Posted in grief, widow


Today is October 4.  Today is the day he should be celebrating his 47th birthday. But Pat didn’t get to reach this milestone.  He never got to have his mid-life crisis.  He never got to experience the joys of aging with gray hair and wrinkles.  He never got to do so much.  Time ran out on him and he didn’t get to do any more than 44.  When I met Pat he was a young, care free, concert going, party loving man.  He worked hard so he could party hard.  He loved his friends, he loved his music, he loved life.  He wanted to go out and take on the world.  He had dreams of turning his love of music into his life career.  And then he met me.  I always felt like I took that from him…the dreams of the night life.  It seemed like he always wanted more than the family life.  But he said no.  He said when he met me his idea of more changed.   After he met me, more meant a family, and love, and growth and a future.  It no longer meant more nights out and parties to attend.  And so more he got.   He married me and he got more and more love every day.  And then the love overflowed when we added more to the Mahoney crew…First Seamus, then Quinn and finally Aidan.  With every more he encountered, he was happier, more grounded, more complete.

But then the day came when he got sick and all he wanted was more time.  26 more years was what he prayed for.  For some reason he thought living to the age of 70 would be enough for him and so he tried to compromise with God for those years.  As it turned out, 70 wasn’t his number.  But he did get more time.  He got six months to live where he could say more and love more.  He said all he needed to say and he had peace with his life and his death.   This man gave me more love than I could ever imagine.  He brought me more joy and more laughter and more meaning than one person deserves.

I still wish I had more.


We always want more.

What am I going to do with my more?  I have so much more to give and do and experience.  I want to honor Pat by living a life that I am proud of.  Not worrying about what makes sense to others, but living the way I truly want to live.  This is what I want to do with the more I have been given.  I am not sure how much more I have, so I want to give it my all.  So instead of wanting more materialistic things, I want more living, loving, and laughter.  Because on this day of remembrance of the birth of an amazing man, friend, brother, son, husband and father…I want to celebrate the gift of life I have been given and the chance I have to make more of every moment.



Happy Birthday Pat Mahoney!

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


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, widow

I’m Losing my Perspective

I’ve talked before about what the widow perspective has given me.  I want different things and I view the meaning of life differently.   I don’t care about things or money or others opinions.  I want to just live life on my own terms and with my own truth.  I found that I want to enjoy the little things…appreciate the sunsets, long walks, holding hands and hugs.  I want to live the little moments of life and know they are what makes me happy.  I don’t want to be caught up in the grind of it and worry about things that I can not control.  I have found this to be a peaceful way of living.  It felt like I was heading in the right direction.

But what I also found is that this new widow perspective on the world is lonely.  Lonely because not many people see the world in the way that I do.  The fact that the little things don’t matter.  The fact that all I want is to be at peace and surrounded by love.  I want to spend my time being…being on this earth, with people who fill me with love.  I found that I have started to isolate myself from people because I feel as though I am not  understood.  I began to feel alone and scared and a little like maybe I was crazy….maybe there was something wrong with the way I viewed the world or how I was trying to live my life.   I started to second guess my choices, my decisions, my desires.

And then the year I gave myself came to an end and day to day life began again.  I went back to work and started working on building our future once again.  I tried to heal myself and my heart by jumping back into the world in the best way I could.  But it doesn’t work the same anymore.  Not with the new perspective I have after losing Pat.  I can’t live balancing between the new me and the same old world.  I try to fit in with people.  I try to find my place again.  I try to feel safe and comfortable about the future…or even about today.

But life keeps on going no matter how hard you try to slow it down.

And the day to day grind of working, balancing finances and raising three boys on my own began to sit on my shoulders.  It began to weigh me down.  I started worrying about things that are out of my control.  I started worrying about the future and about money and about how I was viewed by others.  All the things I no longer want to worry about.  I felt to feel negativity surrounding me everywhere I went.  I couldn’t escape it and I started to want to run again.  It’s been a while since I have felt like running.

I’ve lost my focus.  I’ve lost my perspective.  I’m losing me.

I don’t even know where to go with this.

I need to go back to what matters to me.  The things that bring me peace and find my center.  For whatever reasons, I have stepped away from those things.  I think I began to think that I totally had this life thing down and I don’t need God’s help anymore or something.  I was doing better when I handed it over to him and led with my heart.  Trying to figure it all out on my own has left me off kilter.  I need to leave it in God’s hands and follow my heart.  I need to listen to my gut and go with the flow again.  In order to do that I need to take the time I need again.  I need to walk.  I need to write.  I need to read.  And I need to  be…truly be with myself.  I need a break.

I had been giving myself time every month or so to get away from it all.  To disconnect and step away from the solo parenting and all that comes with it.  I haven’t done that for some time and I see now that it is adding to the breakdown of me.  Finding that time is difficult though.  Finding the frame of mind to let go and not feel selfish or guilty for taking care of me is difficult.  But it is needed.  For all of us.

I need to do this now before I completely lose my perspective and lost my way.  I have always said I want to live this life in honor of Pat.  He would do anything to live and I don’t want to take my opportunity at life for granted.  I want to soak it up and feel it all.

perspectiveSo I will give myself this moment to feel sorry for myself for letting myself get off course and then I am going to yet again, pick myself up, dust myself off and get back on track.

I am still here for a reason and I want and need to continue living with an open heart and open mind.  The path is there for me…I just need to keep going without putting up a fight.




Posted in widow

The storm has passed…

Time has passed me by.   I have been through so much the past two plus years.  There has been a lot stormof darkness, sadness and despair.  There has been a continuous uphill battle and nights of tears and loneliness.   I spent a year trying to survive the simple fact that my husband was never coming home and I was actually a widow.  And then I spent the next year trying to figure out what to do next.  It was a chaotic tornado of emotions, thoughts, fears and dreams spinning in my head all the time.  I have been all over the map in regards to how I want to spend the next chapter of my life.  I have dreamed big and I have thought small.  I wanted the world and I wanted to live simply.  I have been up and I have been down.  I am sure I have confused people with where I was headed and they must have thought I was truly a lost soul….I think I was.  The rain clouds came down on me all the time.  I would start to see the light peeking out behind a cloud and then a new storm would blow in and lead me back to the darkness.  The rain of life would beat down on me and I wouldn’t know how to get back up.  I was so confused; so scared of everything.  Every choice seemed like the wrong one.

But then it wasn’t.  I took a year off and stayed home to figure me out.  I used that time.  Some people may say I was lazy or selfish or unproductive, but I so wasn’t.  When I needed to be sad, I was sad.  When I wanted to write, I wrote.  I connected with music, with words, with thoughts and my soul.  I built a new relationship with God and found a sense of peace and a sense of purpose.  I needed them both.  Somewhere through it all I found what I needed.  The fog that had been coating my brain was washed away and I could see again.    My thoughts changed…they stopped being dark and negative.  Things started to make sense and I could see where I was and where I want to be.  I look back on all that I have survived and I am amazed because there is no way in the world two years ago would I have thought I would be where I am now.  I didn’t think it was possible.  I thought I would be stuck in that darkness forever.

But the storm has passed me by.  I survived.  I came out on the other side and I have seen the rainbow signifying my covenant to live a life on my own terms.  I am not saying I have it all figured out or everything is perfect, because it’s not.  It is still tough and it can still be sad and lonely, but not in the way it use to be.  It’s more like the normal road of life.  I have good days and I have bad days.   The good days out number the bad.  The sun shines more than it rains.  For this I am thankful.  I’ve come a long way and I am happy to be living again.

Posted in widow

2 Years Later

It is April 5th again.

Another birthday for me.  Another year without Pat.

Today is the day that is the marking point which splits my life into the life before and my life after.  Today is the day Pat died, two years ago.  I can’t believe another year has come and gone 2yeaerswith out him.  This year flew by.  It wasn’t an easy year, but it was better than the year before.  It started off pretty rough.  The boys were struggling.  They were missing their dad in a bad way.  Issues were starting to boil to the surface and emotions were running high.  I had quit my job and was searching for something new.  I wanted to change my life and do something I loved.  I gave it a try…I didn’t like it.  I ended up deciding to take the year off .  The boys needed me.  I needed the time.

I needed time to sort through my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions.  I needed to figure out who I was, what I wanted and where I wanted to go.  It was quite a year of reflection and focus on me.  I needed to be home with the boys.  It gave them comfort knowing I was home.  I could be there in the morning before school and waiting for them when they arrived home from their day.  I was able to give them the comfort and stability of knowing I was simply there.  We all needed this year.

We had our ups and downs with grief this year.  We struggled without Pat.  We miss him every day.  The sadness is different now.  It is more sadness about what he is missing… That he should be here to be apart of things.  That life would be so different if he was here.   The pain doesn’t ache as intensely in my heart like it did two years ago.   Now it is a struggle to keep going in the day-to-day grind of life, on my own.  It is still trying to forge this new path and live life on my own terms.  It is the struggle with finding balance as a single mom and a single woman.

As I come to this day each year, it is like New Year’s Eve for me.  This is when  my year changes because this is when my life changed.  It is ironic that today is also my birthday because it was a rebirth when he died…not one that I wanted, but  I started a new life this day.  I started all over.    I use this day to reflect on the past year; where I have been, what I have done, and where I want to go from here.  Here is how I see it:

A lot changed in year 2…We settled into our new home, I left my job in search of a new job, I got rid of Pat’s car, and my old car, I went through all of his belongings and began to give them away, I made new friends, let go of old friends, made new relationships, and set new goals.   I traveled a lot; I wrote a lot.  I met me and got to know me better.  I’ve figured out what I want out of life and started making plans to go out and get it all.  I have had  a lot of crying and confusion and loneliness and being scared of the future.  BUT, I have also had a lot of laughs and good times, new memories and hope for the future.   It was a roller coaster of a year and a lot of work.  I went through times where I thought Pat would be disappointed in me for not being out there living fully quite yet.  I have had times where I was disappointed in me for not just taking a risk and reaching for my dreams.  I have a had a lot of times where I felt so alone and so judged for how and why I make the decisions I make.  Sometimes I feel like no one understands me and where I am.  Sometimes I think I am crazy and my perspective on life is messed up.  I’ve had some bad days.

And then I find peace again.  Because I have had good days.  I have had days of laugh and love and happiness.  I have felt excitement, hope and pure joy.  I have had times of wonder and learning and reaching for something new.   And I know that what is right for me, is what is right.  Pat would want nothing more than for us to be happy in our lives the way we want to live it.  I am going to live life again…actually, no…I am living life again.  It is just different from the life before so sometimes I forget to see it as living.  I am doing what I want to do, it is just taking time for the full path to be revealed.  I am leaving it in God’s hands and trusting in the fact that in time all will reveal itself.  For now, I am going to try to keep living my life the way I want to live without any concern for others opinions and others judgment.  Not as easy as it sounds, but what I keep trying to do.

As for the boys…they are a constant struggle.  And these teenage years are aging me faster than father time can.  I am not sure I am cut out to be a single parent and I am positive I am screwing them up more and more each day.  But one thing is for sure, I love those boys more than anything.  They are the reason I keep going and they are the reason I want to continue to be better.  I will keep pushing on and doing my very best everyday for them, even though they are absolutely pushing me to the brink.

They are doing better than I would have expected two years ago.  They are growing into amazing people.  They have their times of struggles, but they are mostly happy.  They are figuring things out with their dad around the best they can.  I am amazed at their strength and perseverance.  They simply amaze me.

As for what is ahead of me…I only see good.  It is what I am choosing to see.  I think I am finding my place again.  I think I am starting to feel alive again.  I miss Pat.  I love Pat.  I so wish he was here today to celebrate my birthday.  And I know he is.  He is always here with me and the boys.  I think he would be proud of how far we have come and excited to see where we are going.  The only thing he would be disappointed in is the fact that he isn’t here to share in our growth and progress.   But I know he is there watching over us with a smile on his face and love in his heart.  We are his pride and joy and not one year, not two years, not all the time the world is going to change that.   His death changed us and our lives forever, but our love will never fade.


Posted in grief, widow

The aches and pains of widowhood

I am feeling the aches and pains similar to after you work out for the first time in a long time.  But the workout isn’t one on the body, but instead it is on the mind, heart, soul and spirit.  I am feeling beat up, tired and lacking any desire to continue.   I don’t feel like I have the energy to keep fighting the fight day in and day out.  sadness2

I am using all my energy to keep the boys on track with their school work and their lives.  I am using my energy keeping the household running, and making sure the money doesn’t run out.  I am wasting my energy on trying to come across like I’ve got this, when most days, I am barely keeping my head above water.

My energy is all used up.

Deep down I want to keep pushing on.   I know that things are better than they were, and I know they are way better than they could have been, and I also know that they will keep getting better.   But the day-to-day grind of life has caught up with me again and I have found myself someplace I haven’t been before.  I am in a place where I don’t want to keep trying to make a better new life for myself.  I don’t have the energy to keep pushing on, and so I just want to settle with whatever comes my way and just get through this life.

I know this sounds horrible and even as I hear myself say it I cringe.  But I honestly am at that point where I am tired of trying.

I don’t think people understand all that becoming a widow means.  People know that you lost your spouse, your partner in life, but there is so much more that is taken from us.  A sense of security, dreams and plans for the future, your identity, your confidant, your sense of peace and comfort are all taken.  For me, I feel like I lost everything.  I lost my center and my touchstone.    I lost my confidence, my focus, and my drive.

But, I gained strength and perseverance.  That is for sure.  I have gotten up so many times after being knocked down, but this time I just want to stay down.  I don’t want to keep up the battle for this new and better life which I desire.  I know I want it, I just don’t feel like going after it anymore.  It is so much harder than I make it sound.  It is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.  I want to be better and in a better place so badly, but time goes so slowly during the healing process and there is no magical end date.

And what I have found is that this healing is a total inside job.  My spirit and soul can only be healed by me. No other person can fix this problem; if that is what you want to call it.  I have people in my life who care about me and I care about them.  I have found people who make me happy again and want to try again.  But this doesn’t change the damage to my spirit.  They don’t make anything heal faster or take away my pain from losing Pat.  They give me a sense of hope for the future.  Hope that I can be happy again and I can be loved again and I can love again.   There is always hope for that and I didn’t think that was possible.  I am thankful for that and for them.  But that doesn’t change where I am in my healing process.  This is on me.  I have to find a way out of it.

When I write I am usually writing to myself trying to convince myself that I am going to get through this.  That I am doing okay.  I write with a positive outlook towards my future in order to push myself to keep going.  I know all the right words to say and I know all the things I need to do in order to not fall into the fit of despair again.  My brain gets it….it’s my heart, and I guess my soul, that is still struggling with finding my way.  My brain is ready to jump in and get things going, but the rest of me is still sitting on the sidelines wishing to play again and at the same time, secretly thankful I am not really in the game right now.

So here I am.  I am tired all the time.  A tired that sleep can not fix.  I don’t have the answer or the solution to where I am at and that scares me.  I am not sure of what to do next or how to get out of this one.  I am in unchartered territory with the feelings I am having.  Perhaps this is all part of the healing process, and I will wake up tomorrow with all the answers.  For now I will continue to leave it in God’s hands and pray that I can be patient and wait and see what he has planned for me.