Posted in grief, inspiration, living forward, widow, widowhood

To the new generation of widows

Since I have been writing I have connected with a large community of widows and widowers.  What I have noticed and learned about it is that we are a new generation of widows.  We are not the picture you think of when you think of the word widow.  We are no longer the little old lady or man dressed in black walking around broken and alone.  We don’t hide out and depend on others for everything because we are broken in two.

The new generation has a passion for life.  We have been broken but we will not remain that way.  We are empowered.  We have a voice and we want to be heard.  We no longer want to hide away and suffer the rest of our lives.  We want to find a way out of the darkness and live again.  Sometimes it may take a while for this to happen and sometimes we slip in and out of the darkness, but the difference is that we want to find a way out.

Thanks to social media and the internet we can find a place where we can see that we are not alone.  There are others just like us and what we are going through is normal and okay.  We can lean on each other, whether it is through a simple email or reading someones blog about their experiences.  When we connect with each other we take another step out of the darkness.  I am thankful for this.

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I don’t think the widows of the past had this.  They had no way to find one another.  They were alone in their suffering and others looked on them as broken and were either forgotten or pitied. I don’t want to be either.  I want to be a part of the world again.  I want to burn the fire that still lives inside me for all to see.

We need to continue to listen to each other and share with each other without judgment.  We all have our story and our own road to healing.  There is no one right way.  Just what is the right for you.

Another difference is that it seems to be us widows are getting younger and younger.  There is a large group of us out there that are under the age of 50 and have lost our spouse.  We still have a lot of life left to live.  It isn’t the life we had planned on, but there is still life out there.  This new generation of widows now have to grieve for their loss, find their new life and start to live again.  It isn’t the same group of widows who were married for 50 years and will spend the rest of their lives alone.  Not they all do either.  Not that they don’t feel the same pain.  It’s just different.

I have found that being a young widow has its challenges.

  1. the challenge of having to continue to raise young children.
  2.  figuring out where we fit in this world of couples as a young single person.
  3. trying to navigate the financial world on your own and plan for the unknown future
  4. finding people to connect with that understand
  5. navigating family situations both nuclear and in-laws
  6. not having a partner to lean on
  7. and so much more…

I never imagined I would be a 40-year-old widow.  I never thought it was even in the realm of possibility.  But here I am and here you are.  We are widowed.  We are young.  We have a life left to live.  I have to believe we are still here for a reason and there is still more for us to do.

So to this new generation of widows I say we stand tall and stand together.  We are strong in who we are and what we want in life. We can make decisions for ourselves based on what we want and what we need.   We can have the life we deserve without others judgment or disapproval.  We do not have to suffer in silence or dress all in black…though I do enjoy wearing black.  We can go out with friends.  We can laugh out loud.  We can have a good time.  And in time we can find happiness again…

Posted in grief, inspiration, living forward, self confidence, widow, widowhood

Again

So I’ve been sitting here all morning trying to figure out what is going on with me.  My head is a mess running wild with thoughts and worries and confusion.  I am feeling unmotivated, disillusioned, doubtful and basically scared shitless of what lies ahead.  I am not sure how I got to this point.  I’ve been doing so well.  I feel at peace with Pat’s death.  I am into a good routine with being a single parent.  I have accepted the new Denise and I am enjoying being her.  But there is something pulling me down.  I feel lost and scared and I have been driving myself and probably everyone else around me crazy this week trying to deal with it.  I am not sad.  I am not mad.  I am not even confused about what I want in life.  I know what I want.  I know what I need to do to get what I want.  I just have this loud, obnoxious voice in my head that keeps screaming at me and I can not shut her up.  I don’t know how to get rid of her or at least shut her down for a bit.

Fear.  Fear has taken over all I am and it is holding me hostage in this in between life stage I am in.  I want to move forward.  I see a path, I see a plan and an opportunity, but she won’t let me go.  And because of her pushy demanding ways I am stuck doing what I am doing…which is nothing.  Of course I have a million excuses as to why I can’t get going down this path I want to take.  We all do that.  But why?  Why won’t I just do it?  Just take
that step…it’s not even a jump anymore.  I feel like I have taken the big jumps that I needed to move forward, without looking I must add, and I so far I have survived.  I wanted to jump and see where it takes me.  But serious, Is this it?  It is going to take me nowhere because I am so stuck in my head with the voice of fear keeping me right where I am?

So now what?  That is where I am right now.  I love that feeling when I figure out what my problem is.  It is at that point I can begin to make a plan to make a change.  Even though I don’t exactly know what to do, it is a better feeling than not knowing what the hell is wrong with me.

I know what I am doing to myself by making up these crazy things that could wrong.  Of course things could not work out the way I want, but in all reality what has gone the way I have wanted in my life?  I never in a million years thought I would be an unemployed 42 year old widowed mother of three boys trying to start life over again.  But here I am.  And I am enjoying most parts of my life.  I see that it can actually be a better life than I had before if I could just get out of my head and take the first step down the path I want for myself  I know I could really start feel like I am living once again.

I feel like I have been in this spot before, like a hundred times, back at the beginning,  Starting over and making a new game plan.  Sometimes it feels hopeless because it doesn’t seem to work for me, but its the only thing I know to do.  Make a plan, find a way to fix the problem and get going.  I get down like this, as I think everyone does from time to time, but I refuse to be a marinator…one who sits in the pain and confusion complaining and not doing anything about it. me That is not who I am…ever.  I will give myself sometime to feel what I am feeling.  Think through my craziness.  Cry a gallon of tears.  But there is a point where I say enough is enough.  Get off your ass Denise and get going.  Today is that day.  I am giving myself this past week for what it was worth and I am ready to start again…again.  As long as I keep getting up and trying to move forward I think I am heading the right direction.  As for the voice of Fear screaming in my head, I am ready to shut her down.  If I fail at what I am going to try to do, then I fail.  It doesn’t make me a loser.  It simply makes me someone who wants to live.  Living is about learning and loving.  There is nothing more I want to do with my time here then to learn and love.  So bring it on.  I’ve survived worse and I am ready

……again.

Posted in grief, inspiration, living forward, widow, widowhood

The NEW Denise

eb5da906562f43395f04c8665f6f694cFinding myself again at the age of 42 is way more difficult than it was in my teenage years.  And I thought that was pretty tough.  I am so lost in who I am and it is incredibly confusing to me because of course I know who I am, right? You’d think so.   Losing Pat didn’t just take away my role of being a wife.  I didn’t just lose my best friend, and partner in life.  I lost me.  Some times I don’t even recognize my own reflection anymore.  I have changed so quickly and so dramatically that I haven’t been able to keep up with it all.    I’ve never felt so lonely as I do these days and that can happen even when I am sitting with a group of people.  It’s not the loneliness of not having anyone around, obviously, but a loneliness in the soul.  It’s like walking around aimlessly without any purpose or reason for doing so.  My children keep me busy, they are my focus and my life.  But they have lives too.  When they go, what do I have?  I have me.  But I don’t know who that is anymore.  I don’t know what to do or where to go.  I think it’s the fear that I have now…the hesitation towards life that leaves me in the paralyzing confusion.  I have a bit of fear of losing now….losing anything.  Losing respect, losing focus, losing hope, literally anything.  I don’t want to lose so I don’t take the risk.  Can’t lose if you don’t play.

And people are gone now.  I get that, but I just recently stopped and looked up and noticed they are gone.  For the most part I am okay with this.  I’m pretty comfortable in the little bubble of life that we have created for ourselves, but I have to admit I was a little surprised by it.  I guess because I’ve been in the dark for so long I didn’t notice it happening.

I’m still a work in progress, as we all are, and I know I will figure it out.  It’s just tougher than it looks.  What we widows are dealing with is so much more than I ever imagined.  It’s more the mourning the loss of our loved one…oh so much more.  But I have to believe that even better days are ahead for all of us.  Why else would we still be here?  I just want to find a way to let myself open the door again and step back out there.  I mean completely out there.  There are areas in my life where I am having great success and happiness…I’m just hoping to make that the norm in my life.

So if I don’t seem like me anymore…it’s probably because we haven’t re-met yet.  I’m still meeting the new Denise myself.  Hopefully in the near future we will all get a chance to meet her again.

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Posted in accepting, grief, inspiration, living forward, widow

To be or to not just be?

This past week a question was proposed to me that has had my mind spinning ever since.  I have thought and thought about the answer and how it pertains to my life and I am unhappy to say I am struggling with this one.  The question was how does livingheart for the moment and finding my path correlate?  How can you live in the moment and still seek a path and follow a plan?  Since I can’t think this one through, please bear with me as I try to write my way through.  Sometimes this works better for me.

Ever since Pat died…actually ever since Pat got sick, I have had a new perspective on life.  My focus and understanding of the world has changed.  I understand we only have a limited amount of time on this earth and I want to do with that time all that I can do.  I don’t want to just sit and wait for time to pass me by with some days, or in ten years, or when I retire.  I want to live and feel and be…NOW.  I want to enjoy every second and do what I want to do during the time I have.  I don’t know what tomorrow brings, or if it will even come.  I am trying to follow my heart and make decisions on what feels right for me and my boys.  Some of the decisions may seem a bit crazy, but I don’t want to be stuck in five, or ten years from now thinking I wish I would have.  So I am trying to live for the moment and just be.

BUT…I am also searching for a new path; a new direction; a new purpose in life.  Can I have both?  I think I can.  Yes, I want to be in the moment and live it how I want to live it, but I am human and I want more.  I want to feel a purpose.  I want to know that I have meaning.  This could be to someone, or something.  I want to share my life and build it with hopes and dreams for the future, but that doesn’t mean I have to wait to try to live those hopes and dreams.  I think my idea of living in the moment with a path for the future means that I want to do all that I want to do now….not someday.  If I want to write a book, then I want to do it now, not when the kids are older.  If I want to travel and see the world, then  I want to do it now,not when I have more money or I am more settled…that may never happen.  There is never enough.   If I want to spend time with someone, I want to do it now….not in ten years.  I don’t want my life to be a destination, an end game or the plan for the future.  I want it to be my life that I am living.  Not I am living to have someday.

I get I can’t do it all or have it all today, right this moment.  But I can do with my time all that I want to do.  I don’t need to spend my time wasting away on wishes or some days.  I know there is no guarantee for tomorrow, but I do have dreams and I see a path before me.  I just want to live along the path and not just ride the escalator of life until I get to the point where it “makes sense” to start living the life I want to live.  I think I can do both of living in the moment while setting out on a new path.  The point is I want to live and I think that is what is most important here.  Whether or not I decide to wait ten years before I do that, or start right this minute is up to me.  I have to decide what this means and it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of that decision.  I think the beginning of  my journey on this so-called new path of mine was the choice to continue to live forward.  After that I can either decide to truly live or continue to wait in the waiting room for life to come my way.  I don’t know about you, but I want to get out there and do it now.  I could wait for something better, or a better time, or a better situation to make others happy, but perhaps all that really is telling me is that isn’t what is best for me.  Because what is best for me is what makes me happy, what makes me a better mom to my boys and what will continue to lead me down the path of my life.  I don’t want to find happiness….I want to live in it.  There it is.  That makes sense to me.

So I guess that’s my answer.

 

Posted in grief, inspiration, motivation, widow, widows fog

Lost in the Fog

A widows fog.  A phrase I never knew existed until I was thrown in to the world of widowhood.  I didn’t have to read about it, I experienced it.  From the moment he died I had the immediate understanding of what it was.  It’s a hard thingth to describe to someone who hasn’t walked this path in life, but for those of you who are on this similar path, I think you know exactly what I am speaking of.  Most of the time it is a simple haze I am walking around in.  My peripheral vision is blurred and I can simply focus on what is in front of me.  I can take care of the one thing I am focused on at a time and then move forward to the next.  This leads to forgetfulness.  Not the usual forgetfulness you think of as you age or when you have too much on your plate.  It’s a repetitive, annoying, drive yourself crazy forgetfulness.  If it’s in your head, it’s there for just a moment and then it’s gone…sometimes for good.  I recently remembered that I forgot the birthdays of two family members months ago.  I know when their birthdays are; I am sure I thought I need to send them a gift, but then it was gone.  It didn’t resurface until almost 5 months later.  This is small in the world of fog.  I never…and I mean never know where my keys or my phone are.  I can’t get out of my house.  Without my trusted babysitter, I am not sure I would have made it to work all year.  She would check me off with all my  belongings.  Some days I would return home two or three times to pick up things I forgot.  I can’t remember the countless times I arrived at work without my computer.  And paying bills is a constant struggle for me.  I tend to either completely forget to pay a bill or like what I’ve been doing lately, paying the same bill two or three times.  These are just a couple of examples of how crazy I have felt in the past year or so.

It’s more than all that though.  The fog is overwhelming.  It is distracting.  When it is thick and all-consuming (and at times it is just that) – I can find myself stuck.  Stuck in one place.  Not thinking of anything.  Not doing anything.  Just stuck.  Hours go by before I start to rise out of the fog.  It’s almost like a black out and yet I am still conscious.  Daily, the fog lies low all around.  It interferes with all that I do.  It’s almost like zoning out, but it is happening simultaneously with my daily life.  The fog takes over my thoughts, intereferes with my conversations, and makes focus on life difficult.

They claim it won’t last forever.  I think it is there to help ease the pain.  I think in the beginning the fog is there to blanket the wounds of loss.  To keep some of the pain at bay.  For if you felt it all at once, I am sure it would end you.  I don’t think we as humans can handle that much pain at once.  As time has gone by, I think the fog is just lingering as I adjust to my new life.  I wish I understood it.  I wish I could make it go away.

Maybe it is keeping me grounded or focused on what NEEDS to get done.  All the little things don’t really matter anymore anyways.  Maybe it is there as a reminder that I am not truly okay yet.  Maybe it’s just the lingering reminder that I am alone.  I don’t know what it is.  I just know that it is.  It leaves me wanting to be alone; to disappear into my mind and find my own way.  It leads me to revert back to the early days after Pat’s death where I need to consciously remind myself to get up, take care of the boys, do something.  I am still here for a reason.  I have no idea what that is just yet, but I have to keep reminding myself that I am here and I need to keep living.  I hate that it takes a constant reminder to do this, but it does.  It still does.

Perhaps one day, the fog will lift and I will come out on the other side happy, healthy and confident.  I will fully engage in life again;no longer dipping my toes in the pool of life, but rather jumping in with a cannonball; Making a splash that will rain down upon me bringing me the comfort and security of my new life ahead.  Maybe…

Posted in accepting, grief, inspiration, motivation, widow

Father’s Day

Another father’s day has come and gone.  This year the boys and I headed out-of-town for some fun times instead of our visit to the cemetery.  The boys keep telling me Daddy’s not really there, but for me the cemetery is my special place with him.  When I really need to have a heIMG_20160619_143628747art to heart with Pat, that’s where I go.  Last year I would go every day.  I couldn’t handle not being with him.  We had never spent more than three days apart from one another until he had gotten sick and I wasn’t going to let that happen.  As time went by I started going less and less.  I could feel him with me everywhere I went and so I don’t need to go to that place in order to be with him.

The kids hate going.  Absolutely hate it.  We went to the cemetery last father’s day and we went for Pat’s birthday and both times were a complete disaster.  The visits focus on the pain that we all feel each and every day.  That’s not what we want to do.  Our feelings of loss don’t go away.  We are very aware of what we no longer have.  Instead we want to carry the memories of Pat with us as we live our lives.  That is how we can carry him with us and he lives on.

So, this year no visit to the cemetery.  Some may say that is terrible.  I see families who spend the day at the cemetary together and I think that is great for them.  But not for us.  We spent the day in the sun, being together, making new memories.  We said Happy Father’s Day to Pat and said a prayer together.  We talked about our favorite memories with him and then we let it be.  We went on with our day.  Yes, he was in our heart and our minds…it doesn’t take a day like Father’s Day to have that happen.  We do that everyday.

I am usually anxious before holidays like this, because I don’t know how the kids are going to handle it.  Typically they are fine, but you never know when soIMG_20160619_143315326.jpgmething is going to trigger one of them.  This year, my boys showed me that they are just like their father…true warriors.  They are strong, and proud and want to live.  Yes they are sad.  Yes they miss their daddy desperately.  But this isn’t the end of their happiness.  They are living forward as well.

They have had to adjust to me as mom and dad.  And I apologize for being a crappy father to them.  It’s out of my realm of knowledge.  But I keep trying.  And when I can’t handle the dad role, I find a friend who can step in and help.  So far so good.  I guess that’s all I can ask for.  Three boys with smiles on their faces loving life in honor of their daddy.

 

Posted in grief, inspiration, motivation, widow

The blank pages in between

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Here I am at another new beginning.  After all I’ve been through in the past couple of years, my perspective on life has changed.  I truly understand the meaning that tomorrow is not guaranteed.  This journey I have been on has brought me so many unanswered questions.  I have asked why? and how could this be happening? more times than I would like to admit.  I have no answers for these questions.  I don’t know why Pat had to die, or why the house had to be destroyed and rebuilt, or why I am now a widowed single mother of three young boys.  I don’t think I did anything to deserve these challenges, but I think there is a reason for all of it.  I don’t believe in coincidences, so there must be lessons to be learned or opportunities to embrace in order to live my life.

My life now…there is one thing I know for sure about this topic…I don’t want any regrets.  I don’t want to spend my days doing things that do not fulfill me or lead me to happiness and peace.  I have spent my past 42 years saying “someday”.  Someday I want to write a book; someday I want to be a part of something bigger than me; someday I want to travel the world, go to Paris; someday I will find peace and be.  Someday is not something I am promised.  I have to go out and make that someday today.  That is where I find myself at this moment.

I have been teaching for the past 5 years.  I love my girls more than anything.  I adore my co-workers and completely believe in the mission of the school I have been working, but I am not passionate about teaching.  It has never been my love in life.  It was a means to the end I really wanted.  I have continued teaching because it supports my family and it’s where my experience lies and basically, it is who I am.  But it’s not anymore.

I have jumped.  I took the leap and quit the job.  I am closing that chapter of my life and starting a new one.  I am unsure about what that chapter is going to be about, but I am ready to start writing it.   I am tired of thinking of someday.  I want that someday to be today.  If I fail, I fail.  But there will be no regrets.  Don’t get me wrong…I am scared shitless with this, but it’s something I have to do.  This past year without Pat has been such a time of growth and reflection for me.  I have continuously reevaluated who I am and what I want.  The answer is pretty simple.  I am a completely different person than I once was, that is for sure.  I see things differently, I love differently and what I want is different.  I don’t care about the little things, and honestly some of the medium size things.  I am much more simple with the things that I want…peace, love and happiness.  That is what I am searching for.

I recently took a college course on the study of the Bible.  During this course we studied the Old Testament and the New Testament.  It brought me a sense of peace and understanding to many things.  What I found most interesting about the Bible was the two blank pages that fall directly between the Old and New Testament.  There is nothing there, but so much took place during the time in between.  This is how I see my place in the world right now.  My old life has ended…the chapter has ended, the lessons learned, the love felt, the gifts given.  But the next chapter is unknown and unwritten.  I am living on those two blank pages.  I am ready to find out what is next for me, but I am highly aware that these blank pages may last for some time and  a lot of work will need to be done on those pages.  But this is where I am.  In between the old and the new.  I am not the poor widow anymore who needs to be coddled and taken care of, but I am not yet the butterfly bursting out of the cocoon into new life.  I am somewhere in the middle of the two.  And I am okay with that.  At least that’s what I need to keep telling myself in order to keep my focus.

I want to start anew.  Everything is new in the past year…almost every aspect of my life has changed.  Now I am ready to start anew with my career.   I don’t want to settle and I don’t want to do something just to do it.  I want to find my path in life and stick on it.  What I am finding about this process is that there may not be something I want out there.  I may have to make my own way.  And again, I am okay with that….scared, but okay.  Deep down inside I know I will figure it out and find my way.  I don’t expect anything over night and I don’t think it’s going to be easy.  But the one thing I know is that it is going to be on my terms.  If I screw this up, I did it.  I can’t blame someone else.  And if I fail along the way, that’s okay too.  At least I took the jump, took the chance and gave it my best try.  No regrets and no looking back.

Embrace the moments you are given.  Do with them what you can.  Appreciate what you have.  Love those around you.  Don’t forget to say I love you, I’m sorry and I forgive you.  Tomorrow is  not guaranteed.  Make today what it is…a new beginning; another chance to get it right.  Don’t worry about what may or may not come tomorrow.  Focus on what matters today and do what you love.  Live from your heart and be open to whatever comes your way.  With this focus and this determination, I know I will find my way.

 

 

 

Posted in grief, inspiration, Uncategorized, widow

It’s only stuff

It is springtime.  A time when a lot of people are doing a clean out of their homes; trying to get organized and to declutter to start the new season. I have taken this on as well.  I need  a fresh start; a new beginning. I am not simply meaning the stuff in my home, but also a  thorough cleansing of my body, mind and soul.  This has been one hell of a year.  So much has taken place and so much has changed.  I am left with remnants of emotions, pain, uncertainty, fear, anxiety and doubt.  I have all the dreams and hopes for the future life I thought I would have, and who I thought I was.  They all still linger around me holding me down.  Physically I have everything left from my life with Pat.  All his belongings, his things, his stuff.  They have taken over my garage and my home, my thoughts.   I need to make room for the future.  But still they sit because they are his.  They are his belongings, all that is left of him physically on this earth.  But they are not him.  Getting rid of these “things” is not getting rid of him or the memories of him.  They are not our love or our life together.  All of that resides in my heart and mind and they can’t be taken from me. Some people in my life are having trouble with the idea of me letting go of the “stuff” in my house that I had in my previous life.  That’s what I call it.  It’s not my life anymore.  I am not that person anymore.  Just as so many do, I thought my life with him  was the life I was going to live forever, but that just ain’t so.  Trying to keep living that way is pointless and painful.  It only leads me to heartache and loneliness.  I need to keep moving forward and moving forward means into my new stufflife.  I am growing into that new life.  I am forging new paths and discovering new things and laying out a plan of what I want out of life now. Pat was the love of my life; my former life.  That can’t be changed, or erased, or forgotten.  It will always be.  But this is my new life.  My second chapter.  He isn’t gone from me, but yet he is not the co-author of this new story.  This one is on me.  The page is blank and anything is possible.  I know he will be there to guide me along this new path, but I know this path is going to bring me others who will help me write this part of my story.  They already have.  That doesn’t erase him or my love for him.  It’s just a different life story now.  We hang on to so many things we don’t need: papers, clothing, books…stuff.    What we truly need is to live.  Live the life we want and share it with another.  Love is the true foundation to happiness.  Getting rid of the stuff, doesn’t get rid of him.  So I am okay with letting “stuff”  go.  By doing this, I know I can let go of my fears and doubts and press on towards something that may be even more amazing than what I had before.  For losing Pat has brought me the realization that the simple things in life are what matters most.  I am grateful for all this world has given me and I want to embrace it all with an open heart.  I am setting out on this new adventure and I can’t wait to see where it takes me and what is waiting for me down this path.

Posted in inspiration, motivation, Uncategorized

The last first

So50f1ce0317c1fbf41e5250f0d40531a1 yesterday was my birthday.  My last first since Pat died. It wasn’t so bad. I laughed…a lot. It was a good day.  I was able to see it as it was, my birthday.  Not the same as my birthday use to be with Pat, but I have to say it was a happy birthday.  What I realized on this day is that it was the last first.  I have survived 365 days of firsts without my husband.  I lived 52 weeks without him.  A year ago, I didn’t think I was going to make it 1 week.  I didn’t want to.  I couldn’t imagine breathing without him, let alone laughing as I did yesterday.  They say time heals all things…I don’t agree with that, but it helps.  Now, today is a different story for me.  Today is the beginning of my second year without him and to most people, the day he died.  I know different.  I was there.  He died at 11:53 pm April 5.  But today is the day everyone knew he was gone;  that his beautiful soul had left this earth. Today is harder for me than yesterday.

Monday felt like New Years Eve for me…The day before my new year is beginning.  A day to reflect on the past year and all that I have accomplished.  How eye-opening that can be.  It was a hell of a year in the Ol’ Mahoney household.  We have been through quite a lot.  But what I discovered was that we are doing good.  We are finding our way and we are learning to live again.  Last year I made a promise to myself and to Pat that I would have no regrets.  I would live life the way I wanted…freely.  I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back and I was going to follow my heart.  Pat told me to do whatever I wanted to do…not to let anything stop me from being happy.  I agreed to this.  It is what I want.  It is what I am doing.  Not everyone understands how and why I am making the decisions  I am making in my life, and that’s okay.  It’s not for them to understand.  I have a new perspective on life.  I want to live, be happy, explore and find adventure.  I want to be while I can be.  I can’t continue down the same path in life I was on a year ago, because to be honest I am not that same person.  Pat’s death has brought me the gift of living my life for living.  Not for making a living.  Pat wanted to live a different life than the path we were on, but he wanted to make me happy.  He did what he thought he was supposed to do in order to take care of me and our children.  But he was a free spirit.  He had what some people, even me at times, thought were wild dreams.  He wanted more than the everyday rat race.

So on the day of my last first without my love, I went to the cemetery for a little heart to heart with Pat.  I thanked him for showing me true love and for teaching me how to truly love another.  Without him, I wouldn’t be able to love again, which I know is possible.  I told him that I love him and miss him and how sad I am that he missed this year, but I also told him about my plans.  That I am excited about who I am now.  That I am pressing on and living life and finding happiness.  And I know he is happy about that.  I talked to him about all that I’ve learned in this past year and I talked about his death not being in vain.  That was a big thing with me as he died.  I didn’t want it to be for nothing.  I thought that meant that I had to establish some foundation in his name, or work on raising funds to discover a new treatment or cure for his disease…something monumental like that in order to fill that need to not have his death be in vain.  But I was wrong.  What I need to do, what I am going to do, is to live my life on my terms.  Following my heart, listening to my gut and finding that peace and contentment that is available to us on this earth.  The world has so much to offer us, and we only have a limited amount of time to embrace it.  I’m going for it.  I am not simply taking the next step on this journey, but I am running full steam ahead into the unknown and jumping in with both feet.  I am not going to let other people or fear hold me back from living as I want to live.

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A year ago, I was terrified of the future.  Not able to wrap my brain around why this had happened to me and how I was going to survive without Pat.  It’s not what I want to do, but it is what I have to do.  I will always love him.  His soul and mine are connected forever.  But it isn’t the end of my journey….just the end of the path I was on with him.  I have been standing at the fork in the road; one way keeping me marinating in the pain and loss of losing the most important person in my world and the other way leading me on to something new…maybe even something more amazing.  Who knows what life is going to bring?  I am taking that running start and heading down this new road and I can’t wait to see where I end up.  If this past year has taught me anything it is that you just never know.  One year ago today, we all learned of Pat’s journey ending, and I thought that meant mine was too. That just isn’t so.

So if you are wondering how I am and how the boys are doing, I will tell you with all honesty…we are happy 98% of the time.  We struggle, we cry, we lose sight of what is important, but who doesn’t?  We work through it, we love each other and we remember Pat.  We remember him as he was and we smile and we laugh.  We are good.  365 days ago I didn’t think that would be where we could be.  I’m happy to say I was wrong.   There is no need to feel bad for us, or worry about us or think we have it rough.  We just are.  We are just finding our way in search of happiness like everyone else.  We just are lucky enough to have a guardian angel looking out for us.  He always has our back.  No it’s not the same as  him being here to wrap his arms around us, but that’s not our reality.  I am comforted in knowing that he lives in our heart and minds and he will never be forgotten.

I am who I am because of him.  My boys are who they are because of him.  What better gift could I ask for on my birthday….his love forever.

 

 

Posted in inspiration, motivation, Uncategorized

Not what I had planned.

Time is passing and things are changing.  Everything has changed.  The past ten months has been nothing but change.  I am looking for a small piece of normalcy…a place to rest my head and feel comfort.  We have been sitting in a holding pattern for far too long and it is time to take a step in the right direction.  We have healed a great deal- not completely because I don’t think that is possible.  But healing we have done.  The holidays were tough.  Tougher than I thought they would be, but we made it through.  The new year feels like the right time for a new perspective and I want that, but the reality of it all is that this is my life now.  It’s not the life I had planned on.  I thought I had it figured out.  I was lucky enough to find someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, not an easy thing to do….I married the man of my dreams, started a family,  planned a future together to grow old as a couple.  That was what I thought my life would be.

Nope.

Not happening.

The life I thought I would have will never be.  That’s what I know.  I’ve been working on what that means now.  It’s a tough job.  A journey without any roadmap, let alone a compass to try to direct me in the right direction.  Being a single parent is no joke, especially since we live in a world of couplehood.  How quickly people have forgotten that it is just me doing the job of two.  It sounds like it’s double the work, but it truly feels like 10 times the work.  I do what I can do and hope people understand.  I am doing the best I can.  I’m doing Ok.  We all are.  It’s just not what I ever thought my life would be.

So now what?

This is where I find myself here in 2016… a place of discovery.  I have found me again…I’m stronger than ever before…and I am weaker than ever before.  But I am me.  I am good with who I am.  Not a small feat.  I see happiness in my future and I see a life again.  Not sure exactly what I will see along this new path, but I know I am going somewhere good.  Pat is with me all the time.  His spirit surrounds me and pushes me to move forward.  “Smile everyday” is what he told me to do.  He wanted me to be happy, and not finding happiness and living again would be no tribute to him whatsoever.

So this is my plan…

Be happy.  Smile.  Enjoy the simple things.  Love unconditionally.  Laugh.  Live.  Breathe… What more can I do.

letgo