Posted in grief, widow

He is not on a trip, he is dead

There have been a lot of articles written about how widows get upset when people call themselves “football widows”, “racing widows”,  “hunting widows” or complain about how hard it is when their spouse is gone for the weekend and they are on their own.  Widows, like me, get upset by this because these people have no idea what it truly means to be an actual widow.

Yes, they think they can understand because they take care of things all on their own for a few days, or a few weeks even, but everyone knows it is not the same.  I think they even know it is not the same when they say it….they just say it.

What I have found to be even worse than this is the fact that people in my life, even after almost three years, think that my life has just continued on the way it was and the only difference is that Pat is no longer here.  Like he is out-of-town on business or something.  According to them I have always taken care of everything anyway, so therefore it really isn’t all that different now.  He just isn’t here.  Life should be continuing on just minus one.

Let me tell you, everything is different….EVERYTHING.

From the outside, I may have been the one who ran the house and took care of the children, but I couldn’t have done any of that without my backbone for support.  Pat always had my back.  He was my partner, my best friend, my support system.  He was the one who picked up the pieces when I fell apart.  He was the one who helped me get through the tough days, make tough decisions, and be the tough guy with the kids.   I didn’t do it all on my own.  Every step of the way  he was there.

I chose Pat to spend my life with.  From the age of 21, I built my life with him and around him.  Everything was done together and in hopes for a long life together.  The plans, the dreams, the day to day…everything we did together…just because others didn’t or couldn’t see our relationship from behind the scenes, doesn’t mean they know how and what our relationship was.

I am not angry with people… I’m really not.  Maybe they say these things because they don’t think things through before saying them, or maybe they say them because they honestly think that is the way it is.  They don’t understand the lives of widows.  They don’t want to understand.  I don’t want them to understand.  I think it scares people, or reminds them of what could possibly happen to them too.  So instead of just letting us live our lives or help us, they pass judgment or make assumptions based on nothing other than what they “think” they would do, say or feel.  As I have said before…they have no idea.

I do get upset when people complain about their husbands, or the fact that their husband is out-of-town and they can’t wait for them to come home because they are tired of going it alone.  Of course I do.  I don’t show it, but I do.  I don’t have that luxury and I am envious of the fact that you have it all and don’t even realize it.  I wish he would be coming home again to help me out.  But I have to go it alone, everyday.  I have to do it alone with no break, with no help, with no chance of a day when he will come walking through that day door again to help me out.  My support system is gone.  I am alone in this and that is the end of the story.  I am left to pick up the pieces, figure it all out and find a new path for me and my boys….no Sunday night homecoming when the trip is over.  That just isn’t a widow’s reality.

I have come to terms with this reality and I have basically learned how to go it alone.  I am not angry, though I know this post may sound a bit angry.  I am simply sorting through the multitude of emotions I have experienced these past three years and some I am more passionate about than others.  This happens to be one of them.  It is a tough road that I wish on no one, but I do it everyday.  I am sure there are widows and widowers out there who understand what I am talking about.  It just gets to me sometimes.  That’s all I am trying to say.

What I honestly want is for anyone who has someone to love, to actually love them.  Be thankful for all the little moments and all the little things you have with them.  All of that…everything can be taken from you in a blink of an eye.  And then you are left like me, wishing he was on a trip, and not dead.

Posted in grief, widow

A widows need

As a widow I have been given the gift of realizing my own personal strength.  I had no other choice but to be strong for my kids.  That is what we widows do.  We do whatever it takes to protect our children and that involves finding strength we never knew we had.  So in these past few years I have had to learn how to handle everything it takes to run a household…finances, home repair, yard work, education decisions, daily activities, transportation, the list goes on and on.  I have had difficulty making some of these decisions because I never had to do them alone.  I don’t fully trust my decisions without having my partner there to back me up; to support me and have my back no matter what.  But whether they were the right or wrong decisions, I have learned to do it all myself.  It’s just another “benefit” of being a widow.

But we do what we have to do.  We put our head down and face whatever the day brings us.  In the beginning it is literally minute by minute.  But as time goes by it becomes a day-to-day battle, just trying to make it through without any major catastrophes.  Each day I go to bed knowing I did the best I could do today and that is all I can ask for at this time.

With this new-found strength came weakness as well.  And this is where the need comes into play.  Unfortunately I am not the superwoman I try to appear to be.  I can not do it all on my own.  And God do I hate that.  I hate feeling weak and I hate having to depend on other people.  To need someone again means I have to put myself out there and trust someone again which means I have to open myself up to the possibility of being let down or hurt.   These are things that as a widow I try desperately to avoid.

I need help from people and I depend on people, though I hate to do it.  There are people who drive my kids to school, and watch my dog and kids so I can get a breath from time to time.  There are people who help me with yard work and home repair when I just can’t do it all myself.  These people do it for no other reason than the fact that they care.  They don’t expect anything from me.  They just want to help.  I can’t express my appreciation for these people enough.  They save me everyday.

I need these people.

But at the same time I want to continue to crawl into my own little world and focus on getting through each day.  I don’t want to depend on anyone, but myself.  Sometimes I need to be left alone.  I need my space.  I need my independence.  I need to feel like I’ve got this and I am doing okay.  It is such a mix of emotions and needs.  I hate feeling like I want to be alone and I feel bad for isolating myself from my friends.   But it is comfortable in my own little world and it is where I can handle things on my own.  It’s the only place I feel like I’ve got this single parenting thing.  A place where people who don’t understand or who don’t get it, can’t place their judgment, opinions or pity upon me.  I definitely DON’T need any of those things.

I am sure these feelings of mine are normal in the world of widows.  I am sure those of you who are walking this path understand what I am talking about.  I am also sure we will all figure this out and find our place in the world again.  We have survived the unimaginable, we have grown in strength and wisdom and we will find happiness again.  This is my hope and my need.

Posted in grief, widow

Breaking ground

My foundation was broken when Pat died.  As I try to rebuild, I can’t find the right pieces to use or when I do find pieces, they aren’t strong enough or I am afraid they won’t be strong enough to hold me up through out my life.  I had a strong foundation once…the whole fucking architecture of my life was perfect.  I thought it was bullet proof, unbreakable.  I had it all.  But it wasn’t indestructible.  A crack in the universe caused my whole world to come crumbling down around me and I was left standing in the rumble of memories and sadness.

But time has passed.

The wound has healed.

But the scar remains.

I have been thinking about where I am right now in my grief process and I realize I am at the rebuilding stage.  I have made it through the agony and daily crying spells.  I have made it through the why me’s and how can I go on period.  I have made it through who am I now and what am I suppose to do time.  Now I am standing at the building site of my new life.  Staring at it trying to picture what it is going to be like.  What my life is going to become.

It is an empty lot right now.  Actually, ground has been broken and some basic work has been done, but the real design hasn’t started yet.  I have started to lay the foundation.  I need a strong foundation, maybe even stronger than the first one, in order for me to feel safe and secure.  I know there is no such thing as 100% guarantee of protection from hurt and harm, but I am trying to safeguard against the unforeseen and unknown because I know it is out there and it is a possibility again.  I know the damage it can cause.   So I am working on building a strong one that can always be reinforced and improved upon in the future.

For one…I have developed a new relationship with God and have reconnected with my faith.  It may not look to others like a typical relationship, but it is my relationship and an amazing support system for me. I have also given myself the gift of time to heal and to get acquainted with my new self.  I have learned about who I am and what I want…more often than not it has been what I don’t want.  I have developed new friendships that are strong, healthy and secure.  I have taken the negativity out of my life and anyone who added to it.   I have opened my heart to allow for more love and I’ve opened my mind to new ideas.  I have tried new career paths and I have been forced outside of my comfort zone…in fact I feel like I live there almost every day.

All of this is the beginning to a strong foundation for the new me.

So what is next?

God I wish I knew.   I stand in this spot trying to take the next step.  To put that cornerstone in place and move on with the reconstruction of my life.  But I am scared.  I am always so scared.  This is another added bonus of losing Pat.  I am so scared of everything…of it being the wrong thing to do at the wrong time.  So unsure of my decisions.  But what I have recently come to see is that my fear is ridiculous.  It is holding me back from what I know I need to do or at least need to try to do.  I have been living my life as if I was in living in Groundhogs day…I keep going around and around and end up in the same place, or someplace very similar, which is safe and predictable, but leaving me unhappy and unfulfilled.  Fear is the only thing making me take this cyclical trip to the land of miserable.  It’s time to break free of this pattern.

I know this.

We all know this.

You can’t keep doing the same things expecting a different outcome.  Pretty sure that is the definition of insanity.

But I have to let this go.  I need to place the cornerstone of my new life down and begin building something new.  Something that will make me happy and bring me the peace I am so desperately searching for.  It’s a risk.  But it’s a risk I have to take, ready or not.  I’ve tried and tried to keep going the only way I knew how.  I’ve decided that I need to try something I don’t know how.  I have figured this widowhood and single parenthood thing out so far…There has to be hope that I can figure this out too.

I can’t keep complaining about the way things are if I am not going to try to make a change.  I hope my new foundation is ready for this because I believe this new life of mine has the potential to be something amazing.

 

 

Posted in grief, widow

More

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.

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.

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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

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, 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.