Friday, March 1, 2024

visible changes

In the last few weeks I decided that I needed my bathroom to be a little more like a retreat or a mini spa. I already owned white bath towels, but I purchased white hand towels and a white soap dispenser to go on the white counter. I removed the blue bath mat and carpet and replaced those with white. I cleaned some stuff off of the floor and some ended up in the garbage, but Steve's body wash still needed to be kept for whatever reason and so it went in the cabinet.

I was telling a friend about this and she pointed out how huge this was.

Other than changing the shower curtain I really hadn't done much in this bathroom since Steve passed away. Redecorating a room doesn't seem like a big deal, but it does when this is the space that he passed away in.

I did it without any grief. The body wash was a small short-lived little trigger, but mostly a smile of the memory of the smell. 

I didn't do it to remove his memory from the space I did it to bring myself a little more joy.

It's been 6 years without any real changes that were visible to anyone else that would have come to my bedroom/bathroom area. 

Within the first year, I took his clothes out of the closet and a dresser. It took a while to be able to do that. I started using the master bathroom instead of our other bathroom because it was just me getting ready in the morning. I started using fleece sheets which he would have hated.

But so far this year I have redecorated the bathroom. I have created ia space on "his side" of the room for me to do yoga, prayer, journaling, coloring and chakra dance. I moved and set up a work/business space where his table had been in our office. Visible changes. 

Little changes that are bringing me joy. I'm making the space a little more mine and a little less us and it's okay! 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Remembering my grandpa

During a myofascial release yesterday, my left knee felt off and when a little bit of pressure was applied to it, I broke down and started sobbing.

I could feel grief over losing my grandpa and that happened almost 24 years ago. And at the time I don't feel like his death was tragic or a trauma in my life because he had lived a full life and had had a heart attack and had a stroke and wasn't living the lifestyle he wanted to be living anymore. I felt like I grieved the loss of him because he was a huge part of my life and my childhood and my upbringing. It was a huge loss for my entire family. I was pregnant and fairly new in my marriage and living my life and having a teaching career and all of those pieces were falling into place. He had gotten to be at my wedding, but he didn't get to see my son be born.

It's curious that it's coming back up now. Lots of things over the last 6 weeks have related to my grandpa. When I am meditating, I end up at feeling like I am in the middle of Smith's field, which is property he owned. 

I keep thinking about blueberries and thimbleberries, which are things that I picked with either him or my grandma. He used an old sheds peanut butter bucket tied with an old sheet around his waist like a belt. 

I am remembering the sound of the lawn mower when he'd be out at the edge of the road and I'd be baking or making something in the camp when I was little. 

Someone was talking about the length of people's stride and how that can be affected by your emotions and your attitude. My grandpa always had a super long stride and he walked as if he was proud and he was happy and I believe he was. I always thought his stride was long because of how tall he was and it was sometimes a struggle to keep up with him when my legs were tiny. I have memories of walking down the beach all the way down to the creek and him putting me on his shoulders to carry me back because my little legs couldn't go anymore. 

The color green keeps appearing in my life in lots of conversations and in things I'm aware of. I'm now remembering that he wrote a lot of his financial information in a notebook with a green cover. I know that there's something there to teach me about finances and making money and accepting that part of who I am as a business owner.

My grandpa got up early everyday and in the summer started a fire and in the winter shovel the driveway. He would make poached eggs and toast. He'd head out golfing if it was a weekday. He often spent the afternoons mowing grass or picking berries or both. He off it ended the evening with a swim in the lake or financial TV show.

He taught me to love your wife, to love your children, to love your grandchildren. He taught me that you can be successful owning your own business. He taught me to collect omars. He showed me how to pick the blueberries and wild raspberries. He taught me to love frozen Milky Ways and Hershey's with almonds. 

To this day I can't put a gallon of milk on the table without thinking about him and how dirty the bottom of that gallon is. I also think about stacking dishes because he would comment that now you have to wash the backs and I'm never really sure if he was serious or not. 

I could picture his thick white hair it is huge comforting hands. He also had a huge heart it was always supporting his community and his family.

I miss you Grandpa! 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Tuesday December 19th

6 years ago it was a Tuesday. My life changed so much. The loss was scary numbing and unbelievable. How could he be gone forever? Maybe he was just on a trip or went for a ride or needed a break? How do I do this alone? How can I be a single mom? How will I make decisions? How do I take care of grieving kids while grieving myself? How do we tell everyone? Did we eat? Who slept? Can we plan and hold a funeral before Christmas? Who's coming from out of town? Where will they stay? Who's going to do the snow removal? What bills need to be paid? What packages need to be mailed out? What will we do with all this food? Who's going to school and it's okay to want to go. Let's experience all the emotions at one time. How can you be sad one minute that angry than next but then laugh about something that then makes you cry? I don't know how to do this! I'm not ready to have him gone! We had so many plans! This isn't fair! How does God think that this is okay? My bed is lonely! No more hugs! No more smartass comments! Projects aren't done.

6 years later it's Tuesday again. I still love and miss you. I'm doing okay most of the time. I still wish you had been able to stay with us. I'm glad you watch over us and leave us quarters. I know God had a plan and hopefully it's going well. I met someone new, he loves me too. The boys are growing up and I think I'm doing okay raising them. I'm so thankful for family and friends love and support especially since they're grieving too. Thankful we can share both tears and joy. I make more decisions now. I choose me more often. I still drive your truck and live in the house. I'm helping other widows and finding some peace. FernGully is coming out soon. A couple people have shared the news with me. It's certainly not the same without you but I wouldn't change the 25 years we had together. I'm glad you asked me out. I'm glad I said yes. I'm glad we were married and raised three amazing kids together. I'm glad we made plans for the future. I'm glad I'm moving forward but not forgetting. You were the love of a lifetime. We just didn't know that the lifetime would only be 42 years. I know you're right there waiting and watching over us.

I love you.
I miss you.
You are not forgotten. 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

lessons learned

I am working on a workbook and a workshop for widows with writing/journaling activities. These are things that I wrote about when Steve died and some of them even more than once since then. Part of the last one is looking at the future. 

In the last almost 6 years I learned so much about myself and grief. I learned to accept that there would always be moments that were hard and connected to his death. 

I found someone who allows me to have those moments and to talk about them, to share how hard it is, and to know that it is forever. 

I know that time heals but it doesn’t make the love go away. It doesn't make the memories go away. It doesn't mean I won’t ever be triggered again. 

But time lessens the strength of the grief. It means I can be in joy more than sadness. 

It means I can move forward and live in the present. 

I can let grieving go without letting him go. 

I can move on because time moves on. 

I can move forward because I can’t go back and change it.

I can be in the present. I can remember the past. And I can have hope for the future. 

Monday, October 23, 2023

Letting Go

Recently the idea of letting go has been coming up a lot. And I think there needs to be some defining of what it means to let go. I think a lot of this connects with moving forward and not moving on which I've talked about before. 

Letting go means leaving the past in the past. Letting go of the hopes and the dreams and the plans that we had for the future. 

We built onto our house so that we could fit our current family better but also with the idea that we would live there forever. We made our doorways handicap accessible and our bathrooms able to be used maybe with a support person like a nurse and a guest room that overnight care could stay in. And now that's not going to happen if we are not going to be there in our 90s. 

Letting go of the idea of that we would celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary or our 50th. Steve's parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year and it was hard to know that I'm not going to get there with anyone. 

Letting go of my kids. My youngest is 17. They are growing up and moving forward and becoming people that they were meant to be and the best version of themselves and that might not include me as much as it has in the past. 

Letting go of my teaching as a career and as something I did all the time.

I think the letting go is shifting. Shifting to retirement. Shifting to being a widow. Shifting to being a single parent. Shifting to being in a new relationship. Shifting to having my own business. Shifting to different expectations around meals and time together. Shifting on who's living in the house.

Lots of things involved with letting go and as most things with grief, there are no rules. Some days are going to be harder than others. Some things are going to be a trigger. 

I need to let go of the past and move forward. I need to look to the future and see where I'm headed. I need to have hopes and dreams and goals and know that not all of them are going to come true or be met and that that's part of life. And it's okay.

And none of letting go means that I've forgotten. Letting go means not grieving, but allowing moments of grief here and there. 

Sunday, April 2, 2023

wherever you will go

Cried in the shower this morning listening to a song. I could feel that Steve was talking to me and sharing a message that he is always with me and always supporting me because I keep him in my mind and heart. 

I am so blessed that he's okay with me being with Chris. 

"So lately, been wondering
Who will be there to take my place
When I'm gone, you'll need love
To light the shadows on your face" 

"know now, just quite howMy life and love might still go onIn your heart, in your mindI'll stay with you for all of time"

"Wherever You Will Go"
By The Calling 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

movie vows

I watched a movie tonight where one of the spouses died of cancer. After they knew the prognosis was not good, they spur of the moment decided to get married and went to a courthouse. The judge asked if he would love "as long as you both shall live". Of course he answered 'I do'.

It made me think about how we do love for the length of their life and then also for the rest of our life even if that person is no longer alive. My marriage vow to Steve was until "death do us part" and no matter what path I choose to take, I will always love him. I will love him as my first love, as my husband, as the father of my children and my best friend.

I am always amazed at how love works. How you can be in love with two totally different humans and want to be with them for the rest of your life, as long as you both shall live, and even after they're gone.