There Is ……

20071220_122804_0

 

…… Love.

Something kind of cool just happened to me.
Well, more than kind of.

I was listening to one of my Pandora stations and a song came on that I don’t remember hearing for 35 years.
Thirty five years and 3 months, to be more precise.
At my wedding.

I stopped what I was doing and just stood there.
And listened.
And remembered.
And (here’s the cool part)…… just smiled.

I love this song. Still.
It was really over used in the 80’s at weddings.
Which is what is bound to happen if you title a song, “The Wedding Song”.
But I still loved it and wanted it sung at our wedding.

The memory of that day brings very mixed emotions.
There were a lot of “family issues” going on at that time.
It wasn’t a particularly joyful day …… for me.
That is until the two of us got in the car and left the reception.
At that moment I felt like a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.
And I knew that I had made the best decision of my life.
I married Jim.

It’s still the best decision I ever made.

For those of you who used this song at your wedding …… I hope it makes you smile.

Life Can Be ……

IMG_3446
…… amazing.
And heartbreaking.
And thrilling.
And sucky.
And heartbreaking.
Beyond heartbreaking.
And …… surprising.
Surprising in very good …… and very bad ways.

We know the very bad.
If you’re reading this then you probably know the very bad.
At least in my life.

But there is also the very good.
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six years ago …… I wouldn’t have been able to see the very good.
I had seen the good. And experienced the good. At times.
But not the very good.
And I probably wouldn’t have been able to say that the “very good” was possible.
Then.

But life, ten years out, can be very good.
Mixed in with the very bad.

It’s interesting.
Beyond interesting, really.

I just came back from a week in Bermuda.
I visited a friend who I met 27 years ago.
She was one of the very first friends I made when we moved to Texas.
I remember exactly where I met her.
In the local library.
At a toddler reading time.
She was there with her 3 sons, the oldest was around three years old and she had twin toddlers.
I was there with my 6 year old, twin 4 year olds and a one year old.
I immediately zoned in on her.
Because she had twins.
And I asked her if there was was a “mother of twins/multiple club” in the area.
And the rest is history.

We became fast friends.
I loved spending time with her and letting our children play together.
I had Son #2. And she was very supportive.
I had Son #3. And she gave me a shower.
She was a good friend.

When Son #2 was 5 months old he was hospitalized with pneumonia.
She was the first person to come to the hospital.
She was more than a friend.
She was a nurse.
And she was there when they were trying to insert an IV into my little 5 month old baby.
She went into the room while I waited outside, and helped those nurses insert an IV into his head.
I was so glad that she was there.

Not long after Son #3 was born, her husband was transferred to Bermuda.
Not a bad gig, right?
But I, of course, missed her.
Son #3 and I went to visit her when he was around 8 months old (and refused to take a bottle).
That was the last time that we spent a significant amount of time together.
That was 23 years ago.

We kept in touch.
For a while.
And then we didn’t.

Luckily, I was able to track one of her sons down earlier this year.
And so we found each other again.
Twenty three years later.

I went to Bermuda last week.
And we picked up right where we left off.
I love friendships like that.
No awkwardness.
No long silences.
No uncomfortable pauses.

Only love.
And catching up.
And then feeling like time had stood still.
But also had not.

She hadn’t known that Jim had died.
We had a lot of catching up to do.
And as I spent time with her and her husband …… I missed Jim.
Of course.
I always miss him.
But I miss him even more when I spend time with couples.
That’s not a bad thing.
It is what it is.

I miss that man.
Every day.
Still.
Forever.

But life moves forward.
I can sit around missing him, and refuse to participate in life ……
Or I can move forward, too.
And enjoy what he’s not here to enjoy.
For him.
For both of us.

It’s been a great summer.
I’ve been to Ireland, Colorado, and Bermuda.
The kids are all doing well.
I’m doing well.
Most of the time.

My life isn’t perfect.
No life is.
I miss him.
Every.
Single.
Day.

But life is for the living.
And so I live.
For both of us.

Life can be …… amazing.

Holy Smokes ……

holy-smokes-how-great-content-drive-results-4-638

…… is that even a saying?
Holy smokes? I can’t remember.
But for some reason, it came to me.
Because it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve written anything.
And that’s mostly because …… I feel that I don’t have anything to say.

Life goes on.
It moves forward.
Things happen.
Or don’t happen.
And that’s life.

It’s not like I haven’t been busy. Or done anything fun.
Because I have.
I’ve been back and forth between NYC and Waco.
I’ve been to Ireland. And oh my word …… what a beautiful country. I’d love to go back and rent a house for a month …… just to experience life there.
I need to add it to my list.

I went to Colorado to visit Son #3, who starts law school next week.
For those of you who’ve been with me for the last 10 years …… you know how huge this is.
I’m trying to hold back the tears as I type this.
It’s been a long road.
A very long road.
Since Jim died.
So long.

I went to San Diego to attend Camp Widow West.
It was the 10th anniversary of Camp.
Ten years.
So much has happened these past 10 years.
So much has changed.
So many emotions.
I had a great time.

I’m back in New York now.
I came back last week from Waco.
Of course I love being here.
But I’m torn.

Daughter #2 has her hands full.
Not only does she have J (a.k.a Grandson #1), she’s been fostering a little one year old boy for a couple of months now.
And I am in love.
When he first came to live with her there was no room in her daycare for him. For two weeks. So I took care of him for those two weeks.
And fell head over heels.

So while it’s great to be here in NYC, it’s hard to be away from those two precious boys.

I seem to be at a crossroads.
Or a fork in the road.
Or a whatever road.

I love NY.
I have many friends in NY.
There are endless things to do here.
And it’s so easy to live here as a single person.

But those two boys are in Waco.
And most of my kids are in Texas.
I really don’t know anyone in Waco.
I certainly have no social life there.
But those boys.
Sigh ……

So I go back and forth.
And forth and back.
Part of me wants to sell that house in Waco and just live full time, fully invested in NY.
But …… those boys.

For the very first time in five years …… I’m in New York and longing to be back in Waco.
What.
The.
Hell?

So there you go.
My life at the moment.
Torn between two cities.

Holy smokes.

There Will Be a Day ……

a2134914785_10
source

…… when the pain doesn’t cripple you.

There will be a day when his death won’t be the first thing you think of in the morning …… or the last thing you think of at night.

There will be a day when that day of the month doesn’t register with your brain.

There will be a day when you can look at pictures of him and smile instead of cry.

There will be a day when you realize how far you’ve come …… and that you’re much stronger than you thought you were.

There will be a day when you don’t feel bad for laughing.

There will be a day when you don’t cry.
At all.

There will be a day when you stop wishing that you would die.

There will be a day when memories will warm your heart.

There will be a day when you know that you will survive.
And thrive.

It may take a while, but it will come.
There’s no time schedule that you can follow.
It’s different for everyone.
But the day will come.
Eventually.
It can’t be rushed.
It can’t be forced.
It comes on its own.

But it will come.

There will be a day …… when life will be worth living.
And you’ll be an example for someone else on this path.
Someone who’s behind you …… and sees you as hope.
Hope that they, too, will survive.

There will be a day.

“So …… are you ……

single-and-happy-2
source

 

…… dating anyone?”

No. No, I am not.

“Are you dating at all?”

Nope. Not dating. At all.

“Why?!” (That’s the word that is spoken, but it sounds more like, “What’s wrong with you?!”)

There’s only one reason that I’m not dating: I don’t want to.

And no, that doesn’t mean that I’m stuck in my grief.
No, it doesn’t mean that I’m not living life fully.
No, it doesn’t mean that I’m afraid to put myself out there.
No, it doesn’t mean that I’m afraid to love again.
No, it doesn’t mean that I’m afraid of losing another love to death.

And no, it does NOT mean that I’m …… less than.

Of course no one says any of those things.
At least not to my face.
But hints are given.
Blogs are written.
Facebook posts are written …… even by widowed friends.

Sometimes those who have found love become “love pushers”.
They like to preach about how wonderful it is and how we (all us widowed people) should take that step. We should want to find love again. We shouldn’t be stuck in our past. We can’t really move forward and become whole until we take that step.

I know they don’t mean to say that. And I know that they’d deny putting that message out there.
But sometimes you don’t really get a message …… when you’re not its subject.
Sometimes your blissful happiness can cause you to want everyone you know to be blissful. And happy.
I get that.

But here’s the thing: I am happy. I am happily single. I am not looking for love. That’s because I don’t want a relationship.
I may not be blissful, but I’m really ok with that.
My life is full.
My life is good.
I had one hell of a terrific love.
And I’m good.

I didn’t have a perfect marriage.
Jim wasn’t a perfect man.
But it was a good marriage.
And he was a good man.
I always felt blessed beyond measure to have him.
And I still do.

Would it be nice to have that again?
Well, of course it would.
But do I need to have it again?
No. No, I don’t.
Again, I’m good.

I’m starting to feel a bit resentful for being put on the spot sometimes.
I don’t think I should have to explain myself.
I don’t think I should have to give any reasons for not wanting another relationship.
And I sure as hell don’t need people pointing out some false statistic that people who had good marriages will want to find love again.
I think that’s crap.

We can’t all be lumped together.
For anything.
“All millennials are like this …”
“All white women are like this …”
“All Christians are like this …”
“All liberals are like this …”
“All conservatives are like this …”

I’m sick to death of this crap.
I’m angry about the divisiveness that has clutched this country in the last year and a half.
And I’m fed up with feeling that I’m thought of as “not whole” if I don’t want a man in my life.

I’ve had two relationships since Jim died.
Neither worked out.
Thankfully.
I should’ve known that I wasn’t meant to be with someone when, upon learning that one of these men shoved wedding cake into his first bride’s face, I knew he was not the man for me. That was the beginning of the end.*
Some would say that’s a stupid reason to not want a man.
Maybe.
Maybe not.
I don’t think we can help what we feel.

But I digress.
I have dated.
I no longer do.
I haven’t had a date in several years.
And I’m happy with that.

The thought of being in a relationship makes my blood pressure go up.
I just don’t want it.
I like living alone.
For the most part.
I like traveling on a whim.
I like having all of the closet space.
Selfish?
Probably.
But true.

So, for all of you widowed peeps who are remarried, or in love …… I’m thrilled for you.
Truly.
I’m happy for your happiness.
I hope that you have very long relationships and that you’re the first to go.

And for all of you who aren’t widowed, but are happily in love …… I’m equally happy for you.
And I hope you go first.

But please know that, just as everyone is not meant to be an accountant, or an actor, or a teacher …… not all of us are meant to be with someone. And it’s possible to be happy …… and single.

I love my life.
Just as it is.
(I think it goes without saying that I would prefer Jim to be alive and here, but that’s not a choice.)
I have learned to never say never.

But right now …… in this part of my life …… I’m happy with all of the closet space.

*If you or your spouse shoved cake into each other’s face and are happy with that then yay for you.  I don’t think less of you.  It’s just not my thing.

I. Can’t. Even ……

I can’t.
I really, truly can’t.

I lost a dear friend yesterday.
Suddenly.
Shockingly.

Seventeen sets of parents lost their children yesterday. So far.
Suddenly.
Shockingly.
Horribly.

Two of my “wid friends” have daughters in that high school.
Fortunately, they’re ok.

I.
Can’t.
Even.

All it seems that I can do is cry.
The waves are back.
I have not missed them.

I had just talked to my friend.
Her birthday was Friday.
She was fine.
Or so we thought.

Some of my widowed friends will remember her.
She wasn’t widowed but she loved me so much that she volunteered at a Camp Widow just to see what this thing was that I love so much.

She was quick to laugh and even quicker to love.
She would’ve done anything for me.
I can’t believe that I’ll never hear that laugh again.
Or feel that love.

Her funeral will be this Sunday.
I don’t know if I can go.
I’ve told Daughter #2 that I’d watch the kids this weekend.
I know that I can get out of that.
But I’m not sure that I want to.

The thought of going to that service just brings the ugly cry.
The kind of cry that happened yesterday between flights at DFW in a chapel.
For an hour.
Thank God that that airport has chapels.

I feel bad about not wanting to go.
I feel guilty.
I feel weak.
And I feel panic.

I know I should go.
I know I should see her husband and sons.
And the beautiful little grand daughter who she loved beyond reason.

I.
Can’t.
Even.

I haven’t felt this depth of sorrow in a long time.
I haven’t felt this incapacitated.
This weak.

I.
Just.
Can’t.

Choosing ……

download

…… to not be sad.

Is that possible?  I used to think, “Of course it is!”
You know …… back in my “before”.
I had no idea that sometimes …… you just can’t choose.
Until I couldn’t.

It seemed to last forever …… the days that I couldn’t choose.
It felt like forever.
A long, dark, cold forever.

But gradually the days became lighter and warmer and I found that I could decide.
Sometimes.
Sometimes turned into most times and most times is where I reside now.

I am able to choose to not be sad.

Which brings me to today.
New Year’s Eve.
I’ve hated New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day for ten years.
For me, it’s worse than the dreaded Valentine’s Day that widowed people abhor so much.
It’s an evening/day when you can feel like such a loser because you’re alone.
It’s an evening/day when loneliness feels magnified.
And trust me …… something as sucky as loneliness shouldn’t be magnified.

Christmas was great.
The apartment was full …… of people and noise.
Lots and lots of noise.
And fun.

But like every year, my children have returned to their homes and their lives.
As they should.
The silence is deafening.
On this night.

I know that for many people, the silence and loneliness on Christmas is worse.
And I know that I’m blessed each year to have most of my children with me for that week.
So I try to be mindful of that.
And thankful.

This year feels no different.
It’s New Year’s Eve and it’s quiet.
And a bit lonely.
I still hate it.

I wish he were here.

In spite of all that, I’m choosing to not be sad.
I’m choosing to be thankful.
Thankful for my children.
And their children.
Thankful for the love in my life.
For the friendships and the family.

Thankful that even though he’s not here …… he was.

But most of all …… I’m thankful that I can choose to not be sad.

Most of the time.

13254161_10154208826496506_3375470008691200146_n
New Year’s Eve 2006 — our last one