Return to Widow Groups

IMG_8075I 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.

Dealing with Deployment

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Feeling alone in a crowd

My heart has been heavy, like an anchor keeping me in a perpetual state of worry. I’m making a career change, and I’ve been offered a few jobs but nothing I can see myself truly embracing. I feel the most alive when I’m sucked into research, writing, and creating content. But there’s the deep sense of emptiness creeping up my backside and I’m unable to avoid it. I feel the jaws slowly penetrating my skin and digging deeper and deeper.

I’m feeling the absence. I’m feeling the weight of all the life changes hitting me from all angles. I am not okay. The thirst for control is bubbling and I’ve made necessary changes I know will provide me with that grip to hold on during this turbulence.

  • I remind myself there is an end point to this deployment, he will return in October. In October I’ll be able to hold his hand, feel his warmth, press my head into his clavicle. There is an end. But I cannot look up too soon because it will feel longer than it needs to. That’s a lesson I’ve learned from running. Don’t aim for the end too soon, save enough energy for that final push.
  • I’ve gone through far worse in my life than a 6 month deployment. There is an end to this.
  • I need to let go of what I cannot control
  • Don’t behave in ways you’ll regret– no alcohol.
  • Allow time for recovery– Keep my multiple work out days to a minimum.
  • Eat healthy on a budget– provides a mental stimulus to find deals
  • Track all receipts to prevent over spending
  • Take care of the dogs so they’ll take care of me

There’s moments in the day when I feel guilty for feeling sad. He’s in another country, sleeping on a bunk around other soldiers with little to no privacy, working 12 hour days. I’m here, in the comfort of our home, with a roof over my head, electricity running through the wires, and clean water at my expense.

The extent of my woes are I feel pressure to find a meaningful job, although all things considered I believe it’s my own personal pressure on the issue. Many who have been in a similar situation tell me I am in no rush. Enjoy this freedom. But it’s a lot to handle to be honest. I don’t want to make another mistake like I did taking the position at Huntingdon. It’s my best interest to separate from there because it was a poor professional decision. But it led me to him. And I need to shore up because I have 4 more months of alone time.

Strength in your heart

This morning I went to my usual morning SoulCycle class with my one of my favorite instructors, Erika, leading the class. I needed some major reflection after the weekend I had and the one thing I love about her classes is she pushes you hard but continues to reaffirm the “digging deep” is for a greater purpose. I like how it’s vague because it leaves room for interpretation because for some it can be to better their fitness, for others to balance themselves out, but for me I needed to hear the encouragement. I was emotionally detached/numb for most the weekend after spreading George’s ashes.

At one point on the bike today she asked us to put our hands on our hearts and take a moment to feel it beating. This is something that’s somewhat mundane at the end of classes, but for some reason today it was a trigger. Tears welled in my eyes as I felt my chest perpetually thump against my hand. Then I remember laying next to George in the hospital beds, watching tv and listening to his heart drum against my ear. Because of the IVs, I had to lay on his left side so I didn’t pull them out on accident or interfere with the nurses coming in to hook him up. Often times we would fall asleep holding each other and the metronome of his heart would be my white noise.

His heart wasn’t as strong though. If it was, he’d still be here and I wouldn’t have this blog. After class I couldn’t stop thinking about my heart and what I’ve done. Having George die is easily the hardest thing I’ll have to go through in my life. He gave me confidence and brought me so much happiness, and without him I lost both those things. So I had to learn how to do it myself and during the process I was introduced to SoulCycle, which certainly helped get the ball rolling. With this “new chapter,” I’m doing what brings me happiness and trying to better myself. I’m trying to strengthen myself physically and emotionally. I’m a work in progress.

After I spread George’s ashes, I was so defeated and sad. I reached out to my friend, Larry, who works as a personal trainer at Definitions and he said he would make a workout for me. With workouts it allows me to become disassociated from what lingers on in my mind on a daily basis and forces me to live in the here and now. Whatever the task is at hand, whether it’s lifting a heavy object and putting it down or swinging a weight, I have to be focused on it and what I’m doing. Cause if I’m not, I’d get hurt. It’s become imperative that I squeeze a workout in everyday.

I knew scattering the ashes was going to be hard, so I asked him to break me with a workout. And he did. It was long and brutal, and I’m still sore from it. Many times through it I thought I couldn’t do it because it was so tough and my muscles were screaming with hot pain, but he didn’t let me give up. He told me to get it done cause the other option of not doing it wasn’t acceptable. So I pushed through. And afterwards I was looking up at him as he was helping me stretch out and he asked if I liked it. I started crying. He broke me, but not in a bad way; I felt good. He also bought me a tropical smoothie afterwards, which ratified his status of the best personal trainer in NYC. Notorized and approved on 7/3/2014.

There’s a sense of accomplishment to overcome what you think would and could destroy you. When I have bad days, my brain can go into dark places. But sometimes I just need to feel my heart and remember there’s something greater out there waiting for me. I just have to find my way out of the grief maze.

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I’m in Germany

On Tuesday I boarded a plane and headed Eastbound to Germany. I’ve been without internet for days, up until right now, and there’s so many sights, sounds, experiences I wanted to document, but unfortunately Oldenburg is in the dark ages of worldwide communication. I’m on my sister’s computer right now and eating up her battery power. She packed her charger away because we’re flying to Switzerland later this evening.

My sister is involved in theatre, and George and her always had a great relationship based off both their mutual affinity for Tim and Eric and theatre. George and I kicked around the idea of traveling to Frankfurt some time, but never did so.Image

When the opportunity to travel to Germany came up, I had to take it. It’s what George would have wanted. There’s so many things he would have loved out here and in my purse I carry a picture of him so even though he’s not physically with me, I’m sharing this experience with him. The food, the people, the opera I went to, he would have loved it all. Yesterday I went for a three and a half mile run and got lost. I just know that upon arriving back at the bed and breakfast telling him that I got lost he would have been so angry saying I shouldn’t have strayed too far from the park. But then he’d be happy that I found my way back in a foreign country, and that’s such a “Julia thing to do.” To be honest, I was freaked out and ran extra fast so I can get to a street that had shops that were kind of familiar. It all worked out. I would end the discussion with, “I’m fine, it was fun.” And he would hold my hand because he wouldn’t want to lose me.

I got lost in Brooklyn once, except I got on the wrong subway. He held me close that night, didn’t want to be without me. I just wish I had his hand to hold again.