Having Courage

Well with my time winding down here in New Jersey, I have decided to spend my Thursday mornings at SoulCycle, again. I’ll miss it, but hopefully the company will decided it’s time to set up shop in Montgomery. We’ll see. I’ve professed my admiration for this cult-like indoor cycling class many times-because it got me started on the road to a healthier lifestyle- but today my reigning #WCW for over a year, Erika, said something that really stuck with me. There was one song where we were turning up our resistance and over the blast of the music she asked the class if we were at our limit yet? I have never stepped away from a challenge so of course I reached down and turned the knob to the right at add more gear. But she continued to voice her encouragement to the class. “In order to know your real strength, what you can do, you need to go places you’ve never gone before and that will show your real courage. It takes courage to go further, to take a risk.”

After the class I told her I loved what she said because I felt like it related to me. Regardless of the upcoming move, there are situations in my life that I am encountering where I initial feel like I can’t do this. I’ve been on my own for over a year and a half, but I had a group of friends to support me in and around the NYC area. But now, I’m embarking on the next great journey. I’m looking to establish my own business when I never thought I could. I feel more stable than I ever have before. I look around me, and think about the future more. I am ready to be alive and carve my path.

The only way I can possibly describe my current mindset and feeling is for a long time I felt like I was chasing a shadow. I would walk a path and in front of me is a shadow of what I believed was me. Staring down at it’s every move and figuring a way to trap it and call it my own. The dark outlines, and same cadence and leading me to where I thought I need to be going. Leading me to where I was SUPPOSED to go. But now my gaze is ascending and the sun is shining above my head. I see the horizon, rimmed in gold, glowing so bright and in front of me is possibilities. I’m taking a risk, and with all my heart I know it will have great reward. Through this entire widow journey, I knew it would stretch me to my limit and then past it to find strength and hold on to it, but I never realized that I needed to find my courage to want to push along as well.

I LOVE the lessons that fitness and sport teaches. The structure and direction it provides cannot be rivaled.IMG_9996

Moon of Alabama

One afternoon my boyfriend and I were out on a walk with Bodie and he started talking about Montgomery, Alabama. How it was an up and coming city of the south and that there was a lot of booming businesses and a lot of potential for career moves. I remember I shrugged it off and said “wasn’t Jefferson Davis inaugurated in Montgomery?” He didn’t know. But turns out Davis was. It was the first Capitol of the confederacy.

Just days later I looked on NCAA marketplace to see what jobs were beginning to be posted because toward the end of lacrosse season you begin to see the job carousel. The lacrosse world is very small and usually if there’s a surprise opening you can get the back story to it in just two phone calls. Gossip spreads quickly. But there it was, a school I had heard of once before and it was located in Montgomery, Alabama. The place that so arbitrarily came up in conversation less than a week before. I clicked on the school’s link and I was intrigued.

A week later I decided to apply.

Three days after I sent my resume I had a phone interview with a man in Atlanta about the college. His wife worked at Emory. George’s initial surgery to remove the tumor was at the Emory hospital. I couldn’t shake that this whole thing manifested so quickly and was more than just a coincidence.

I set up my on campus interview and I was in Alabama on what would have been 20 months married. The school was small and quaint. Something you would see in an ABC Family television show. Brick buildings, massive football stadium on one side of the campus and a baseball field and tennis courts on the other. And in the middle of campus there was a small quarter mile long park. Flush with green and the shadows of the trees were like lacework on the paved path. It was beautiful and nothing I was anticipating. The following day I was offered the job.

It has been less than 2 years since George passed. I feel myself aching to move and experience what is out there. I’ve always wanted to live south because in college when I was learning about southern history it felt like a distant world. Even when George was alive I talked about how I wanted to move with him to Texas if his work ever decided to relocate him. Well this isn’t Texas but I think George has given me the push to take a risk and have me live the way I dreamed of.

Ill be moving to Alabama this summer and taking over the Huntingdon Women’s Lacrosse Program. It’s my next adventure and I cannot wait to live in a place I’ve read so much about and be around people who actually know who William Yancey is.

My time at Drew was so special and the unconditional love and support I received during my darkest days has given me strength to want to continue living. The people I’ve met here in New Jersey have impacted my life and will have a special place in my memories. image

A Sudden Realization

Happy New Year all! I rang in 2015 with some of my closest friends in NYC and at only one point did I get emotional. I kind of knew I would because the days leading up to New Years Eve I was having a lot of moments of reflection which triggered a bit of grief. As the count down for the New Year began, I vanished from the party I was at. I wanted to be alone at that time. I figured that I went into 2014 alone, I wanted to do this one alone too. It sounds so petulant, I know, but in my head it’s what I wanted to have happen.

I did have a date on New Years, it was with the guy I’ve been seeing for a little over a month now. It was the first time he met my friends, and kind of a step in a more serious direction. Being around my friends, we do get into recollections of stories and what not, and at one point I realized I was telling quite a few about George. Even when my friends weren’t there. I didn’t really ask my date at the time if it bothered him, but with some thought on the train back to CT, I did reach out to him about it.

As I’ve mentioned, I have been actively dating, but this was the first time I felt like I was starting to tell stories about my previous life. Usually it’s brought up and acknowledged that I had a significant loss in my life, but nothing much beyond that. Once in awhile something might be pointed out like a piece of jewelry, and the guy will note “oh that’s a unique” and I’d be like, yeah George got it for me. But that’s about it. This time I was yammering about how mad George got at me when I got lost in Brooklyn, or how much he loved a restaurant, etc. I asked my date if it bothered him, and he said not at all, it’s just a bit odd because he didn’t know him, but it didn’t bother him. That was a relief for me.

I’m still kind of sifting through this, because this is a step forward that I wasn’t really anticipating. I’ve read about it on the widow boards but hadn’t really taken any of my relationships all that seriously. Dating was fun, and I wasn’t really getting invested enough in someone to start talking so candidly about my experience/life with George. The tendency and discussions usually hover around the loss and grieving process. Never about the memories.

For me it was a realization that I am ready.

I’m ready for companionship again.

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Widow crossroads on dating

I feel like my life contains very little excitement so I have to put my input on what’s going on in the widow boards I visit day-to-day. Holidays are synonymous with family and having lost a spouse you can’t help but reflect on what is missing. With that, many widows progress through the holidays in a variety of ways. I decided escape to my parents house and spend the holidays surrounded by my family, and continue my exercise track. Helps with my mood. I’ve read a number of different posts on the widow board where others are really struggling and are quick to point out they simply cannot comprehend how other “move on” from the loss. I’m not particularly active on the boards but like to read them and then come on here and bitch about it.

I never like to use the phrase “move on,” because I don’t think I will “move on.” But I will move forward and continue to grow and develop as a person. My loss strengthens me, it doesn’t cripple me. Anyway, the big topic on the board is dating. If you love your spouse how can you even entertain the idea of dating? There’s a range of wids who have decided they’ll never seek the companionship of another ever again, and then there’s others who are weeks out and have begun dating again. I started dating again at about 6 months out. However upon reflection, I do not think I was ready to date again when I started dating. I was in a weird state of purgatory in my grief where I was just finding my stride.

Several  wids on the board are quick to condemn those who are beginning to date, and in my opinion, I cannot fathom why someone would want to perpetuate their bitterness on to someone else. There’s a few who’ve stated they’ve tried dating and it’s not for them, and that’s fine, but I do find it a bit precarious when those who have never even tried are so quick to guilt the others that do. I am dating. It doesn’t lessen my relationship I had with George. I actually I have quite the opposite happen. I’m VERY picky now, and I think in a large part because I know what I want with a person and what will work for me in a relationship. I have been dating a couple guys this Fall and have iris-in on one right now. I don’t call him my boyfriend because I do not feel comfortable doing so, but he is pretty understanding with that. Nor does he really seem to care. I have gone out on dates though (without updating the dating section, sorry) where the guys were so befuddled with my widowhood that it was the only thing we talked about on the date. Or they’ll question whether or not if I’m really ready to date. Usually when the conversation heads in that direction there isn’t a second.

There is no other George and no one will replace George. And I feel that those who are judgmental about dating tend to believe that’s what others are doing: Looking for a replacement. Do I think George reigns supreme to any man, yeah of course. He’s my first love and I still love him. But he’s not coming back. And I need to press forward and do what feels right to me. And again, it’s been my latest theme of this blog, I love the woman who I’m becoming, and I like sharing my time with someone. I don’t think it’s something to be ridiculed for. It took me a long time to get here.IMG_8722

The new guy

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So I haven’t really documented any dates recently. I’ve had plenty of atrocious ones, and some things just come to a screeching halt, but the unthinkable has happened: Im seeing someone.

I have this tendency to lose interest very quickly. In some cases, I already knew it wouldnt work out before it even began. Sometimes I start things knowing that it’ll end badly, but I just go forward. Why? Because how else am I supposed to learn. With grief I have become apathetic and that’s terrible, but I really just can’t help it. I’ve been damaged so badly that it cuts me so deep. Frankly I didn’t think I could develop romantic feeling for anyone. But now that I have, I’ve been feeling a bit guilty. It’s not an immediate guilt, it’s like the next day I feel kind of down and have a tinge of guilt. The guilt is happening more recently than it did in the beginning.

Ive been seeing the same guy now almost 2 months and within the last couple weekends the guilt surfaced. Today it was bad. Almost to the point I didn’t want to go to work, but I did. I’m not sure if it’s the change in weather and George’s death anniversary is closing in, but I have been feeling down. When I’m with the new guy I have a lot fun. I just really enjoy his company and he makes me laugh. He’s the first person I’ve actually enjoyed spending time with, let alone the first person I’ve developed feelings for. So it’s new and it’s very different then what I had, but I’m very different now too.

I’m not sure what else to say about this except that it’s the sad reality that life does go on. Things do keep going and I need to continue to press forward. I’ll ride this out, see where it goes. I don’t think he reads this blog, but if so Im sure this is a little embarrassing.

Sigh, this widow life.

Luck found me

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Besides the fact that my dog was sick throughout the night throwing up and I was ready to have the worst day imaginable, luck found its way to me. There were mass cancellations throughout the northeast due to the snow storm, but luckily someone in housing at my university contacted me about an apartment. I like my current apartment now, it feels and smells like George. But at the same time I feel the essence of death swirling within the rooms. I step into my living room, and although the furniture is back to its rightful places, I can still picture the hospital bed and oxygen machine where my husband was waiting to die. It’s so fucking morbid in there. Pardon my cussing. The chains of death latch on to me the moment I enter the apartment and I’m scared to leave it because I don’t want to miss feeling George. But when I’m away from it, I’m dreading the moment I step through the doorway to sit on my depressing throne in front of the tv, where I sit in a zombie like trance in between my lonely whimpers and boisterous sobs. It’a a cruel carousel.

So the big news for today is I have a new apartment. It’s a way to move forward but I’m sad to leave the apartment my husband and I shared. It’s scary to be in a new place he will never actually see. Just like coming into 2014 will be the first year since 2006 that I haven’t been able to communicate with him. All these milestones are happening so quickly and I’m scared. I want to step out but I secretly wish my feet were in the mud. As more days separate the last time I was with him, I just can’t believe he’s really gone. We knew we were going to move out of our current apartment once the lease was up, but I never thought there wasn’t going to be a we when it came time to move.

Next Friday I get the keys to my new place, but I have my current apartment until the end of February. I’ve decided that I’m going to arrange the new place like our apartment in Brooklyn. It was our favorite apartment and the happiest time we had.image