Why Doesn’t My Loss Affect​ Others?

IMG_9845Since about May, I’ve become a little bit more active in the widow community again. I took a significant hiatus off, almost about three months into widowhood to around the 3.5 year mark.

Why?

The widow boards are really depressing, and they make me feel bad about my grief, or why I don’t miss him more.

I also feel judged for pushing forward with my life rather than wiping my tears away with his old dusty sweaters.

When I was newly widowed, using the W card to get out of sticky situations worked. Why did I forget something? Widow brain. Why did I lose my temper? My husband died 4 months ago. But now, I can’t use that excuse. Nor do I ever whip out the widow card. The only time I do is when I’m offered alcohol, and I don’t want to drink. “You know my husband died of liver cancer, right?” No more questions.

Though my loss is a significant turning point in my life, and George’s family’s lives, to my friends, neighbors, boyfriend, coworkers, colleagues, it’s really not that important. And I choose not to emphasize it. Though sometimes something will remind me of George and I will openly say, “Oh, my husband used to…” In my own time, just like I did when I was newly widowed, I grieve in my own time when I’m alone.

Why doesn’t my loss affect others? Why did people stop talking about my husband?

Life pushes forward, whether I want it to or not. And I’m either on this ride, or I’m left behind. My previous life isn’t diminished because I am finding happiness away from him. It’s quite the opposite, I’m fulfilling my life because of the love I have for George. I’m still very much in love with him, and I always will be. When I think about him, or when I look at pictures, it brings me happiness. But here’s the thing, when I look at the pictures of us together, I don’t really see it as me anymore. And it does look like a stranger is with my husband. But that’s growth. That’s development, and the girl who was with George is not me. It was me, but I am different, and his loss has changed me. And I can’t expect others to remain frozen too.

My loss is my W scarred on my heart. The scars are mine to own, and others don’t have the wounds I had to endure. He is one thought away at all time for me. No one has turned their back, but instead, they have allowed me to grow at my own pace and time.

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Balancing Military Girlfriend and Widowhood

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George’s death is a central part of my life, and widowhood has taught me valuable lessons on coping skills and managing the cold breeze of loneliness. Something I’ve utilized and applied these past several months while my boyfriend is deployed. Being widowed has helped me transition into my new role of being a military girlfriend. However, in a few weeks, my boyfriend will return from the Middle East, and I am ready to have him home and back sharing our lives together. But I’m having flashback again.

On Thursday, with my purple camelback snuggled up to me, headphones in and podcast ready to go, I galloped onto the streets beginning my 17-mile run. It took me about 3 hours to complete. The morning was hot, but the humidity wasn’t as restrictive as usual. I cut through the first 10 miles well until I hit a road block between miles 11 and 12 with hamstring and calf cramps. So I walked for a bit and munched on some snacks and refilled my water at the local country club. I was on the count down.

Just five more miles, I thought to myself. Just five more.

As I was running, I saw George, but not the way most of my memories travel through my skull. But it was a flashback to when he died. And I’m having a hard time shaking the sharpness of the image. His skin coloring, empty eyes, the putrid smell of ammonia, his stained clothes, the dimness in the room, it lingers in my mind like a bad taste in your mouth. It is just one swift thought away.

And I don’t know how to address it or talk about it, so instead, I’ll write about it. If someone with similar experiences can relate, it would help me tremendously to connect.

With getting along by myself over the last few months, I think it has become natural to me. I need to tread lightly here because I do love my boyfriend and I want him home. It hasn’t been easy having him away, but truthfully, I spoke with him about this as well, it’s not the worst thing I’ve had to do. Though I miss him deeply, and I wish I can snuggle up with him on the couch, when I get a text from him, it helps me understand that his deployment is temporary. George is dead. But with the first few months of grief, I remember not being able to differentiate anger and anxiety, which resulted in total irascible and explosive reactions. I am beginning to think I am having a hard time differentiating excitement and anxiety which is beginning to transform into worry. And the inability to understand my emotions are causing this numbing return to grief.

However, there’s something between dealing with deployment and being widowed that has brought me back to this familiar pain, but in an evolved state. In the first few months of grief, I remember not being able to differentiate anger and anxiety, which resulted in total irascible and explosive reactions. Whereas now I am having a hard time differentiating excitement and anxiety, which is beginning to transform into worry. And the inability to understand my emotions are causing this numbness.

The inability to understand my emotions is causing an overwhelming sadness. But just moments of sadness, like every time I walk my dogs, I’ve been crying. When I take a shower, I cry. And it’s haunting and I keep reminding myself, I’m on the downhill.

Just five more weeks. I say to myself. Just five more.

 

 

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Runner’s World Never Mentions Marathon Training During Alabama Summer Months Can Trigger Grief

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To make the summer months pass a little quicker, I signed up for a Fall Marathon in Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota back in March. It did not register that I will be doing most of my marathon training in the dead of summer, in Alabama.

Alabama summers are humid, hot, sticky, and oppressive. There is no escaping the brutality of the summer sun mixed with the stagnant thick hot air. The days I need to train for my marathon are quickly inducing dread, and indirectly triggering grief.

Why is it indirectly? Well, I wanted the summer months to pass by quickly because my boyfriend is deployed. He comes back the second week of October. My Twin City Marathon is on October 1st.

Dealing with his deployment has been a task standing on its own. I’m back to cooking for one, feeling the void when I wake up in the morning and he’s not there. Coming home to a quiet house and not having a tremendous amount of human interaction outside of work or my Thursday night Kickball games. But here’s the thing: he’s not dead. So though his deployment is stressful, I’ve been okay for the most part with very few meltdowns.

But marathon training, there have been many meltdowns because of the binding and claustrophobic grip of the humidity and heat.

When I wake up at 4:00 am to get my 10-mile run in before having to be at the gym for training at 6:00 am, the moment I step outside it feels like I opened the door to someone taking a hot shower. It’s repugnant, and because I know how my body reacts to feeling overheated with no release, my muscles tense up with dread.

Running feels like a chore and is no longer fun for me. It provokes a deep anger and uncontrollable feeling of failure that I can only relate to the weeks and months after George passed away. It’s unavoidable stress, and if I don’t train, I will suffer dire physical consequences on October 1st. So I push forward with my running, usually resulting in a meltdown as I near the 10-mile mark.

Exercise is a physical stress on the body, but it also ignites the endocrine system to release hormones to help with stress relief. That’s why when I was grieving after George died, exercising was magnetic for me. It provided me relief from the crippling and suffocating feelings of grief. But when my stress reliever has adverse effects and begins to trigger my grief, that is alarming.

I adore Runner’s World and was even in a  featured content at the beginning of the summer. Click here to read about my grief journey and how running helped me. But I’ve been reading the articles all summer long about how to combat heat, humidity and the awfulness of marathon training in the summer. There are not enough hours in the day to edit my training schedule. My running has to take place at dawn, and unfortunately, solo night running isn’t an option here in Montgomery, Alabama.

So, grief is trickling back through my marathon training. I think about George, I find myself talking to him more and more recently. And when the mood strikes and a special memory bubbles up, I lean in to shed a few tears.

I will never do another Fall Marathon. Another new lesson George has taught me.

Angry Run

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Throw a Punch like Manny Pacquiao at Any Age: Start Adding Boxing into Your Weekly Fitness Routine for Improved Health and Muscular Endurance

Add a new twist to your gym routine with boxing. There are dozens of incredible benefits boxing can contribute to your overall health and fitness level. It takes enormous physical and mental demands to engage in pugilism. Heck, even the Olympic Committee, sports scientist and ESPN have evaluated 60 different

Source: Throw a Punch like Manny Pacquiao at Any Age: Start Adding Boxing into Your Weekly Fitness Routine for Improved Health and Muscular Endurance

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Stop Wasting Money On Slim Fast and Fad Diets: Begin Transforming Your Body at MetroFitness​

Source: Stop Wasting Money On Slim Fast and Fad Diets: Begin Transforming Your Body at MetroFitness​

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