Does Daddy love me? A conversation with my daughter.

In the car…

My daughter, age 4: My Daddy isn’t here.  He lives in Heaven.

Me: Yes he does.

MD: But he loves me?

Me:  Yes he does.  He send love from Heaven.

MD: Even when it’s dark?

Me:  Even when it’s dark.

MD: Even when it’s light?

Me: Even when it’s light.

MD: Even through the whole day?

Me:  Yes.  All the time.

MD: Even when I am at school?

Me: Even when you are school.

MD: Even when we are at home?

Me: Even when we are at home.

MD: Does Daddy love me when we are in Maine?

Me: Yes, Daddy loves you when you are in Maine.  He loves you everywhere.

MD: Even when we are at a friends house?

Me: Even when we are at a friend’s house.

MD: Does Daddy love me when I am at ‘nastics class?

Me: Yes, Daddy loves you when you are at ‘nastics class?

MD: Does Daddy love me even when we go to the shopping store?

Me:  Yes.  He loves you when we go to the shopping store.

MD: Even at birthday parties?

Me: Yes, even at birthday parties.

MD: Even when I dance with princesses?

Me: Yes, even when you dance with princesses.

MD: Even when we are apple picking?

Me: Yes, even when we are apple picking.

MD: Does Daddy love my stinky feet?

Me: Yes.

MD: Smell them.

Me: No

MD: Smell my stinky feet.

Me: No.

MD: Does Daddy love me when I am being funny.

Me: Yes, Daddy loves you when you are being funny.

MD: But what if he runs out?

Me: Runs out of love?

MD: Yeah.

Me: Daddy will never run out of love.  You don’t run out of love in Heaven.  It’s always there.

MD: Oh.  Can we listen to Rapunzel?

Me: Sure.

* * *
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”).

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Thanksgiving, 2015

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Balloon-Release!

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UP…

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…UP…

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…And AWAY!!!!

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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.

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

I enjoyed my first Sam oktoberfest.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Two years

Two years.

I am trying to let that sink in.

Two years ago I was sitting next to you during the last hours of your life.

We were both clinging on in a way.

It was what I imagine Purgatory to be like.

As much as I wanted the agony to be over, I had no choice to but to cling and wait out our last hours and minutes together.  Because once Purgatory was over, you were going to be dead.

(There was no way, at that time, to foresee the agony that would follow during the months after).

I don’t know why you were clinging on but you did.  I am sure it was because of some deep spiritual meaning that I can’t understand in this human form.

Or maybe you were waiting for Chelsea to score even though we weren’t watching a game.  Besides, your heart stopped beating at 6:47 am which is probably still too early, even for English Premier League Soccer.

I am in a much better place now than I was last year.

Your first deathaversary really kicked me on my ass.  It put me in a funk that I couldn’t seem to shake off until Christmas.

Last year I would have said that your death made a big impact in my life.

Which it did.

But now I realize that your life had an even bigger impact than your death.

I will probably never understand why our years together were so short but I am grateful that I had you for as long as I did.

I am grateful for the memories and all I learned from you.

You loved me at my worst.

Sadly, you never got to experience me at my best.

I’d like to think that you would be proud of me.

I am better person because of your love.

You always believed in me.

You were right.  I am a lot smarter than I ever gave myself credit for.  Though I am sure you roll your eyes a lot every time I mess something up or forget to do something.

I remember how appalled you were when we were in our dating days when I half-joked that whenever I hear a noise in my car, I would turn the music up and hope that the noise went away.  You told me that you were going to take care of the car and I happily obliged.

Well, I’ve actually kept up on car maintenance.  I even checked with my Dad to make sure there wasn’t anything I might have forgotten and he said I was all set.

Though, truth be told, I am too scared to let car maintenance slide since I drive with our daughter in the car.  If it were just me…then…eh…

But I have been trying hard to learn these new skills.  Because you aren’t hear to take care of the things you used to take care off.

Last year I was still grasping the concept that you died.

This year I am grasping the concept of how much time has passed since you were gone.

I used to marvel at how much has changed since you were here but now I can’t help but notice how much has changed since those early months after you died.

It might seem silly but it started when I noticed that the heels on my boots were wearing out.  And then I remembered that I bought those boots after you died.  How can it be possible that you have been dead long enough where I can wear out a pair of boots?

Friendships have run their course.

(Do you remember when I used to let people walk all over me and use me?  I would get so upset and those offenders and the situations always angered you.  At the time, I didn’t realize that it hurt you to see me hurt.  You encouraged me to stand up for myself more.  Well it is safe to say that I don’t out up with being treated poorly anymore.)

You died a month before our daughter turned two.  Now she is almost 4 and she is going to be starting pre-K.  And your best friends son who was born after you died is almost 2.  I am not going to lie but your absence hurts the most during their milestones, first and achievements.  You not here to see them grow up.

At this time last year, I was still struggling with adjusting to life without you.

Now, I feel like I am used to you being gone.  Or maybe I am just used to your absence always being present.  But I know that nothing is going to bring you back.

I have to accept that this is our story even if it’s not the ending I would have written for us.

I keep hearing that you are supposed to live in the Present.  But my Present feels like I am living in limbo between two different worlds.

One of the worlds I live in consists of the past.  While I am not in denial about your death, part of me is having a hard time letting go of the past.  It just feels like every time I complete a task, your existence on Earth is erased just a little each time.

I took your name off of the bank account.  It was time.  The process only took about ten minutes and the guy working at the bank was really nice but when I got back to the car, I cried.

People talk about you less. When you first died, everyone was willing to talk to you and share memories.  Now it feels like I can only talk about you with a small group of people. I guess most people have moved on. I am not quite ready to move on.

It feels like you have been forgotten.

I don’t want you to be forgotten.

I also live the other life that consists of the future.  I hope it’s a happy time.

I live in a world where I am so ready for that next chapter.  Whatever it might have in store for me.

Though I get overwhelmed when I think of all I need to do physically and emotionally to get to the next chapter.

I have been in a deep sadness for two years but I know I can’t stay this sad forever.

I am tired of feeling sad.

This type of sadness takes so much energy out of me.

And I know you don’t want me too.   You want me to live my life to the fullest.

But you are one hard Mo-Fo to get over, Bryon McKim.

You changed my life and I will never meet anyone like you.  But maybe from here I am supposed to be the one changing people’s lives?  I am still trying to figure this out.

I want to be happy again.

I am ready for my next chapter.

No matter what happens, I will love you forever, BCM.

I promise I will never forget you.

 

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #29

It’s Friday and it is time for some Good Vibrations Gratitudes.  And usually, this is a fun post giving thanks to all the good things that happened to me during the week.

But this weeks post is going to be a little different.  I hope you “bear” with me.  (See what I did there?)

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The truth is that my heart has been pretty heavy this week.

On Monday morning I heard the song Fire and Rain by James Taylor.  Obviously, I had heard the song many times before but for some reason, the song stuck out to me.

I had arrived home and saw that I had a message from my friend Charlotte.

(You met her here).  Charlotte is an old friend from high and Charlotte is not her real name.   I try not to use the names of the living in my blog so my friends get blog names.  Her name is Charlotte because that was her French Class name and we sat next to each other in French class and she got stuck with me as a friend.

The text from Charlotte had devastating news.  She had heard that a high school friend Allison had passed away.  Being the detectives that we are, we looked for clues on social media.  We had nothing definite but I felt it in the pit of my stomach.

Finally, in the evening, we saw a post from her brother confirming the news we were fearing, that she had passed away.

Allison and I were friends in high school.  I always wondered why a girl who was so cool would want to be friends with the socially awkward, hyperverbal girl with a Boston accent (I had moved from the Boston area to Maine the summer before high school).

Obviously, we graduated from high school and lost touch in college.  It was an era before Facebook.

I saw her once in the mid 2000’s.  I was at Mass at our towns Catholic Church, St. Joe’s and she was there with her father.  We ran up to each other after Mass and hugged.

And I hadn’t seen her since.  We lost contact again.

I reconnected with her on Facebook shortly after Bryon died.  She came back into my life during my darkest days and she was my biggest cheerleaders when I was trying to pick up the pieces of my life.  I could always count on her to like all my lame pictures on Instagram.  I don’t know if she realized how much her kindness affected me.

I know I was just a drop in a bucket of all the people she touched and helped but I am really going to miss her.

It just doesn’t seem fair.  A group of us high school friends started talking about taking a trip to Quebec City to recreate the shenanigans from our French IV trip in 1996.  Now when we go, she won’t be there.

I was hoping to meet up with her.  I was in her area this spring and I thought about seeing if she was around but it was a bachelorette weekend.  It was busy and I was there for my friend who was getting married.  I decided I would try to meet up with her next time.

This is a harsh reminder that we don’t always get a next time.

Today is her funeral and I am sad that I won’t be able to attend to say good-bye.  I thought about it.  It would be doable if I dropped my daughter off at daycare when they open.  But being her only parent, I get nervous traveling three hours away.  What if something happened?

I thought about taking my daughter out of school that day and bringing her.  I asked her if she wanted to go to Pennsylvania for a funeral and or stay here and go to school.  She chose to go to school.  I can’t blame her.  She’s a few months short of 4 and has already been to more than her fair share of wakes and funerals.

I asked again, this time changing the inflection and tone of my voice to be all excited and I asked her if she wanted to go to Pennsylvania for a funeral and then I changed my tone to boring and asked if she wanted to stay here and go to school.  She still chose to go to school.  I can’t fool that girl.  She is so smart.

As one last Hail Mary, I looked at the map to see how close Bethlehem, PA was to Sesame Place.  Surely she would want to go to a funeral if we could do a side trip to Sesame Place but it was too far out of the way.

I wanted to go to support her family.  They are good people.  Her father had been our high school principal and her mother was a nurse.  Her siblings are great too.  I know they are going to have some dark days ahead.  Though I know that my presence wouldn’t lessen their pain. Not at all.

I admit, after my grandmother died, I thought I was unable to feel grief because I survived Bryon’s death.  But Allison’s death has hit me harder than I thought it would.

I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because I am close to two years out from Bryon’s death and some of that numbness is going away.  I am starting to feel again.

Maybe it’s because with Bryon’s death, I was so involved that I didn’t get the opportunity to sit back and reflect about my own mortality at a young age.  I was too busy surviving and existing.  But with Allison’s death, I am removed enough to reflect on the fact that she is my age and she’s gone and people aren’t supposed to die this young.

I have been lucky that I have been able to lean on Charlotte and another friend.  We have all been leaning on each other.

But it leads me to another question- why does it take someone’s death to bring people closer together?  Why can’t it just be normal human behavior to appreciate people as a baseline? Why do we need to wait until a death and trauma to realize we care about people?

Then I started to wonder why the people with the brightest lights seem to get extinguished early.  Like Allison.  And Bryon.

At least I know that Heaven (or the Fifth Dimension, or the other side or wherever spirits go when they leave this world) must be a beautiful place.  Because people like Allison and Bryon are there.

(I did ask Bryon to give her a hug. So when a tall, handsome, smart and hysterically funny man from Upstate New York gives her hug, I hope she is not alarmed.)

So why am I writing this in my Gratitude Friday post?

I am writing about this because my heart feels heavy and I just don’t feel like writing and posting pictures of the scrunchies I saw in Wal-Mart even if I am grateful and excited that 90’s fashion has made a comeback.

When someone dies too soon, it is easy to dwell on the loss, but I am choosing to be grateful.

I am writing this post because I am truly grateful that Allison was in my life.

For befriending the socially awkward girl with the Boston accent and making her feel cool.

For the memories.

For sharing all her adventures on Instagram and letting us follow her along.

For being a light.

For filling the world with love.

For being an inspiration.

For sharing the struggles she overcame with honesty and grace.

For being a good example on how to live.

I am also grateful for this reminder to appreciate those in my life.

I am going to end this with the Prayer of St. Francis.  It feels fitting because she lived the message.  And because she loved animals and St. Francis was the Patron Saint of Animals.

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Allison’s obituary

How to handle it when people start to forget your spouse.

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

  1. 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.

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    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.

  2. Give yourself a pat on the backgiphy (1).gif


    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.tumblr_inline_n4t9qcHeke1snxyd1.gif

  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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.giphy (2).gif


    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.

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  If you are widow, how did you cope when it felt like a loved one was being forgotten?