January 12, 2017

8 Months Since My Husband Died & One Word for 2017

The song "Take it All" by the amazing Adele is one that speaks to me as I journey through the grief process.

Actually, it spoke to me even before Mark passed away. Probably because I knew he was going to (have to) leave me. I've really been grieving for, like two and a half years.

The lyrics are most obviously about a break-up. My husband and I didn't break up, but I've always thought that many love/break-up songs can easily be applied to other circumstances; felt in other ways, for other reasons.

There was no "giving up so easily" or questioning of love....

But do you see?

Before Mark died it spoke to my caregiving:

Didn't I give it all?
Tried my best
Gave you everything I had, everything and no less
Didn't I do it right? Did I let you down?
Nothing is better than this and this is everything we need
Just take it all with my love

Now, it speaks to my grief:

Maybe you got too used to having me 'round
Still how can you walk away
From all my tears
It's gonna be an empty road without me right here
But go on and take it, take it all with you
Don't look back at this crumbling fool
Just take it all with my love, take it all with my love

It also speaks to what I have to do now, what lies before me:

I will change if I must
Slow it down and bring it home, I will adjust
Oh if only, if only you knew
Everything I do, is for you

I have had to take two of my hats off: wife and caregiver. "Wife" is replaced with "widow" and "caregiver" with "single mom". I'm happy to shed "caregiver"; not so much "wife", obviously. I'm not someone's wife/spouse/partner/significant other anymore. I no longer have a co-parent.

Somehow, listening to Adele sing this song makes me feel good. Stronger. It validates my love for Mark and how I put my whole heart and soul into our marriage.

* * *

Because so much has changed since last May, my word for this year is New.

It popped into my head about five seconds after I saw a Facebook post from someone who had started thinking about what her word should be for 2017. "New" was the first word I thought of, and I couldn't shake it. Nothing else seemed more appropriate.

Does this mean I have grand plans for trying new things or taking risks?


Contrary to everything ever written about my zodiac sign, Aries, I am NOT a risk-taker.

To me, having the word "New" guide me through the year is more of a reminder that I'm in all new territory now. A huge chunk of what I understood and counted on about my life -- based my identity on -- is null and void.

Going forward, everything is new. It is new simply because Mark is gone and I have never adulted without him.

And "new" doesn't sound scary.

It actually sounds like a gift. Something to be excited for.

* * *

It's interesting. Over about the last month or so I've noticed a distinct shift in my grief. I hope this isn't premature to say, but I don't feel like I'm actively grieving anymore.

Does that make sense? Perhaps I've reached the acceptance stage, as they say.

Mark and I loved each other so much that my heart is still very full of that love. And while I'll always be sad that our time together had to end, that love never will. I get to claim our life together and have it to be proud of.

Mark's strength and courage made me strong and brave. I can, and will, move on with my life.

December 16, 2016

Uncle John's Flippin' Fantastic Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is the Holiday season and regardless of anything else going on in the world, the Holidays call for cookies!

Although I fell in love with these chocolate chip cookies a few years ago, I only got my hands on the recipe about a year ago.

You see, I am a connoisseur of chocolate chip cookies. They are my favoritest kind of cookie. In my opinion, the best chocolate chip cookie is slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Also, not little. A small cookie is just annoying.

This recipe delivers.

November 11, 2016

6 Months Since My Husband Died

My husband died six months ago.

And it seems that all I can manage to write since he died are these periodic check-ins.

(By the way, if you would like to follow more of what's going on with me, I do share updates more often than writing a whole blog post, on Instagram and Facebook.)

It seems that grief over the loss of one's spouse is pretty much all-consuming. While all loss of loved ones is hard and sad and sucky, I've come to believe that the death of the person you married is probably the worst (except for maybe the loss of a child). The hardest to get through or over or how ever you want to say it.

October 11, 2016

15 Quotes on Grieving

Two years ago this month I shared nine quotes I liked that had to do with grief.

I had felt grief, but it was naive grief, I believe. On the periphery, if you will. Before I had lost one of the most important people I will ever have in my life.

The quotes I shared before are fine. Good, actually. I mean, anything Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has said is excellent.

But there are several more that have touched my heart since my husband died, that truly resonate. That I have found and shared randomly but wanted to compile  and elaborate on.

For me specifically, my children have "mom's sad" radar and get very concerned and want to make it better. It's sweet, but also a little stifling in that it makes me feel like I can't fully openly grieve around them.

August 12, 2016

Three Months Since My Husband Died

I have wanted to write about things other than my husband's death and my and my kids' grief in the last month and a half....

I really have.

My daughter's Sweet 16 birthday, for example. With a lot of help from my besties, I threw her a luau themed party (on a cloudy Puget Sound day). Throwing parties is not something I do often (or well), but she loved it and had a great time, which was all that mattered to me.

I remember telling Mark when I first started thinking about having a big to-do for her, that it would happen no matter what, like if he was in the hospital or something. He asked why he'd be in the hospital and I replied, "because you just are sometimes, duh!" He asserted that he wouldn't be in the hospital.

I suppose he was right.

June 27, 2016

Six and a Half Weeks

Hi there.

It's been six and a half weeks since my husband died. That amount of time feels both like a lot and very little at the same time.

I get asked how the kids and I are doing by someone, in some way, probably every day. Honestly, we're doing better than I ever imagined we would.

So far.

We're not simply OKAY. Saying that would be too overly simplified and make it sound like losing Mark wasn't a huge and sad event in our lives.

Because it was. It is.