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.

Posted in grief, widow

Just a ramble

This new road I am traveling down keeps twisting and turning and I find myself off-balance and lost in direction all the time.  I’ve written about this before, how I think I am finding my way and then I am thrown for a loop again and feel lost all over again.  I have been trying to figure out where this is coming from and why I can’t seem to make a commitment to this new life.  And I really am unsure as to why it is.  I think it is another piece of baggage that comes along with losing Pat.

I don’t think my problem is not knowing where I am going or what I wan
t because I do.  I think I am unable to commit to anything too far out.  I don’t know where I will be or what will be happening a month from now or a year from now.  Who the hell knows what will be thrown at us today or tomorrow?  I am unable to make a plan and stick to it.  Maybe I am scared that something else will come along better or maybe I won’t be in a good place at that time, or maybe I am so scared of the uncertainty of life that I don’t want to make plans that may never happen, just as they did before.

I really don’t know where it comes from…all I know is that it is prominent in my life and it is taking its toll on me.

Being a single mom of three boys isn’t helping either.

I am doing my best to do what is right by them.  They each have their own paths they are traveling and their bumps along the road are keeping me on my toes.  I want to make the best decisions for them and keep us moving along the road as a family together.  But it is hard.  I feel like every decision is the wrong one for them.  Or if it is right for one, it isn’t right for the other two.

We have come a long way though.  We have worked through a lot and I think we are doing okay right now as a family.  I think we have worked through our grief together and are starting to find a smoother path.  Others may see it differently, but they don’t really know what we have been through, what we have worked through, or where we are headed….that is for us to know alone.

I haven’t been writing much lately…or being on social media and sharing my life.  I am feeling the need to stay close.  Not to share anything with people because that brings judgment or worse, people thinking they truly know how I am…or who I am.  What we show the world isn’t necessarily who we are.  There is so much more to each of us then what we post to facebook or instagram.  I have changed from wanting a large group of support to wanting a small tribe to walk with through life.  I think that comes from the loss as well.

Life is difficult for everyone and I don’t feel that I am unique in the feelings that I feel on a daily basis.  I do think my experience is different from others simwingsply because of the backstory…but we all have a story that molds us.  I am trying to learn from my story and carry on to make a better life for myself and the boys.  That is what we all want.

I don’t know really know what I am talking about today and maybe this post is simply for me to get my thoughts out on to paper and see what I am thinking.  If I don’t do this, then they simply spin in my mind and keep me awake at night and paralyzed during the day.

This is my therapy.  Writing is my therapist…or perhaps you as the reader are.  Either way, it feels good to write again.  I just keep going and keep working and keeping spreading my wings.  I will fly again…That is one thing I am sure of.

 

Posted in grief, living forward, widow

Indecision and unhappiness

I have been unhappy lately. And in trying to figure out what is making me unhappy I do what I always do….I think and analyze, and reanalyze and over analyze and drive myself crazy until my head is completely messed up and I don’t know which way is up anymore. And then I stop and have a moment of clarity and things make sense again.  What I realized this time is that I simply don’t know what I am doing.  I have a lot of thoughts, and dreams and ideas, but I have no plan.  I am afraid of a plan; of taking the step into really doing and living.

I had a plan once.  In fact I had my life all planned out and it was amazing.   I knew what we wanted, where we going and what we were doing…as much as one can.  I was happy with the plan and working towards all that we wanted.

But that plan was demolished the day he died…actually it was over the day we received the diagnosis of cancer, I just didn’t realize it yet.  Everything I had planned for my life was tipped over on its side.  At first it was just that…a bit shaken. A bump in the road… something we were going to get through and then continue back on to our planned route of life.  But as time went by and he got sicker and sicker and eventually died, my life and plans were not just shaken but my world was turned upside down.

I’ve spent the time since his death trying to get back on my own two feet and feel a sense of balance or control over my life.  At times I think I am feeling secure in my position, but then I get knocked off-balance again and taken to the ground.  It’s like spinning in circles and getting dizzy.  When you stop you can feel like you are on solid ground, but your head keeps spinning and you fall to your knees.  That is how I feel.  The world just keeps spinning and I keep falling down.

I keep getting back up though.  I keep pressing on and trying to figure it out.  But I what I figured out today is that I don’t have a plan for my life because I am terrified of it being taken from me.  I am afraid of setting out on another path and having tragedy destroy it again.  I am scared of losing again.  Maybe if I don’t plan on anything or have  no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed.  But I am.   I am disappointed in myself.  This isn’t me.  Not even the new me.  I set goals.  I make plans.  I work towards something.  I dream and I live.  But I am not…I haven’t really since he died.  I’ve talked
about it, but I haven’t really done it.  I haven’t really done anything.  I haven’t been able to decide which direction to take or where I should go.

My epiphany today:

My indecision with life is a decision for my life and I am not happy with that decision…at all.

So what do I do now?  That is the part of my clarity that always
gets me…now I know what the problem is and why I am feeling a certain way, but I must do something about it.  I am not going to sit herindecisione knowing what is making me unhappy and complain about it or feel sorry for myself.  I have to do something about it… Not just think about it, or read about it, or even talk about it. I need to make a decision and whether or not it succeeds or fails, at least I got out there and did something with my life.

Though, I feel like I could stay in this place I am in forever.  My life could pass along quickly and I would be fine…but I want more than just fine.  I want amazing.  I want an amazing life.  All the pieces are right in front of me.  There are a lot of opportunities and possibilities and people in my path that I simply need to embrace.  I know this.  I honestly have known this for some time.  I was just happy with indecision and fear and being stuck in this place.  I have been justifying where I am at and making excuses for myself and for  my lack of motivation.  But that has gotten me nowhere but a place of unhappiness.

I am in control of my own destiny and happiness.  All the opportunities and possibilities and pieces can all be brought to my door,  but if I don’t make the move and do something with them, they will simply sit at my doorstep wasted forever or even worse,  move along to someone who is willing to take the risk.   I want to be that person.  I have to be that person or what is this life I have been given really for.

I know what I want in the big scheme of life.  It’s the little steps I am unsure of.  I have to start putting my focus and heart into reaching for what I want.  I have to realize my strength and see all that I have overcome already.  I can handle if things don’t go perfectly…because I know they won’t.  I may make some bad decisions but I can survive that and learn from them and try again.
Losing Pat has taught me that much.  I am strong and determined and I am not going to be held down forever.  God has a plan for me and instead of just sitting here waiting for it to be handed to me, I am going to start trying to find it.   He won’t lead me wrong.

I need to see what is right in front of me.

I need to make a plan and go after it.

I need to make a decision and just see what happens.

I am not going to let indecision be my decision.  I’m going to take control and pray that eventually the spinning will stop and I will once again find myself back on solid ground.

destiny1

 

 

Posted in grief, living forward, widow

After the wedding vows have been fulfilled…

“In sickness and in health, til death due us part”…I lived my vows through and through.  I loved my husband, I cared for my husband and I was there until the very end.  I was by his side during every test, every appointment, every treatment, every moment.  There is no doubt that I loved him.   And yet as I have become a widow and have started to try and live forward in my life, I feel as though my love for him is being questioned, or doubted.  Me finding a life for myself does not take away anything from the love I had and still have for my husband.  Finding happiness and a new path is honoring him.  He would have given anything to  still be here living and loving.  Wvowshy would I simply curl up and mourn him forever and not live a life that I am lucky to have?  He would be screaming at me if I did.

We did a lot of talking to each other throughout his sickness and especially after the 6 month to live moment.  We talked about everything you can imagine.  We talked about the past, the present, our regrets, our hopes, our fears and we talked about what was heading our way as he was dying.  He told me everything he wanted for me.  He wanted me to take risks and do what I love.  He told me to get out of a job I hated and figure out what I truly believe in and spend my time doing that.  He told me to find happiness and live freely.  He wanted me to find love again, he wanted me to find my passion, and he wanted me to do this for him.  And so that is what I am trying to do.

It’s not easy though.  It’s really pretty damn hard.  It’s almost too much pressure for me at times.  I don’t want to disappoint him.  I don’t want to not fully take advantage of the gift of life I still have.  I want to see and do everything for him…in his memory.  But I am still unsure of what I am doing.  It’s been almost two years…in one sense that seems like a long time and in another it doesn’t.  I have accepted that my life that I had before is over.  I have acknowledged that I am no longer the same person who wants the same things out of life.  I have let people go and I have let people in.  It hasn’t been an easy two years in any way that you look at it.  I am still scared of losing…people I care about, things I love.  I am still scared of screwing up and taking risks and not finding my path.  And parenting….I can’t even begin to tell you how hard this is.  Doing this solo is practically breaking me.  And I do break…but I get up.  Each time I get up and dust myself off and figure it out.

That’s what we widows do….we figure it out.  People need to understand that our past life with our late spouses, and our new lives we are creating for ourselves are two separate entities.  We carry the pain and the love and the loss and everything that went with our former life forward with us into our new life, but we can never go back.  It is not an option for us.  We can not live as though it is or else we are destined to live a sad, lonely life.  And I am not going to do that.

My struggle on this day is that I am doing the best I can and yet I don’t feel like I am doing anything.  I am going through the days trying to make the right choices for me and the boys and trying to figure things out, but at the end of the day, I feel as though I am right back to where I started.   I am stuck at that starting line trying to figure out which foot to put in front of the other in order to get going.  I see many paths laid out in front of me and  I am full aware that it is up to me to make the choice, and start heading down the road of life again.  For some reason, I keep making a u-turn just as I am getting started.

So that’s where I’m with the on going battle in my head.  I am still making a couple more practice laps around the track of fear before I really strap on my running shoes and start living.  But I will do it.  And that is something that I keep reminding myself.  There is no timeline for this grief process or the healing process or for that matter, the whole process of life.  I just need to keep getting up and remember that I loved my husband and I gave him everything and all of me…and it is time for me to do the same for me.  That is what he would have wanted.

 

Posted in grief, widow

A reason to get out of bed

Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed.  A reason to keep going.  A knowing that there is purpose in their life and meaning to what they do.  This is true for everyone.  For a widow, this need isn’t just a desire to feel fulfilled, it is literally their life.  In the beginning of this grief process, my  kids were my reason to get out of bed.  I was lucky to have them.  I have said it before, they saved me.  If it wasn’t for them I am not sure I would be here today, because I honestly didn’t see the point in the beginning.  I totally understood the dying of a broken heart cliché.  But I survived.  My boys gave me a reason to keep going.  I got out of bed every morning to get them off to school…if you are unaware, this is a big feat for a widow.  Your bed is a safe place where you can be at peace in your pain.  Your safety net to hide away from the world.  So getting out of that place is difficult, sometimes for days.
But I am wrapping up my sophomore year in widowhood and things have changed.  I don’t need to remind myself to get up or take a shower or do what ever it is that needs to be done.  I am up and living somewhat of a normal routine.  Finding a reason to get out of bed isn’t literal anymore.  It’s now the bed of my grief.  It’s the bed of feeling lost and alone.  It’s the bed of not knowing where to turn.  It’s my bed of which I have made to help protect my heart and soul.

This is the bed that I need help to get out of and stay out of, though there are days I am thankful I have that bed to retreat to. It protects me from the world, from my mind, from being hurt beyond repair.  But I need something to push me forward into life.  I am living in the sense that I am out and about and socializing and not hiding in my closet crying anymore, but I am yet to truly start living.  I know it is me who is holding me back from jumping out and living again because I know I have that passion…  That driving force to come at the world screaming here I am… bring it on.   I catch glimpses of this passion every now and then and I get that overwhelming feeling of calm and peace…that my world is going to be alright.

I think, for me, that I need this passion, or reason to keep going in order to help myself fully heal.  It is something to focus on that is bigger than me.  Something I can dive into and know I am doing something to better myself or the world.  People can do this in different ways.   There are people who exercise, which is an amazing way to help yourself heal..body, mind and soul.  There are people who dive into their work, their family, a home project…whatever…for me I write. I write about my pain.  I write about my healing.  I write about my plans, my dreams, my disappointments.  I write to help others.  I honestly write to help me.   I am still writing the book I want to write…perhaps some day you will be able to read it.  I just simply love to write.  It helps me to clear my mind.  It helps me to focus and figure out the nonsense in my head.  I am lucky.  I have found a reason to get out of bed.  Now to just keep it going and make it a passion to drive me further along my journey. There is still so much for me to figure out.

We all need to find our passion, widow or not.  For me it took widowhood to truly take the time to figure me out and learn about my passions.  I guess I had to be stripped away of everything I had in order to see the light and know why I was put on this earth.  To find my purpose.  To find my center.  whispersWhen everything that matters to you is taken away, your world becomes covered in fog, a fog that blocks out the world and all the happiness in it.  But it’s when that fog begins to lift and you can begin to see again that you truly learn what is important in this life.  That is where the work begins in order to live again.  We survived the initial impact and assessed the collateral damage.  We realize we are still here for a reason.  Now it is our job to figure out what that reason truly is.  What is your reason for getting out of that bed?

 

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, widow

Lessons from pain

I am not very good at expressing myself with the spoken word.  I have a hard time telling people what I am thinking or feeling..maybe because I don’t want to see the look on their face when  I say it, or I simply don’t want to be judged.  I’m just not good at it.  So instead of saying what I want to say or express, I shove everything down inside and deal with it.  If it’s not something I can resolve in that moment, down it goes.  I shove my thoughts, I shove my feelings…I keep them inside me.  They are mine.  They are apart of my story and a part of my pain.  I try to keep them there because maybe they are deal breakers for people.  Maybe what I want or need is impossible for me to receive.  Maybe asking for it, or saying it out loud makes the thoughts and feelings real and once they are said, they can’t be taken back.  And so out of fear of disappointment, or more pain, I keep it inside of me.

But sometimes, someone says something that acts as a release to the pressure valve inside of me.  Something simple can be said or done, and it triggers emotions, thoughts and feelings that have been locked up inside of me and they come pouring out.   Sometimes they come spewing out at people.  And then I come across as unstable, or crazy or a girls favorite one…hormonal.  When none of this is the truth.  The truth is the release.  My truth is the result of the trigger.  I finally say what was needed to be said.  The thoughts come out about what I want, need or feel without any concern for anyone.

Now, I know this is not the appropriate way to express oneself.  I should be open and honest and have dialogue about my feelings with those in my life.  But the truth is, people say they want this until what is being is said is not wanted to be heard.  And what is talk anyway.  People can say anything.  That doesn’t mean it is true or will ever happen.  People have said so much since Pat died, and how much of that has materialized in my life….pretty damn close to zero.

But that’s not what I’m talking about today.

What am I talking about today?  I am talking about me and my stuffing of feelings.  People see me and think I am doing good.  I am doing good.  I am getting by and finding my way.  I am figuring out being a solo parent, though most days I suck at it.  I am trying to start a new life for myself, but I keep hitting bumps in the road.  I suppose this is normal for anyone.  But sometimes my bumps are people who keep jumping in my way.  Putting their grief, their beliefs on my grief, and their judgment in my pathway.  I honestly don’t give a shit what people think about me and what I am doing….I did for a while, but everyone has a judgment in their mind and none of it changes my reality.  So I don’t care anymore.  I am who I am and I am making the best decisions for me based on my experiences…just like everyone else.

But people feel the need to interject their pain and sorrow and thoughts on how I must be doing or feeling into my life.  I am not a rude person.  I am not intentionally cruel or disrespectful.  I will listen and I will try to make a nice comment in response, but I don’t want to.  I stuff my anger or my annoyance right on down with everything else. Everything I should say or do gets shoved down.  I let myself settle sometimes by doing this.  I think I allow myself to think I don’t deserve all that I want or need or that I am asking too  much from people.  And therefore instead of saying it, I stuff it.  I’m not sure about that one, but it makes sense in this moment.

When the release of these feelings and emotions happen my brain goes into overdrive about what I am doing in my life and the decisions I have made up until this point.  I start thinking about whether not I am truly working for what I want out of life.  I think in general I am, but I think I may have a few priorities out of whack.  I may be putting too much focus on one portion of my life and not enough on others, that in the end may be more important and lasting.  I have been putting a lot of focus on one part of my  life lately..  I think I have been trying to make it mpainfulore important than it truly is.  It can’t be my  end all be all.  It isn’t a sure thing and if I put all my hopes there I may find even more pain.  I need to find some balances with what I want out of life, because if there is nothing else I have learned in the past few years, I have learned that nothing is guaranteed.

So I am sure I will continue stuffing my feelings and emotions, but with each new release of the pain I am learning about me and my path.  Maybe the things I learn are really just lessons I need to learn and I’m simply not ready to hear the message at the time it is received and so I stuff it until a later date.  A date where I am able to hear the truth and see what I must learn.  Maybe I am simply trying to find a positive out of the pain I hold inside.