Posted tagged ‘widowhood’

My Love

20 September, 2013

My Dearest Love,

Four years today. 

I’ve just deleted about 500 words that I wrote – it is all just stuff I know you see and feel. I don’t want to recap the year for you. You know. 

Instead, I just want to say I love you. I have never loved anyone so deeply in my life. You truly were meant for me and I am always amazed to look back on our life together and see just how great we were together. I never knew something like that could exist. I’m so very, very thankful that you came into my life. That you loved me. 

I’ve seen the signs that you are around me. Its been going on for a few weeks now. The lights have been flickering, the ladybugs are out in full force on my front door and a beautiful monarch butterfly keeps landing on Lido’s finger when we are out front…he keeps saying “it’s an answer from my Dad!” So very cute and I’ve stopped correcting him – instead of answer that it is a sign…because I think it is an answer. You are here around us. 

I love you Doug. I always have and I always will. 

In this life and the next.

 

Yes, it is

19 September, 2013

my birthday.

A day I’d desperately love to celebrate and one that I’d love to skip. Actually, I’d love to skip today and tomorrow. Just erase them from the calendar.

Then I think about what I would miss. I think about what I would not remember.

It has been a really rough couple of weeks. I’ve never spent this time of year for the past 3 years at home. I’ve made it a point to travel, to get away and do something, anything. Traveling during this time of year has always felt like I was living, really living. Doing something to celebrate and remember and also to be able to take a breather. To sit with my thoughts…no distractions other than the beauty surrounding me.

I haven’t been sleeping and that has been really rough on my body. After Lido’s birthday party on Sunday, I felt that I could barely keep my eyes open and I had zero energy to make dinner and barely enough energy to run out a pick something up. I was so exhausted that I told Lido to turn off the TV when his movie was done and come up to bed….because I was heading up right at that moment. The next day I felt like I was hit by a mack truck and ended up feeling pretty yucky the last few days. I’ve tried to get into the gym but my body felt like it would revolt if I did…last night I finally gave myself permission to not feel bad about not getting a workout in for the past few days. That seemed to change a lot – the moment I said it was okay I felt more energized and ready to hit the gym hard this morning. And that is what I did.

39 years behind me and entering my 40th year…I worked out hard. I squatted until my legs gave out. I did bicep curls until my arms shook. My triceps wept…Then I drove to my stairs…I ran up those stairs for every year that Doug and I were together and for every year we have been apart. 12. Half-way through I looked up into the sky and broke down. Sobbing at the bottom of the stairs. Barely able to breathe. Then I ran, two steps at a time. Because I could. Because he can’t.

Before I ran the stairs I looked at his facebook page and someone had posted a pic of themselves with their helicopter and said “You have had a big impact on my career Doug. Thanks for everything!” Seeing that was a wonderful gift to me today. To hear this, to know this…well, it just means so much to me.

Then I started thinking of all of the beautiful people that have made an impact on my life, especially over the past four years. The people that have stood by me even when they were not sure what to do to help me. The people that have come into my life that I never really knew before and the people that have come back into my life. The words of encouragement, the emails, the little packages on my doorstep, the laughter, the texts telling me to get my butt into the gym and sweat it out, the wishes and love from people I haven’t even met in person. I just want to say thank you.

Today is a juxtaposition. It is a difficult day but one that I am trying to make better each and every year. I do wish I had went ahead and booked a trip…but I guess I’ll just save it for next year. Do “our trip”. The one we never got to go on but had been planning on taking after finishing up as a CFI. Neither one of us had much on our bucket list but this was one thing I know he wanted to do…so the planning will start and this time next year, I will be sitting drinking a Guinness fresh from the tap…and spreading a bit of ashes where I sit…

Today though, I’m going to sweat it out, stay healthy and live life:

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My Sweet Boy

16 September, 2013

My Sweet Boy,

You are five today. You are amazing, sweet, loving, stubborn, silly, an expert at everything, love dinosaurs, love transformers, snuggling with me and watching a movie. You are so intelligent and you are so compassionate. 

It truly is hard to believe that you are five already. I see you laying here sleeping and remember when you were a tiny little thing snuggled up in blankets and laying in between your Dad and I. My mind goes directly to those moments when you were so very small and when it was the three of us. 

You are so incredibly loving and compassionate. You are always quick to put an arm around one of your friends or give them a hug. You are still shy at times but you are coming into your own more and more. Tonight when we went to dinner for your birthday, you surprised me by telling our waitress that it was your birthday and you are five…it is a restaurant we go to all the time but you have never willingly spoken to any of them. I think that sometimes, you get it in your head that at “x point” you will be fine talking to someone or doing something…but until then you will observe. You chose the restaurant tonight because you knew they had desserts that you could have – there is a lot going on in that brain of yours…I love it. You have specific ways of doing things, and of how you think things should work. 

This past year we haven’t travelled as much as we’ve done in the past and we’ve just explored our surroundings and started getting involved in more things in our neighborhood. You played soccer for the first time and even though it was a struggle the first couple of games you stuck with it and decided that you were not going to be afraid to play and by the third game, you were out there playing hard and having a great time. The fall season just started and after the first game, you saw your old soccer coach and ran to tell him you scored two goals – you were so proud of yourself and I loved that you wanted to share that with him. 

You are really starting to get a silly side to you. You like to say things that are followed up with “just kidding”. You think it is so funny. You also love pretending to be asleep and you got me really good the other night when I really did think you fell asleep. It wasn’t until half-way up the stairs with you in my arms that I saw a little smirk…that, my son, was a good one. 

I’m proud of the both of us for this past year. We are really starting to get our groove and I know part of it is that I am finding my groove as being the only parent. It is still a struggle at times but we work well together. You are just a kid at times and other times, well, you seem to have a sixth sense about you. 

I love you my sweet boy. It is amazing how much you have grown and changed over the past year. I still see so many things that remind me of your Dad, especially some of the looks and mannerisms. It is wonderful to see him in you and especially how you make it all your own. You miss him and I know it is hard on you to see your friends with their Dad’s. I see you gravitate to any man that comes into your life – your soccer coaches, teachers, etc. I hope that people realize that just a small gesture to any child can make a world of difference. I’ve seen it happen to you. I’m always so grateful for them to take an extra little time out for you or to say great job kiddo. 

We had an amazing summer hanging out and having fun. You are my workout and running partner and love getting to hit the punching bag after I’m finished with my workout…you have a mean left AND right hook! The craziest thing that has happened is you losing a tooth ALREADY! You lost your first tooth and have two more loose as well as your 6-yr. molars are in! Please, quick trying to grow up so fast! I can’t keep up!

I’m proud of you my five year old. I love you more than life. Happy Birthday sweet boy. 

In this life and the next,

Your Momom

 

A few weeks before you were born:

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You and your Daddy just hours after you were born:

 

 

 

 

 

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You and your Daddy on your 1st birthday after you had your birthday cupcake:

 

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Two years old – Oregon coast:

 

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Three:

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Four:

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Five:

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That month…

9 September, 2013

Oh this month. I love it. I despise it.

The month of ushering in my favorite season. The month of birthday celebrations. 

…and the month of That Day. 

The 1st day of the month found me crying most of the day as well as the days that followed. 

It’s more than just this month though. It is just this time of year. The back-to-school moments that he will never take part in. The new soccer season starting that he will never help coach. The superhero birthday party he will not be a part of. The birthday where I turn 28 again where he will ignore the year and call me his bride. The wedding anniversary we will never celebrate. 

It seems all too much to take in in such a short period of time. 

Then, the planning. The planning of Lido’s birthday party. Trying to figure out the best day to have it on where it is not too close to that damn date. Then it is side-stepping Lido’s questions about my birthday. What are we going to do. What do I want. The one I have absolutely no desire to celebrate.

The past 3 years we have always taken a trip this time of year. Right around our birthdays and that date. The second year sucked as my Uncle was dying and ended up passing away on ‘that date’. That year, we spread Doug’s ashes in Yellowstone and on top of Bear Tooth Pass. Last year, Lido and I took an amazing trip to the Turks and Caicos where we swam every day, all day and a wonderful lady at the resort found out it was my birthday and made reservations for us as well as got us a huge cake – for just the two of us. It was all I could do to not cry as I shared the cake with those around us…and then they started asking questions…and I shared our story. I’m glad I could share the story but man, when you are hanging on by a thread…well…

I can’t even remember what I did that first year. I have absolutely no idea. I can’t even remember if I went anywhere…oh, yes. I went back to Portland. I went to the crash site with a hazelnut latte, a six pack of Guinness and a pack of the shitty cigarettes he smoked – PallMall. I smoked a cigarette, drank a Guinness, and finished up most of the latte. The rest, I left there.  I lost my orange scarf out there…I saw two eagles flying overhead. Huge, huge eagles. They showed up right before the time of the crash and circled overhead for a long while…

This year, no trip planned. 

And I’m okay with that. Lido has his schedule booked and I thought that this year would be a good year just to be around our things during this time. Maybe get together with some friends of Doug’s to celebrate his life. To remember him. 

I have felt that this year, I’m ready to celebrate and start ushering in the future…but I’ve been scared of even looking at the future at this point. Then, this past week, one of my assignments for a class was to sit through a meditation where it had you imagine what your future looked like and to invite any visions to come in and be open. I was listening to the meditation and going deeper into a meditative state, then she asked us to start looking and inviting what we see in our future. Immediately, all I saw and felt was this swirling vortex around me, almost as if I was Dorothy sitting on my bed watching things swirl around me. Everything I saw was gray and dark and just this energy whipping around me. 

At the end of the meditation, we were supposed to draw/color/paint what we saw for our future…I couldn’t do it. It just made me sick and I didn’t want to draw this out. Instead, I sat there in meditation once again to rid myself of these feelings and ended up just separating my brain from my heart and drew what my heart was saying…It was mountains with a river running through them. It was my “happy place”. A place in Yellowstone that is just amazing.

I turned in the assignment and my instructor immediately sent me an email with her comments. I had explained that I had difficulty with this assignment and just had to do what I needed to do just to get through it. In her voicemail (she typically sends CM instead of writing everything out), she made me think about a few things and realize a few things. Or, maybe just one big thing.

Love.

Pure and simple.

Love.

As I approach the 4-year mark, the birthdays, the anniversaries I have decided that it is important to sit and meditate on Love. To fill my heart with love and to imagine my future – as love. There needs to be no details. I don’t have to see exactly where I will live, what I will be doing, what Lido will be like. All I need to do is envision Love as my future. Love surrounding me, coursing through me. 

I sat and pondered this approach. Only for a few minutes. I immediately felt my heart lighter and my soul and my mind willing to not dwell on the sadness but to let the love in. To grab hold of it. My fear of imagining a future, I believe, will not be a fear for much longer. Instead it will be welcomed because I know that my future is love.

With a little bit of silliness added in….

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Simple. Mindful.

9 August, 2013

For the past several months I have been practicing mindful meditation throughout my day. At first I would pick one or two activities or blocks of time to be directly in that very moment, whatever it was that I was doing. I could be eating alone or doing dishes or running errands or being with my son – it was all done while keeping the mind focused on what was happening that very moment.

Soon this was something that I did throughout my day, not just blocking time or activities but the whole day. At first, I was a bit hesitant in some moments, such as paying bills, for fear that the thoughts of the future or guilt over something past (did I save enough, why did I spend that much on that stupid thing?) would come to mind. I actually was late in paying bills because I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it…Once I decided that those thoughts were like any others within a meditation practice – they just pop in and then you regain your focus in the now and let them float away with no attachment.

After three plus months of practicing this and slowly integrating it into my every-day activities, I had a true test of being mindful during a week that Lido wasn’t in school and I was also not in school. I hadn’t planned anything for us for that week and I didn’t want to. I just wanted to wake up each morning and see where life took us. I wanted to just focus on the two of us and I really wanted to put mindfulness into practice every moment of our day.

What an amazing week and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It truly changed so much for the both of us. So much so that a little less than two weeks later, our cable box was dropped back off to the cable company and we have had limited TV and movies for the past two weeks. This has also started me on finishing projects that I have started as well as organizing the house in order to finish some of those projects. The house is beginning to really come together and I can pretty much walk into every room without tripping on something that needs to be put away.

With mindfulness has come simplification.

Mindfulness allows us to sift through things and take the time to put the cell phone down, turn the tv off and really open our eyes to what is happening right around us. We see so much more. To truly practice mindfulness is to recognize what is important in our life and to understand and let go of the unimportant things in life.

The most wonderful things I have seen is how my son is just full of love and warmth and happiness. He is such a kind and gentle soul. He is so much like his Dad when it comes to knowing what is on my mind before I know it…

I have seen him build cities and railroad tracks running over bridges. I have heard him playing make-believe and cuddling with his animals. I have seen him take our little cat in his arms and just gently hug her and talk to her and kiss her. Just last night, even though it was past his bedtime, we sat and played ‘vet’ for over an hour with his stuffed animals. He didn’t go to bed until 9pm…and if I hadn’t been mindful during our bedtime routine (not that we have much of a routine), I wouldn’t have taken part in this wonderful moment because I would not have seen how important it was to him. I would have been worrying about the future – I have to study, I have to do dishes, I have to, I have to, I have to.

Instead, this moment was all I needed to be within. The present.

I just had an instructor give me some feedback on one of my client sessions and within her comments she said “the ‘now’ is where creativity takes place. It is where we find our answers. It is where things start. We can not change the past, we can not know how the future will play out exactly. This is why we must remind ourselves to be in the ‘now'”.

Being mindful – I do not worry as much as I used to. I am simplifying our life in little ways and in big ways. The ‘chatter’ that comes with any type of meditation has slowly softened and as I am mindful, I am able to make decisions with a clearer head and also look at what I truly want in my life, what I want to do with my life and where I want to go with my life.

It is a truly wonderful moment when you understand how to live in the moment while moving forward.

I urge you to add this to your day and see the difference in your life. Take one activity – don’t start with being mindful with your kids or spouse – take an activity where you are mindful in something you are doing. As you are eating, washing the dishes, reading a book – be mindful. What are the sensations. What does the food taste like, what does the water feel like, what do the pages of the book sound like when you turn a page? Once you have done this, see how you feel…calmer? Relaxed? Ready to face the rest of the day? Then, start to slowly work on being mindful in conversations you are having – be present in that moment – really truly present. When was the last time you sat across from someone and really listened to them? Looked them in the eyes and got lost in the conversation? Try it. Try it with a friend. Try it with your spouse. Try it with your child.

It really is amazing.

A week to, too, two…

8 August, 2013

Wow, yes I know. Another opening line in how it has been a really long time since I have posted on here! Its been a really long time since I’ve posted here.

Okay, now that that is out of the way…

Three and a half months ago, I happened to come across a website called OneFitWidow (www.onefitwidow.com). I believe I saw a link and info from a website of a life coach that I was checking out as I’m getting ready to launch my new business doing the same thing. 

Wow. Didn’t know it would be such a life changing thing! I’m sure you have heard the saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. This is exactly what happened.

Michelle, the founder and owner of One Fit Widow, lost her husband in an airplane crash two weeks after I lost Doug. At first, reading her path and her story – I felt like shite! I saw her all healthy and glowing and finding her Chapter 2…and we had been on this path essentially at the same time…and where was I? 

Then, I realized of how much I have done. I started a non-profit trying to assist helicopter pilots fulfill their dreams and help them financially (this has been a real tough one and it is morphing into additional things but they are taking time to establish). I have been through a major remodel to my home. I have been in the midst of a ‘potential’ lawsuit for the past three years. I have been raising a wonderful child. I have found my dream and passion, then decided it wasn’t much my dream and passion, then found it again and then enrolled in school and have been walking down a wonderful path since April. There have been some major shite moments over the past 3.5 years. Things that have sent me into a tailspin. I’ve found who my true friends are and have rekindled old friendships and have some amazing new ones. I have realized that my expectations, no matter if I still think I should be expecting a certain behavior, are probably not going to be realized by the majority of the people I am expecting them from. I can say I’m okay with that now. I have begun to realize what it is that is important in my life and I won’t let those things go. I have realized that I can move forward. 

The turning point. Well, I think putting this lawsuit to rest was the first step. I never realized until after it was thrown out, how much I felt that I couldn’t say, do, think or feel. Even though they tell you “move forward with your life”, that is just so hard to do when you are afraid that anything you do could be used against your case. It was also certainly hard to do because I was the lone man on the island. Reliving the crash, more questions raised, wondering what the hell happened. It has not been fun to say the very least.

So, after reminding myself of the things I had been through, I decided that it was high time to get back to “me”. I have been part of the One Fit Widow group for three months and am surrounded by amazing people (widowed and non-widowed) that inspire me, hold me up, remind me of the good and love me for exactly where I am today. 

Now, to this week.

It is week two of being home with Lido. It is week two of trying to fit class stuff in while also focused on simplifying life. It is week two of trying to fit it all in…and I was about ready to lose it. 

This week, after getting to the gym on Monday and promptly turning right back around because I just couldn’t focus on what I was doing with a child there asking questions every second…I decided I was going to forgo working out this week. I needed to get my bearings.

Working on simplifying our life as well as my practice of mindfulness meditation (and being mindful throughout the day), has taught me that sometimes, we need to take a step back in order to see what still “sticks”. What is truly important. From there, our priorities shift and we can manage our time better and be organized (I like being organized). This week has allowed me to see what is sticking. I’ve also been able to take the dry-cleaning in, that has been sitting in an ever-increasing pile on my floor for the past six months (it’s the little things). 

I’ve stayed 100% true to eating healthy and eating whole foods this week. I’ve also had to take a look at some of the food I was eating that wasn’t making me feel really great. I’ve liked having the time to do this and think things through without feeling rushed to get to the next thing. I’ve been able to be entirely focused on the things that are “sticking”….except getting to the gym. 

And believe me – that is one thing that is going to be sticking for the rest of my life.

For the past 3 nights, I have been averaging about five hours of sleep a night. I wake up and my legs feel like they need to take me on a 20 mile run or do thousands of squats. I have all of this anxiety in the muscle!! My head isn’t as clear and my meditations are not as focused. My mind is thinking of all of the bad things that could happen at any given moment… 

It is simply amazing what three months has done to me spiritually, mentally and physically, not only being a part of this group but with the work I am doing in school as well as the work I am doing personally. The last piece of the puzzle has truly been finding this group at One Fit Widow. 

As for this week of not hitting the gym – I’m okay with that. I know my “stickies” now and I also have had the time to get centered in other ways. I know how I can manage my time better because I have a better handle on things. Focusing on one thing will not mean another suffers. Balance.

I guess my entire point to this rambling is that it is certainly okay to take a moment to find our “stickies” because we end up being able to balance ourselves. My other point is that I am truly thankful for all of the beautiful people (widows and non-widows) that have come into my life and I am thankful for the three beautiful people that are the essence of One Fit Widow. 

So, take some time to find your “stickies”. 

I’m off to see how the vet office is shaping up in the laundry room…after all, I only have another week with him home and then off to school he goes…and I know I will be truly thankful for these weeks we have had, just the two of us.

Happy Birthday

31 March, 2013

My Dearest,

This is the 4th birthday that you have missed. You would have been 38 today and this year, for god knows what reason, it seems to have hit me really hard. I feel I have made it through so many holidays and special days without you now, that it is usually a few days before that is the hardest but this one, well, this one has just sucked.

I think it all started when I was in Portland and had to turn around from my original destination due to a check engine light coming on. On the way back to the house, I saw the sign for the park we had Lido’s 1st birthday party and my 35th. The last place we spent time together as a family, the day before you died. I found myself turning off the highway and heading straight for the park and walked directly to the grove of trees, where we sat for a picnic and some pictures when Lido was maybe 6 months old.  I knew the exact spot where we had the blanket and as I walked to it, I just melted into the ground, laid on my back and looked up at the sky through the same tree branches as we did four years ago. Lido was looking for sticks and called out to me and when I sat up, he was crawling up the leaning tree where we had propped him up against to take pictures those four years ago. It was right then that the tears came and I found myself sobbing and shaking and our beautiful son walked over to me and just held me and hugged me.

It’s been a long time since that has happened. I find myself hiding more and more of my grief, mainly so that Lido doesn’t see me sad and also, because when I do start thinking about it, well, I feel overwhelmed and there is no one around me to pick up the pieces so, I keep it together because I can no longer pick up the pieces by myself. I feel so fragile. Even more fragile now than in the first few months after you died.

And honestly, I don’t really want to tell this to you on your birthday but I’m really pissed at you right now. I’m right in the midst of trying to make some major life decisions and you aren’t fucking here to talk to about any of them. It pisses me off and I’m mad, so very, very mad. I’m fucking tired of worrying about Lido, if I’m doing the right thing, have him in the right school, if I’m a good parent, if I’m teaching him the right things. I’m fucking mad about the fact that I have to figure out how soccer is played and go and buy shin guards for him and take him to his first practice next week by my fucking self. I’m mad at you babe. Mad you are not here. Mad you are not here to console me, to cheer me on.

I’m lost without you. You knew me better than I knew myself and right now, I could really use you by my side. I’ve never, ever felt this alone and this indecisive in my entire life. Never.

But, I can’t stay angry with you. Especially on your birthday. So, today, on your 38th birthday, I am going to make one major life decision. It’s a decision that I’ve been working through for a bit now and a decision needs to be made. All the ducks are in a row and all I have to do is commit and make the decision, which apparently I suck at for the first time in my life. However sucky I am at making decisions right now – a decision will be made.

And to get me out of this rut of misery and crying every single fucking day, I am going to forget about myself and bring a smile to someone else. 38 someone elses to be exact. 38 acts of kindness.

(Lido and I are also celebrating with some chocolate cake (your favorite) and a Guinness. He asked if he could have some Guinness too…)

Babe, I miss you more than words can say. I wish you were here to celebrate the highs and work through the lows with us. I wish you were here to watch your son at his first soccer practice. I wish we could celebrate your birthday with you.

It’s a 1st, it’s spring – I hope to see you throughout the day.

I love you. In this life and the next.

Always,

Me