Thursday, March 26, 2015

Personal Day

Today, I am struggling. And, because it is my goal to be open and honest about my journey, I have decided to post about it. I am yet again feeling overwhelmed, terrified, and unsure. It happens, and I'm here to tell you that it will pass, but how it will pass is up to me. So, I elected to take care of me today. I am here, and in my own little mind trying to figure everything out that is currently not figureoutable (new word of the day). You can imagine how that works - not very well. Instead of writing more about my struggle, because I have already done that, it's pretty much the same,  I am going to post some things that I read today that are great food for thought and have helped me center. Enjoy, and remember that sometimes, you just have to take care of you.

Forget Everything…& Remember This.

via Alex Sandra Miles

"Everything that has happened along the way—forget it.

Forget about the first love that broke your heart.

And forget about the last break too.

Forget the time a friend you thought was best pushed a knife in your back.

Forget the words and the spite that resound in your head.

Forget the trauma that injured your flesh or your bones.

Forget the rejection you felt when someone failed to recognise your value.

Forget the tears that cleansed your soul.

Forget the mistakes that everyone makes.

Forget what you gave, without return.

Forget the mistrust, the resentment and the jealousy.

Forget about lies, betrayal and deceit.

Forget about the ones that got away—they were not meant.

Forget the time someone tripped you and caused a fall.

Forget the times you gambled but forgot you could lose.

Forget about whispers and gossips and stories—it is all an illusion, the truth only lives in one self.

Forget about rules and regulations—make new.

Forget about thinking—let the mind sit still.

Forget about time—let your heartbeat decide.

Forget about fear, it will paralyse—it is useless.

Forget about perfection, it is unobtainable—imperfection is true beauty.

And forget about forgetting—allow the release to happen. Naturally.

Then try as you can, to remember this…

Everything is already a part of you, the lessons have been learned, the memories etched and the effects have sunk in.

There is no need to hold on—it all already exists, so allow it. Let it just be. Without grasping.

Without pressing repeat.

It all had a purpose, once, long ago. Even if it was yesterday, or a minute ago—it has now passed. Past.

So just breathe…and breathe again. Deeply.

Right here, right now.

You are alive. You survived. In this very moment, this one… here…

You can choose. Choose to live.

Run. Fly. Wildly.

Begin again.

And begin to feel alive.


Everything and nothing and all in between—feel it all. Flushing through your veins—let it in, let it sit and then let it go.

Slowly, but very surely, replace all of the forgotten with all of the new.

Add to it, mix to it, blend whoever you were, who you are now with who you are about to become.

Alchemy—turn it to gold. Turn you. It is easy. Try. All of you. Every part.

Stir the storms with the rainbows, the pleasure with the pain. Create.

Forget the old. Sprinkle in new.

Stardust. Magic. Wanderlust. Mystery. Moonlit skies. Forests. Deserts. Sparkle. Dance. Have faith. Go. Find. Don’t look far. It is there. It always was, always has been. Right there, right here. Right now.

Be free.

And each time you are overwhelmed, or hurt, or angry or in pain—go back to the top, read once more, unlearn, forget and begin again."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Beautiful, blessed beings

So, here I sit, on my couch. My body and hair are clean, my hair is blown dry and is waiting to be primped. You see, I'm perfectly timing my day, because I have a performance this evening. This is a ritual for me, as I suffer from performance anxiety, so in order to cope, I learned what I should and should no do on performance day if I can at all help it. Relaxing at home is what I should do. Everything else is what I should not do. Luckily, I didn't have anything to do until my performance that evening, so my plan was to relax.

Now, let's just start by saying that the day began rather well. I woke up to snuggles with my beautiful baby boys (they would say. "Mom! We're not babies!" if they were reading this, but they're not, so I can say what I want). Got up and did my morning kitchen routine consisting of making coffee, popping popcorn (real, not microwaved) for my kids school snack, making my kids breakfast and making their lunches. It's actually a routine I don't mind. It gives my body a chance to wake up, and I actually enjoy the structure of it. I did my normal checking up on the boys to make sure they were indeed getting dressed and not sitting on the floor of their room, poking each other, or wrestling. They were not. They did a great job getting dressed and in fact received a reward from me (a quarter) for such a smooth morning - trust me it doesn't happen often. We went out to the garage and squeezed in to the car (our garage is muy small). Then, it happened. my car wouldn't start.

Refer to above notes on what I should and shouldn't do on performance days. This could have been very bad, very bad indeed. However, instead of panicking, I got out of my car, cleared all the obstacles that I could, and like a ninja squeeezeed through tiny spots between my car and the wall of my garage, and climbed on top of my car to get to the hood and my car charger ( I have one of the chargeable ones that you don't need another car for - great since I certainly couldn't fit another car in my garage!) One thing, the battery charger wasn't charged. Womp wah. Another opportunity for panic! Nope. I calmly plugged it in to charge, asked Joseph to get in my purse and hand me my phone. I called the school and said they'd be late, called Sleeping Beauty (my momma :)) and asked if she could take them to school. She of course said yes, like she always does. (Have I mentioned how much I love my mom. She rocks. )
My mom came and got the kids in a jiffy, took them to school and on her way back called me and asked if I'd like to go to breakfast. I didn't want to exit my house as I still had pajamas on, so I said no, but I would be happy to make some if she'd like to come over but I needed some eggs. So, my lovely mother, went to the grocery store and picked me up eggs and an ever growing list of other things I needed while she was there. She's awesome. Did I mention that? We had a lovely breakfast of homemade waffles, turkey bacon, eggs and coffee and  we chatted. I really enjoyed spending time with her and she even helped me clean up my kitchen mess!

Here's the deal kids. My life has been insane the last few years. Right now is a very pivotal time for me. I'm in my last semester of graduate school, so that means comprehensive exams (2 sets), a graduate recital and all of my other coursework. Not to mention applying for jobs, knowing we'll probably be moving this summer depending on where I get a job, and trying not to panic about the drastic change that my life is about to make.. again. I have struggled immensely, but I have also grown by leaps and bounds. Really, I have. I look back and think how something like my car not starting on a performance day would have wrecked me not too very long ago. Not so today. Maybe it is because I have become SO incredibly thankful for all that is good in my life, that the bad just seems like an opportunity for greatness to shine through. But the greatness did not shine through me, today it was through my mother. She truly blessed me today with her love and support. You see this is not something that is abnormal for her. She is constant. Always, always there when I need her. She knows intuitively when I need help, and she has my back at all times. Mothers are beautiful and blessed beings. And, guess what, I am so happy that my car didn't start today.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The multi-faceted years of grief: Going deeper

Many people have heard that the first year of loss is the worst. I disagree. I think that it is different than the first, but not necessarily the worst. Neither are good for that matter. 
For this post, I will be examining the differences between the first and second year of grief from my perspective, so that any and all may try to understand some of the things that a grieving person goes through on a deeper level. 

Year One

  • It is not okay to just assume that the bereaved are okay because they survived the first year. 
  • That is what the first year is all about, learning to survive. 
  • The body kicks into fight or flight response and the survivors do just that, survive, because they have no other choice. 
  • I bring this up because many people look at the bereaved and think they're okay because they seem to be handling their new life well, and they might smile sometimes in public. This is what you see, but may not necessarily be what occurs behind closed doors. 
  • The bereaved may try to reinvent themselves because everything else in their life just drastically changed, so why not them too.
  • It is not just losing a loved one. It is everything that comes with it. Financial stability, a father or mother to the children, a companion and partner, help around the house etc. 
  • Family dynamics also shift. Holidays and family gatherings are not the same. Family and friend relationships are not the same and some are lost.  
  • People don't look at you the same. The look of pity is, in my opinion, one of the worst.
  • Every monumental date - holidays, birthdays, anniversaries etc. are emotional and painful, and even if you have prepared yourself, you cannot prepare enough for the ache in your soul. 
  • You learn to see the signs of your loved one still being present in some way in the world. You learn to listen to your gut, and if you haven't start listening! Hang on to it and keep your eyes open. You will need this skill more than you think down the road. 
Year Two
  • By now, the bereaved is used to surviving on their own. But, let me make it clear that just because they are used to it, it does not in any way, shape or form make it easier. 
  • The support from the first year is now mostly gone. People have gone back to their lives, and assume you're okay now, so the help dissipates. 
  • It becomes increasingly more difficult to see other people be happy and move on with their lives. 
  • Where there was hope the first year, there is a void in the second. 
  • The reality that there are many items of the deceased that need to be given away or sold has to be dealt with. This is stressful, and no one wants to do it, or help with it. You're on your own.
  • It's like reopening a wound when getting rid of things that you're used to sitting around the house, but at some point logic has to take over. If it's not useful, and the kids, you or family members won't want it, then get rid of it. 
  • The loneliness takes over at times. You are increasingly aware that you are alone in this world. You watch others find partners and be happy and you sit on the back-burner and wonder "why not me?"
  • You realize that you aren't open to a relationship and that answers the prior question.
  • Now comes the real struggle of the second year.... how do you once again become open and/or why would you want to?
  • You certainly don't have time to date with all of the added duties on your plate, after all, you are now mother and father of the household, you do it all
  • Furthermore, you are pickier than you used to be because of the relationship you had with the deceased and you now have children that you must look out for. 
  • It becomes increasingly important that you are wise with your decision of who you let into your life, because unlike before you had kids, there is no longer one person to look out for and make sure that the other person meshes with, there are three (in my case). 
  • Because of all that is above, finding someone seems almost hopeless. By this time in your life most people are settled, and "all the good ones" taken. The old adage of "there are plenty of fish in the sea" is not applicable here. This meme amuses me to no end. It absolutely is not all about looks as this meme implies, but it is still how a widowed woman feels when trying to even comprehend dating again. 
  • You feel sad and unhappy some of the time, but feel like no one notices or cares anymore because it's just normal. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it's not. Find someone to talk to, whether it be a friend, family member, doctor or counselor. You may have to be pickier about who you talk to about these things these days. There are some that just don't want to hear it anymore. That's okay, find someone who will listen and give good advice and no judgement. 
  • Remember those signs I talked about earlier? You'll continue to see them. Take comfort in them. Listen to them, because they can be a guiding force and that is one of the biggest things you'll need the second year.
  • Guidance. Where do you go from here? How do you decide? You listen to your gut and you follow the signs. External forces can be your greatest asset in determining your future. 
  • Reach deep down to the core of your soul and figure out what it's telling you in the second year. It may be completely different than you imagined your life would be. It's okay. Your life has changed and you have changed and so your purpose and life goals may have changed as well, in fact, I can almost guarantee they will. Find your purpose. 
They say the only way to get through grief is through it. I agree of course. You can't hide from it, you can't run from it, you can't pretend it never happened. It is what it is, and all you can do is move forward, weep, beg and pray that one day it will get better. 

I believe it will. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Today, I am experiencing a deluge of nasty feelings. All of which I have striven to get rid of in my life and heart. They are back today. I feel as though I have lost my serenity. What I am about to say may hurt some people's feelings but, let's face it, this is real, and I am being honest. If you don't like it, then I am sorry that you cannot accept the reality of someone else's perceptions. It is difficult enough for me to admit that I am feeling these things, but here goes, because I guarantee that someone, somewhere, is currently, will in the future or has already felt this way.

 I cannot express how difficult it is for me to maintain a positive attitude at times. I struggle with watching other people be happy. Perfect people, perfect lives, no evident struggle. Perhaps they are better than I at hiding the struggle, or perhaps they have not dealt with their issues and will one day have to face them. In a short time the horrible feelings of jealousy, bitterness, resentment and anger have resurfaced in my heart. There surfaces a longing for things and places I don't have.

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh, why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow why, oh, why can't I?

It is not pretty, but I do know that I must choose to deal with my emotions as they come, and am working to not internalize them. If I let them sit unsaid, it eats me up, and I have decided that I no longer have the time, patience or energy to let my emotions control me.

You may have money, a great job, have traveled the world. the beautiful house with the white picket fence, external beauty, a loving spouse, 2.5 children and a dog. But, are you happy? Do you know who you are? Have you taken the time to get to know yourself deep down, disregarding the worldly things that surround you and what you physically possess? Do you recognize that none of that matters, and that you cannot take it with you in the end? I tell myself all of these things and I believe them, but sometimes I want those other things too. It's human, it's natural, and I am bitter that I have little of it at times, until I remember that "things" have never made me happy. It's always been loving relationships that have fulfilled me.

In due time you say? Time is fleeting, in essence, it's already gone. If I am not happy, it's not because I have none of these things. It's because I have chosen to be unhappy with my lot in life by succumbing to the evil green monster of jealousy and all that comes with it. At times, I can see the Wicked Witch of the West coming out in me and it's not pretty. Someone pour water on me so I can melt into nothingness. (Furthermore, even if I was a good witch, a house would just get dropped on me and my shoes stolen by some peppy brat with a little dog.)

Follow the yellow brick road.. to where? To the land of Oz where there is a giant, beautiful, sparkly castle and a lying man behind a curtain? No thanks. I'll take the little farmhouse in Kansas that is simple and "boring", for it is full of love and therefore has everything I need.

That's nasty. It's nitty gritty, hardcore emotional stuff. I only hope that someday if you ever feel these things, you remember that even the peppy brat with a dog once longed for a better place, and eventually realized how great her home was. For the record, I forgive the girl, even though she stole my shoes.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


This week at one of my Zumba classes I had a participant ask me where my boys were. They typically come with me to every class. The conversation proceeded as follows:

"The boys are at the parade with a friend today."
"Oh, are you married?"
"No, I'm actually a widow."
Shakes head. "It seems like more and more marriages are ending that way these days"
(Realizing that what I had actually said had not sunk in) "Well, this wasn't actually my fault. (I realize some divorces aren't peoples fault either, this is just the vibe I got so I went with it in my response) My husband died of cancer 2 years ago."
"Oh... well I hope you find someone soon.Those boys need a man in their life."
"Yes, and I will someday. I'm taking my time. It's important that I find someone that is good for all three of us."
"Yes I guess that's true. You could end up in more trouble if you are with someone wrong. He must have been young."
"Yes, he was 37."
"Well I hope you find someone really soon."
"Thank you.

The participant meant no harm at all. But it did get me thinking.
1. I was automatically labeled as a divorcee even after the word widow came out of my mouth. How many people have labeled me without even hearing the word? The label doesn't matter, because I have been divorced before and I am now a single mom, I just find it interesting to think about.
2. Why do I need to find someone soon? Why does society think that it is necessary for a woman to find a man? This explains why I see so many people jump from one man to the next in a blink of an eye. Society has brainwashed us into believing that we cannot take care of ourselves and cannot be whole without a man. That makes me sad beyond belief. Yes, I get lonely and I wish that I could have someone by my side that loves me and my boys and would help with finances and things around the house. But, I refuse to settle for someone I know isn't right. Shouldn't we all do that? And shouldn't society tell us that, instead of telling us to find someone quickly?
3. Yes, my boys do need a man in their life. But they need an amazing one. Again, I refuse to settle for some chump. My boys deserve the best.
4. To all of you out there without someone, please be patient. Go slowly. I promise you that it will be worth it, and that YOU are worth it. Take other people's words and advice with a grain of salt. YOU know what right for you. You know deep down in the inner core of your soul. Learn to listen and trust that still, small voice. I promise it will not steer you wrong.

Much love.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Parlez-vous Francais?

Despite what you may see looking in, it's still difficult everyday to get up and face what my world has become. It's strange in a way, because it gets easier and harder at the same time. It's easier because I've become accustomed to this new life, it's harder because each day it becomes more real. There are days that I want to put everything in the back of my car and leave here. Sometimes it's overwhelming to be in this town, in this state. I think that if I didn't have responsibilities here I would have done that long ago. Thank goodness for the small things preventing me from making rash decisions. I long for a day that I don't feel like I have to fight and power through my day. You see, I struggle. Every day. Every day. Whether I am smiling when you see me or not, you can count on the fact that my brain has been whiring non-stop and at some point in my day a tear or two has been shed. Sometimes a river of tears threatens to overtake the space I occupy. There are multiple times in a day that I feel as though I am insane. But, in the midst of all of this I try to find solace in the fact that the best things take time and are the most difficult to obtain. Right now I feel so unsure of everything around me. I don't know what my future holds. There is no solid ground on which I can stand and that is very scary indeed. 

Being a mom is hard. Being a single mom is one thousand times harder. Sometimes I want to yell at the the neighbors to mow my lawn while they're mowing theirs. I don't want to be the only one making decisions for my kids. But I have to. I have to do everything. All of it. Their care, my care, the cleaning, the bills, the anything that needs to be done. Sometimes I freak out. Like I'm doing now. Sometimes I just need to talk about it because it sucks and it's hard and it's a job I would have quit on the first day if I didn't love my children. Being an adult is shitty. I will say it again so you can really understand. Being an adult is really shitty. If I sometimes have to take Xanax to get through parts of my day so I don't have a panic attack there is something wrong. This is what trauma does to the body ya'll. The physical effects of those left behind are not ever talked about. Shocker. But, I have discovered that my body's automatic response to many situations has become fight or flight. Anxiety to the core. Even things that make no sense and shouldn't cause anxiety. Yup, there it is. Before you tell me to exercise or try yoga, yes, I do these and they help. This is occurring after all of the stress/anxiety relieving fixes that you want to share with me. I do them already. I don't want to know what kind of hot mess I'd be without these things.

This is my official I have no clue what the hell I am doing with myself at this point in time and it freaks me out post. No, I don't want your assurance that it will be ok. I know that. Trust me, I do. What I want is for the universe to stop giving me the signs it has been giving me, like the number 11 everywhere, all. the. time and pennies dropping (look up what they mean, I have not the time and energy to explain). No habla espanol. Just put it in writing already universe. In English.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Things No One Tells You About Being a Widow With Kids

1. No one actually understands unless they have been through widowhood too. It will frustrate you.
2. You will feel as though everything you know has been ripped out from underneath you. Because it was.
3. You will feel cheated by life. Because you were.
4. You will feel lied to by the powers that be and angry at them too. It's normal and I assure you it will not go away for quite some time.
5. The enormity of the responsibility of being a single parent will overwhelm you at times. It's okay to cry. It's also okay to ask for help.
6. People will try to compare their divorce stories to your spouse dying stories. It is not the same. By any means. They may or may not understand that. Love them anyway.
7. When you stop wearing a wedding ring and you're out in public with your children, strangers will look at your finger and they will judge you. Smile and feel no need to explain. Judgement is their problem, not yours.
8. Many people you love will not know what to say to you and may seem like they don't care. Remember that some people cannot put into words how they feel, and they cannot comprehend your pain.
9. You will sometimes hate "happy" families. Remember that the grass is NOT always greener.
10. You will feel guilty when you find things that make you happy. Remember that your loved one would have wanted you to be happy. Carry on!
11. You will see signs that your loved one is with you. Pay attention. Talk to him. He's listening.
12. Your children will have fond memories of their dad. Cultivate them and soak up their smiles as they remember.
13. Your children will be spiritually more stable than you are. Encourage them and listen to their wisdom.
14. You will have rough days. Especially around holidays. It will blindside you. Be prepared.
15. You will find that your physical health directly affects your mental health. Exercise daily and eat healthy foods. You deserve it and your kids deserve a healthy mother.
16. You will not feel worthwhile. The catastrophe of losing your spouse will make you feel as though you are not enough and don't deserve happiness. You ARE enough. You DO deserve happiness.
17. Nothing will ever be the same.
18. You will never stop loving him.
19. People will expect you to go back to your normal life because they get to go back to theirs. It doesn't work that way.
20. Your job is to take care of your children. Make it a priority. Remember you have to be healthy to be the best parent you can be. It's okay to put yourself first sometimes.
21. You will survive.
22. You will forever be changed.