Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Other Side

I got into a silly argument.
I said you can’t protect him.
They said yes we can and they said we resent being told we cannot.
And after I read those words I dope slapped myself.

They are on the other side.
They are on the side where sure, sure random “bad” things can happen but to other people. But as parents we can navigate and shield our child from them. Their side says “We CAN keep him safe.”

They are on the side that offers power and assurance.
They are on the side that creates an illusion of strength and fortitude.
They are on the side I used be on.
The side where I could remove the mere threat of pain or at least negate it away.
That side is where I could plan for the possible assaults to their beings and plan how to keep them out of harm’s way.
That side is where I talked to professionals and stayed up talking to my husband about what we needed to “do” to improve a situation for our child.

That side is driven by action words like: DO, EXPLAIN, PROTECT.

This side I’m on now is different.
This side says gently “You cannot protect but in their tears you can show them their courage.”
This side says “You cannot make it go away, but you can teach them that the feelings won’t swallow them hole and that they won't last either.”
This side says "I am but a steward for my children. They have their own paths which I know nothing of or understand." In this case, their paths include learning to handle the loss of their father.
This side says “Have faith.”
This side finds me in a heap on my bed humbled by my inability to shield them and knowing that this inability is KEY to the amazing people they are becoming.
This side says, “Trust and love fiercely without getting in the way of the bullets.”

This side drops me to my knees when I watch my daughter loose her sanctuary (her school) because of the death of another child's father in her class. And every day afterward, when she entered her class, she faced remembering how she felt just one year ago.

This side has me awed as I watch my youngest son calmly respond to a child who is stupid enough to say something cruel about my son’s dead father. I want to slap that child, but my eight year old son responds “I’m glad you don’t understand what it means to loss a parent. I don’t like what you said and I’m not going to talk to you anymore.” His wisdom beyond anything I have ever witnessed.

Those people are on that side of pretend power, of control, of DO, EXPLAIN, PROTECT.

I am on this side that says HOLD, LOVE, CRY and RELEASE.

From here I see the inspiring strengths of my children in a way that both marvels and humbles me.

From this side, I marvel at my children’s ability to thrive in circumstances that shut the coping door for many.

If I had to choose, I would never be on this side but now that I am here...

It is such a beautiful awe inspiring view.

Friday, June 11, 2010



Do NOT talk about them.

Do not bring them up in conversation! Pretend they don’t exist.

Proper widows talk about proper topics. These two topics are socially don’t-ask-just-assume-the-best topics. Only the bold among my friends will broach the subjects.


Sex with a man I like is delicious, scrumptious, enticing, drug like, fun, exhilarating --- oh but wait....

I, widow (female) am not too discuss that need! That need that at the age of 45, is alive and glowing in me because it’s not about making babies anymore. It’s about the sheer fun of doing it!
I am not to converse about my need to be held, to be openly desired, to feel a man’s naked body up against mine. I am not to talk about how just imagining his intense breathing in my ear just ……yummy!
I am not to discuss my sexual desire.
It’s vulgar.
I widow, a mother to three poor grieving children who have lost their father so tragically is too angelic to consider ...
her loins.
cash, moola, dinero, buck, dough.. M-O-N-E-Y.
Last week a good friend said “So how are you surviving anyway?” I laughed cause really I didn’t know.
The words “wing” and “a prayer” flitted across my mind.
Running out of it puts the issue of money in my face daily. And with it comes the shame.
The idea that somehow we mismanaged, lived to high, didn’t work hard enough, were foolish, not responsible…all of it presses down on me until it’s absorbed into my skin becoming part of my being.
I believe the whispers that say incompetent, fool and spender and then I look down at my three year old jeans, the ones I jam my ass into every summer. he ones that one day soon will split across the seat from so much wear.
Because the rule is, because we believe that if you are a hard-working, red blooded American you always have money. And because somewhere along the line of being that hard working red blooded American we learned how to manage money through….
And Rick Edelman, Suze Ormond and David Bach.
Not from my parents.
My husband not from his.
Today I am sucking that shit out of me.
We had six months of savings in an account like all professionals suggest. He had a retirement plan. Society says stay home with babies. What they don’t say is , it’s not worth paying you for your time.
His life insurance company unjustifiably canceled his account. (Yes lawyers are now involved…on contingency) His parents chose not to support their grandchildren with one single cent although they are very able.
Been working my business (private K-12 school admissions and financial aid expert) and its growing and searching for a job at the same time. There has been little space for me to “allow the grief to come” like some counseled.
There were spots when I shoved it back down, deep and hard because I was on the phone with a client, taking to an admissions director or just had to figure out how to feed four on a not-even-well-balanced meal. There were doctor’s appointments that were put off. If it didn’t take so long to go to dental hygiene school (or cost so much) I’d go so I could clean my kid’s teeth. The teeth that haven’t seen those nice masked people with silver tools since 2008, months before Art’s cancer returned.
We budgeted. We stayed within that budget. Our credit card debt is below $3000. And yet the guilt borrows in, nesting in my essence. We must have missed something. If we did it all “right” I wouldn’t be trying to stretch a $10 into $100.
And I’m sick and tired of keeping this quiet. I’m struggling. I'm mad and I'm saying something.
I come out of the closet because I know I’m not alone.
But shhhhhhh
Don't talk about it, I am grieving widow. It's undignified.
I vacillate between sweat-inducing fear and believing that “If I leap, the net will appear.” I have leapt, I vision and pray and meditate and pray some more. Good has come my way…so many amazing gifts.
Only umm, God? This time You seem to be cutting it a little close!
The fear of having no money grips me, shakes me and says “you need to do something NOW!” but fails to include details. I continue to take action, trusting that the ground is not coming up at me as fast as it appears.
I know what I need to do to get food stamps. I know I can qualify.
And it all feels familiar, the fear, the anxiety, the not being able to see how I am gonna get through the next month or the next 5 seconds.
As I suck the guilt and shame from me, I find power, clarity, fire and a don’t’-mess-with-a-widow strength that is hard to contain.
I don’t know how this will work out.
But damn it, my husband died last year.
If I can survive his death. I can survive anything!
I am widow,
hear me ROAR!