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 accepting, grief, inspiration, motivation, widow

Father’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted in grief, inspiration, motivation, widow

The blank pages in between

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Posted in grief, inspiration, Uncategorized, widow

It’s only stuff

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

Posted in inspiration, motivation, Uncategorized

Not what I had planned.

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

Nope.

Not happening.

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

So now what?

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

So this is my plan…

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

letgo 

Posted in Uncategorized

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”. -Kenji Miyazawa

Four months have come and gone without Pat and I feel I have come so far in such a short time.  I haven’t sat in the face of fear and sadness and just let it envelop me into nothing.  I took the pain. I felt the pain. I embraced the pain.  It is all part of him and all that we had.  He loved me completely with his entire being and losing him should hurt in such the same way…completely and throughout my being.  It aches, it burns, it cries out in despair. It’s everything you could imagine about losing a part of you and so much more.  It’s nothing I would wish on my worst enemy, but it’s not the end of me.  I am here.  I have a life ahead of me and to sit and wallow in pity and sorrow is not in the cards for me.  Pat wanted more for me.  I’ve said many times his death will not be in vain.  I don’t think I really have known what I meant by that, it’s just something I felt.  I now think it is that I am not going to just lay down and die with him.  He didn’t fight until his last breath for me to give up.  He didn’t give up and he wouldn’t want me to give up either.  I think that’s where that thought has come from.  I need to embrace the pain and use it to continue on. To push forward and continue the fight he began.  I need to live the life I want to live and live it to the fullest…whatever that may look like.  This is the life I have been given at this point in time.  I didn’t ask for this new life or new perspective on the future, but it is what I have now and I need to use it to my fullest potential.  That’s what I am trying to do.

Sometimes it is difficult to move forward in this life with the voices and noise that surrounds me.  The opinions, whether voiced or perceived by me, of others can hold me back from pressing on in the direction or with the desire I would like.  With the best of intentions for me, people can say some of the stupidest things where it seems they don’t really even understand what they are saying.  It could be clichés or things they have heard somewhere, or maybe even what they think should be said, but it is received as judgment and disapproval of how I am grieving.  This also happens when people choose not to even speak of Pat in my presence as if that will make me forget what has happened.  If I don’t think of him and speak of him its as if everyone is forgetting him.  He lives on in us and through us.  We need to remember our loved ones and not be afraid of speaking their name or sharing our memories.  And with that, we need to remember them as they were…imperfect.  When people tell stories or speak of Pat as if he was this “saint” or perfect, it’s as if I don’t even recognize him anymore.  I loved all of him, which included all his flaws.  That is what made him mine and made our love real.  I want to remember him exactly how he was and who he was.  That is the way I can honor him and his life.  He wrote the words once and I couldn’t have said it better….”God dammit, Patrick Mahoney lived and I am so proud to have known him.”  I hope he is proud of how I am living and honoring him.  He wanted nothing more than me to be happy. That is what I need to do, for him and for me.

Posted in Uncategorized

When you a see someone smile…

Just because I’m smiling doesn’t mean I’m not crying on the inside.  Just because I’m smiling doesn’t mean everything is ok.  But just because I’m hurting on the inside doesn’t mean that I should walk around with my head held low and tears in my eyes.  Wearing a smile means a great deal to people, especially when things aren’t going so well.  A smile can hide all the bad that is going on underneath, but it also can show the world that the bad hasn’t won.  When you smile you show you’re still in the game…you’re still here and you haven’t  been beaten.  It shows your strength, your dignity, your pride.

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A smile makes you feel good if just for a moment and that feeling may be exactly what you need to get through the day.  To have people look at you like your ok, like they don’t pity you or your situation….trust me that means a lot.