My big mouth

I have been told that I have a big mouth. And that this mouth is going to get me in trouble.

I have been told that I inherited it from my grandmother’s. She was a civic activist in her town and her mouth got her into trouble. Though I think her mouth did the city a lot of good. The people who didn’t like probably were up to no good and didn’t like being called out.

Note: This is not the grandmother that just passed away. This was my other Grandmother.

18261429_800025053484871_296149754_o

I almost got into an internet pissing match today.

Because I opened my mouth.

So today was Valentine’s Day. I did okay. Thanks partly to a shit-ton of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

But I am also active in the online young widow community.

Yes, there is enough young widows and widowers that we have online communities.

A member of one of these communities was upset about a MEME.

The MEME would appear benign to any NORM.

(A NORM is the term used in the widow world to denote a person who is otherwise normal and has not suffered the trauma of watching their person die. Most people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s are NORMS. I believe the first time I heard that term was in my friend Michelle’s blog.)

So this MEME showed an old couple and said something to the effect that real love was that of Grandma and Grandpa.

This one might have been it-

78888f5eac19b27d4f565db2780aaff5

Now, stuff like that makes me roll my eyes and say “Must be nice”. Yes, I get that this sweet. And I have nothing against elderly couples. However, some of the widows in the widow community were very upset by this. It’s understandable. We were all married and we all thought we were going to grow old with that person and then they die.

So of course I have to comment saying that posts like that make young widows feel worse than they already do.

Then I forget that I made the comment.

The page (I have the screenshot but for some strange reason, I feel the need to protect the guilty) responds later and while they apologized for my loss (thank you very much) they suggested that I not be on Facebook today.

Riiiiiight.

I should be banished from social media and communication from my family, friends and the outside world because it is too much of a burden on people to take a moment and think about someone other than themselves who may be hurting.

Oh and they accused me of only thinking of myself.

We know that what they say when you point fingers…(that when you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you).

Like, the whole widowed community should be banned from Facebook because the pain of the reality that they live every single day makes people inconvenienced or uncomfortable.

I’m sorry.

Actually no, I am not sorry.

#sorrynotsorry

I was going to let my anger dictate what I wrote next but then I decided that I shouldn’t be mad at the person running the page or the sheeple who liked her comment.

a4e

First off, I remember all those times I got mad about people and Bryon would tell me that a fight wasn’t worth it.

Either that or he would say that you can’t argue with stupid.

I decided both Bryon-isms applied to this scenario.

I reminded myself that most people don’t understand the magnitude of this kind of loss. Personally I am surrounded by an army of allies who witnessed what I went through and are sensitive to what a widow goes through. To say my allies don’t understand my loss would be disingenuous.

While some of my friends and acquaintances may have said somethings that were well-intentioned but thoughtless (which I thought this MEME was) no one, and I mean no one, has completely dismissed my feelings. Well one person did but the person made the comment behind my back to one of my best friends and I ended that friendship.

I can’t expect a person to be sympathetic to young widows and widowers if they have no experienced that loss or if they have not witnessed a close friend or family member experience that loss.

They are ignorant.

They do not know.

So instead of engaging in a rude conversation, I said that I hope they never experience this kind of loss but if they do, I sincerely hope people are kinder to them.

Apparently that was the wrong answer. This person then writes back asking how it was rude and then tries to make comparisons that that don’t compare to the scenario.

I was tempted to write back and illustrate the holes in the logic. This person was clearly feeling defensive.

Then I decided that it’s truly wasn’t worth my time and that I couldn’t argue with stupidity and ignorance.

It’s amazing how prideful people can be. A simple “I am sorry. I didn’t realize how this could be offensive to __________” would have worked and it would have saved that person from a lot of typing.

But some people really can’t admit that they may have been wrong.

And I do not feel bad for one second that I stood up for the widowed cause.

At the end of the experience, I had three takeaways.

  1. I am a very different person because in the past, I would have been sucked into an argument with these random internet people. The fact that I did not get sucked in proves that a change has happened with my personality. And I like this change.
  2. Those of us who advocate for “grief awareness” have ALOT of work to do.
  3. The behavior by the guilty party is not limited to ignorance about widowhood. This works in many different areas. You don’t know what a person is going through unless you have walked in their shoes. We all could benefit from being a little understanding and empathetic.

redditq

Advertisements

Widowed Valentine’s Day #2

I feel “weird” this Valentine’s Day.

It’s nothing that some Reese’s Peanut Cups can’t fix.

Because…well, Reese’s Peanut Cups.

D’uh.

I assembled 20 candy bags for my 3 year old’s class. That’s right. Gone are the days of cheap paper Valentine’s. We are living in a Pinterest World and I am a Pinterest Mom. And all us Suburban Moms must keep up with each other.

Then add in the fact that I am a widowed mother and that means I feel the need to work harder to ensure my child has a happy childhood since her father is dead.

20180213_180944.jpg

Now I get to sit back and be bombarded by the emotions that accompany the fact that I don’t have anyone special to love today.

Of course, this is where well-intentioned people remind me that I have a daughter. As if by missing her father, I somehow love her less. Of course I love her. She is my sunshine. But it’s not the same and we all know it. Plus, it’s also not fair for my daughter to have to take up the slack of her deceased father. It’s her job to be a kid.

So today is the second Valentine’s Day without Bryon. And honestly, he and I never did much on Valentine’s Day. He thought the holiday was stupid and I pretended to agree.

Because I knew he loved me 365 days a year.

In fact Bryon usually posted this meme on his Facebook every Valentine’s Day.

download (2)

I was expecting to have a grief wave and I was ready to go along with it (because I have learned that it is better to swim with the current than go against it.) I was prepared to do all my grief activities. I was going to watch Sleepless in Seattle, P.S. I Love You, Top Gun and the last 15 minutes of the How I Met Your Mother Finale. I was prepared to blast my sad songs Spotify playlist (yes I have one and it is oddly therapeutic at times). I was prepared for waterworks.

But…eh.

I just didn’t feel like it.

Don’t get me wrong.

I still get sad.

But I don’t usually get THAT sad. I was THAT sad for 15 months. Being THAT sad is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting.

Maybe I am getting used to Bryon being gone.

Or maybe I am just learning to cope.

But I decided that this Valentine’s Day, Bryon doesn’t want me to be sad.

He has sent me a sign.

Let me tell a story. Sophia Petrillo-style.

images (3)

Picture it- A Suburban Target, 2014ish

Bryon and I would walk into Target.

Bryon: Hey, didn’t you need some Vagisil?

Me: *laughs* no

Bryon (loudly): Weren’t you just telling me that you needed Vagisil?

Me (embarassed): No, I don’t.

Bryon: Don’t be embarrassed because you need Vagisil.

Me: I don’t need Vagisil. Stop it!

Bryon (even louder): I think the Vagisil is over there, Honey.

People would look at us. I would get so embarrassed but I also would start laughing. When I was pregnant I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants because anyone who has carried a child knows what that does to your bladder.

I was also pissed because there was no male equivalent for me to get revenge.

Well all day yesterday, this is the ad that would show up on my spotify. Thanks Bryon. Of all the ways you could send a sign from Heaven, thank for doing it through Vagisil.

20180213_163903.jpg

I don’t put this past Bryon sending me a sign that he doesn’t want me to be sad.

But it’s hard not to get sad. Or really discouraged trying to figure out my future while surrounded by people who have a life similar to what I used to have (i.e. marriage).

21616286_10156544176322004_2693133859942656025_n

But I often wonder what is in the cards for me for the future.

Will I ever love again?

Will I ever marry again?

I hope I get love again. I know that I still have a lot of love in my heart.

I am not done yet.

But while I want it, I am not sure it is going to happen. I have limiting beliefs about this subject. I will share the two biggest limiting beliefs.

The first is that I feel that I am viewed as damaged. I know I have come out of this experience a stronger person. I know I am a better person now. I have also come out of this situation with a very different perspective of life. While I am not completely immune to having feelings like annoyance and anger now, I don’t get worked up about small things anymore. When Bryon was teetering between life and death, I wasn’t angry about the fact that he left his disposable contact lens wrappers all over the nightstand or that he hogged the remote or the fact that he would embarrass me in Target by publicly declaring that I needed Vagisil when I didn’t.

At the time when Bryon was sick, I was running on adrenaline and functioning in complete survival mode. I would cling onto any shred of hope I could find. After he passed, I was in numbing, raw grief and for the first year of widowhood, I could barely remember what those months sitting next to Bryon in ICU felt like emotionally. Sure I could rattle off doctors names, medicines and procedures but I couldn’t bring myself to even think about the emotions- the fear, the anxiety, the frustration, the anger, the sadness, the desperation. I honestly believe it was my brains way of protecting me emotionally.

But now I look back with a clearer mind at what I lived through and think “Holy F*ck!” because I survived something that no one should ever live through. I wish I could give 2016 Kerry a hug.

If get married again, there is a 50% chance I would have to relive it, hopefully on a less intense scale. I mean, because we can’t all marry Ryan Gosling and die peacefully in bed at the same time as our spouse in our old age. Though we can all dream…

the-notebook-tv-series

The reality is that I turn 40 this year. And at my age, everyone has some sort baggage. There was a whole episode of How I Met Your Mother on this concept where Ted is dating a girl that he thinks has no baggage and he discovers his ex’s husband wrote a hit movie called The Wedding Bride where the character that is based on Ted is not flattering. (And for the record- I am so not a Stella fan.)

giphy

It’s just that widowhood baggage is less common in this age group. And people are afraid of what they don’t know or don’t understand. Most single people are divorced or never married. Divorced people have baggage too but since it is common, people are not afraid of it.

rHBuwUd

The second limiting thought is that in the town I live in, I will always be considered Bryon’s widow and no one will go near me. I am honored to be Bryon’s widow. I also know I will get judged should I start dating again because Bryon was a well liked guy and so many people miss him. I appreciate the fact that Bryon leaves a hole in so many people’s life. It’s just frustrating that after two years of my life being in complete turmoil, I might be ready to start living my life again and I am hesitant to do that because it may upset those closest to me.

I am not too worried about it at the moment. Even if I wanted to date, I don’t know how people meet. Organically that is. I just can’t bring myself to do the “swipe right, swipe left” thing. I know many people have had success with that but I am just not feeling it.

And lastly I will be spending some time loving myself today. While I do hope to love again, I am actually enjoying getting the know the person I am now. She is strong, interesting, smart and kind of funny. I need to tend to my needs first because I can’t give myself to another person until I have taken care of myself.

So while everyone is enjoying being loved (romantically) today, I will be spending time with my little Valentine.

I will continue to feel “weird”.

And I will be eating a lot of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Because…Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

D’uh.

* * *

For the record, Reese’s did not sponsor this post. All the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were purchased by me and my opinions of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my own.

My grandmother’s funeral

February 2, 2018 was my grandmother’s funeral.

If you have been reading my blog and have playing at home, you may realize that I have attended 3 funerals within a 30 day period.

I have heard that 2018 is a year of rebirth and in order to have rebirth, there must be death.

But this, along with the fact that almost daily, it seems like someone on my Facebook newsfeed will lose someone they love, it all does seem excessive.

I managed to go 15 months after Bryon’s death with no funerals.   This span of time did not seem unusual.  My friends still seem to be in the feel-good era of engagements, weddings, new houses and babies.  Funerals are much less common.

First my friend Andy died and I traveled to Maine to say good-bye and to show support to his wife, who is a dear friend of mine.

Then one of my best friends fathers passed away unexpectedly and I attended his funeral to show support to my friend.

Around the time of my best friends fathers death,  I got the news that my grandmother who had been recently ill, made a turn for the worse.  I decided I wanted to see her but I was going to wait until my parents were able to make the trip from Maine to Boston (really the town of Woburn, which is what I call “Boston-ish”).  I wanted to say good-bye but I wasn’t sure if I could handle being around a dying person after seeing Bryon die. I am sure I would  have been fine but I wanted my parents to be there just in case.  Plus, I would have my daughter and it would be easier to have my parents around (though I am sure my aunts and uncles would have helped watch her).

I never got to say good-bye to my grandmother.

She died the day before I was to make the trip.

I felt guilt but I know that it meant I wasn’t meant to be there, for whatever reason.

My grandmother’s death isn’t completely unsurprising.  She was 95. We were lucky to have her for as long as we did.  But the illness that led to her demise was brief.

Like any death, the world stops for everyone close to the deceased.  My family, who lives in the Northeast and in Florida, made our arrangements to get to Boston.

20180201_174807 

My Nana’s wake was at the funeral home where all the Irish in South Woburn go to.  (Though ironically my grandmother was not Irish.  She was a French-Canadian who married into an Irish family).  I have often made jokes that I grew up at this funeral home.  This is the place where I have said good-bye to all four of my grand-parents, two uncles, a whole bunch of great-aunts and great-uncles as well as relatives of those married into our family.

We did everything that a good Boston Irish-Catholic (or partially Boston Irish-Catholic family) does.  

We comforted one another.  

We shared stories.  

We took comfort in those who stopped by to pay their respects.

We lamented that it was a shame we only see each other at funerals.  (We need to change that!) 

My cousins 8-year-old daughter entertained (and wore out) my three-year-old daughter.  They were the reminder that while it’s sad to say good-bye to those who leave us, we also get to embrace the newer younger family members.

We saw many distant family members who remarked that it felt like yesterday that I was my daughter’s age.  

My cousins and I spent time together and went out for Boston Chinese food and drinks (which will be it’s own post).

My grandmother’s death was different than my other three grandparents death because she is the last.  The last grandparent and really my last connection to the town of Woburn.  All of my relatives have spread out.  I spent so much time in this town.  In some ways, this town felt more like my hometown than my actual hometown of Billerica, MA.  

It is truly the end of an era.

20180201_135039

My daughter seemed to take her great-grandmother’s death well.  She understood that Nana was in Heaven with Daddy.  That didn’t surprise me as her father died when she was so young. I recently read Ariana Huffington’s book “On Becoming Fearless” which had a chapter about fearing death. She brings up Rory Kennedy, whose father Bobby Kennedy was assassinated while she was in utero.  She said that Rory Kennedy has stated that she has always known death due to the absence of her father.  Since Bryon died one month before our daughter’s second birthday, she knows what death is.  She knows that she doesn’t get to see her father in his earthly form and that means that she completely understands that she will never see Nana in her earthly form again.

On the way to the wake, it dawned on me that Bryon had had a closed casket but my Nana would have an open casket.  I told my daughter that she might see Nana and it will look like Nana is sleeping but Nana is really in Heaven with her Daddy and my daughter seemed to accept my explanation.

I know I am probably in the minority in my family.  I was actually happy for my grandmother.  I think of all of the people I have said good-bye to during my 39 years and I can’t imagine how many people she had to say good-bye to in her 95 years.  She gets to be reunited and I am sure it was one heck of a reunion party.

I am also hesitant to write this next paragraph because I don’t want my feelings to be misconstrued.   I want to be clear that I hope I live long enough to see my daughter grow up and meet my grandchildren and maybe even my great-grandchildren. I hope I live a long life, marry again, travel the world, that I get to help a lot of people and make a difference.

But when my time comes, I know Bryon will be there, kind of like Leo and Kate. But instead of the Titanic, it will be the latest cruise ship. And knowing that I will be reunited with Bryon (as well as everyone I have ever loved) takes away the fear of death.  And it will be one heck of a reunion party.

titanic-1997-titanic-22289879-1706-960

I felt happy for my Nana because she is reunited with my grandfather, her son, her parents, her siblings as well as a lot of relatives and friends.  She got her Kate and Leo moment.

I felt emotionally alienated experiencing this loss.  Because I did not reach the expected level of sadness as everyone else in my family.

Losing my grandmother was sad but burying my husband in my 30s was much, much harder for me.  

I began to wonder if I have become cold and unfeeling or if I just have a different perspective?

My life changed forever 23 months ago.  The first five months of those 23, I lived in fear, desperation and in complete survival mode.  After that, I experienced grief beginning with raw grief.  Raw grief is an exhausting roller coaster.  At my grandmother’s funeral, I began to wonder if I have grieved all of the grief out of me.

Because it feels like I have nothing left.

I am all out of grief.  Like, take Air Supply’s “All out of Love” and replace “Love” with “Grief” and then completely change the lyrics of the song so they make sense and it is just like that.

I feel like my experience can be compared to cold medicine. Grieving is like the feeling you have when you are on cold medicine.  You are unwell (at least emotionally but grief also can take a physical toll on you) and you are in a fog.  Then you start to feel better. The worst is over but that fog is replaced with that post-cold medicine feeling where you are still tired, your head feels kind of hollow and you feel what you imagine to be strung out.  

While I felt like a horrible person for feeling this way, I came to a very important realization.  And maybe it was meant for me to realize this at my grandmother’s funeral, as each other the three funerals has taught me a lesson.

My grandmother’s funeral taught me that I am a survivor.  The worst of my grief is over and I am stronger.

And provided that my daughter- and any other children I may have- outlive me, then I have already lived through the worst days of my life. Sure, bad things are still going to happen.  But I survived Bryon’s death and that means I can survive anything.

Because life is only temporary.

My grandmother’s obituary.

And while I don’t know what my grandmother’s thoughts were on The Righteous Brothers, I know Bryon liked them.  And this weekend I heard this song for the first time since Bryon died and it just seemed to fit how I have been feeling lately.  So I am going to end on it.

 

 

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #9

It’s FRIDAY!!!!

You know what that means-

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday!

images (2)

These are the five things I am thankful for this week.

  1. Boston Chinese and drinks with my cousins.
    I was in Boston (well the suburbs really) last weekend for my grandmother’s funeral. (Blog post coming about that.) And despite the sad circumstances, it was still nice to spend some quality time with my cousins and the new honorary cousins I have picked up along the way.

    And yes, Boston has it’s own version of Chinese food which is the best.

2. My last memory of my grandmother.

I am thankful that I got to spent my last two Thanksgiving with my aunt and my grandmother. I am thankful that one of my last memories of her was sitting on the couch, contently watching my daughter do her ballet moves. It was such a sweet memory and I will have it forever.

23795097_10156285118617841_7835627790435245039_n

3. Super Bowl

No, I am not thankful for how it turned out but I am thankful for the company I had that evening. I still love my Patriots. #noapologies.

4. Good Neighbors.

I am thankful for my neighbor Bill who plows my driveway after every storm. Sure Bryon had a fancy snow blower that sits in the garage but I have been unable to figure out how to get it started. My father has gotten it started so the problem is solely the operator (That’s me!).

5. My #Threenager

My daughter is so full of spunk. All week she refused to wear a hat saying it would mess up her hair. She makes my heart so full. She was my reason for getting out of bed in the morning during those early months of widowhood and she is still bringing light into my life.

27908144_10156472558322841_6023265183382256333_o

And 5 is not enough so you get a bonus this week!

Bonus: my friends.

My friends were there for me through the worst days of my life. We continue to be there for each other. And because they couldn’t drive three hours to be with me for my grandmother’s funeral, they still sent beautiful flowers. I am a very lucky girl to have my friends in my life and when I saw these flowers, it made me feel like my friends were by my side.

What are you grateful for this week?

My first kiss

I have noticed lately that Facebook has been asking me a lot of questions.  They say they wanted to help people get to know me.  I find that humorous because I totally overshare on Facebook.

Most of the questions are benign.

Like,

In case anyone was wondering-

1) Too many to quote but anything from Love Actually, 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls will do the job.
2) Hoodies and mugs from places I travel, especially Starbucks You Are Here mugs
3)  No

And then Facebook thinks I should tell people about my first kiss.

Excuse me, Facebook?  That’s kind of personal, eh?

My first kiss was not exciting but this question felt like it crosses so many boundaries.

After I was done being put off by the nosiness of Facebook, I decided to share my first kiss on my WordPress blog.  Because WordPress didn’t press me for the information.  (See what I did there?  The pun was intended).

But yeah, my first kiss.

I was a late bloomer.  I was a shy teenager, at least when it came to boys.  I had very little confidence.  I did not have a boyfriend in high school or most of college.  Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and give my younger self a pep talk to increase her confidence.  But she will eventually get some confidence, though it will take years.

Anyway, it was a Saturday night during my sophomore year in college, meaning it was 1998 or 1999.  I was wearing overalls that I bought at Wal-Mart and my hair was in a ponytail as I let a friend do a box perm (also bought at Wal-Mart) on my hair in the dorm bathroom and all it did was create a frizzy mess.  So my hair was in a ponytail that whole year.

I wish I had a picture.

You may be reading this and cringing.  Or laughing.  Trust me, I am cringing and laughing as I write this.  I wish I could back in time and along with the pep talk, I wish I could give my younger self a lesson in style.  Because 20 year old Kerry has her assets at their best, she just didn’t know how to accentuate that.  And that there are more options of places to shop at than Wal-Mart.

Where was I?

Right.

Saturday night, sophomore year, 1998-1999ish, overalls and bad perm.  I was chatting with a guy named Dave in my friends dorm room.  I don’t remember his last name (or maybe I never knew it) but it began with an “S”.   He was a friend of a friend and he didn’t attend college.

22ea391d45274d3a19c4ae7bec788f96c3b3cbb8061bb4e5d94959a33af748c2

We were alone.   Maybe it was 1999 and everyone else was just partying like it was 1999.  It was one of the few nights that someone did not pull the fire alarm which usually happened at least four times a week in my dorm.  I spent many Maine winter nights outside freezing while waiting for the fire department to let us back in.  Eventually we learned to just go to Dunkin Donuts when this happened.

The caffeine never bothered me anyway.

Frozen

This Dave guy and I were talking.

I remembered we had identical cars.  We both drove green 1998 Saturns.

(I miss Mean Green.  Drove that car for 10 years and 240,000 miles.  Even took it out to Indiana at around 219,000 miles when it was leaking some sort of fluid.  Probably not the best idea but the car got me back to Maine before she was retired.)

Where was I?  I keep getting distracted.

Right.

Saturday night, sophomore year, 1998-1999ish, overalls and bad perm, etc.

So this Dave guy that drives an identical Saturn as me and doesn’t go to my school kissed me.

It was not exciting.  Actually it was very anti-climatic.

I saw where this was going.  I did not wait a long time to just be some hookup on campus.

A voice inside me told me that I at least deserved dinner.  Heck, I probably would have settled for one of those stir-fry sandwiches made by Scary Gary from the Crack Shack.  (Okay, it was called the Snack Shack and there was a guy named Gary and everyone, and I mean everyone, called him Scary Gary.  I may have called him that to his face when I was drunk one night.  I am sure I wasn’t the first.  Or the last.)

I wish I had a picture.  I wish smartphones and Facebook existed back then.

But maybe 20 year old Kerry was more of a bad-ass than I give her credit for.  She was not desperate for male attention.  After all these years of thinking she had low self esteem, maybe she knew her worth all along.

I told this Dave guy that we needed to get to know each other better.  Dave verbalized his understanding.

He had nowhere to sleep that night.  I made him sleep on the floor on the flip and f*ck.  (Which is now in my old bedroom at my parents house).

985b034db749aa6938401d660a5f8fda--chair-bed-bed-couch
Flip and F*ck- mine was green. A staple in any 1990’s college dorm room.

He snored.  Loudly.

Dave and I never went on a date.  I continued to wear those overalls and I never got another perm.  I didn’t kiss another guy until my senior year in college.  And that guy did think I deserved dinner.  And I liked Pizza Hut Pan Pizza.  And then we saw 101 Dalmations.

Okay, I still do like Pizza Hut Pan Pizza…occasionally.  But  now I would not be impressed if I was taken there on a first date.

Eventually that relationship ran it’s course.  It was evident that this guy did not ever want to get married.

Looking back, I can see a lot of red flags and problems but my younger self had to learn for herself.

A little over two and a half years into that relationship, 24 year old Kerry listened to a voice that told her that she deserved to be happy.

So she broke it off.

Oh and if you are wondering, their first kiss was not exciting either.  No fireworks in that relationship.

I began to get involved in politics and met many new friends.  One friend was like an older brother to me.  One time we were driving to a political event and this friend was trying to give me dating pointers.  One thing he said to me was that if a guy took me to a chain restaurant on the first date, then there shouldn’t be a second date.

At first my friend’s advice seemed harsh but then it made sense to 27ish-year old Kerry.   I mean, her college boyfriend took her to Pizza Hut and there was zero passion in this relationship.

It took several years and several frogs but I did eventually meet a special man.  A man who thought I was worth steak dinner.  And fancy Italian dinner.  And quality dinner of many different cuisines.

The relationship with that man had so much passion.  No anti-climatic kisses.

For eight years, that man loved me.  We were married for four of those years.

For eight years, that man worked so hard to give me, and later our daughter, the world.

It took awhile to find him and I had to kiss some frogs but I am thankful for the love he showed me.  For thinking I was worth it.  For setting the bar high on any man that might come after him.

I don’t know what the future holds but at least, thanks to Bryon, I can go into it knowing what love is and not to settle for anything less than what I deserve.

Second funeral of 2018

Last week I wrote about attending the first funeral since Bryon had died.

Today I attended my second.

Unlike Andy, I did not know the deceased well. He was the father of one of my best friends. I saw him at their wedding and at the kids birthday parties. He made some delicious chicken wings. It was clear that they were important to him and that he loved them very much.

I feel for my friend. I might know grief but I do not know what it is like to lose a parent. Three of the girls in our tribe have lost a parent. My Chicago best friend and my Maine best friend have lost their mothers at a young age as did my Maine’s best friend’s husband (The Scientist).

And of course, my daughter is also a member of this club.

I have lost three of my grandparents (and my grandmother isn’t doing well currently) and when I lost them, I felt that the memories of them slip further into the past. I feel like there is an active past and a distant past.

The active past consists of people who are alive and memories with those people and the events were probably more recent. Memories like your friend’s wedding last year or that time you went to Chipotle with a friend and your daughter smeared guacamole all over her face. (That might actually be everytime).

To me, the distant past are the memories that are centered around a deceased person, like the times when my Papa Crowley brought us to Horn Pond (pronounced Hond Pond) to feed the ducks or the conversations I had with my Grandma Sullivan.

Of course, some memories fall in the middle of the spectrum. Bryon and my wedding should be in the active past because it was only five years ago and so many of the people who were there are around. But Bryon was a pivotal player in those memories and he is gone. Therefore my wedding feels like it is more in the distant past than the active past.

Again, my parents are still here but I imagine that the transition of the parent going from the active past to the distant past is more pronounced and painful than that of a grandparent. It must make one’s childhood feel further away.

I also feel that the process of losing a parent ages you in a way. Not physically, but the pain gives you more wisdom.

I could be totally off of the mark. And if I am, please tell me. I want to increase my understanding.

Anyway, I digress.

I spent the afternoon at the funeral home. It is important to support the people you care about. I know it meant the world to me that people came to pay their respects when Bryon passed. The grieving need to know that they are loved and are supported.

I may not have known the deceased well but I am thankful that he lived.

He loved his daughter and grandsons. They are his legacy and my daughter and I greatly benefit from his legacy. His daughter and grandsons enrich my life and my daughter’s life.

It’s a great reminder that we are connected. The people in our lives and the events in our lives connect us all. So take time to appreciate everyone in your life, even if you don’t know them well. They are in your life for a reason, even if their role wasn’t a big role.

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #8

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for some good vibrations gratitude!

This is what I am thankful for this week.

  1.  Gymnastics.  Every week my daughters attends gymnastics class and it is the only night she goes right down to bed.  Every other night she is hyper and jumping on the bed.  (I was the same way and I know this is payback).  Facebook reminded me today that my daughter started gymnastics one year ago.  It is amazing to see all that she has learned.

2. Movie dates.  One of my best friends and I decided we wanted to do something last weekend.  I decided to check the movie listings and I saw that Padington 2 was playing.  I made a comment that we hadn’t seen the first Padington and my friend asked me if it really mattered.  Then I felt silly.

The kids did great in the movie.  It was the first non-animated movie they had seen in the theater.  The movie was enjoyable.  And boy, Hugh Grant has gotten old.

20180120_164247

3.  Birthday parties.  My daughter was invited to a classmates birthday party.  It’s amazing to see her grow into her own personality and make friends.

20180121_125536

4.  My online widow friends.  Some of my coolest friends live in my phone.  In fact, one of those friends wrote a blog post about it.  I love my “in real life” friends but sometimes I need to let off steam with people who understand those things that only widows understand.

pexels-photo-607812

5.  Happy Memories.  Facebook shared this memory with me.  I have to smile when I think about what a great man Bryon was and how lucky I am to have memories like these.

411179_10150523113817841_2057613315_o

What are you thankful for this week?