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 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 

Posted in inspiration, motivation, self confidence

The Road Ahead

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The road of life has so many twists and turns that there are days it feels more like a roller coaster than a road that you are on.  Each of us have our own path we must follow in life.  It is a path we create from our choices and decisions, or sometimes a lack of choices or decision which draws us in a new direction.  I find myself looking at the path I have traveled before today which led me here, right here, right now.  I see some misguided turns I have made, but mostly I can say I am proud of the roads I have taken in life.  Unfortunately I have hit a few roadblocks which have slowed me down, actually they have brought me to a sudden halt in my life.

People are quick to judge and question you about the way you lead your life, but what right do they have to do that?  Basically it is because they are viewing YOUR life from THEIR eyes.  They can only see through the view they have chosen to take on their path and if it doesn’t match your view, they question it.  Maybe out of disapproval, maybe out of envy. But either way, its not for them to say.  Your path is yours and that is how it should be.

The important thing is to remember you are in the drivers seat of your life.  Nobody else.  You may have different passengers along the way and perhaps you may make the mistake and let someone else drive for a short period of time, but in the end,  you are charting your course and making your own decisions.  You have the power within you to be happy, to be successful, to be loving and to be giving.  You need to decide what you want from life, and head that way.  There is no one stopping you but you.  Or in my case…me.  Time to start back up and head back onto the road.  There is so much more for me to see…