It’s (still) Friday! You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.
Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.
1. Kimmy Gibbler.
Monday was my bestie’s birthday and I am so grateful I have her in my life.
2. Karen at DirectTV
The DirectTV at our house wasn’t working and Karen from DirectTV patiently helped me troubleshoot. After resetting the main receiver, our service was restored.
And we were able to watch Paw Patrol. Thanks Karen!
3. This Is Us and Sorry For Your Loss.
If you haven’t heard of This is Us, then you are probably living under a rock.
There is a new show on Facebook Watch called Sorry For Your Loss. It stars Elizabeth Oslen as a young widow.
While This Is Us does a fabulous job depicting grief, I feel like Sorry For Your Loss nails what it feels like to be a young widow.
Many people feel that this show is so good that it should be on Hulu or Netflix but I think that the fact that it is on Facebook is perfect. It casts a larger audience.
I am grateful that both shows exist. It shows that our society is starting to break down the walls in talking aboit grief.
4. New Season of Blue Bloods.
Tonight is the season premiere of Blue Bloods and I am so excited. I missed it because I was having dinner with my friend Charlotte and her family.
I also grateful for DVR so I can watch it once I am able.
Three of my gratitudes this week have been about TV? This months has been about solitude and reflection and I may need to continue that next month.
5. Dinner with Charlotte and her family.
A sample of burritos and nachos from a local restaurant, some wine and great conversation. They say you aren’t supposed to talk about politics and religion and we manage to talk about the politics of religion. Fascinating.
Alternate title: Slowly erasing my husbands presence on Earth.
Like when I had his name removed from our bank account.
I thought about the irony. I had opened that bank account when I first moved to New York. I was a single gal but when we got married, I added Bryon to the account. We were a “one pot” kind of couple when it came to our finances. We argued about money a lot less that way. That account was our everyday account.
And now I am back to having the account to myself. With a different last name though.
There is a good chance I will hang onto this account forever.
Because I am oddly sentimental like that.
Like the fact that I have lived in the 518 area code for almost a decade and I still have my Maine 207 number. I have had my number since 2001. I graduated from college that year and had a large Nokia phone that I used to play snake on. It’s how we wasted time before Facebook.
Those were the days.
Anyway, after I left the bank the day I removed him from our bank account, I sat in my car and cried. Because it felt like his presence on Earth was being erased little by little. Sure, his name is still on the checks. The man at the bank told me it was okay to use them. But those will run out. It may take awhile because I pay most things electronically but it will eventually happen.
It is a cruel quandary of widowhood.
After a certain amount of time- time frame custom tailored for each widow- a widow realizes that she can’t keep living in the past.
She must move forward.
She knows she must do it.
But even thought she knows that she full-filled her wedding vows and that she deserves a chance to be happy again, it doesn’t make letting go of her deceased spouse any easier.
Yes, you might be groaning but I was a freshman in college when Titanic was in the theaters. It’s one of the few movies my broke self saw in the theater that year. (I already dated myself when I said I graduated from college in 2001 and played snake on a Nokia phone.)
And I am emotional right now, so we are just okay to go with it, okay?
Obviously I will never completely let go of Bryon. I couldn’t even if I tried. He is in my heart. But there comes a time that you realize you can’t hold on to every item he owned. Especially since he was a pack-rat.
Sure some items I will save for sentimental and utilitarian purposes and some will go live with friends for sentimental and utilitarian purposes.
But some items need to go because they serve no use.
Like Bryon’s clothes.
Shortly after Bryon died, I did clear out his side of the closet. Our Master closet is small and I needed the precious real estate. I bagged up about seven trash bags of clothes and put them in the garage where they sat for about a year before I brought them to Goodwill.
Apparently I put a bunch of his clothes in an upstairs closet and forgot about them.
So I got to relive the whole experience.
I saw the shirt he was wearing when he proposed to me.
Because as I held the shirt, for a brief couple of seconds, I felt like he was right there.
For a brief couple of seconds, I felt like I was still married.
And then…it was gone.
Back to reality.
And then for a brief couple of seconds, it was like the initial denial of his death came over me.
How did this happen? How is this my life? Why did he have to die?
I did put his button down shirts into a box to be saved to make a quilt for my daughter someday.
I do have Bryon’s hoodie sweatshirts. Yes, they are rather large on me but I live in a cold climate.
And some days I wear them because I know it’s the closest thing I am going to get to getting a hug from him.
And I still managed to fill nine trash bags.
Granted, some of it was old suits and gala dresses of mine from my political days.
I decided that was ten years ago and if I were to be that size again, I deserve new suits and dresses.
I mean, we are constantly evolving, right? New self, new dress.
(Though I hardly go to any events these days that require suits or gala dresses.)
I also bagged up some maternity clothes.
Widowed and 40…yeah…I am pretty sure that ship has sailed.
I saw his white suit jacket that he wore at the Young Republican National Convention Gala at the Indy Speedway in 2009. I remember him telling me that he liked it because he was dressed up but still looked different and made a statement.
I looked at his suit jackets and thought about the times I wore them as a coat when I got cold.
Now I better remember to bring a shawl in case I get cold.
There are couple of pieces I couldn’t part with.
The first was his seer sucker. He loved that.
The second item I couldn’t part with was his Albany Law School Rugby windbreaker.
The funny thing was, he rarely wore a winter coat. He either wore his ALS Rugby windbreaker or his green fleece. (He wore the green fleece to the hospital the last time so I donated it in the first round because I immediately associated it with the hospital).
For a man who rarely wore a winter coat, he sure had a lot of them. Even a few I didn’t recognize.
The third item I couldn’t part with was his navy 1950’s Dad cardigan.
He almost didn’t buy it. We were at DestinationXL and he saw it and liked it. I told him to get it but he was concerned that people would mistake him for being a hipster. I told him there was no way he could be mistaken for a hipster. Then he expressed hesitation because he didn’t know what to wear with it. So I ask the salesman on the floor and he and I have a 5 minute detailed discussion about options while Bryon looked a little dazed.
He loved the sweater. I wish I had a better picture but the only one I could find was from Thanksgiving.
And he is wearing a dirty apron. (Though the things is permanently stained. It’s hanging up. I need to toss it.)
And a turkey hat (which my daughter now loves and calls “Hey-Hey Chicken”).
And the fourth item I couldn’t part with was his Red Sox shirt.
As I put the clothes on the bed in the spare room, this little guy laid on them. I believe that animals are intelligent creatures and I think he sensed that they were his clothes. I don’t think there would be any scent but I have no idea about a cat’s sense of smell.
And then the final step to erasing my husbands presence on Earth…or my house at least was dropping the bags off.
I dropped them off at some drop boxes at a local church in my town. I prefer to drop them at a local church as opposed to Goodwill because the CEO at Goodwill makes a sh*it ton of money. I also prefer to drop off where there are bins because I am an introvert and prefer not to talk to people.
Especially when I might cry.
I have heard that clutter is stagnant energy. I have also heard that clutter is a form of depression. I just know that as difficult as this task was, it had to be done. I don’t think Bryon would want me to stay stuck in the past.
Today is my bestie’s birthday and in honor of her birthday, I am going to share 29 reasons why I love her.
(Though there are way more than 29 reasons but I do have to get some sleep.)
1. She didn’t get offended when I called her Kimmy Gibbler. It all started because I said I wanted to curl my hair like D.J. I think I called it widow hair. I then decided since D.J. is a widow and Kimmy is her BBF, that made my friend my Kimmy Gibbler. She didn’t get offended and she proudly took on her new role with grace.
2. She likes wine, cheese and coffee.
3. And bacon. Bacon deserves it’s own line.
4. She is always up for an adventurous lunch and is always willing to try new places.
5. She likes her steak still moo-ing and that is bad-ass.
6. She can whip up a dinner like no one else. And she taught me the proper way to roast a chicken.
7. She will talk to me about poop
8. You can talk to her about anything and nothing seems to shock her.
9. She will commiserate with you about the frustrations of motherhood.
10. She reminds me that I don’t need to be the perfect Pinterest mom. Being an Amazon Prime mom suffices.
11. She didn’t judge me when I read Jodie Sweetin’s memoir.
12. She appreciates fine wine but she also isn’t above drinking wine from a box.
13. She has taught me so much about patient advocacy.
14. I am an “ideas person” and without her action orientated personality, most of my ideas would just stay ideas. She helps me stay focused.
15. She has taught me that coconut oil cures everything.
16. She taught me that it is important to drink Apple cider vinegar tea when sick, even if it tastes like crap. You will feel better.
17. She understands all my dorky and obscure historical and political references and jokes.
18. She is the only person who will fangirl politicians with me. She doesn’t mock me about my crush on Marco Rubio. Or 1990’s George Stephanopoulos.
19. She drove an hour and a half with me just to get an Amato’s sub. It was worth it. Let’s do it again.
20. She let’s you be real. No bullsh*t here.
21. She understands my weird pop culture references and makes some funny ones herself. It’s like we speak our own language.
22. She is all about being authentic. We all can benefit by being more authentic.
23. She was the first person who told me that it was okay to have feelings.
24. She once called me the “Dalai “effing” Llama”. I appreciate that she recognizes intelligence. 😁
25. She recognizes the musical genius of Bryan Adams. Next time he tours the Northeast, we are so going. Even if it’s not SPAC.
26. She is the best road trip jamming partner.
27. She is loyal. Ride or die.
28. She loves my daughter.
29. She always listens to me and takes my feelings seriously and tries to help me find a solution.
I did it again! It’s Saturday and I am just getting to my gratitudes. Ooops.
Though in my defense, my friend Lynda at Writing Out My Storms pointed out last week that it was still Friday in Pacific Time. So I am going to go with that. I have been working on cutting myself some slack because I am doing the best I can.
So it’s Friday (on the West Coast) and it’s time for some Good Vibration Gratitude.
Here is what I have been thankful for this week-
I have a lot of reasons to appreciate my Dad. But this week I am focusing on the fact that when he comes to visit, he usually does a couple projects around the house.
And he brings his truck and we haul stuff to the dump. Thanks Dad!
My daughter’s 4th birthday party.
This was the first year that my daughter had a “friend” party. It was different but it is cool to see her turn into her own person and make her own friends.
We had at a local place called Afrim’s that has bounce houses. The staff did a great job. My daughter had been telling me since January that she wanted her birthday party there. It was a blast. Most of her class was there and our cousins made it in from Massachusetts. It was great that so many people came out to celebrate.
I don’t have many pictures to post here because there are other children in them and I don’t feel comfortable posting pictures of other people’s children on my blog without parental permission. I know I wouldn’t appreciate it if it were done to me.
Lunch with my daughter’s Godmother and her husband.
I don’t get to see them often due to work schedules but we got to enjoy a wonderful lunch at a local Mexican Restaurant. I didn’t get any pics so I am going to leave one of the birthday present they gave my little one. But it was great to see them and catch up.
And in case you were wondering about her dress shoes, those are Clarks. Dress show on top, sneaker on the bottom. Got them when I was in Maine at Mardens and I plan to look for more the next time I am in Maine.
Meeting local blogger friends.
I “met” The Perfect Honeybee when I came across her blog on WordPress Reader. We had been following each other’s blogs for about a year. She reached out to me a few months ago and invited me to partake in a local blogging group that she and her friend were starting. Her friend blogs at Sweet Love & Ginger.
We had our first meetup. In addition to meeting the two founding members, I also had the pleasure of meeting Pattie of My Saratoga Kitchen.
It was great to discuss blogging. Even though our blogs are all very different, we still had an interesting conversation about blogging itself. If you are a local blogger (Capital District NY or Saratoga County and nearby) and are interested, connect with me. We have a Facebook group and we are planning on meeting monthly.
I am also grateful that they didn’t mind that my daughter came along.
This is a picture of my daughter ignoring us and watching YouTube kids. I want to thank the Perfect Honeybee for taking the photo because I couldn’t because, well, my daughter was using my phone.
And on a completely different note, I had to block two Peppa Pig channels on YouTube kids. She doesn’t watch Peppa Pig on TV but there is something about that show that she becomes very irritable after watching it. Nope. Not up in here. Give me annoying Daniel Tiger any day. Or those videos where kids are unboxing toys. Or that stupid Elsia and Annia go camping video. Just no Peppa Pig.
When you were born, you turned my world upside down. But my life was suddenly complete.
When you turned one, my world was content. Life was only going to get better.
When you were turned two, our world was turned upside down but this time it was tragic. You were my reason for getting out of bed in the morning.
When you were three, you were the absolute center of my world. You became my little co-pilot.
And now that you are four, I think about the rest of the world and how it will be a better place because you are in it. The world is yours and I can’t wait to watch you grow into the person you are going to be.
Okay, I missed getting this up on Friday but I didn’t want to miss my chance to making my gratitudes for the week. For what it’s worth, I haven’t been to bed yet. So it is still like Friday. Kind of.
It has been busy settling into my daughter’s Pre-K year. I have been enjoying the process and watching her grow.
I have realized that between raising my daughter by myself and keeping up with her activities, working full time, travelling, trying to have some semblance of a social life and trying to find time to write that I was spreading myself too thin. It is evidenced by the fact that I haven’t been to the gym since March, I can’t remember the last time I went and had a pedicure (which is something I try to do a couple times a year) and my writing and creativity has suffered.
I have taken a step back from things and decided that I needed to focus on my daughter and myself. I have been doing a lot of reevaluating of my life. I am in a difference phase of grief and I am trying to live my life again so I need adjust to the changes within myself as well as make sure that I am setting myself up for success in this new chapter.
So without much further ado…Good Vibrations Gratitude, um Saturday…
Here is what I have been thankful for this week-
My daughter loving Pre-K.
This picture was actually taken last week. But this week was my daughter’s first full week in Pre-K and so far she loves it.
I just can’t believe that this class is her last stop at her daycare. Next stop is kindergarten.
Celebrating Princess Style
My daughter was invited to a friends princess birthday party. It was so much fun to see all the princesses and princes enjoy themselves. Belle and Moana even showed up.
Making new friends
I actually made a new friend at the Princess Party.
I was chatting with another mother who I did not know. (I knew most of them because our kids are in school together). I was talking to this new friend about my recent trip to the LBJ Presidential Library and she was excited. I am not used t this. Most people think I am a bit of a nerd.
Turns out she is reading a book about each U.S. President and created an Instagram with her sketches about what she learned. If you are into history, you should definitely follow her.
First day of gymnastics
My daughter had her first gymnastics class of the Pre-K year. To say she was excited would be an understatement. This was the only picture I got where she was not running around. It always brings me joy to see her happy and learning and growing.
First day of dance
We also had our first dance class of the year this week as well. My parents had come in that day for her 4th birthday this weekend and were able to watch the class. She was so excited that she did snow angels in the middle of class.
I don’t know what was up with the snow angels but overall, she is more focused than last year.
Do you know what this means? It’s time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
I currently have a broken keyboard. I dropped it and now the “L” key only works if I press down really hard on it. So I am grateful for Amazon for giving me an ability to order a replacement which should be here tomorrow. (And I apologize if there are any typos).
Today’s post is going to be a little different than my normal gratitude posts.
I am one week into my 40’s. I am also in a new phase of my grief process. With every beginning comes a period of reflection and a period of learning. But I am optimistic that the next chapter is going to be a good chapter.
So I want to take a period to reflect on what I am grateful for in the previous chapter.
I am grateful for my time with Bryon. I don’t know why it had to end this way, but even despite the sadness and pain, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I am grateful that he didn’t give up on me. I was a very closed off and stand-offish person and he persisted. I am grateful for all the love he gave me and the fact that he loved me at my worst. I am grateful that he worked hard to give me a great life even if I didn’t appreciate it at the time. I am grateful for all that he taught me.
I am grateful for everyone who is remembers Bryon and isn’t afraid to talk to about him. I am grateful for those who keep his memory alive.
I am grateful for my daughter. She was my reason for getting out of bed in those early days. She brings me so much joy as I watch her grow and learn. She brings me laughter. She reminds me of all the wonder in the world and to appreciate the little things. I am so lucky to be her mommy.
I am grateful for my family for always being there, for reminding me where I came from and for always having my back.
I am grateful for my family for all the love they give my daughter.
I am grateful for my job and the ability to work from home. I am grateful for the flexible schedule and for all the education opportunities that my employer provides. I am grateful for the team I work with.
I am grateful everyone who has helped me and my daughter survive the trauma and aftermath, both physically and emotionally.
I am grateful for everyone who has helped me around my house.
I am grateful for everyone who helped me keep my sh*t together and who has held my hand as I completed the hard tasks of widowhood.
I am grateful for everyone who has check in and fed my cat when I am away.
I am grateful for my friends who have sat with me and let me cry.
I am grateful for those who have stood by me even when I have been distracted with all that comes with single parenting, work and grief. If I haven’t seemed like a good friend, it’s honestly because my own cup hasn’t been full in a very long time. What is in my cup goes to my daughter. I don’t even take care of me so I am sorry that my cup usually consists of the end of the soda bottle that is probably more saliva than soda. (The previous sentence is based on a statistic I have heard. I haven’t looked it up because it’s after 1 am and I am feeling tired and lazy).
I am grateful for those who recognize that I am doing my best even though I drop the ball most of the time.
I am grateful for all the meals shared, especially the tacos, the wine and bacon. (Though I don’t think we did all three at once).
I am grateful for all the phone calls, texts, messages and SnapChats.
I am grateful for people listen to me babble on and on. I am only imagine what it is like to listen to me. Social awkwardness + grief = me.
I am grateful for everyone who loves or has loved my daughter.
I am grateful for anyone who has made me laugh, especially in the past two years. I really needed it.
I am grateful for everyone who loves me or have ever loved me. Especially at my worst.
I am grateful for everyone in my life, for teaching me. People and experiences are life’s biggest teachers.
I am grateful for those who listened and empathized and tried their hardest to understand.
I am grateful (admittedly cautiously grateful) for those who have hurt me because that hurt has taught me important lessons.
I am grateful for those who did not respect my boundaries because you taught me to reevaluate my boundaries and enforce them.
I am grateful for everyone who encouraged me to open about my grief. Being open is the opposite of my introverted nature. (Yes, I am an INFJ and we are often mistaken for being extroverts but I am an introvert). I am grateful for all those I have met through this journey.
A new chapter is beginning.
It is exciting but so many things are unknown.
I don’t know what it means for myself or for those in my life. It is exciting and scary because I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know who is going to stay and who is going to go. I have no idea what my life is going to be like a year from now. Heck, I am not sure what it is going to be like a month from now.
Everything is going to work out the way it is supposed to.
Though trusting the Universe is a weak area of mine…
But I know I can’t stay where I am at. I can’t continue to live in the past.
It’s not fair to me. It’s not fair to my daughter. It’s not fair to those around me. And it’s not fair to Bryon.
I am was lucky to experience the love that Bryon and I had. But he’s not coming back.
I know the best way to honor Bryon’s memory is by living again. But the letting go part is not as easy as it seems. Just like the rest of my “grief journey”, it is a process. It is still going to take time.