Sunday, January 30, 2011


I had a conversation yesterday with another widow.
Sorry, a widower
He wanted to meet me after his sister, a friend, showed him my black widow photo.

It was a conversation that felt good, connected and real.
It was a conversation with laughter and head nodding (which he didn’t see cause we were on the phone.)
It was a conversation of understanding.

It was a conversation of “Oh!! ME TOO!”
It was a conversation of faith.
It was a conversation of regret.
It was a conversation of courage and hope.

It was a conversation that made me sad.
It was a conversation that afterwards made me cry
For all that we have both lost.
It was a conversation that made me sigh for all that we have gained.

It was a conversation that reminds me that with pain comes wisdom
and hope
and profound tenderness.

It was a conversation that reminded me that while I didn’t want this life, I am moved by it
odd enough
grateful for it.

Grateful because I can have a conversations with a widower and recognize my inspiring journey in his words.

I can’t wait to talk to him again.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Death Sucks

I was wearing this t-shirt the other day.

It was a "you think your life is bad, I dare you to try mine" day.

I was feeling righteous.

I was feeling mad.

I was feeling "How dare you world go on and leave me here, in this life, struggling today to just do enough.

How dare you!"

I was willing to take it out on any poor sap who dared comment about death sucking.

So I put on the t-shirt, hoping that one person would comment,

would open their mouth and say

"Life can't be that bad." or something that would let me tell them

how bad my life was at the moment.

And then I saw her.

This young woman.

She made eye contact

and came towards me, purposefully.

I rehearsed my lines in my head.

She smiled.

She leaned into me, gently holding my arm and said

"I'm so glad you are wearing that t-shirt. I sometimes think I am the only one who truly believes that Jesus will rise again. Death does suck and that's why it does not happen to the believers. God bless you."

I give her a faint smile.

I nod.

I leave the grocery story.

all the way home.

I take off the shirt.

My death suckiness day having come to an abrupt end.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On a Four Star Floor

Written on Thursday, January 13, 2011 during my two day break from the kids.

I’m sitting on the floor of a four star hotel (paid for with Amex points)
I’m crying
I can’t seem to stop.

This is not how I wanted this break to go.
I wanted it to be about rejuvenation and rest and self-love.

Instead it feels, right now, like it’s about not enoughness and loss and fucking grief.

It feels like it's about transition and learning.

It feels like there will be no peace from the hole, the void, the confusion that has placed me on the floor of this four star hotel.

I got this email from a client, someone who should have never been a client.
She is upset with how I am working with her. I take her criticism and turn it global. I smear it all over my body.

I become
what is wrong,
instead of just my wrong action.

After two glasses of wine,
I send a bit cocky email to a guy who I like.
This afternoon, I reread it and am amazed how there is no gentleness or softness, something I like to be, I need to be, I like to be with him.

I layer that mistake on top of the one I made with my client.

I become all things bad.

And then I open up my web browser
And I see
a photo of
Christina Green’s brother (Tuscon shootings)
wiping tears away.

I stand up, sobbing.
I pace the floor.
I walk over to the window, back to the hotel door.
Then without knowing that I am doing it,
I am on my knees on the floor,
hands covering my face, forehead leaning of the floor.

I laugh for a moment, I have spent a lot of time on floors this past one year and 8 months!

And I think:
How is it I’m grieving again?
How is it that the sobs can come from a place so deep I forget it exists?

I think:
I don’t’ want this life.

I think:
This is just too hard

The kids, the dating
The business

I think:
I want it all to be easy
Because after what I have been through,

I think I deserve easy.

I want easy.

I desire easy.

I think:
is not
what this is!

One sob out, a slower breath in and I remember,
it’s not them.
It’s not what they do or say or what I write or the photo I saw that leave me on the floor.

It’s that I have forgotten
I am still a well-functioning

raw nerve.

The emotions from Art’s death are just a short dig, a disappointed client, a stupid email, a photograph away.

When will I stop being so sensitive?

Maybe that’s the
question. Maybe the question is:

When will I just give into the sensitivity and learn to embrace it?

I think

it’s what

makes me real.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

All I Can Be Is Who I Am

Pallas was assigned this book in school. I would read sections of it to her. The first time I read the section below out loud, I could not finish it. I was sobbing as Pallas watched me curiously. Mau had put into words the way I feel about being a widow.

I hope you will read the entire quote for nothing I have read has fully encompassed what widowhood means to me than this single paragraph.

Back story: Mau’s entire family and village are wiped by a wave. The wave also shipwrecks Daphne (ghost girl). As the days go on, survivors from neighboring islands arrive. Mau and Daphne (both approximately age 12) find themselves in charge of building new lives for themselves and this new nation.

From Nation by Terry Pratchett

Daphne asks, “Would you go back? If you could?”

“How can I answer you? There is no language. There was a boy called Mau. I see him in my memory, so proud of himself because he was going to be a man. He cried for his family and turned the tears into rage. And if he could, he would say “Did not happen!” and the wave would roll backward and never have been. But there is another boy, and he is called Mau too. And his head is on fire with new things. What does he say? He was born in the wave, and he knows that the world is round and he met a ghost girl….. He called himself the little blue hermit crab, scuttling across the sand in search of a new shell, but now he looks at the sky and knows that no shell will ever be big enough, ever. Will you ask him not to be? Any answer will be the wrong one. All I can be is who I am.”

There was a woman and her name was Kim.

I see her in my memory and she is a fairly happy person and she has a husband and three children and dreams of being “somebody.’ She cried for her husband when he died and couldn’t see how she could live with such great loss in her life. She would say “I can’t do this.” She would wish her husband alive, make bargains in order to bring him back. And would spend long periods of time wondering around her house, functioning but unable to think or move without her husband. She wondered how she was going to get through the day.

There is another woman named Kim too. And her mind and life are on fire! She says “OMG! I can do so much and I feel so happy!” She was born in her husband’s death. She sees his death as his last gift to her. She has discovered herself and her courage. She sees that life is full of hope and fun and new things. She sees her abilities are growing and she discovers new ones too.

Can I ask her not to be? All I can be is who I am.

I spent the last moments of 2010 making a list of all the things that I am grateful for in that year. In contrast, I spent the last few moments in 2009 (the year my husband died), praying/hoping/begging God to make 2010 better. I gave 2009 the finger as I stepped into 2010.

I gave 2010 a sweet kiss and hug as I stepped into 2011. I cannot go back. And I cannot ask me not to be, either. The old me and the new me make up this me whose potential I am quiet excited about.

If you are new to this journey, if you don’t know how you will make it, know you don’t have to know.

None of us knew.

I still don’t at times.

But there is one thing I do know, the pain does not last. It comes less frequently and with every time, every cry, every longing, I find nuggets of courage and light.

In 2010, I discovered my strength, my courage and my ability to handle adversity. It was not pretty and yet I stand here before you in my newly discovered inner beauty.

And by jove (I have always wanted to use that saying!) if I can get here, so can you.

Welcome to 2011! May you marvel and celebrate your strength!!