The second year is a b*tch

During my first year of widowhood, I learned what coping mechanisms did not work.

I tried to outrun grief, literally.  I ran a half marathon 6 weeks after Bryon died.  It was one of my biggest accomplishments in my life.  I hope to do it again.  But with only 6 weeks of training, my knees were not happy with me.

I tried to eat my emotions.  I gained back all the weight I lost when Bryon was sick and then some.  My knees continued to be unhappy.

I tried to keep busy and outsocialize my grief.  But now I am exhausted and nothing is getting crossed of my to-do list.  Being with friends is important but I have ignored spending time with myself.

There was one night I had some Spanish red wine.  That night I watched Jinger Duggar’s wedding and I bawled my eyes out.  But the next morning I had a headache and I was too old to be waking up with headaches.

I would go to Target whenever I was sad.  Nothing could cheer me up more than buying my two year old daughter a pair of pink cowgirl boots.  However, that cheerfulness would never last long.  My daughter had a great wardrobe that year.  A wardrobe she promptly outgrew and I gave away.

Writing helped my grief.  It helped me sort out my feelings.  But it also caused me to intellectualize my feelings which can prevent a person from feeling those feelings.  It is a mechanism I have used my whole life.

While I participated in some questionable grief practices, I have never denied my grief.  I have always acknowledged it.

But maybe I did something wrong because now I feel a flood of anger consuming me.

Let’s say grief is like an ocean.  Grief, like the ocean, can make a person feels small and insignificant.  Both grief and the ocean can be peaceful and serene at times and stormy and dangerous at other times.  Well I am standing in an island in the middle of this grief ocean and my anger is like a large wave crashing down over me.

Anger for all that happened to Bryon and for all his physical, mental and emotional pain.

Anger at how the events transpired.

Anger that Bryon and I never got to discuss what was happening nor did we get to discuss “what if”.

Anger that Bryon isn’t here to help me raise my daughter.

Anger that Bryon didn’t get to accomplish all his dreams and that we didn’t get to accomplish our dreams together.

Anger at the isolation I feel.  Everyone else gets to live normal lives  and not the “new normal” that I was told I needed to find when Bryon died.  I want the old normal.

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The second year is isolating.  Just as the reality of Bryon’s death is hitting me, people think I should be “over it”.

The second year is a b*tch and I still have nine months of it.

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For my daughter: Your father was a GOOFBALL!

Fun times with your Dad.

BRU= Babies ‘R Us.

I think this post got almost as much likes as the Hobby Lobby penis picture. That should be coming up in my Facebook memories later this month.  Something to look forward to.


Late night ramblings of a widow #3

I haven’t rambled for awhile so here goes.

I want my old life back.  My old life was so easy.  Bryon took care of everything.  And not just for me.  He took care of everything for so many people.

My old life was so much easier.  And I never appreciated.  Now when something goes wrong, I am the only one here to deal with it.  Luckily I can usually get help but I hate asking for it.  I hate being a burden on people. 

I never appreciated my old life.  I never appreciated all that Bryon did for me.  

I miss my old life even though it feels like a lifetime ago.  I feel so removed from my old life even though I live in the same house and have the same friends.  I still have my daughter and my cat.  

I am a different person.  The old Kerry is only a shadow inside of the New Kerry.

I want my old life back because in my old life, I didn’t know this kind of pain.

Some days I like my new life.  I like myself better now.

But some days my new life completely sucks.

My new life is lonely.  I know what I am missing.

Before I met Bryon, I felt like I was waiting for my real life to begin. Then I got my real life and was always concerned about the next step.  

I would be running from the past and escaping into the future even if the future scared me.

And then- it was all gone.  

Now I am in a future I never imagined having.   

For the first time in my life I am forced to live in the present because the past makes me sad and thinking about the future makes me uncomfortable. 

I feel stuck.  How do I know the difference between spending enough time grieving versus being afraid of the future?

I am so afraid of being disappointed in the future.  

I started to get excited about the holidays but now I wonder if I am setting myself up to be let down. Because my life isn’t a Hallmark movie. 

And if I ever date again…am I setting myself up for dissappointment.

I had to call IT for work tonight. The IT guy was nice enough. I am so lonely that I didn’t want to hang up. But I did because otherwise it would have been weird and creepy. At least I ended the call with “thank you” and “bye” instead of defaulting to “love you.” That would have been awkward even if I do genuinely appreciate the help.

I feel Bryon’s spirit so close at times. So close that he doesn’t seem dead. At times I feel like if I just reach out and wish harder that I can bring him back and pretend this was just a bad dream.  And then reality smacks me on the face.

Or maybe if I try hard enough, I can move myself to the parallel universe where things played out the way they were supposed to.  Where he continued to be a successful lawyer and we had 2.5 kids (he wanted 2, I wanted 3), our cat and a dog.  

But none of those things will happen. 

Instead, I am alone, awake at 3am and writing a blog post that no one is going to read.

The second year blues

The early days of my widowhood journey are a blur in my memory.

It is kind of like one of those flashback sequences in your typical late 80’s or early 90’s sitcom like Saved by the Bell where you are surrounded by blurriness.  Except that there is no cheesy transition music and I am not brought back to Bayside.

I know I took my daughter to daycare every day.

I know binged watched the Gilmore Girls and I ran a lot.

I know I was surrounded by friends and family and so many people were texting and facebook messaging me that I could not keep up with them because I was emotionally exhausted.

Over that first year, I kept myself busy.  I traveled a lot.  I ran a half marathon.  I read every widow memoir I could find.  I got a new job.

I have a heard a theory that anyone who has experiences trauma has this fog because it is the only way for our brains to be able to process what had happened.

The initial shock started to wear off for me after 3 months.  At that point, the holiday were in full swing around me.  I was just going through the emotions.

The fog began to slowly lift in March but it didn’t happen overnight.

I was getting to a good place when the one year anniversary of Bryon’s death arrived and knocked me on my ass.  For the first time in about 11 months, I didn’t want to get out of bed.  I wanted to sit on the couch and binge watch TV.  But I didn’t.  I got up.  After all, I had to take care of my daughter.

The one year anniversary was followed by what I now call the “five weeks of hell”.  After Bryon’s deathaversary comes his birthday, then my birthday, then the first day of the school year, then our engagaversary, then our daughters birthday and then our wedding anniversary.

They always say that the first are the worst.  And I got them all right away.  But now I think that I was in such a widow fog that I didn’t really feel them because I was still in shock about Bryon’s illness and death.

But I felt them this second year like it was the first time.  Again.  Except there wasn’t the 80’s and 90’s TV sitcom flashback blurriness.  There was no cheesy Saved By The Bell transition music.  And I am not at Bayside. And Mr. Belding is nowhere to be found.

When I was a brand new widow with raw emotions and a fog to protect me, I would hear more seasoned widows say that the second year was harder than the first.  I remember thinking that that was nuts.

But now I get it.

The second year is more real.

During the first year, I mourned the loss of Bryon.  I mourned the fact that I was only going to carry one child and that our daughter was not going to be a big sister.  I mourned the loss of our future and our dreams.

But during the second year, the mundane memories are flashing back to me.  The memories that my brain could not handle 12 months ago.  These memories are so clear and not glamorous by any means but each one of these memories stabs me in the heart.

The second year feels empty.

At every social event, Bryon is missing.  He was the life of the party and now he’s not there.  He isn’t telling stories.  He’s not making snarky comments.  He is only there if someone brings him up.  He only exists now as a memory.

At every daycare party I get to watch all the perfect intact families with two parents.  I get to see so many kids with their fathers.  Many of these families have a baby sibling that my daughter will never have.  All these perfect intact families represent the life I used to have.  The life that ripped away from me and I didn’t get have any say in the matter.

The second year is much more lonely.

People check up on you less.

In a way, that is okay.  Because most people only want to talk about how I am widow now and I am tired of that.  I am a widow all the time but sometimes I want a break from thinking about my misery and grief.  I only want to talk about my widowhood on my terms.  I generally hate double standards so I know this makes me a hypocrite but I had to be honest.

Though the exception to my hypocrite stance is when people ask my advice on how to help a newly widow person. I am always happy to help.

To be truthful, the loneliness is bearable. I am busy raising my daughter and working on my physical, emotional, mental, professional and spiritual goals.  But to me it just signifies that life moves forward for people and life with a living Bryon is behind us.

Sometimes I feel like grief is only viewed as two phases- the “raw phase” and the “healed phase” where grief waves don’t knock me on my ass for days at a time.   But grief doesn’t come in two phases.  There is a messy middle.  And that is where I am now.  I can talk about my dead husband to people in public and not cry.

But all it takes is one mundane, ordinary memory to hit me when I am alone in my house or car and I begin to cry.

 

Daily Prompt: Surreal

Today’s WordPress writing prompt- Surreal
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/surreal/

Time stopped.

Nothing mattered.  Eating didn’t matter.  Showering didn’t matter.  Sleep didn’t matter.

Everything seemed like it was a million miles away.  My home.  My job.  The 2016 Presidential Election.

“Your husband has been transferred to the SICU.”

“Your husband might not survive this surgery.”

“Your husband’s heart will stop beating today.”

“Your husband is clinically dead.”

“Let’s look at the caskets we offer.”

The moment you give your credit card to the man at the cemetery to buy your second piece of property.

The moment you have to check the widow box on the marital status question on medical forms.

The moment you have to write deceased next to the father’s name on your child’s forms for school.

Those moments when life doesn’t feel real.

Daily Prompt: Identity

Daily Prompt  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/identity/

                                                                        * * *

She was a wife.

It was a role that she was proud of.

She and her husband had eight wonderful years together.

They had a wonderful wedding, a little starter home and went on adventures.

They became parents together.

They full-filled their vows to each other.  Till death do they part.

Now she is a widow.

Though she is among friends, she is alone.

She has been open about her grief but few people know the real her.

Her true self.

They just see her as a widow and a mother.

Most people aren’t interested in knowing the real her.  It’s easier to just keep seeing her as the person they once knew.

She is too boring.  Too ordinary.

She misses her husband.  Every cell in her body aches for him.

But sometimes she is tired of just being a widow.

She is no longer the person she once was but she can’t go back.

Too much has changed.

She isn’t sure who she is becoming or where she is going.

All she knows is that she doesn’t want to stay where she currently is and that it is impossible to go back.

A rainy fall morning

It’s a rainy fall day and I usually love rainy days, especially rainy fall days.  The dreariness reminds me of when I lived in England. I like the contrast of the brightly covered leaves against the gray sky.

This weather is totally indicitive of my feelings as of late.

The sky represents my losses.

My loss of faith in God.

My loss of faith in the healthcare system.

My loss of identity.

My loss of my future that I planned and the life I was living.

The loss of belonging where I was supposed to be.  I was supposed to be a wife, not the odd widow in a group of married friends.  My daughter wasn’t supposed to be the kid with a dead father in a class full of kids with two living parents.

But underneath the dreariness is some beauty brought on by all the pain.

I appreciate things more. I am less likely to take things for granted.

I am better able to recieve the love from others.

Underneath all this sadness, there is still hope.