, the signs that I missed keep coming back to me. Not just today, it happens quite often actually but today it has been especially haunting. Little things that I missed keep coming back to me, things he said about how he was feeling, my reactions to him. I thought he was just being a man baby about the flu. I can't tell you how much I regret that.

It's too late now. I can't go back and change the past and I never will be able to. To focus on things that could have been done or should have been done had I known does me absolutely no good. I can't save him. The fact that I had a chance to save him but didn't know he needed saving is not something that will bring him back. Focusing on this, letting it haunt me only makes me feel worse and increases my anxiety.

I have been trying to focus on all the sweet conversations we often had, on how often I told him I love him or showed him I love him. His last full day in the hospital, when we thought he was getting better and coming home soon, I gave him a very tender and loving sponge bath. He was falling asleep and saying how good it felt. That is what I should focus on. That was a beautiful experience for both of us.

I just need to keep bringing it back to the loving and tender moments and hopefully those haunting moments about what more I could have done that only hindsight can show you will become less and less. I have to stay on top of that because I can tell that it really will eat my brain if I let it. It will also eat my stomach and make me sick.

If S is still around somewhere out there, I can guarantee that he isn't concentrating on what I did wrong. I have to tell myself that so I that one day soon I won't either.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The first two weeks after losing him...

I honestly don't know how I have made it these two weeks of my new life as a widow. A life that I am very begrudgingly walking through like a zombie.

Breathe. Drink water. Breathe. One foot in front of the other. Breathe. Drink water. Breathe. Try to eat, even if it is only a bite. Breathe. Try to sleep. Breathe.

That breathing thing is very important. It's amazing how many times my breath gets taken away by the grief. I can't tell you how many times I have felt like I might faint. Taking the dog for a walk leaves me breathless at the thought of coming home to an empty apartment. Going to the store leaves me breathless because my shopping always involved both of us and I would enjoy buying him little treats. Everywhere I look, I see things he loved and surprises I loved buying for him. He would get so excited over the smallest treat. He was so easy to please. His smile brightened my world.

Breathe. Cry. Breathe. Remember. Breathe. Just.Get.To.The.Next.Moment.

The first week I was surrounded by family and friends in our little apartment. I love them all very much but it was difficult being surrounded by all that activity and hiding a good amount of my grief. Then they all left. I thought it would be easier somehow. Now I'm alone to let my grief come out and it isn't any better than being surrounded. I'm alone everywhere I go no matter how many people are there. Nothing is ever enough because I don't have my husband here with me to be my best friend and give me emotional support the way he so lovingly would. It's all I want right now.

He was amazing and kind and imperfect and flawed. I loved every single part of him. I still do. I will forever. I love you, S and I always will.

Breathe. Drink water. Breathe. Get through. Breathe. Just breathe...