Reinventing in Southeast

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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.

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I was eating a carrot

Widow Weekend

This weekend several widows who I’ve had contact with over the last several weeks traveled to NYC for a get together. Over the last week I’ve slowly been meeting other widows, but this weekend was the first time I met with people who were closer in age to me. However, there was still some significant age differences, but there was a handful of widows who were in their early 30’s. Which was nice for me, because it often gets difficult to relate to the W’s who had a lifetime of companionship with their spouse when I only had half a decade. At the end of the day though, we all lost someone central to our lives regardless of longevity.

Many of the W’s started meeting each other between the 6-12 month mark of widowhood. I’m less than 3 months out. When people asked how long out I was, I told them less than 3 months and they were really surprised I was there. Much was based on their own grief experience and where they were at that point during the grieving process. I often times just shrug it off. I’m ready to meet other people who can relate to my situation and I feel it will help me move on. Going to this get together so early on in the process was commended as admirable and brave. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m slightly jaded but I don’t think much of it. I just go. I was looking forward to attending it and my excitement for the event prevailed any trepidation that arose in the days prior to.

I love George more than anything, and tonight I cried a lot because I just missed him so much. I miss his laugh, his face, how sweet his kisses were. How spectacular his hugs felt, how he made me laugh, his amazing offbeat sense of humor. I miss having him love me. But with this grieving process, it can eat you alive. If you allow your mind to wander too much, grief can swallow you whole. Every single day with grief, you have to make a decision on how to approach it; Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten?

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Blinders

There’s been moments during the day when I feel normal again. The darkness that swathes me lifts up, and I can feel the world at my finger tips. Yesterday, we still had my lacrosse team’s annual holiday party. It’s a tradition I put in place at my university last year, and despite how hard the days are for me, I remind myself there’s 20 other people I still need to consider. Seeing my team certainly warmed my heart for the time we were together, but I can see in their faces they know I’m not the same. They can see the cracks in my soul and how hard I’m trying to piece myself together when all I want to do is fall apart. Their creativity and humor tends to bring the best out of me, and I think they know it too. Our party broke up around 4:30, but some of them just stuck around the office. I tend to joke around that I don’t want to have kids because I have 20, 18-22 year olds, but it’s true. I care about them, and I know they care about me too. And that’s why going to work often times feels like I’m home with family.

Going from one family to another, I drove back to my parents house last night. In my car, it’s the only time I’m truly by myself with little distractions like tv or my iPad, and when my mind starts churning my emotions pour out. For some reason when I hit the Waterbury skyline, which I should mention at night looks like yellow christmas lights on short skyscrapers, I felt a shimmer of hope and my blinders were up. Hope that there’s an end to all this sadness, and that maybe with George passing away, he’s holding the door open for me to experience life to the fullest. But when I started thinking about that, I immediately retracted into the canopy of misery and felt guilty. But at the same time, he would be so angry at me for not going out on my own. He always encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone to experience new adventures and explore the unknown. He gave me a map of the NYC subways and would call me to meet up, so I would have to find a way to get to him on my own. He taught me how to love and maneuver through the biggest cluster in the world, which I now call home.

Side thought on this: One of our first fights (we rarely fought) was because I was supposed to meet George underneath the Brooklyn Bridge to watch a movie. About month into our relationship. I was in Fort Greene at one of my friend’s apartments and I called George to tell him I’ll meet him in 20 minutes and I was getting onto the subway. Well over an hour and a half later I finally got to the stop he was at. I ended up going toward East New York rather than toward Manhattan where the Brooklyn Bridge stop was. He was so angry at me when I got above ground to meet him. I always brought that story up to him when someone asks if we ever fought. I thought it was so funny because he just cared so much. He held my hand so tight on the subway back to his apartment afterwards.

Anyway, we traveled to Bermuda, when I never really wanted to go, and I loved it. He took me to New Mexico, when that wasn’t even a blip on my radar as a destination point. And it’s still one of my favorite vacations we went on. But when I think about venturing out, it feels different this time. I don’t have his hand to hold or his voice to calm me down when I get flustered or lost. But maybe that’s part of it all. It’s time to relearn how to be me. 

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