I recently have returned to the widow message boards. I do this every once in awhile. This time I didn’t do it to seek out assistance or to vent. I needed a reminder of the men and women who I share this tragic emblem with. I’m a part of a club, and I need to remember to offer support and guidance to my fellow wids.
I have been having trouble dealing with my boyfriend’s deployment, and I have been feeling lonely, but it’s nothing like when George died. Nothing could ever compare to that. But having an empty bed again does hurt.
I’m looking to put together a grief group here in Montgomery. It’s not just aimed at those who are going through loss of a spouse. I’m learning that grief comes in all different forms. I do think I’m having grief issues connected to the deployment. I also think the change of career is triggering some emotions too. And it made me think of all the other wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends who are going through deployment, or other life changes.
I also think this article I just wrote on berries triggered grief. Good grief that was a hard article to write. Har-har-har.
George would be proud of me, I know he would. So I keep that in the back of my mind. This hiccup will pass and I will learn another valuable life lesson when it’s all over. And then I’ll be that much better pushing forward.
This afternoon I arrived to the gulf coast side of Florida to see my 90 year old grandmother. She isn’t doing well, and she’s in the midst of congestive heart failure. Her watery cough is one that’s far too familiar. She looks at me with her sky blue eyes and she tries to smile, but her breaths are too shallow and trips her. And there they are, those watery coughs. I snuggled into that part of my brain today that protects me. I distracted myself with work and looking up nonsense online. I know these are signs of denial. I just don’t want to face the grief that will be washing ashore again soon.
Family is arriving tomorrow, we’all keep each other afloat. And I’m so glad I have Bodie here with me. I’m also thankful I packed my running shoes. It’s time to hit the road for another lengthy trot. Those endorphins are my best weapon against the unpredictable demons that grief carries with it.
I have this tendency to be away from Connecticut around Christmas. The first year after George passed away I was in California, and the uncertainty and inability to control my emotions haunts me. I always figured I’d never feel that way again because his passing was so fresh. Well here I am, in Florida, sort of feeling the same way again. Not to the extreme, but reflecting and feeling a bit down.
I’m here with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and niece for the time being. Tomorrow I’m going to hop into my car and head west to St.Petersburg to see my grandmother. My oldest brother flies here in the next couple days. There’s so much unconditional love swirling around me, but my mind is unfocused. My thoughts are fleeting and skipping, kind of like how a rock hops on water. And then there’s that one thought that hangs on and it’s all I can think about. These thoughts that hang on are my insecurities. I know it. I have one which is sinking further and further. It’s making me mad, uneasy, upset, and for what good reason? There isn’t one. It’s stupid and petty, but it hangs there to piss me off and torture me.
George visited me in my dream last night. I wish I could remember the premise of it, but all that I do remember is I lost my engagement ring, and then I found it again. But it was too big for my finger, and I tried hard to hide that it no longer fit. I felt ashamed and embarrassed when I had to show him the ring. What does this mean? I always felt so safe with George, but this dream had a different feeling for me. When I first started losing the weight and transforming, I worried he would no longer recognize me. I am not the same woman I was when he was alive. I’m different now. Maybe this just indicates change and need to push forward. Whatever it means, I am moving along to the next great adventure tomorrow. And maybe along the way, I’ll know what my unconscious mind was trying to reveal to me.
Until then, I’ll lay back with my hands behind my head, Bodie at my feet and my mind skipping along the water until it finally finds the one thought I can sink into.
It’s been so long since I’ve updated this thing! Someone recently asked me why I hadn’t and I mentioned that nothing too exciting or out of the ordinary has happened so no need to update. But I think there’s a lot. What would have been my two year anniversary just came and went a week ago, and during the time I had recruits at Huntingdon. It was a good distraction, but just like most anniversaries, the lead up to it creates the most anxiety. The days leading up to September 19th were grueling, but when the 19th came, I felt good. Relaxed. Happy. I thought about George, I missed George, but I also remind myself how the love I have for him still has helped me improve and better myself. I’ve said it once and I’ll always say it, I am so lucky to have experienced a love like his. I can only wish when I leave this earth someone loves me as much as I love him.
I’ve been in Alabama for 2 months now, and I LOVE IT! In New Jersey there was this cloud of death and sadness that hovered around me. No matter what I did, I couldn’t shake it. I played by the grieving handbook and didn’t make any major life decisions in the first year of widowhood, but when this opportunity came about I did think it was George pointing me in the direction to reclaim my life. And I think I have. When someone dies, no one can prepare you for the financial aftermath and I was lucky to have support of my parents, and to have a great emergency nest. But the reality came that Drew paid me really poorly, and I never was able to recover financially from George’s passing. I was scraping by. Being down here for 2 months I’ve already rebounded back, and though I don’t think money provides happiness, it does provide security which helps with overall happiness.
In New Jersey I learned to cope with the emotions of losing George, but now I’m learning how to live without him. I am so glad I took this risk to move to Montgomery, because I feel so free and independent. There was an adjustment period, but it was because the culture and people of the South are so different than the North. I’m coaching the sport I love, interacting with passionate and determined young women, meeting all sorts of people from different walks of life, and last but not least, I am teaching spin classes at a gym nearby and every time I am on that bike, I know George is smiling at me. Life it good here in the gump. Plus I met a sweet Air Force fellow at the dog park, and Bodie and his dog have become best friends while we started dating. Can’t really complain. My bouts of grief only last minutes now rather than days. That’s one thing worth noting.
I was eating a carrot
When I walked out of the complex with Bodie, all the branches on the trees were hanging just a little lower and preserved perfectly in an icy coating. It was beautiful. It was quiet outside too. No motorist dared to venture out on the slick roads. But the tranquility allowed my mind to wander and reflect. Today was not a good day.
I watched a home video George and I made and in it he called me beautiful several times and hearing it brought so many emotions. I couldn’t handle hearing his sweet compliments because I feel so ugly and fragmented. When he would call me beautiful I would respond, “you’re the only one who thinks so.” George would quickly shoot back, “that’s what makes you wonderful. You’re so beautiful and you don’t even know it. I’m lucky to have you.” Hearing it on video is nice but makes me hate that I won’t have that from him ever again.
When I walked to the gym tonight, my neighbor was standing at the elevator. I hadn’t seen him in awhile. Probably before I got married. We had a little small talk of hey how’s it going? Still running? That’s great. Then finally he asked the dreaded question, with enthusiasm nonetheless, “how’s married life going?” I felt the tears ready to pour down my face like a waterfall so I glanced away from him and told him. George died. He felt terrible but I said it’s not like I advertise his death so how would he have known? And I just walked away.
When I got to the gym I ran a mile for warm up and as I was stretching I started crying. So I moved into the spin room and got on a bike and started pedaling. George loved riding bikes and he enjoyed spin classes too. It was something we could share and we would often times go on long bike rides when the weather was nice. But as I was remembering our time together, side-by-side, riding through Prospect Park I just let it out. I was pedaling hard and the tears flowed freely. When I looked up at myself in the mirror, my cheeks were rosy but my eyes were hollow black sockets. I looked how I felt. Empty.
When driving to work, I saw a semi-truck flipped on its side, a school bus in a fender bender and pockets of intense traffic. I knew today was going to be an interesting outing.
Due to the incoming weather, I’m anticipating school being cancelled tomorrow. I also decided that because we had to cancel practice yesterday due to the snow and probably tomorrow because of the ice, having a three hour practice from 5-8 made sense. It was probably 20 degrees or colder out in the last hour. But I didn’t care, I just told the girls to keep on playing as I shivered and watched. They’re the highlight of my day.
I got home a little after 9pm I thought today would be a good day to order Indian food. I haven’t ordered food since George died. When I hung up the phone after placing my order, I realized I had ordered what George and I usually would get. When it arrived, I wanted to set out two plates.
Whenever I order take out, I always overeat until my stomach hurts. I lack self control. Today was no different. The biggest problem was I didn’t have George there to rub my stomach until it settled. But luckily Bodie nuzzled up against me on the couch. The warmth of Bodie pressed up against me sent me drifting. I started dozing off and for a second when I was about to come back to, I thought George was there with his hand resting on the side of me. But the cold reality set in fast when Bodie jumped off and I could feel the cold draft from the window. I’m all alone and ordered way too much food for one person.
Today marks 4 weeks since George died. Although the days seem to be inching along, 4 weeks feel like it’s been only 4 days. When I close my eyes, I can still see George laying on the hospital bed in my living room. I can see his face turned toward the right side, with his Kiss shirt pulled up over his belly button. I still remember how he looked in his final days rather than how he looked at his healthiest. It tears me up inside that I can’t remember him at his best. That’s why I keep posting pictures at the end of these blogs of when he was happiest and “healthiest.” I hope the more I look at those pictures, it will overpower the gruesome ones.
Today was a monumental day in understanding my grief and carousel of emotions. I’ve read about what it means to be grieving but I was really looking forward to speaking with a professional bereavement counselor. Although, when I first walked into her office I could see her smile drop for a second when her eyes met mine and she saw how young I am. Age was a big discussion in our meeting today, because ultimately I’m going to feel the sorrow of this loss for the rest of my life. Just over time it won’t be as raw and my body will learn to deal with the pain.
We talked a lot about my concerns, now and then, and what George’s concerns about dying and being sick. I’m not going to go into it so much on this post because I think overtime these things will reveal themselves. But my immediate concerns do have to deal with my lacrosse team, and meeting my niece in 5 days. Today is her 2 month birthday and well, that’s a whole other bag. I’m sure if you think long and hard about new life and death you can understand my trepidations about meeting her at this time.
One things I’m really looking forward to exploring is some writing prompts I received from my counselor about starting to come face to face with my emotions. It’s supposed to help me sift through my thoughts, and hopefully be a catalyst in finding clarity, understanding, and eventual peace. So let’s have at it:
Dear George, I miss how you would roll over on your side in the morning to grab me and hold me tight. The warmth of your body and the cadence of breathing in my ear made me feel safe and secure. I miss how you would point at your cheek whenever you wanted a kiss. You never were short of expressing your love and I never hesitated to reciprocate. Even if I was grumpy, you would just point to you cheek and I knew that you were always sweeter than sugar. You showed me there’s always light in everything. I miss how you always demanded to cuddle, just because every day was a good day for a cuddle session. It was just you, me and Bodie, but we never doubted that we were a family. We fit perfectly together, and from our first date we knew we were made for one another. You brought excitement to everything and anything, no matter how boring it was. Even waiting in the airport on a 6 hour delay became a tolerable adventure. I miss how you had the biggest bluest eyes I’ve ever seen, and I loved how you looked at me with them.
There’s so much that I miss. This will be a prompt that I come back to.