Posted in grief, widow, widowhood

Round and Round

merry go roundI’ve been gone awhile from writing and I hate that.  I don’t have the time anymore.  I don’t make the time anymore.  Life has gotten a little out of hand in the past month or so.  Our family is going through yet another transition and this time I am the one left struggling.

Three of the four of us are in new schools or for me a new job this year.  We are on a new schedule in new buildings trying to make new friends.  Even at 43 this is not an easy thing to do.   It’s an adjustment.  I started the new transition first.  And I know I chose this change.  I wanted this change.  I didn’t want a career in my field.  I didn’t want a lot of responsibility.  I didn’t want to be stressed at the end of my day.  Well, I got all of that.  I also got a job where I don’t feel like I fit.  I don’t feel like I have found my place yet.   I was hoping to settle in and be at peace in this job and just get through the day and leave it in the office.  But I don’t.  I don’t because I am unsettled.

Unsettled summarizes where I am in every aspect of my life.

For one, I don’t understand the meaning of life anymore.  I don’t know what I am doing anymore.  In fact I don’t even know who I am anymore.

It’s like a never ending merry-go-round.  I think I am figuring things out and making some progress and then the next thing I know, I am feeling lost and confused again.

I don’t recognize myself anymore.  It is like I was desperate to make changes in my life and be different and live different that I actually lost who I was.  I have changed, so much since Pat died…yes this is true, but I am also the same.  I think that is the part I forgot.  So much changed so fast that I lost track of who I am at the core of my being.  I was living a life that I thought I wanted for myself when in reality it isn’t me at all.  I have been trying too hard.  I hate to admit that, but it is the truth.

Just let it be.  Just let it happen.  Be in the moment and see where it goes.

This has been my intention.  But it hasn’t been my reality.

I’ve been left struggling with the meaning of it all.  Why any of it matters.  Why we keep going and trying and pushing forward.  I mean I get it.  Life is about love and learning and growing.  I get that.  What I don’t get is why we keep running around in this rat race of our society.  Why we keep trying to make money and buy stuff and impress others and just do things in general that honestly don’t really matter.  I just can’t seem to figure it out.

I think that is why I keep trying to find a new way of living.  I don’t like this.  I don’t like the way I feel I have to live in order to get by.

But there are some things we have to do…we just do.  Ia m not naive.  I have to work to support my boys.  I have to provide them the basic necessities of life.  I have to give them what they need to develop into the people they are going to be and live their lives the way they want to live their lives… But the most important thing I want to provide them is the perspective on life that I have now.  This is important to me.  I want them to know that there is more, so much more for them out in this world.

None of the STUFF matters.  There is no need to have more stuff.  There is no need to have the newest and greatest things available.  It is important to just soak up the love around you.  To live a life you want to live…whatever that may look like and no matter what anyone else thinks of it.

I am trying to live this truth myself.  I think this is what I need to find the peace and happiness I am looking for.  But it is not easy I tell ya.

On a side note…I am doing pretty good these days.  The loss of Pat has settled in and I have found a home for the loss deep in my heart.  He is always with me and I believe he is guiding me through all the turmoil I am living through.  He is helping me figure it out and helping me see the light.  I have always been a bit stubborn and I am sure he is quite frustrated with the length of time it is taking me to find my peace, but I know with him beside me I will find it.  I also believe he has brought people into my life for me to find happiness again.   He wanted me to be happy and to figure it all out.  And that is what I am going to do…eventually.

For now I will stay on this ride and I will continue to go round and round until I finally figure out where I am supposed to be and how I want to be living.  And then I will finally decide to jump off of this merry-go-round and finally fully live again.  I am so close.

 

 

 

 

Posted in grief, solo parenting, widow, widowhood

One tired momma

tiredmomma

I am so exhausted from being a solo mom and head of household.  I had no idea how much work everything is to do alone.  And the decision-making is killing me.  I miss having someone to bounce ideas off of and make decisions with.  Just

having someone who is in on the situation to help with the decisions would be an amazing gift.  I’m not sure I appreciated it when I had it…or better yet, I’m just still a little gun-shy on making decisions on my own.  Either way,  I am so tired.

Summer vacation use to be a time when I was off work, could hang with the boys doing fun stuff, or just simply lay around.  It was a time to recharge before the new school year began.  I looked forward to summer break.  As a teacher, I counted down until summer break.  Pat and I would take trips with the kids, or go to the zoo or the park or whatever.  We would sit outside in the backyard and just be together.  We had each other to go back and forth with the kids and it was a good time.

Fast forward to this summer…nowhere near the same picture.  Not when it is just me.  Now I am basically an Uber driver and an ATM.  Well not really because at least an Uber driver gets paid.  I swear all I do is drive my kids where they want and hand over my paycheck.  I have zero time to myself because it is only me with three of them.  Not good odds for me.  When I do want to do something for myself they are busy fighting and texting me about it that I can’t relax and enjoy at all.  And times together aren’t any better.  We still try to go out and do fun things, but still the bickering and arguing about who gets the front seat or which you tuber is better ruins it.  I miss the days of the five of us where we could just be and have some peace.

I know some of this is just that the boys are getting older and have more activities and more interests.  And I know this is true for families where there are two parents involved.  I’m not saying it’s not.  But that’s not my story and it’s not my life.  I can only talk about what is happening with me from my perspective.

So this tiredness has come to a new level.  I am not just physically tired, but I am also emotionally, mentally and worst of all….soulfully tired.  Not sure that is a word or not, but it describes the feeling perfectly.

This momma needs a break.

A break from my life…the real world…reality.  I need to step outside of myself and find some peace.  I need to sleep under a palm tree…listen to waves crashing…and feel the sun shining on my face.  I need to get away from the day-to-day and focus on me.  I was doing good with this the first year after Pat died.  I would take a day or a weekend a month to have time for myself.  I desperately needed it in order to make it through the other 28-30 days of the month.  But as time went by, I grew stronger and life got busier as I stepped back into living.  But what I am discovering is that I really do need the break.  Maybe not every month now, but for God’s sake every once in a while I need to not be momma for a short period of time and just be Denise.  No whining, no complaining, no decisions, no bills to pay, no stress.  Just Denise being Denise doing whatever Denise wants.  I am talking about straight up selfishness.  That is what I need.  Just a little bit would do me good.  I think it would benefit all of us.  I will be a better mom when I am a better me.

There is no magic cure to heal my heart and soul, but some time for me would be a great start.  To have a moment to reflect, adjust and regroup would be amazing.  So how will I find this time for me?…I have absolutely no idea because life keeps going and the boys keeping needing me.  I think I just need to make it a priority for a few hours one day every other month to take a break from being momma and remember that I am a person too.  A person with wants and needs and desires and dreams.  My boys are my world, but I don’t want to lose me in that world.  Denise, the individual, wants to live this life for my boys and with my boys.  But it can’t be all about them.  It needs to be a little bit about me too.

 

 

Posted in grief, living forward, widow, widowhood

The gift of widowhood

In the first half of my life, that is before Pat died,  I thought I knew what life was all about. You grow up, you get a job, you get married, have kids, raise your family and someday if you are lucky to retire together as you grow old.  Obviously there are a few pieces of the puzzle missing from that story line, but that was the gist of what I thought life was about.  I always thought there would be time to do everything I wanted to do, or see.  I thought that I was too old or already on my path so that I couldn’t go live my dreams..if I was even sure what those were anymore.  Somewhere along the line in growing up, I think I lost touch with what I wanted as an individual…what I wanted out of life. The things that mattered to me got mixed up or something.   I think I slipped into the conformity of the world and thought stuff was important, and status was important, and a someday would come along when the time was right and I would get to do all that I ever wanted to do.  In short, I had my priorities all messed up.

As we all know, my life didn’t exactly turn out
the way I had thought it was going to.  Instead my husband got sick and died.  My life got turned upside down and I was left in a ball on the floor trying to figure out what to do next.  This was a terrible tragedy.  It was a nightmare of pain and suffering.  This was unfair…

This was a gift.

Now this took me a while to see…a positive coming out of losing the love of my life?  But I can see it now.  Something good did rise up from the ashes of my former life….my new life.  My new perspective.  My new attitude towards living.  My meaning of life has changed and for the better, in my opinion.

giftThis second chance or second chapter of my life is different.  I see things in such a different way.  I want to live and fully embrace the meaning of life.  I want to explore this world and experience it.  I want to do what I want to do.  I want to follow my heart and my passion.  I don’t want to settle.  I don’t want to give in.  I don’t want to worry about the little things.  There is so much more to life than things.  This leads me to living more simple.  I have been purging my house of belongings…of things I never needed.  I don’t want stuff anymore.  I want experiences…I want memories.  I want to do and I want to be.  I understand that life isn’t always that simple.  I am going to have to go back to work and do something to pay the bills eventually.  I am still going to have the mundane chores of life, but I see those different now too

Even though I won’t get everything I want,  that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up dreaming.  I am dreaming big these days and putting it out into the universe to see what comes back to me.  I am focusing on being positive and living my truth.  I know who I am.  I know what I want.  And I deserve to have it all.  We all do.  My all has simply changed since Pat left me.  It’s bigger than before.  It’s connected to my soul more.  I loved the life we
had.  I loved the plans we had together and would give anything to have him back to see them through.  But this is not an option we widows get to have.  I have to accept the change that was given to me…I need to embrace it and run forward into it.  This gift of a second chapter is an opportunity to truly live.  I am working on that principle.  I am listening to my heart and reaching for the stars.   Live life with passion.  Live life with love.  Don’t just simply exist in this world…Go live it.

 

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.

cocoon

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, living forward, widow, widowhood

Ready to Walk the Talk

I recently read a blog about walking between your two lives after the loss of a loved one.  It clicked with me and has left me thinking about where I am walking in my life right now.  The idea of the blog was that as a widow, as she is one too, there comes  a time when you are living with one foot in your former life and one foot in the new world you have made for yourself.  You have to try to balance the two and wait for the right time to fully step into your “new normal”, your new life.

I am finishing up my second year as a widow and I am amazed at how the journey of grief has gone so far. The beginning was all about surviving the pain and shock that came with Pat’s death.  It was about helping the kids adjust and understand.  It was simply forcing myself to get through each day.  By the time the end of the first year rolled around I thought I was in a pretty good place with things.

I was wrong.  The beginning of the second year was rough…on all of us.  It came at us without expecting it which may have made the hit feel even harder.  We were thrown off kilter for a bit but then settled back in.  Most of this second year was about trying to figure out who I am now in this new world of mine. Trying to figure out what to do now.  I accepted the loss of Pat and the fact that life will never be the same again.  I learned that I am no longer the same person and what I want and desire in life is no longer the same.  This has been my main focus for some time now.  I am getting there.  I have learned a lot about me and I have decided what I want and don’t want in life.  The details aren’t completely mapped out just yet, but who’s life is a perfect plan in action?
Now I am finding myself in a new place.  The feelings that go along with it are different too.  Living in the end of my second year and seeing the third year heading towards me leads me to a place of let’s get up and get going.  I think I have done a hell of a lot work for years now.  I have thought about everything.  I have analyzed, critiqued, adjusted and improved myself.   I like who I am.  I like where I am at…basically.  The place I am in now is one of being ready to move forward.  I have talked about the need to continue to move forward and in my mind I have.  I have prepared myself mentally and emotionally for the move.  Now I am ready to do it.  I am ready for action.  I am ready to step into the new life.  It has come that time for me to say goodbye to that in between place we widows live in for a while.  I have dipped my toes into life multiple times and retreated back to my safety, but here I am…ready.

actionI think the fact that I have been writing like crazy shows I am back in the game. My book is coming along nicely and I am ready to begin the process of starting a non-profit.  I am sure I will still be hesitant about things, but I know that now I am ready to get going on with this thing called life.  It is time to start putting my words into action.

Walking between my two lives is sometimes quite a balancing act and it is mostly done in order to make others feel comfortable with things.  People have their own opinions as to how we should live after the loss of a spouse.  Even though they have never experienced it.  It is okay.  I get it.  I didn’t know before I was one too.  I thought I knew what it would be like or what I would or wouldn’t ever do, but you never know until you live it.  I understand that people can be uneasy with me finding a happy life after Pat.  It’s not that they don’t want me to be happy…they do.  But it needs to be on their timeline…when they think I should start being happy and what that should look like.  So I walk that line.  I don’t want to hurt people or make them think I didn’t love Pat or our life together by finding happiness again.  I want to be considerate of others feelings and ease them into the new me.  All that I have now…happiness and my new life honestly has nothing to do with the love I have for Pat.  It is two separate things.  The amazing thing about the heart is that there is room for more than just one love…more than just one life can bring you happiness.

There is no way in hell I would have believed any of that 2 years ago.  But now that I have lived this life, I know that it is.  The heart has an abundance of love to give.  Just because you love another, doesn’t diminish anything you had with the first.  The love goes on.  Just because you find happiness and peace doesn’t mean you are “over”  anything.  I will never be “over” losing Pat.  The pain is just something different now.   The wound has healed over, but the scar will always remain.  My love with him and my life with him will always be with me.  I will always have that.  And I am proud to have that.  Having a second shot at life and finding happiness or love or peace in life doesn’t take that away.  It is different, but it can be amazing.

So as I am entering this next chapter of the grief journey I am ready to take the next steps necessary to ease me out of the waiting room and back out into the world.  I have come to that point where I am wanting to get up and do something.

I hope you all stay with me on this journey.  I can’ wait to see what keeps coming my way. It has been quite an adventure so far.  I never thought I would make it to this point and find my way out of the fog of grief.  I don’t only see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I can finally feel the warmth of it shining down on me.

Posted in grief, living forward, widow, widowhood

Making Progress

After last week of feeling totally useless and depressed, I have to say I got off my butt and went back to working on me.  I decided I needed to make myself a priority and to do something about it instead of simply feeling sorry for myself.  Not an easy thing to do some days.  I have been writing everyday.  I am coming at it a little different now.  I am looking at it like it is my job.  I am setting time aside each day, just couple of hours, and leaving the house for a coffee shop to focus on my thoughts.  The first day I did this felt a little odd.  I felt guilty about taking the time and not working on things for the house.  I quickly got over that.  I need this.  I need some time for me that doesn’t involve anyone else.  These past few years I have been saying I am figuring me out and taking time for me, but that wasn’t 100% accurate.  I have been doing things, but it always involved others.  Whether it was with the boys, family or friends, I always had someone else involved in finding me.  That doesn’t  make much sense.  “Just being” means just being alone.

light

I have felt alone since Pat died and the loneliness can overtake you, but I am not talking about this alone time.  That is the kind that was thrown at me…or rather something was taken from me.  The kind of alone I need now is of my own free choice.  It is something I want and need to do in order to continue my way out of the darkness.  I have been looking back on my writings over the past couple of years and I am happy to say that when I turn around I am happy with what I see.  It was a horrible time, but what I see when I turn around amazes me.  It is dark.  Very dark and painful.  The past.  And the view in front of me still has the shadows from the past, but the light is there now.  I can see again.  There is a brightness that wasn’t there even a few months ago.  I just have to keep working way through the fog and darkness to step into the light.  I know there will always be a lingering shadow around me that will pop its head out at unexpected times, but I feel like I am making a great deal of progress towards moving forward.

Grief is no joke.  Being a single parent is no joke.  The struggle is real.  Some days I feel as though I am losing my mind.  Some days I want to jump in the car and run away.  Some days I want to throw in the towel because I just can’t do it anymore.  But, somedays are amazing.  Some days I wake up and feel lucky for where I am.  I think that is the biggest lesson learned from losing Pat….What he gave me, what he taught me, what I went through and what I am still going through has been a gift.  I haven’t fully opened that gift just yet to see the true meaning of it all, but the strength I have discovered, and the new perspective on life I have obtained is a great beginning.

Just another day on this journey through widowhood.  Just gotta keep moving.

 

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.