Posted in widow

The reasons for my tears

This path of widowhood is an ever winding road with quick drops that can bring you down.  But there are highs that feel amazing too.  We go through everyday doing what we do, trying to heal and move forward with our lives.  But the truth of the matter is, we take every step with tears in our eyes or at least in our heart.  tears2

I found myself this morning crying…I’m not sure the exact reason behind the tears falling down my face, but they kept coming anyway.  But what I found amazing, was that I just kept going.  The tears started in the shower, and continued for some time after.  But I continued to get dressed, and get ready for whatever the day was to bring me.  I just kept pushing through even thought the tears were trying to pull me down.  I had moments where they took me down to the ground, but I got back up.  I always do.
But the today’s tears made me think about how they could still  keep coming after all this time.  I didn’t think I could cry like this anymore…especially without not knowing why they were falling.  It made me think about where I am.  Why am I crying today…Here is what I am thinking.

It seems that my post-Pat life has been filled with one day feeling good and the next day not understanding why I am where I am.  It’s been a confusing roller coaster of trying to navigate this new world.  I shed a tear for not knowing why I feel the way I do.

I have found a little piece of happiness and I want to hold on to it.  I don’t want to lose something that could be amazing.  Yet I don’t want to force it to be something more than it is.  Just because my perspective on life has changed and what I want from life has changed, doesn’t mean everyone else’s has.  And I have no right to expect that from anyone.  So I shed a tear for the thought that I am going to lose something important to me.

My boys are challenging for me.  I don’t know what I am doing with them most days and I am absolutely sure I am screwing them up permanently.  I love them with all I am, and still I am constantly yelling and screaming at them.  I feel out of control in my own home and I am lost as to help make this a smoother ride for us all.  I shed a tear for being a solo parent.

I have chosen to make some drastic changes in my life the past two years, but even though they were of my choosing, I still feel a loss.  I still feel that I lost a piece of my identity and my place in this world.  I know that my place has changed and there is somewhere new for me to be, but being without a holding spot is lonely, scary and a bit isolated.  I find that I am lacking direction most days and on an unknown road, that can be terrifying because I am not yet completely out of the darkness.  I see the light ahead and it is shining pretty bright, but it’s still a little too dark for comfort when I don’t know where I am headed.  A definite tear or two for feeling lost.

Underneath it all is my broken my heart.  I believe my heart has healed over but that scar remains.  That scar will always be.  I lost something that can never be replaced.  The loss took everything from me and rebuilding is exhausting, and painful.  All my tears stem from this loss and the damage that it has caused.

I should be thankful for the tears and the sadness…it means I am still here, I am still alive.  The fact that I can feel sadness over something other than losing Pat means I have been able to open my heart again and take the risk at pain.  That’s a good thing.  So I guess I should just let the tears come and use them to wash away the pain and the darkness.  I am so ready to step into that light ahead.

 

 

 

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, 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 despair, grief, widow

My endless pit

falling-into-the-endless-pit-of-non-canon-ships-489719Most of the time I feel like I am doing okay.  I am out in the world and living.  But the thrilling part of the grief process for me is that at any moment and for any reason I can fall into a pit of despair.  I usually know when it is coming on and feel as though I am “slipping”.  I can catch myself, refocus on what I need to do and continue on.  It may take a day or maybe two, but I can catch myself before I find myself curled up in my closet or sitting in the shower crying.

But there are timeswhen I can’t help but fall.  It isn’t an all of a sudden a fall, but rather an endless slow motion fall into nothingness.  It begins with…well actually it usually begins with nothing.  Nothing really has to happen.  A thought, or a word or an interaction with another can do it.  The spiral begins.  My head doesn’t know how to shut down.  I can’t turn it off.  Trust me I wish I could if even for a short period of time.  I think and think and think.  My brain has to analyze everything from every angle.   I question my thoughts, my feelings, my decisions.  I’m sure it is the result of feeling so out of control and unsure of what I am doing.  I want to know that I am not crazy.  I want to know that I am okay…that I will be okay.  So I try to be sure that I am not just fooling myself on how I am doing.  In doing this, my brain goes round and round.  I think until it has driven me farther into the pit.  At that point the feeling of just wanting to disappear into it comes over me.  Sometimes I don’t want to keep getting up and moving forward.  Sometimes I want to be left alone and wither away.  I know it is okay for me to sit in my feelings of pain and loss for a moment, but this is different.  This is a more permanent residency of pain.

It is kind of like the desire I have to want to be in the world of the living again.  I truly want that for myself.  BUT…I really don’t. I want to find my place in the world again, but I don’t want people in my business.  I want to share in relationships with people, but I don’t want them to input their opinions or to even to try to understand.  Selfish right?  I am truly blessed to have people who care about me and my boys and want the best for us.  They want to be a part of our lives and they just want us to be happy.   I know that.  But I am grieving.  Grief rears its ugly head again…and so I want to isolate and go it alone.  It’s easier that way sometimes.  The most I can do is focus on what I need to do at that time.  Trying to deal with other people’s dramas or opinions doesn’t fit into my world at this time.  I want nothing to do with it. So what I do is retract from the world of the living.  I step out into it for a bit, and then quickly right back into my bubble.  I am happy there. I feel safe there.  Perhaps that is where I need to stay for a little longer.  I hope people will still be there when I am ready to return.

So this endless pit of despair sucks me in again and I fall and fall downward in a spiral hoping  to be saved from this pain.  I then remember there is no one there to save me…I have to save myself.  And so that is what I do.  I will keep getting up and I will keep trying to climb out of the pit and I  will eventually step back out into the world.  I wish I knew a quicker route than the one I am on.

 

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, 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.