Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #43

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 Instragram at @kerrymckim

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1.  Dinner with Kimmy Gibbler I see her less since she moved up to the North Country.  I miss seeing her as often but this means our time together is even more special.  Love you Gibbler.

    20181128_174728
    Swifty’s- Colonie, NY
  2. Those who remember BryonWe had great neighbors when we lived in Albany.  We hung out.  We watched each other’s cats on vacation.

    Our townhouses shared an attached wall.  I am sure they heard Bryon and I when we argued.  When I shared the news I was pregnant, my neighbor said she thought she had heard me throwing up.

    We both moved to our current houses in the same month.  My daughter was born and life just took over.  I am sad to say I haven’t seen them in awhile.

    They were in New York City celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary.

    Happy Anniversary!!!!!

    They had shared their plans on social media.  On one of the days, they decided to visit the five oldest bars in NYC.  (Which sounds totally awesome to this history buff. Maybe my cousin H-Bomb will do it with me).

    I had commented that Bryon took me to McSorley’s (4th oldest bar).


    It was one of his favorite bars in New York City.
    My friends had shared that they shared a drink in Bryon’s memory at McSorley’s.

    46846532_10161080815650023_1386755046212894720_o
    Facebook Photo Courtesy of Frances Esposito

    It still makes me happy when people remember him.  I can accept that he is gone but I don’t want him to be forgotten.  Especially since my daughter will only know him from stories.

  3. Getting three runs in this weekIt finally clicked in my brain that the only way I was going to be able to run another half-marathon was if I started running again.  Funny how that works.

    images
    Get it?  Christmas Humor…
  4. Encouragement and friendshipI appreciate everyone who commented their support and sent messages about my post last night where I felt like a failure as a mother.  It feels better to know I am not alone but at the same time, I am sad other mothers feel this way too.

    images (1)

  5. My daughter’s Pre-K teacherI talked to my daughter Pre-K teacher and I am grateful I did.  She was very positive about the situation.  My daughter has had trouble being quiet during naptime.  Her teacher assured me that I wasn’t doing anything wrong and that my daughter isn’t doomed.  She just has a strong personality and she is in a phase where she is testing her limits.  Her teacher said it is very common at this age.

    She agreed with me that having a strong personality isn’t bad, we just need to funnel her energy differently.  I don’t want to take my daughter’s fun away but she needs to learn that she has to respect adults.

    Her teacher also told me it doesn’t matter how small my daughter is in her physical stature, she will be able to hold her own.  As someone who was bullied as a kid, I know it is a good thing that my daughter has no problem standing up for herself.

    I do feel better because I feel like we now have a plan in place that will hopefully correct her behavior before kindergarten.  I am grateful her teacher is positive.  She doesn’t view my daughter as a problem.  She seems the good in her.  I had some hyperactivity issues as a kid and from what I have been told, my teachers were negative about the situation.

What are you grateful for this week?

encouraging-quote-positive.jpg

 

Advertisements

What it is really like to be a widowed parent

Being a widowed parent is definitely its’ own type of parenting.

First there are all the difficult questions I have to answer.

“Why is my Daddy in Heaven?

“How come I don’t have a Daddy here?”

“How come my friends have Daddies and I don’t?’

And then come the questions from my daughters preschool friends which are trickier to answer because I am aware that not all families follow the same belief system I do (which is somewhere between “Lasped Catholicism”and Agnostic with some Buddhist tendencies mixed in).  Most of her friends ask questions that are innocent enough though one classmate asked me about her absent father in a very accusatory tone.

Then there is the feeling of being inadequate and overcompensating.

Like I am not enough for her.

My daughter started out life with two whole parents.

And now my daughter is left with one parent.

One parent who has to be two whole parents while she is broken herself.

Because on top of having to be Mom and Dad, I was and still am dealing with grief.

When Bryon was alive, we were a team.  His job had more demanding hours so I usually did daycare drop off and pick up.  But every Tuesday, I had a late night meeting so Bryon picked our daughter up from daycare.

When our daughter was sick, we coordinated who took sick days based on our work schedules.

But now it’s just me.  All the sick days are mine.  All the daycare pick ups and drop offs are mine.  All the lessons, doctors appointments, school functions and birthday parties are completely my responsibility.

As hard as widowed parenting is, I do a pretty good job with that.  (Especially since I work remotely and my hours are flexible.  I am very grateful for my job.)

I like to think I rock this widowed parenting thing.

I am proud of it.

I work very hard at it.  My daughter might be growing up without her father but I am going to make sure she gets the same opportunities she would have had had Bryon  lived.

The price I pay is that I don’t get much “me” time but I will get that when my daughter goes off to college.

Or maybe sooner, like when she becomes a teenager and decides I am not cool anymore.

But despite rocking widowed parenthood, nights like last night still throw me off my widowed parenting game.

The night started out innocently enough.

My daughter was in dance class, learning a new ballet routine.  She was corrected by her dance teacher.  It was for something innocent enough like her stance.

She didn’t like being corrected by her teacher and verbalized that.

Her teacher told her she needed go sit with me.  My daughter let out another verbal statement of defiance toward her teacher and she flops on the ground.

This is not okay.

I go to pick her up because it isn’t fair to her classmates or her teacher to have her flopping on the floor like a two-year-old.

My daughter gets more upset.

I try to calm her down.

She begins to get even more upset that she is missing class.

I try to calm her down so she can return to class.

We leave the room.  We go to the bathroom and she washes her face.

She says she has boogers which is usually the sign that she has calmed down and just needs to blow her nose.

She blows her nose and we go back to class.

She gets more hysterical about the part of class that she had missed.

I decide it’s time to go home but her teacher wants to make another go at my daughter joining class.

I decide that if her teacher is up for it, then maybe we can salvage what little bit of time we had left in dance class.

My daughter calms down initially but she gets riled up again.

I decide it’s time to go home and try again next week and she goes into full melt down.

My daughter is generally a pretty easy going kid.  She does struggle with transitions, especially when I am picking her up from school during an activity she enjoys.  I get it.  She is having fun and doesn’t want to leave.  Her teacher is aware and prepares her for any early arrivals.

She struggles to sleep at nap time so maybe she was tired.

She has a cold so maybe that was it.  I know I am an emotional mess when I feel sick.

Maybe she was hungry but unlikely.  She is very good about vocalizing that need to me.

But I do know that when my daughter gets mad, she gets MAD.  I am very similar. I have a strong personality and Bryon had an even stronger personality.  So it makes sense that she has a strong personality.

Someday her strong personality will serve her well.  Especially when she is older and is aware of that personality trait and is able to use her strong personality to her benefit.

But at this particular moment, her strong personality was causing a major disruption to dance class.

At this point some of the other parents are glaring at me probably because, clearly, their kid has never had a public meltdown.

Some of the other mothers were trying to help me which stressed me out even more.

Because at that very moment, I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry.

I couldn’t just carry my daughter out to the car because it’s nearly December and we live in Upstate New York.

But she was melting down and there was no way I could get a coat on her.

I was so embarrassed.

Completely mortified really.

All the pride I feel about rocking widowed parenthood goes out the window and as well as my confidence in my parenting skills.

I am not sure I can show my face in the dance studio again.

In a room full of people, I never felt so alone.

Because that is what widowed parenting is.  Being alone.

I do not have Bryon to take over for me or run interference.

Granted, Bryon and I probably both wouldn’t have both been at dance class but he would’ve have been home, ready to take over when we returned.

And if it he had been out of town for work or at a late night meeting, I could call him and he would make me feel better.  And we could come up with some sort of plan to prevent this from happening again.

But Bryon is not longer here and I am all alone in this.

Sure, my friends who are mothers would be sympathetic but most of them are married and don’t know what it is like to be so frustrated and truly not having any backup.

There is no one else I can turn to.

Because I don’t want to be seen as weak.

When you are a widow, everybody (and their brother) has an opinion on how you live.  Sometimes these judgments are met with offers to help but after I am criticized by someone, the last thing I want to do is accept their help.  Eff that.

I almost didn’t write this blog post because of those people.  Because I am tired of the sh*t but I felt it was more important to share my feelings because there might be another mother (widowed or not) who feels the same way and needs to know she is not alone.

I can take criticism about most things but I don’t feel like opening up myself for criticism for being a widowed parent.  Especially by people who have no clue how hard widowed parenting is.

No one knows how hard it is to do this alone.

For example, I have been told I don’t do enough in relationships.

Seriously.

What do people expect from me?

I am doing the best I can.

I need to be the equivalent of two parents to a child, I work 40 hours a week plus I spent  the past two plus years dealing with grief and processing the loss of Bryon.   And the loss of having a sense of security and the loss of the future as I knew it.

I am only one person.

And I don’t get a day off.

Ball dropping is the norm because my daughter comes first. #sorrynotsorry

People just don’t have a clue.

And yet, for some reason, I feel the need to prove myself to these people.

I constantly feel the need to prove myself.

When Bryon died, several people stated that I wouldn’t be able to stay in New York and raise my daughter by myself.  Thanks for the vote of confidence, a-holes.

Despite what the future holds for me, I am doing okay.  Most days.

My daughter finally calms down enough to put on her coat.  We go outside and she cries because she missed the rest of her class.  Someone walks by and lets out an “awwwww” because she is crying.

I cringe and I am sure I gave that person a dirty look.  She had no clue what I had just gone through.  Though it was dark and I am sure that person did not see my dirty look.

On the drive home, my daughter seems to be back to her normal self but I am not my normal self.

I spend so much time with my daughter that sometimes I forget she is a four year old.

I tend to take her behavior personally.

As if her behavior is a reflection of my inadequacies as a mother- a single, widowed mother.

That her meltdown was because I did something wrong as a mother because if I was a good mother, my daughter wouldn’t have had that epic meltdown.

I find myself saying to her that I didn’t get dance lessons or gymnastics when I was a kid.  Is it even fair to expect a four year old to appreciate that?   And is it her job to validate me because I am overcompensating for things I had wanted in my own childhood?  I am sure the answer to both of those questions is “no”.

When we get home, I park the car and I had my own mini emotional meltdown.

I put my arms up on the steering wheel and I cry.  I bawl.  I hadn’t bawled like that in months. I get teary eyed frequently but I rarely bawl.    The last time I cried like that was last April when I donated my wedding dress.

I question if I should even be crying in front of my daughter.  This goes against my Boston-Irish sensibilities that tell me that the only two feelings I am allowed to express are happiness and anger.

But maybe my daughter should see me express emotion.  I don’t want her bottling up her emotions like I tend to.  Expressing emotions need to be normalized.

I start to feel anger.

I know a lot of widows get angry at their spouse for dying and leaving them.  I have never really gotten mad at Bryon for leaving me.  He didn’t want to die.  He had wanted to live.  I tend to reserve my anger for God and other factors.  If I get angry, it is at the situation.

Then I realize that my anger is really despair.

The despair where I am left just asking “why?”

Why did this have to happen?

Why am I doing this alone?

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

My daughter was supposed to have her mother and father.

I stop crying after a minute or two and my daughter and I go inside.

My daughter is back to normal and inquiring about normal activities.

I needed to sit down for a minute.

During that minute, my daughter manages to find a tube a glitter, opens it and spreads it all over the living room couch.

I feel defeated.

Then there comes the shame.

Shame that I somehow missed any signs of a pending tantrum.

Shame that I wasn’t able to calm her down.

Shame that I melted down.

Shame that even though I try so hard, I still feel like I fall short as a mother.

My daughter gives me a hug and tells me that she loves me.

I love her.

My life is what it is.

But sometimes I still feel broken.

Good Vibrations Gratitude #41 (and a question for my readers)

It’s 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 Instragram at @kerrymckim

Here is what I am grateful for this week.

1. The leaf pile.
Every kid deserves to jump in a leaf pile.

2. My neighbors

I have great neighbors. They are nice people who are always willing to lend a hand. Make sure you get to know your neighbors!

3. Winter Boots

The northeast got a November snowstorm last night into today. My daughter didn’t have winter boots yet. I went to Target and was able to get the last pair in her size. Well, the size above but she will grow into them before the end of winter. I was relieved to get them.

4. No cavities!

5. My daughter

Who can resist this?

And onto a question…

If I am Facebook friends with you, this may seem redundant because I asked if I should retire this blog.

I was surprised by the amount of support I have.

Thank you to everyone who showed support

I started this blog to share my grief journey. I am not the kind of person who shares my feelings with the world and this was out of my comfort zone. But I needed to get the emotions out and I felt that I could help people by sharing my journey.

But lately I have been wondering if I have been helping people. Several friends have said that all that matters is if my writing is helping me. It is but I can write and not share it with the world.

And the truth is, lately I have gotten grief for my grief. When I began this blog, I wrote my feelings. It didn’t matter how raw they were. And I was supported.

But now, the rest of the world has moved on. And that’s fine. But as everyone moves on, there is an expectation that I am “over it.”

I am still trying to make sense of Bryon’s death. I probably never will.

In addition to making sense of Bryon’s death, I am trying to make sense of the aftermath. It’s like a secondary processing of the past couple of years.

I am trying to make sense of grief in our culture.

I am trying to make sense of how I have been treated by some people.

I am trying to make sense of why some people remember Bryon and other people seem to have forgotten him.

I am trying to anticipate my future as a widowed parent. Trying to be Mom and Dad.

I’m trying to make sense of being an independent woman again.

I’m also trying to make sense of the possibility of opening myself up to love. (Gulp.)

I also feel a need to help people heal. Hence why I put all my feelings on the internet.

Lately I feel like I can’t be authentic here. I feel the need to tell the truth but the reality is that most people can’t handle the truth.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

So I find myself watering down my posts. And I am not sure that is helpful to anyone.

Last time I was back home in Maine, I had dinner with a friend. She mentioned that I seemed to need to apologize and explain any happiness I feel. She said I should just be free to be happy.

I have been holding back.

I began this blog partly as a way to express and release my emotions and lately I found that I have to hold in my emotions. And all this does is increase resentment that stays inside me.

I have began questioning whether I should take my angst out in a more creative outlet. Like poetry or novel writing.

I’d love to know what my readers think.

Stick with it? Go back to writing my raw emotions? Retire the blog? Write about something different?

A Fall Saturday in Maine

This past weekend was probably an unremarkable weekend for most.  I know here in the Northeast, many people went apple picking or visited a pumpkin patch.

I love fall activities but I know I was not going to enjoy last weekend because last Saturday would have been Bryon and my 6th wedding anniversary.

The truth is, as more anniversaries pass, the more alienated I feel.  Not just from other, happily married, living people (i.e. NORMS, a term created by fellow widow Michelle Miller) but also from myself.  As time goes back, I feel detached even from myself.  Because I am no longer a happily married, living person.

So what does a formerly happily married, living person do on their wedding anniversary, particularly when the other half of their former happy union is a dead person?

Well last year, our anniversary fell on a Friday.  So I took Kimmy Gibbler out for a steak lunch at Black and Blue Steak and Crab.  The food was amazing.

This year our anniversary was on a Saturday.  Taking Kimmy Gibbler out for steak wouldn’t have worked because our kids would be home from school.

I am kidding, of course.

The truth was, I didn’t want to be in town that day.  I didn’t feel like sitting around my house or staying in the town where every place has some memory of Bryon.

So I drove home to Maine for the weekend.

That day my father, my daughter and I went on a day trip.

Our first stop was the scenic lookout at  Caterpillar Hill in Sedgwick, Maine.


I don’t know what my hair was doing in that picture.  We were near the ocean so it was windy.

Then we crossed over the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge.

20180929_125610
We passed the Little Deer Isle, Maine post office.  This was the post office that my father worked at when he first became postmaster.   This also was the promotion that brought my family to Maine from the Boston area.

We drove down to Pumpkin Island Light.

It felt so good to feel the fresh air of the ocean.  The ocean has always been my happy place.  There is something about it that re-centers my soul and reminds me just how insignificant we really are.

We drove around Deer Isle but I didn’t get any pictures.

On the way home, we stopped at The Fish Net in Blue Hill to get fried clams for lunch and a chicken fingers lunch for my daughter.  I went to the takeout window while my father stayed in the car with my daughter, who was napping.

Being home and being around the ocean always makes me reflective.

Lately I have been taking a step back socially to focus on my daughter, to reflect on my life, to take care of myself and to prepare for the next chapter in my life.  I admit, it makes me a little uneasy to look towards the future and not know what to expect.  I have always been a person who liked to have a two year, five year and ten year plan.

Currently, I don’t even have a two month plan.

At times, I feel lost.

A little over two and a half years ago, I still had a husband.  We had just returned from a Caribbean cruise and we had our whole lives ahead of us.

And then that was taken away.

I may have gotten over the basic shock and I have accepted that this happened.  But now I am working on letting go and redefining myself and my dreams.

Please trust me when I say that it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

I was thinking about this as I stood at that clam shack on the Maine Coast when I looked up and saw this:

20180929_142406_LI
Bryon with a “yo”.

At that moment, I realized that no matter where I go or how my dreams change, Bryon will be there with me.

I mean, seriously, if he can find a way to be with me while waiting for my lunch at a clam shack on the Maine Coast, then he will find a way to be with me anywhere.

And that was the best anniversary present I could have gotten.

we-are-afraid-of-not-knowing-what-comes-next-and-26491756

The cruel quandaries of widowhood

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.

Snake1

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.

76576930a35dec4fe9fa670a3a916e92
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.

14022305_10100288293749332_1541212657281124207_n

I cried.

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.

1936021_117072062840_7887_n
Young Republican National Convention Gala at the Indy Speedway in 2009.

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.

46130_820714868738_848511_n
New York State Young Republicans Day at the Races- Saratoga, NY, 2010

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.

73960_470536137840_2359054_n (1)
Continental Divide, 2010

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”).

12313751_10154138528092841_4697750721854898811_n
Thanksgiving, 2015

And the fourth item I couldn’t part with was his Red Sox shirt.

557054_693183243413_950270370_n
Tri-City Valley Cats Game, 2012

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.

IMG_20180924_170954_943.jpg

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.

IMG_20180924_184616_430

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.

I just wish it didn’t hurt so much.

Happy third birthday in Heaven

Today’s post will be a quick post.  I just wanted to share a few photos on how we celebrated Bryon’s birthday.

His birthday is exactly one week after his deathaversary but I try not to dwell too much on his deathaversary.  I prefer to celebrate the fact that he had lived.

My daughter and some friends released balloons at the cemetery.

“Table Top” in the grass.  Nice to see gymnastics class pay off.

20180828_172220

Balloon-Release!

40313203_10157027522522841_2071116732885368832_n (1)

UP…

20180828_172238
…UP…

20180828_172252

…And AWAY!!!!

20180828_172347
I am sure he enjoyed them. Especially when I got in the car and one of his favorite songs came on.  He saves this one for birthdays and happy occasions.

20180828_173436.jpg
After the cemetery, we had dinner at one of Bryon’s favorite restaurants, Swifty’s.

I enjoyed my first Sam oktoberfest.

40326641_10157027418027841_6766397593875382272_n.jpg
I don’t care if it’s still August.  It’s been a hot summer and the humidity has been wicked.  I am so over it.

581fa903107f0fb29933f43fa9a02cee (1)
I love these people.  They have stayed with me through thick and thin.  Of course, a few were unable to attend and we missed them.

40230713_10157027640432841_2045111852664356864_n
I feel like I should write something more profound but between the fact that last week was Bryon’s deathaversary and this week is his birthday and my birthday tomorrow, my head kind of feels like it is going to explode.  I have been emotional and cried a lot but I am okay.

The good news is that I am leaving on a birthday girls trip tomorrow but I have a lot of things to do between now and then.

So this post is going to have to be enough.

Thanks for reading along.

Two years of widowhood- an honest assessment. And what now?

Six months into widowhood, I wrote a blog post about what to expect in widowhood.

I decided to do a blog post summing up my thoughts.

Kind of a sampler of random thoughts.

Before I delve into my experiences, I want to mention that everyone’s experience with grief is different.  This post is based on my experience.  Your mileage may vary.

Secondly, I use the term widow and “she” because I am writing from my perspective.  But this also applies to widowers as well.  I just thought my writing flowed better saying “widow” instead of “widow or widower”.

And third, this is no way a complete list of things I could say about widowhood.  But this is a blog and it will be ready for those words when I write them.

Widowhood is hard to reconcile.  And accept.

I thought I was going to grow old with Bryon.

Then he died and I had no say in the matter.

Survivors guilt is a real thing.  I tormented myself for months, wondering what I could have done for a different outcome.  It took me many months to come to the realization that there was nothing I couldn’t have done.

I don’t know why this had to happen.  I probably never will.

But it did happen.  Whether it is for a specific reason or as the result of the butterfly effect or a combination of the two, I don’t know.

Sometimes shitty things happen to good people.

29972ffdbd0a17ab6cdbcea027767a71--widows-walk-sorrow-quotes

Our society doesn’t know how to handle grief.

After Bryon died, I was barraged with cliches.

Everything happens for a reason…

You just need to find your new normal…

It was all part of God’s plan…

He will always be with you in spirit…

God doesn’t give you more than you can handle…

He will be watching over you and your daughter…

He’s not hurting anymore…

People mean well.  They feel like they need to say something to make you feel better but they don’t know what to say.  So they revert back to these cliches.

The problem is that these cliches rarely make people feel better.  They usually make people feel worse.  The best case scenario is that the grieving person just ignores it or rolls their eyes.

This is usually the opposite effect than was intended.

If you know someone grieving, ask how the grieving person is doing.  Take them to lunch. Share a story about the deceased.  But please, please, please, try not to use a cliche.

cliches-cliches-everywhere

People will disappear

It doesn’t matter how popular your deceased spouse was.  People disappear.

It starts with the funeral.   You won’t hear from 70% of those people again.

And as time goes by, the amount of people who check up on you continues to goes down.

People move on and forget about your deceased .

download

If you make it to two years out, the people that are still here are your nearest and dearest.  Hold on to them.

People will kick you when you are down.

My late husband was a popular person.  In fact, he is way more popular posthumously than I am alive.

I have had people use me and my situation to latch onto my husband’s popularity.  You know, offer to help on social media where everyone can see but they never call after a snow storm.  Or people who try to take pictures with my daughter treating her like a photo op instead of a real person.

It’s sick.

A couple of times it has surprised me because this behavior came from people who I thought were my true friends.

I am going to clear something up.

Widowhood is lonely, even with amazing friends and family.

But just because a widow is lonely does not mean that she must accept all friendship, even if she is being used and treated poorly.

It is insulting.

For me, the opposite is true.  Life is short and I need to spend my time with those who care about my daughter and me.

I’ve also learned there are a lot of narcissists and toxic people around and it is important to set boundaries.

If I cut someone out of my life, there is a very good reason for it.

1a4d4a4eb0c9e8aae0c5be10fe1aa906

At first these realizations upset me but now I am appreciative of them because they taught me important lessons.  And I can make room for true friends.

Your tolerance for bullsh*t goes way down.

When Bryon and I got married, I thought my tolerance for bullshit went down.

And it did.

When Bryon and I became parents, I thought my tolerance for bullshit went down.

And it did.

But it was when Bryon died that my tolerance for bullshit plummeted.  When you watch one of the two people you love most slowly die, you quickly learn what is important and you lose any tolerance for people who try to make your life miserable.

1bwx4d

It does get better.

It take time but eventually the pain lessens.

Though I haven’t figured out if it is actually getting easier or if you just get used to their absence.

But the pain never goes away entirely.  You will still have bad days.  There will still be things that trigger you.

But there is hope.

Where does this leave me now?

As I said in my blog post on Tuesday, I feel like am  stuck between two worlds.  I am looking forward to the next chapter but I am struggling to let go of the past.

The first year of widowhood was about survival for me.  Getting out of bed was enough of a challenge.

The second year was about getting used to Bryon being gone and getting used to envisioning a future without him.

The second year was also the year I learned to love myself.

And now I am about to embark on the third year.

What does that even mean?  What does that mean for this blog?

While I miss Bryon every single day and I will still have sad days and moments where I cry.  But I can’t stay in deep sadness forever.  Grief is exhausting and I have been grieving for two years.

Do you know how exhausting it is to work full time, write a blog, raise a daughter by yourself and experience and process deep and profound grief at the same time?

I know Bryon doesn’t want me to be this sad forever.

Bryon gave me so much in our years together and the best way to honor him is to start living again. He made the most of his 30 years.  He accomplished more in those years than most people do in 80.

But it is hard for me to listen to people complain about becoming older.  Bryon didn’t even make it to middle age.  I need to make the most of the years I have left.

So the third year is going to be the year I start to live again.

ce20a17597b6d318b1aa4c15bebb6659