Monday, May 23, 2011

NYC/NJ Widdas

This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting NYC and Jersey City. I stayed with a widow friend of mine that I met in an online support group. She is such a lovely, wonderful person that I am honored to call my friend. I will admit that I was very nervous about spending the weekend because although we have become such good friends online and on the phone, I wondered how would we click in person. I shouldn't have worried at all. It was like visiting an old friend. She is someone that was very instrumental in helping me cope with my grief; and she is one of the rare people that when I see her number on my caller ID, I pick up the phone no matter what I am doing.

I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. I had another widow friend from PA drive in to the airport just to pick me up from the airport and spend the day with me. I had never met this woman in person, yet here she was driving two and a half hours out of her way just to see me. I had a wonderful day with her, and am so glad that she decided to stay until the morning. I felt like I was back in high school having a slumber party with my girlfriends. Even though I'd just met these two women, I felt as if I'd known them a lifetime.

My friend that I stayed with organized a dinner in NYC for me to meet with the widows and widowers of NYC/NJ area. We went to dinner and a show at Lucky Cheng's. I had a marvelous time. We laughed the entire time that we were there. I cannot remember the last time that I laughed so hard (and came out of my shell for the night, but sorry what happens at Lucky Cheng's stays at Lucky Cheng's)!!! After dinner, my friend treated me to a show, the Lion King. What an amazing show, highly recommended! Then we had drinks and dessert in Times Square before heading back to her place.

A brunch was also organized in NJ for me to meet more widows and widowers. I felt so incredibly welcomed and yet a tinge of sadness that here I was sitting at this long table with all of these young men and women and we all have one devastating thing in common, we all have lost a spouse. As much as I hate to see young people being widowed, I must say that it is comforting to be around them because they know exactly what I have gone through. Sure, each person has a different story, but we each have that one bond that ties us all together. We are able to talk about our feelings without someone telling us that it's been X months, you need to move on. Or telling me that I cannot cry, when I felt tears coming on I was allowed to let them swell in my eyes without comment or judgement. I loved being around this group of people. Each and everyone of them reached out to me and welcomed me with such warm and loving arms.

I feel so fortunate to have had this past weekend, I was comfortable, relaxed and had the time of my life!! I have my wonderful friend to thank for it. For me, it was so much more than just a weekend getaway. I may not have done everything on my "things to see and do" list, but somehow, it really doesn't matter because the most important thing that was on my list was to just live and have a good time. And that is precisely what I did this past weekend.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Our House / Our Home

Even to this day, I get comments about our house and how I shouldn't live there. I still have nightmares about that night. But, truth be told, I would have nightmares whether or not I lived there. What people don't understand is that when I walk through the house I see Chris everywhere. I see him from the moment that I walk in the door since he put in both doors (well thanks to the monster that killed him the back door had to be replaced, but the lock was him.)

When I sit in the living room, I see him because of the extra light that comes into the room because of the front door. I remember when I tried to replace the lock on the front door, I drilled the hole crooked. He was away and couldn't replace the lock; and me being impatient, couldn't wait for him to replace it. So, I had to live with a crooked hole in the door until he came home to replace the front door. He joked with me that I did it on purpose because I wanted a new front door and thanks to my handywork, we needed a new front door. So, he let me pick out whatever door I wanted. I actually picked out several and said that he could help me pick it out. But, he just told me to pick out the one that I really wanted and that would be the door that he would put in for me. He told me that above all he wanted me to be happy and he wanted me to have whatever I wanted.

Because he didn't have steady work, he would make things for me that I said that I would like around the house instead of buying me gifts. I didn't even have to ask him for them either. My absolute favorite thing that he did for me was build me shelves inside our hall closet. I have so many items for the kitchen because I love to cook and bake that I just don't have enough room inside the kitchen for everything. (He even made up a song that he would sing to me about how much I loved my mixer!) So, out of the blue, for an early birthday present, he built me some shelves in the closet across from the kitchen.

All of the door knobs were replaced because one day I locked myself in the bathroom. After he joked with me that I would have to climb out the window in my bathrobe, he finally freed me and went up to Lowe's while I was at work and bought the rest of the door knobs so that I wouldn't lock myself in the bathroom again and that all of the door knobs in the hallway would match.

There was a list of things that we both wanted done with the house, but it is long gone. I can't stand to have anyone else check off that list because it was his list. It was his list of things that he wanted to do to his house, to our house. It will seem like a betrayal to have anyone else complete his list because he was so proud of his house. It was the only place that he could call "HIS", and he was so proud every time he checked an item off of his list.

So, as I sit on the couch and look around the house, I see Chris everywhere. I especially see him in the light that comes into the room. He is a part of this house, he is what made this house a home. How can I ever leave this?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Today is mother's day. While I love my mom and grandmother (Chris's grandmother really, but I consider her my grandmother), but I can't help but be a little sad today. I should be a mom. Chris and I should have a child together and we should be celebrating today as a family. But, we can't because some monster took him from us. Some monster destroyed that dream. Because of that monster, I sometimes feel that I will never be a mother. And for that, I hate him even more. How can I ever forgive such a creature for taking everything that I held dear and beloved away from me? I just can't find it in my heart because this was a deliberate and cruel act. I just don't think that I can find forgiveness for such a heinous creature. He took my precious husband and best friend away from me and he also took my future, my dreams and any chance at being a mother away. So, today should be a happy, joyful day and instead, I had to fight back tears. Happy days should not be spent like this.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A confession

I spoke to a recent widow today. One of my mother's coworkers lost her husband a few weeks ago and I went up to her work to see her. She had said that she didn't know how I could have done it. She didn't know how I could have gotten through these feelings and how strong I am. I confessed to her that I am not strong, but that is a perception that people see because I have held myself together when I'm around other people. But at night, when I'm alone, I secretly tell myself that I just can't do this. Still, to this day, I tell myself that. Not every night, but often enough. It all starts with my drive home from work when I start to remember the phone call, or sometimes when I lay in bed and remember when he would ask me to scratch his back...

The "episodes" are still there, I still cry. They are still intense, I cry until I start to hyperventilate. They still last, I cry until I can't breathe anymore. They just don't last quite as long, because eventually, I am able to take a deep breath. And then I start the list of reasons why I am going to make this work, why I am going to survive this, and why I am going to wake up in the morning. I think of Chris and how disappointed in me he would be if I just gave up. I know in my heart that he would want me to live. I know that he would want me to be happy and enjoy my life. Thinking about the good things that I want to come into my life and what I want out of my future are what brings me out of an episode of severe grief.

Today was a beautiful, sunny day and as I was leaving her work, I drove away thinking that today was a great day to be alive. Who wouldn't love their life on a day like today? I do understand that my moods are all over the place lately and are somewhat influenced by the weather. Today was a perfect example. I was loving my life today, sure, I missed Chris. I wished more than anything that he could have been sitting on the porch with me, or sitting on the swing in the backyard with me. But, unfortunately, I can't have everything. So, I have to enjoy the beautiful things in life for both of us. I believe in my heart that he is looking down on me and every time that I smile, he smiles. And that, makes me smile even more.