A few weeks ago, my daughters preschool class went on a field trip to a local farm for “Baby Animal Days.” The kids got a chance to pet the baby animals. It was a very cold and rainy afternoon but the weather did not ruin the fun.
Here are some pictures from the memorable afternoon. Do you live on a farm? If not, have you ever visited one?
I realize that I probably oversold the topic. You probably read that and got very excited.
But I have nothing life changing to report.
I am still living in the same house with no plans to move.
I am still working my same “day ” job. (I have day in quotes because I work many of my hours after my daughter goes to bed.)
And no, I am not dating. Not even close. And that is okay. I am focused on myself and my daughter at the moment anyway.
So I didn’t mean to get your hopes up on anything you could possibly gossip about me. Well, I did have a little bit of a wardrobe malfunction this weekend. Nothing scandalous, just annoying. But that happens a lot when you are…well…shaped like me. Whatever. Though I am a little pissy because I spent close to $100 bucks on alterations at David’s Bridal. Luckily Kimmy Gibbler had double sided tape. She’s amazing. She thinks of everything.
So nothing major. Same house. Same job. Same relationship status. Just taking a little time to re-center going from Spring (though really it has been more of a Sprinter this year) to Summer.
It has been a crazy 6 or 7 weeks. I would count but I am too lazy to at the moment.
Needless to say that I am tired and hopefully things will be slowing down here. I don’t mean that in a manner that I don’t appreciate the busyness of the past 7 weeks. It has been a fun and happy time. But it has been tiring.
As we enter into summer, I need to recenter and re-focus. I have a lot of housekeeping to do, literally and figuratively.
Around my house, I have been slowly cleaning out and donating items. Usually one or two bags or boxes a week. It still hasn’t made a dent but I refuse to let anything new enter the house. My new rule is, if it comes in a box, the box then has to be filled with items to donate. Even if the box came from Amazon with a birthday present for someone else’s kid and the original contents of the box won’t be staying in the house. The rule in the McKim house is that if something comes in, something has to go out.
I plan to stay closer to home this summer but I do have some traveling happening including a trip coming up on Memorial Day weekend as well as a trip to Boston in June for a Red Sox game. A college friend of mine has expressed interest in meeting up in Boston and I would love to see her so that may be happening. But my travel will be more spread out and casual in nature.
Staying close to home doesn’t mean boring. My daughters dance recital is coming up and I am keeping her in dance and gymnastics over the summer because she enjoys it so why not? I also have a few concerts to go to that I am really excited about.
I will be spending more time on my writing. I started writing a book and I hope to finish it before the end of summer. It isn’t the book I envisioned I would be writing first but I felt the inspiration to start it and went with that. I don’t think this will affect the frequency as to when I post on the blog. I will update you all when it is close to being finished.
I also have a few other ideas for projects but they are in the baby stages so I am going to refrain from sharing them. I want to see if they will take off before I share them.
(We are also going to ignore the fact that this song was popular during my freshman year in high school. Because I don’t feel like feeling old today.)
We are talking about this inner circle. And the non-pictured husbands and boyfriends.
I can’t imagine life without them. Not just because they got my through the worse of my grief and they don’t make me feel bad when I talk about Bryon. But just because they are awesome people. This might sound cheesy but for the first time in my life, I feel like I belong.
On Saturday these two adorable kids are getting married and I am grateful that I get to be a part of their day.
8 Years of Friendship with Robin Brillantes
Facebook reminded me that Robin Brillantes and I became Facebook friends eight years ago yesterday. She remains one of my most favorite people of all time. I couldn’t figure out how to play the cheesy video that Facebook compiled so you get this picture of us from last Saturday.
Of course one of our friends says that Facebook is the lowest form of friendship. But I am not going to worry about that with Robin Brillantes. Because we know our friendship is amazing because it is built on love, laughter and tacos.
That I am still remembered on Mother’s Day.
My daughter made the picture and cards at school and my parents sent the flowers and the teddy bear. Though my daughter has already claimed the teddy bear as hers. I had a feeling that they had that in mind when they ordered it…
It’s a scenario that is very common to those in the widow world.
Our beloved spouse dies. Whether your spouse died after a long illness or if your spouse died suddenly and unexpectedly, you are in shock.
Then we have a funeral or a memorial service. Friends, family, co-workers and even acquaintances may attend. People tell stories about the deceased and assure the widow that they will never forget the deceased and that they are there for her if she needs anything.
A good portion of those people disappear forever. They mean well but to tell a widow that they are always there for her. What did that mean? Was it a lie? The funeral is not the hardest day for the widow. It’s the weeks and months that follow.
The pessimistic side of my personality feels that these people only told the widow that because it made them feel better.
The optimistic side of my personality reminds me that that time period is a big jumble in my mind and it remains blurry in my memory, a lot like a dream sequence in a 1980s sitcom. But without the cheesy transition music. So does it really matter if all those people who said they would never forget my husband have forgotten my husband?
For the first few weeks after the funeral, there may be people to check up on the widow. They may see if these needs anything around the house. They may have made her dinner and played board games. They let her cry in her dinner. They may have kept her company as she drinks wine and binge watches the Gilmore Girls.
But gradually the amount of people checking in on the widow gradually drops off until one day she begins to wonder what happened to all the people who said that they would never forget their spouse.
It happens to every widow. On some level. And it stings.
I was shocked when I came to the realized that very few people talk about Bryon now. It’s pretty much just my inner circle. Even though I still feel like I am getting my feet steadily on the ground, it is like Bryon never existed to anyone outside my core group of friends.
And what happened to all those people who said they were going to share stories of my late husband with my young daughter? She was a month shy of her second birthday when my husband passed so she won’t have any memories of her own. I was counting on those stories for her to know her father.
I do have a core group of friends who are very present in my life and my daughters life. I am one of the lucky ones. Widowhood is lonely. Some widows don’t even have a core group of friends or family to lean on.
So how is a widow supposed to handle it when they are struggling to move forward and the rest of world has already moved on? And while I have moved forward, it doesn’t mean that I want Bryon to be forgotten.
Here are the five things I remind myself to feel better when it feels like everyone has forgotten my late husband.
Remember that this is what normally happens. Many people were affected by Bryon’s death. I think of their grief as a hole and depending on their relationship with Bryon would determine the size of the hole. On one end there are some people had small hole that might trip them if they weren’t looking. But they can just look up and keep walking. On the other end (where our close friends and family are) is a hole that is the size of the hole that was next to Anne Perkins house on the pilot episode of Parks and Recreation. This hole is impossible to avoid and it caused drama in Anne Perkins life. Her boyfriend even broke his leg. It is much harder to function with this kind of hole.
But I am the widow. But I wasn’t dealing with a hole that needed to avoided or filled. I was dealing with the fact the whole foundation my life was built on was destroyed. Everyone else had their distractions and they had their homes to go back to with their spouses and significant others. It is hard to find distractions when your whole life is destroyed. My husbands death affected every area of my life.
Give yourself a pat on the back
Because you have done such an awesome job at surviving and existing that people don’t feel like you don’t need to hear stories about your deceased spouse. As far as they are concerned, you have moved on. Why shouldn’t they? We live in a society that has a twisted sense of grief. You are either completely beside yourself with grief or you are completely over it and there is little room in between.
Accept it This is your life and you can’t make people understand. Unfortunately I feel like you can’t truly understand widowhood until you have been there. No one can understand the pain and emptiness that fills up most of our life. It is what it is. And really, that is a good thing that they are blissfully unaware. The world doesn’t need more hurt.
Realize that maybe people are actually thinking about your spouse and you just don’t know it.Maybe people are remembering your spouse and you are just not aware of it. We make assumptions based on what we see and maybe people don’t want to bring up your deceased spouse because they are worried that they are going to hurt you if they do. They don’t realize that we are not delicate flowers.
Take that upset energy and turn it into gratitude.
This one is the most important step. It is best not to waste your energy dwelling on negative feelings and instead, use that energy to be grateful for all the people who remain a positive force in your life. Even if that positive person is you.
I will hold onto those friends who have been by my side through the past two years. They aren’t getting rid of me.You can also take some of that energy and focus on yourself. Give yourself some self-love. You deserve it.
If you are widow, how did you cope when it felt like a loved one was being forgotten?
We know what that means! Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
My last post was my 200th post. Thank you for reading and for all your support!
While it seems that we have gone straight from winter to summer, I will take it.
A rainy but memorable day.
My daughter had her first field trip at a local farm. It was a great day, despite the rain. I was going to write more, but I think the event deserves its own post. But here is a preview.
Surviving wasps and ticks
Along with the warmer weather, we have been getting visits from unwanted guests.
My daughter had her first tick bite last night. I saw it in the morning. Now I know I must check her every night. I have never had a tick bite myself so I have never worried about it. Luckily I was able to get it all out with tweezers and we went to the pediatrician just in case. So I will keep an eye on it for a rash.
We also had a few hibernating queen paper wasps in the house. That freaked me out. I am not a fan of bugs. Killing bugs was Bryon’s job but now it is mine.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I laugh each and every time I saw that on my Facebook newsfeed. Though this was in a different context. Probably in the intended context.
Anyway, the day after I discovered the wasps was my routine treatment from the exterminator. Luckily Mr. Exterminator was very nice. He didn’t mind me staring at him adoringly because at that moment, he was my knight in shining armor. He even located a wasps nest on my garage and got rid of it.
Everyone who has worked hard on the second annual Bryon C. McKim Derby Party
Saturday will be the second annual Bryon C. McKim Derby Party. I am thankful for everyone who donated their goods and their time toward this event. We raise money for my daughter’s education trust and toward the establishment of scholarships to be set up in Bryon’s memory at Siena College and Albany Law School. If you are in the Albany area, we hope to see you.
Tickets can be purchased here or you can buy them at the door.
I remember one summer day in the mid 1980s when I was in my grandmother’s backyard. I was about 7 (and therefore my grandmother was about 73) and I was excited because my birthday was coming up. I asked my grandmother what was her most favorite thing about birthdays and she responds “when it’s over.” I couldn’t understand why someone would want their birthday to be over.
Catherine Ann Donahue Sullivan was born May 3, 1914 in Woburn, MA. She was the 6th child and 2nd daughter of two Irish Immigrants, Peter Donahue and Mary Duran. She attended Woburn Public Schools (she told me that Catholic School cost 50 cents per child, per week and my great-grandparents were too poor to send 9 children to parochial school). She went to nursing school during the Depression (total cost of nursing education in 1930’s including cap=$75. Total cost of Kerry’s Psychology book…