Unexpressed thoughts

Sometimes I feel like I live in a different world than everyone else.

This feeling became even more pronounced when Bryon died. You look at the world differently after your soul has been shattered.

Trauma changes you and stays with you.

I was blind to how good my life was. It’s easy to get annoyed when people complain but they are blind. There is no point to get annoyed because their blindness is a good thing. It means they haven’t experienced trauma.

I try to make sense of what is going on in this crazy world.

People research on Google not to find,the truth but to find information to back up their viewpoint. It doesn’t matter how poor the source is.

People dehumanize those who they disagree with. People aren’t automatically unintelligent or mentally ill because they disagree with you.

I’ve had to ban myself from reading comments on news stories. Because people are crazy. I become angry and use this emoji a lot: 🤦‍♀️

And this GIF:

But people have the right to see the world how they want, even if you think that view is wrong.

And you have the right to think their view is wrong, too.

But why do we care?

We have our opinions, we may choose to share them and then we get pissed when people don’t agree…

How many people who share their opinions on Facebook actually go out and make a difference?

However, when someone shares an opinion you don’t have, you can disagree.

But just because someone’s opinion invokes a strong reaction from you doesn’t make that person’s opinion less valid and wrong because It doesn’t reasonate with yours.

And just because someone disagrees with your opinion doesn t make your opinion less valid.

Why am I writing this?

Because my newsfeed is full of opinions and news stories. And I am not quitting Facebook because I like seeing pictures of everyone’s kids and pets. I want to see people’s vacations and new homes. I want to see funny memes. I even want to see pictures of what people had for dinner.

But I have been having a thought about an issue. It’s actually what I think of as a “looking at both sides opinion” but I don’t share because I feel that all it will do is piss everyone off. It will most likely have the opposite effect than what I would intend.

It’s all madness.

The funny thing, I have spent 40 years trying to fit in and reasonate with this “different world” but I think I finally realize is that I don’t have too.

Not every opinion or idea needs to be expressed.

One time Bryon and I had a layover and there were these two newly acquainted strangers who were talking.

And talking.

And talking.

These people wouldn’t shut up.

At that time, I was pregnant with my daughter and Bryon and I were both tired and crabby.

Bryon got exasperated and says (to me) “Oh. Em. Gee. Has this guy ever heard of the concept of an unexpressed thought?”

So I decided it’s okay to not share all my thoughts.

I don’t want to be like annoying airport guy.

I mean, we all have upwards of 60,000 thoughts a day and it would be impossible to share that many.

That’s a challenge I won’t be accepting.

But of the thoughts that have provoked a strong reaction, I don’t need to share.

What’s the point? To provoke an equal and opposite reaction? To seek some sort of validation.

Nope. I decided it’s okay to be okay with the feeling that I live in a different world from everyone else.

Everyone lives in their own world.

There is no way you can reasonated with everyone.

So you keep doing you and I will keep going me.

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Weird Weekend

This weekend has been a weird weekend.

I had originally written this as a Facebook status but I decided to expanded that post and post it in my blog here.

Friday was National Widows Day. I have a love-hate relationship with that day.  This day always triggers me.

I hate that we live in a society that doesn’t understand grief so much that widows need to bring awareness to our lives. I love the widows that are brave enough to work towards changing the narrative of grief.

I know this day is about awareness but it always reminds me that I had no choice.  I did not choose to become a widow.

I have never tried to run from my “status” as a widow.  It’s what I have to check on legal documents and widowed forms.  I can’t ignore the fact that this is my life.

While I wrote this blog as a way to process my grief, I also felt it was important to share my story for any widow who needed to read it.  Being a widow is a lonely place to be and if I could make even one person feel a little less alone, then sharing my story was worth it.

There are a lot of things I hate about widowhood.

I hate all the projections and expectations from other people that come with it.

I hate the unsolicited advice.

I hate that some people think I should be over it now.

I hate that some people still treat me like I am a delicate flower.  I think I have proven that I am one tough cookie.

I hate that I have to overthink everything I say.  I hate that I have to think “Wait, I shared too many memories of Bryon.  People are going think I am wallowing because I am not.”

I hate that I am an over-thinker.  I wish I can be one of those people who can easily put the past behind me.  Or maybe it’s not easier.  Maybe other people just have better coping skills.

And I don’t really hate being an over-thinker.  This is just the downside.

Friday would have been my grandmother’s 105th birthday. She was a big part of my young life. I have been told I am a lot like her so that’s probably why I related to her.  She died in 2004 and the age of 90.  We were lucky to have her as long as we did.  But I realized she died before Bryon came into my life.  He never got to meet her but he definitely heard about her.  I always thought about how Bryon’s death was the “before and after” moment of my life but the reality is that my life is full of before and afters.  And my future will have many more before and afters.

Bryon death is just the biggest before and after.

And once you have your biggest before and after- your life may feel like one long episode of This Is Us.   I can’t speak for all widows, but my mind time is no longer linear and slips in the past often but the past is a completely different world.  My memories feel a bit more vivid.  I don’t know if they actually are but when memories come to me, I feel the need to relish them. When Bryon was alive, memories came and went and I didn’t ponder them because he was right next to me.  But when a memory of him comes to me, I have to pause on that memory because that’s all of him I have left.

Friday was also the day I went to a funeral.  I wasn’t very close to this person but I knew him from politics and I have known his wife because we worked together.  We were friendly and had kept in touch through the years. She saw me and even in her grief, showed such concern for me which shows how kind of a person she is. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was okay.  I was there out of respect and to show support.  And to say a final farewell.

And I am Boston-Irish.  I have been bred to be able to handle funerals.  It’s like, my cultural super-power.

I noticed something similar when my other grandmother died a year and a half after Bryon died.  Everyone was very concerned and it wasn’t that I wasn’t sad that my grandmother died. It’s that I already survived one of my worst nightmares.  The truth is that it was more traumatic to bury my 30 year old husband in my 30s than it was to lose my 95 year old grandmother.  We were lucky to have her as long as we did. As long as my daughter outlives me, I am okay. I am not delicate flower.  I’m actually one tough broad.

Though when it’s my cat’s time, I will probably be a mess. He’s ten and Bryon and I adopted him before we were engaged. Through all the changes in my life, my cat has been there.

Saturday was Derby Day which was Bryon’s favorite day.  It was never really my thing but I celebrated for Bryon.  The world goes on as if Bryon never existed.  It’s to be expected really.  Why should I expect people to miss him as much as me? They didn’t live with him and they didn’t have a child with him

It’s a reminder to me of how easily people are forgotten. It has taught me that my daughter is my 1st priority because when I die, she will remember me.  If people have forgotten Bryon then there is no hope for me.  😂😂😂

Saturday I also celebrated two birthdays. The first was the party of a 4 year old.  It was really my daughter’s social engagement. I was just the parent tagging along because she is too young to attend birthday parties without me.  The second birthday celebebration was dinner celebrating one of my besties birthday. A reminder that there are happy times still to be had. And a reminder that birthdays are a privilege and should be celebrated.

So lots of thoughts going through my head.  A friend sent me an abbreviated version of this video. I am glad she did.  I found the full version of the video. It resonated with me.  Especially the parts of feeling like moving forward is like living in some sort of alternate universe.

I am so happy this video came to me today.  I am familiar with some of Nora McInerny’s work but I had not seen this Ted Talk.

Lately I have been struggling with the adjustment to my future.  I have accepted that Bryon has died and I have processed it as much as I can make sense of it.

But I am struggling to make sense of the future.  The life I thought I was going to live was taken away from me.

I am struggling with the concept that I needed to let go of the “before” in order to be able to live in the “after”.

And when you become widowed, you are not given any sort of manual on widowhood.  I have read a lot on grief and loss but not much on the adaptation to moving forward.

It also doesn’t help that I overthink everything but it’s who I am.

But watching this video was a huge relief to me because maybe I don’t need to let go of the “before” in order to live in the “after”.

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Since I’ve been gone

If you have followed my writing in any capacity, you may have noticed that I have taken a break.

Can I be totally honest for a minute?

I had to stop writing because I was just so sick of it.

I was sick of being a widow.

I was sick of feeling like I had to defend my feelings. It didn’t matter if those feelings were grief related or not.

I was sick of being put into situations where I felt like I had to defend my feelings.

I was sick of being defined by my grief and my widowed status

I was sick of all the projections and expections. From others and from myself.

I was sick of the grief. It’s not like I asked for any of this to happen to me or my daughter.

I was sick of people trying to take advantage of me. Plot twist: A few were successful. Ironically these people are usually the most vocally outraged when you set boundaries.

I was sick of the people who made me feel like less of a person because I had to accept their help.

I was sick of living a life full of empty dreams.

I was sick of people telling me how to grieve and how to widow.

I was sick of people thinking that they have a say on how I live my life. Everyone has a gosh darn opinion and most aren’t afraid to share it.

I was sick of people telling me that I needed to forgive God.

I had finally had enough.

I needed to retreat and recharge.

All my writing was private. For myself only.

I needed a break from y’all.

I don’t know why I said “y’all”. I am not a Southern girl at all. New England through and through.

And no, I am not dissing Southerners. My Southern friends will agree with me.

The reality is that when I created this blog, I wrote as an outlet to process my feelings.

A way to figure out my grief.

While I can’t say that I have totally figured this grief thing out, but it is much more manageable. Sure, grief still catches me off-guard at times but I know how to handle those emotions now.

I don’t need to write a 1200 word blog post every time the grief monster hits.

And even if I did write a blog post every time grief makes a visit, I do not feel like it would be beneficial to me or to you.

Unfortunately, life never goes back to normal. And how could it? I can’t go back to my life as a wife and mother with the absence of the husband and father.

There’s a gaping hole in what is now my former “normal life”.

And the only person who can fill that gaping hole is never coming back. At least not in any Earthly form.

So I need to figure out exactly what my new normal is.

I took this time of grief and emotional upheaval and purging to question everything I once believed.

I questioned all my relationships. I started to realize which relationships were real and which relationships were fake. Some were surprising.

Once you start seeing the truth, you can’t unsee it. Even if it’s inconvenient.

I now have no choice but to live my truth. At least, the parts of my truth that I have figured out.

I am still working on that.

But really, all of us should be searching for our own truths.

As I search for my truth, I don’t feel comfortable sharing everything.

But I will share what I can.

So what can be expected from my blog at this phase-

1) Any grief related material I feel a need to write about.

2) Aspects of soul searching that I feel called to share.

3) Race-recaps. I ran a race and I still need to write up a recap.

Turning Inward: It’s not you, it’s me.

So January is almost over and I haven’t blogged.

I started 2019 with big plans for the blog.  I even scheduled blog posts into my google calendar.

Then the New Year happened.

And I just didn’t feel like it.

Kind of like Forrest Gump when he decided he didn’t want to run anymore.

I started this blog as an outlet for my emotions and my grief.  I also had hoped to help others understand what a widow went through.

I have tried really hard to be open and honest about my grief.

I do not regret doing that.  Not for one minute.

I know I have helped people as I have also helped myself.

I experienced immense healing and I got to explore my new life and new depths of myself and my personality.

Things began to change.

But I found as time went on, I felt the need to censor myself in my blog.

I put my feelings out there and I feel like people took advantage of my openness.  That they were entitled to know everything and they were entitled to have a say about my decisions.

I got tired of people telling me how I am supposed to feel, how I am supposed to live my life and what my boundaries are supposed to be.

Especially when most people have not gone through what I had.

I have always been a very closed off person with a lot of walls.  Bryon was able to tear down some of those walls but sadly, it took his death to tear down the rest of the walls.

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I’m going to focus on another president and another wall. Because this is America and I can.  Yes, I can.

I believed that tearing down my walls and letting people in was one of my spiritual lessons that my soul needed to accomplish in this lifetime.

I still do.

But the pendulum went too far.

And now I need to learn how to set boundaries again.  Albeit healthier boundaries.

It’s okay to have walls but instead of huge 10 foot walls, I need some of those cute stone walls you find in New England.  Remnants of a colonial time, strong but low enough  to the ground that people can easily climb over them.

My blog stopped being my space.

A good friend of mine pointed out that I feel the need to explain myself in my blog and apologize for moving forward.

This blog, a place that was once therapeutic, has now become a bit of a chore.

Writing no longer felt therapeutic.

In fact, I began to wonder if the blog was hindering my growth and healing.

And it defeats the purpose of why I am writing in the first place.  At least, writing in a public platform.

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So I have decided that I am turning inward for the time being.

I will continue to write, but in my personal journals.

I have come to the realization that while I have been open and honest about my grief, it does not mean that I have to be open about every area of my life.  

It’s okay to keep some parts of my life to myself, my daughter and those closest to me.

And that is okay.

I will write in here when I feel called to write to.

Yes, I am passed the worst of my grief but I still have my moments.  And those moments will always creep up on me.

Or maybe I will be called to write about other aspects of my life.

Who knows?

There is a bright and long future ahead of me.

So for those who have always supported me and my writing, I thank you.

You will be seeing less of me here.

But this isn’t good-bye.

 

18 Lessons I learned in 2018

This is my final word about 2018.

At least on this blog.

Was 2018 really that bad?

Maybe.

But 2016 will always be the worst year of my life.

There was a lot of negativity in 2018.

And some very hard lessons.

I am grateful for those lessons because pain brings growth.

I absolutely refuse to carry that into 2019.

At the beginning of 2018, I felt like the year was going to end very differently than it began.

2018 started with the funeral of a good friend (followed by two more, one of which was my grandmother.) I also lost an old high school friend in July.

I traveled every month except July. Austin, Boston, NYC, Philly, Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee and Ohio. I spent a lot of time in Maine and it has felt good to be home.

I suffer from wanderlust and traveling has been good for my soul. It’s been part of my healing process.

It was a year of reunions. I saw my cousin three times and I saw my Chicago best friend three times.

And the year ended with a fabulous wedding between two amazing friends.

I am leaving with this list of 18 lessons I learned.

In no particular order-

Kerry’s top 18 lesson from 2018

1. I have come far from my early days of grief.

2. The Paw Patrol can fix anything. No job too big, no pup too small.

3. Forgiving people really is for me. A quote that reasonated with me was that by not forgiving, it is like you are drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The offending party doesn’t care how you feel. In fact, they may enjoy that you are upset. So forgive and let to.

However…

4. Forgiving someone does not mean you grant them absolution for what they did. It just means you’ve let go of the anger for yourself. It doesn’t mean that the offending party is off the hook.

5. You are not entitled to anyone’s loyalty.

6. Be careful who YOU are loyal to and who YOU trust. No one is entitled to your loyalty and trust but don’t be stingy to those who do deserve it.

7. Let go of friends who took me for granted and don’t respect my boundaries. And that’s okay.

8. Boundaries are everything.

9. Truly appreciate the friends who are supportive and continue to truly be there for you.

10. I am an empath. Not to be confused with empathetic. Empaths absorb the emotions of those around them. It’s overwhelming at times. You have to work out your emotions vs others.

11. Empaths attract narcissists and I need to avoid narcissists.

12. It doesn’t matter where I go, Bryon will find me. He even found me on what would have been our 6th wedding anniversary while I was waiting for my lunch at a takeout window at a clam shack on the Maine Coast.

13. It’s amazing how much a 4 year old can teach me.

14. I need to stop trying to please people. Some people will never be satisfied.

15. It is important to love yourself.

16. Everyone is free to make their own choices You are only responsible for YOUR choices and no one else’s.

17. I can’t do the fake and superficial thing.

18. I am officially out of give a f*cks. I have no f*cks to give. All out of f*cks.

I do not know what is in store for 2019 but I am ready! It’s going to be a good year.

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #47

Today is Friday!  You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

 

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instagram at @kerrymckim

This is the last Good Vibrations Gratitude Fridays posts in 2019.  So hard to believe!

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1. Santa’s Pre-K visit.

    My daughter had a great Pre-K Christmas Party.  Santa stopped by and a great time was had.

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  2. A great Maine trip.

    I will save the recap for another post.  But it was a very good Christmas and it was good to be home.

  3. Christmas with the Casales

    I try not to use real people’s names in here but I just like the sound of “Christmas with the Casales”.  It makes a nice hashtag.  These people truly are like family and I was so happy to spend the day with them.

    I didn’t get many pictures but here is one with my daughter and her “masterpiece”.

  4. Bumping into a friend.

    I was at Target and a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in awhile got my attention.  It was good to see her.  Bryon and I met her when we participated at the Young Adult Ministry through our church. She’s a great person and our friendship is the victim of just being “too busy”.  I need to see her soon.

  5. A time of reflection before the new year.

    I don’t want to share too much about my holiday weekend but I have been in a period of deep reflection.  Whenever a widow reflects, there is always sadness.  Maybe’s is the Cancer Full Moon that just happened.  I dunno.  But I do appreciate the time to reflect and think about the past year and all the good that is going to come in 2019.

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #46

Today is Friday!  You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

 

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instagram at @kerrymckim

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1.  West Albany Fire Department

    Every year the West Albany Fire Department drives Santa and Mrs Claus around so the kids can run out and meet them.  It’s a fun tradition.

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  2. Christmas Magic

    When I was pregnant, I posted in a forum for women who were pregnant and due within the month of September 2014.  I met a local friend and we became Facebook friends and texted off and on through the years.  We never met in person.

    Until the West Albany Fire Department Santa brought us together to meet in person.  Christmas Magic exists!

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  3. A fun tradition

    Every year my daughter and I would make cookies with Bryon’s best friend and his family.  His son and my daughter are best friends as well.  This year we made gingerbread houses for their school assignment.

    I couldn’t get a picture that wasn’t blurry.  This was the clearest picture I had.

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  4. Advair

    Two weeks ago I wrote about the Pre-K plague.  Well I thought it was gone.  Then this week I did not feel well at all.  I went to the doctor and I have some sort of upper respiratory viral thing.  The doctor said she was not sure if this is a new illness or the Pre-K plague that is lingering.  But she prescribed Advair.   I am feeling better and I am grateful for that.

    Spoiler Alert: there will be no C25k update this week.  I am resting this week.  I have asthma and I know that I need to take care of this respiratory illness now.  My doctor didn’t tell me that I couldn’t run but she told me that I needed to be careful how much I pushed myself.  If it wasn’t the week before Christmas, I would have probably tried to run a little.  But I am exhausted with Christmas Prep.  I have a two week buffer zone between what when I thought couch to 5k was ending and the start of half marathon training so I have wiggle room.  If I can do week 2 of C25k sick, then I can jump into week 3 with healthy lungs.

  5. 61F on Summer Solstice

    It wasn’t quite the 74F we had on Christmas Eve in 2015 (Bryon’s Last Christmas) but 61 degrees in December is still very nice.

    And I am excited that the days will slowly start getting longer.  More time to run in the afternoon!

What are you grateful for this week?

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