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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Purging...

I started cleaning out his closet a few days ago. I have felt the need to clean out closets, get rid of clutter, re-organize my life. Get rid of all that is unnecessary and get back to simple. It feels almost like nesting, only I'm not nurturing a new life within me- I'm trying to create a new life around me. I finally finished his closet today.

Neatly sorted boxes of things I will keep and things I will give away. It is amazing how much one person accumulates during a lifetime. I'm astonished that there are five large boxes of clothes to give away, and only one box that holds the clothes I feel so strongly connected to that I want to fold them reverently and stack them gently as though they could be hurt in this process.

I was rather detached while doing it. They are just shirts, and pants, and belts, and ties...but I cry openly when I come across the t-shirt he wore the day the girls were born. Their tiny sets of footprints stamped on his chest in black ink after the nurse finished doing the same on their birth certificates. It was one of the happiest days of his life, and had you told us then that 10 months later he would be gone...

Out with the old, in with the new.
Purging.
Lots of purging...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's over...

"It isn’t for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

After a lot of heartache and much discussion, the new guy and I are over. Our life circumstances were just too much to overcome. He lives close to 300 miles away and it would be a year before he could even entertain the idea of moving. We would have to maintain a difficult long distance relationship that would be very expensive with the amount of travel required to see each other. We both have children who are our first priorities, and leaving his daughter isn’t an option. Uprooting mine right now to move to be with him is also not an option. Not to mention, there is a lot of emotional baggage to deal with on both sides of the table when there is a widow involved. He had his own emotions, thoughts, and feelings regarding my widowhood and where he fit into the equation. And I have mine. Navigating all of this just became too much. The hardest part to accept is that we were really great together. It’s hard for two people who want desperately to be together to call it quits… to let something so wonderful go when you know that if the circumstances were just a little different you could be great together. Luckily the split was amicable with no hard feelings on either side, and we will maintain a friendly relationship. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to have our paths cross again someday under different circumstances.

Though the relationship was short lived it taught me a lot. It was the push I needed to want to live again and to love again. It taught me that I want to be adored and cherished by someone. I want to be that very special something to someone. It taught me that my heart really is open to receiving joy. I loved being married and I love being in relationships- I crave emotional intimacy with another. I want to be married again. I love the security of being with one person.

It was so nice to be appreciated and admired again. It was great to have someone enjoy my children and be around to help me with them. It was nice to have a shoulder to lean on and an open ear. It was wonderful to have a man make me feel gorgeous and great just the way I am. He motivated and challenged me to be a better person in so many ways. We seemed so perfect for each other; we connected intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. We had great chemistry- people who saw us together could tell we had a true, genuine affection and love for each other. He is a phenomenal man who set the bar very high. I’m afraid that nobody will be able to measure up and be as patient, mature, and understanding as he was. I have a hard time believing that any other man would be so willing to take on the difficulties of a widow with young twins and do it with the strength he did.

I am saddened that we couldn’t find a way to make it work. My evenings will once again be very lonely with no one to look forward to talking on the phone with. No one to text me during the day just cause they’re thinking about me. The loss of comfort and companionship will reopen some of the wounds of grief that were not yet healed. A risk I knew I was taking when I entered into the relationship…but knowing you could get hurt doesn’t make it hurt any less.

I will always remember this relationship with fondness.
I will always remember him with admiration.
When I started this relationship I was constantly nervous because it all seemed too good to be true.
I just wish I hadn’t been right…

Monday, June 20, 2011

Heavy...

I felt like I was on an upswing for a while but something washed over me today. Things were getting better, but as is the case with grief, it comes in waves. You can only ride the crest so long before it crumples beneath you.

There is a new relationship to look forward to, new hope for the future. Maybe, just maybe, the girls and I will have a complete family someday. Or maybe not, I feel so uncertain. Relationships are hard. They take a lot of work. I’m not sure if I have the emotional strength and fortitude to devote to it as the great man deserves; I’m not sure I believe in myself and my abilities to cope anymore. I feel weak and doubt myself. I don’t want to give up on the hope of happiness. I’m just feeling like I’m not good enough to make it through the tough stuff. I’m feeling overwhelmed with single parenthood. I’m feeling tired of spending the evenings in silence because there is no one to here to talk to. I’m tired of feeling needy and desperate for attention and reassurance. I’m tired of worrying about what the rest of the world thinks and trying to please others, or grieve the "right" way in the "right" time. I feel indignant that this is the hand I’ve been dealt. I feel guilty that I did not have the guts to visit the cemetary on the one year anniversary, nor on father's day; back to back days that were just too much. Will he think I'm a coward? Will he think I have moved on past the point of caring? Is he even there?

I feel dark, despondent, and discouraged….
I just want it all to get better now. I’ve made it through a year. When is enough, enough?
Grief feels so heavy tonight.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

At a loss...

365 days have passed. For the first time in a long time I feel at a loss for words. This day is not what I expected it to be. It did not feel heavy and dark as I anticipated. Strangely, it has felt almost like any other day in this journey. Just another 24 hour period to get through. Just another succession of steps- one foot in front of the other.

The first post I did after Andie died stills seems appropriate after a whole year has passed…


Originally posted 09/5/10:

"So it's been a while since my last post. You've probably noticed a lot has changed on my blog. Well, that's because a lot has changed in my life. Andie passed away on June 18, 2010 and left me with two beautiful daughters to raise. It's taken me a few months to feel like I have my feet back on the ground and even that seems only momentary.

I considered not blogging anymore but have decided that it's a good way for everyone to keep up with how me and the girls are doing- I know you're all wondering. Raising twins is hard, but raising twins as a single parent is TOUGH- and humbling.

I've learned a lot about myself in the past few months. I've had to ask for help more than I'm comfortable with, I've had to compromise on a lot of things, and I've had to adjust my life plan. I've learned that I have more love and support than I ever knew was possible, but I've also learned that all of that seems inconsequential when you've lost your other half. I've learned that grieving for your spouse is just a small piece of the picture. You also grieve the loss of who you were as a wife, the loss of your hopes and dreams, the loss of the future you had planned, and most of all you grieve for your children and how they will never know and experience their dad as you did.

People often ask how I am doing. The truth is: it depends on the moment, the day, the hour, what song is on the radio, what street I'm driving on, or who's asking. I'm doing as well as I can with what I've been given. My girls are my saving grace and keep me looking forward to the next moment, day, or hour..."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Transitions...



This is such a time of transition in our household...changes are happening all the time.

The girls attended their first day of daycare yesterday and did wonderfully, though the morning routine was a little rough on Allie. Addie was very excited to go and thrilled about her new big girl lunch box. Allie wanted nothing to do with any of my best attempts at getting her excited about going. Addie tried to reassure her and make her feel better by giving her hugs and kisses. Then headed for the door eager to get in the car. Allie proceeded to throw her lunch box and pitch a fit. We managed to get to daycare and they only cried for about 15 minutes after I left and of course when I arrived to pick them up 7 hours later they weren't even excited to see me because they were having so much fun. I have to admit that I had envisioned the movie scene where the kids coming running across the playground and leap into your arms because they've missed you so bad. I barely got a nod and smile when I walked up before they went back to playing. All in all, I'm happy that this was not a difficult transition for them...or for me.

For a year now I have visited his grave every month and marked the time by how much grass had grown over the dirt patch. I had it in my mind that when the grass was completely filled in, and there was no longer any sign of the earth being ravaged, that then it might actually seem real. While the dirt was still fresh I just could not wrap my mind around the fact that he was in the ground...and this is still a hard concept to grasp. Yesterday afternoon I gave the final approval on Andie's headstone. It will be here in several weeks and is so symbolic of the finality of his death, and of this year. Seeing it there will serve as a reminder that this all really did happen.

The school year has finally come to an end and as of yesterday I'm officially finished with work for the year. I tend to measure my years by the school year rather than a calendar year as many who work in schools do, and being that Andie passed away this week last year it only deepens the feeling that "this past year" is coming to a close. I always welcome the summer when I can mentally put away all the stresses of the previous school year and start fresh in a couple of months. I especially feel this way now. I am looking forward to a summer this year with hope and excitement of having some time to enjoy with those I love. I want to savor all the good times and continue to strengthen the bonds I've developed with new and old friends. My relationships with others are so much more important to me now and I don't want to take them for granted.

So much has changed in the past year and there are so many new things on the horizon for us. New adventures and experiences for us all. New relationships are starting, and old ones are evolving. Most of them in good ways, with a deeper bond and appreciation for those around me ever present on my mind. I have a renewed focus on doing what is right for me and the girls and reprioritizing so that it fits our needs, not what I think everyone else wants. This has been the hardest year of my life but it has brought me some perspective and maturity.

I'm looking forward to all the new transitions we have headed our way.
I feel positive about our future for the first time in a while.
I am ready to start the rest of my life with a new focus.
As they say...
The only thing that stays the same is...
Everything changes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

feel better...

The weight of this week is bearing down on me. I am irritable and lack patience with the girls today because I am stressed and worried about all the things I need to accomplish this week. I try to remain calm with them but am appalled at my own behavior and how quickly I get angry at them for minor things. How many times can you tell a toddler "no" before they finally get it?

I have come to the realization recently that I can't do this alone anymore, and do it well. I don't want to do this alone anymore. I don't want to be a single parent. I'm tired of it. I don't want the girls to be raised in a single parent household. I cannot be a good mother to them without help, as hard as that is for me to admit. I need a co-parent, a partner, a support system that doesn't come and go a couple of nights a week. I need someone who will have my back and be there to emotionally support me, so that I can be healthy enough to emotionally support my children. It's not fair to them that I am tired and overwhelmed most of the time because they end up bearing the brunt of it. This, I am not okay with. Paradoxically, I find myself behaving in some of the ways that I used to get angry with Andie for when he lost his patience. Funny how that happens isn't it? I guess when you are left to take on the role of both parents you step right into those shoes...no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Because you don't know any other way to do it, really.

I just want to feel better.
About my life.
About my parenting.
About my future and theirs.
About myself.


"Just Feel Better" by Aerosmith and Santana

she said i feel stranded
and i can't tell anymore
if i'm coming or i'm going
it's not how i planned it
i got a key to the door
but it just won't open

i know i know i know
part of me says let it go
that life happens for a reason
i don't i don't i don't
because it never worked before
but this time
this time
i'm gonna try anything to just feel better

tell me what to do
you know i can't see through the haze around me
and i'd do anything to just feel better
i can't find my way
god i need a change
and i'd do anything to just feel better
any little thing to just feel better

she said i need you to hold me
i'm a little far from the shore
and i'm afraid of sinking
you're the only one who knows me
and who doesn't ignore that my soul i weeping

i know i know i know
part of me says let it go
everything must have its season
'round and 'round it goes
every day's the one before
but this time
this time
i'm gonna try anything to just feel better


tell me what to do
you know i can't see through the haze around me
and i'd do anything to just feel better
i can't find my way
god i need a change
and i'd do anything to just feel better
any little thing to just feel better

i'm tired of holding on
to all the things i leave behind
it's really getting old yeah
i think i need a little help this time

i'm gonna try anything to just feel better

tell me what to do
you know i can't see through the haze around me
and i'd do anything to just feel better
i can't find my way
god i need a change
and i'd do anything to just feel better
any little thing to just feel better




Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brace for impact...

“Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

This time next week will be a hard day. All the pomp and circumstance of the one year anniversary the day before will be over. Just like after the hustle and bustle of funeral arrangements end and you manage to survive the actual day of the funeral, it is the day after when the quiet ensues and the let down of emotion begins to surround you. If I steel myself for it and brace for impact, then maybe it won’t wipe me out so hard…or maybe it will.

When I reflect on this past year I am amazed at how fast it has gone. I think because most of it was spent in a stupor and I didn't really even realize days were going by for so long...it's like the first 6 months were a blur, then I woke up and the last 6 months have crept by. Or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe it all crept by, day by day, in the beginning and lately time has sped up. I’ve come so incredibly far, yet still have so very far to go. I think about the coming months and all the “big” dates that will be fast approaching. The ones that did not even register on my radar last year because I was still in shock. My birthday, the girls’ birthday, our wedding anniversary, the holiday season…they will feel different this year, I know. The sting will be stronger because the numbing anesthetic of shock has worn off.

Though this year will be harder, there is also so much more to look forward to. There are so many things on the horizon for me that give me something to hope for. This time last year my outlook was so bleak- I did not think I would ever find any joy in anything ever again. I am especially grateful for some of the friendships I have that have deepened through this experience. I feel so supported and loved by such a great group of friends who have unconditionally supported me in my pursuit of hope and healing.

This coming week feels heavy and overwhelming. I’ll be busy all week with last minute plans and tasks to help get the 5k run in honor of Andie off the ground- we will run on the one year anniversary on Saturday. There has been a lot of focus on all the details over the past few weeks and it’s been weighing on my mind heavily. I’m also meeting with the home builders this week to go over the first round of plans for the house. I’m still not sure I can afford to build it on my own so that’s part of the discussion we’ll have. But I’m excited about the prospect of having a project to look forward to, and for the opportunity to literally “rebuild” a life for me and the girls somewhere. I was supposed to go out of town to visit the new guy this past weekend to give me a small mental break before this week wiped me out. Plans changed quickly though when he called and said he had an impromptu job interview down here and would be coming my direction instead. He interviewed on Thursday and we spent the weekend together. If he gets this job and moves to this area it will push our relationship to a different level. One in which, we can actually see if this could work in a real world sort of way instead of just weekend visits every now and then. I’m excited about it. But it’s also a lot to take in and consider, giving the timing of it all. He is supposed to know by midweek if he got the job or not. I must also approve the final sketch of Andie’s headstone this week. Almost a year to the day of laying him in the ground, I will finally approve what will mark his presence there forever. There’s a lot of weight in that decision and it’s not something I’m looking forward to. And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, I’m starting the girls in daycare this week for the first time ever. I’m so excited that they are growing up into sweet little girls, but this huge milestone also reminds me they are not babies anymore. I am so sad about how fast they are changing and growing. I want to hold onto these sweet years with them, it is hard for me to even remember what they were like a year ago…not even walking or talking. They are the starkest reminder to me of how much time has passed and the fact that life keeps moving whether you want it to or not. Might as well get on board and enjoy the ride.

As the year anniversary draws near I think of how most of the world wants to you to be pretty much done with the grieving process by now. One year: the universal marker of healing. Most other people have moved on in their lives and they realize that certain days will still be hard for you, but for the most part they don’t want you to wallow anymore. They don’t want to keep hearing about your dead spouse or how hard your life is. This is when people start pushing you to be happy again, or get out and do things, to move on already. They don’t realize how much of your life and your major life decisions are still impacted by the loss of the person who used to help you make those decisions; or how much you still miss sharing with that person on a daily basis. Then there are those who believe you are moving on too fast, taking on too much, or who just aren’t ready to move on themselves so they are hurt by the pace you’ve set.

Those of us who grieve know that the timeline is arbitrary. It is personal to each of us and fluid in its movement. Some days we are ready to shut the door on the old life and embrace the new. Other days we want to go back in time and stay stuck in the memories of the past, hoping that somehow we can just wake up from this bad dream. We feel pulled between two worlds, stuck in the middle never knowing which direction is the right way to go. There is no right way, of course. You just have to go with your gut and hope that it’s the right decision for the time. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m not sure if I’ll build a new house, or manage a brand new relationship well, or ever be okay with the fact that the girls are continuing to grow and becoming farther and farther from the babies they were when he died…but I do know that I feel a peace in my heart about all of my decisions.

I know this next year will be hard.
I know there will be struggles and difficult decisions to make along the way.
I know my children will always serve as a vivid timeline for me, how each day we all get a little bit farther away from him.
But all I know to do is keep moving, keep striving for better, keep praying,
And of course…keep pushing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Punch drunk...

"There are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen, and people who don’t know what the hell happened".- Unknown


Usually I’m one who makes things happen. Today, I don’t know what the hell happened.

It really all started yesterday evening. Maybe it was because I had been with the girls all weekend and was feeling worn out. They had been sick and had grossness coming out both ends for three days straight. More likely, it was grief that I have put on the back burner letting me know that it has not forgotten about me, though I would like to forget about it.

Yesterday I started having a feeling of dread come over me. Not sadness or despair or anger. Not loathing or melancholy. Just dread. I couldn’t really pinpoint what it was all about until tonight.

A series of small setbacks happened today that under normal circumstances would’ve been easy to deal with. But today for some reason they all seemed overwhelming and insurmountable, and underneath it all was a sense of dread. As is my usual custom, when I start feeling deep emotions I turn inward and pull away from others. The new guy noticed right away- long before I even acknowledged to myself that something was going on. As is normally the case with a new relationship we went down a path of wrong assumptions and miscommunications. I continued to pull inward instead of just saying what was on my mind, which is that the one year anniversary is around the corner and I flat out don’t want to deal with it. I feel like I need 6 more months if I’m being honest- this year has gone by so very fast.

He felt more and more edged out and didn’t know why. I was trying to spare his feelings and not harp on my issues over my dead husband. Which only backfired, leaving him feeling left out and me feeling confused about how my consideration for his feelings was the wrong thing to do. Sometimes I feel like the deck is stacked against us; we are in a new relationship at the hard part where you are learning each other’s idiosyncrasies and communications styles, then add to that the fact that we live 300 miles away and only see each other occasionally (not exactly how a normal relationship develops), then top it off with the grief monster. So while all of this was rolling around in my overly analytical and apprehensive brain, I got a call from my mom. She’s been having hip pain that won’t go away. She was on her way to get an x-ray today since the medication they’ve given her hasn’t helped. I got off the phone with her and immediately went into doom and gloom panic mode. I was sure she had bone cancer and was going to die. I was even picturing how the phone call would go in which she would tell me that things looked bad. Crazy, I know. She called me when it was done and said they want to do an MRI to look more closely but it does not appear to be anything serious, or at least life threatening. Then some irritating things happened at work that only added to my work load, and bothered me on a level it never would’ve if I wasn’t already worked up.

So there I sat trying to finish up my work for the school year, ruminating on where I went wrong with the new guy (despite the fact that we had managed to get back on the same page), if my mom was gonna die, and how I was ever going to finish the work I should be focusing on when they just added to my plate. And down the spiral went…dread was closing in big time.

The kicker of the day was that I had to leave work and go straight to a meeting to finalize plans for the 5k in honor of Andie. Ever since yesterday when this first started creeping into my psyche, all I can think is “Why did I sign up for this?” And that’s where the dread started. I’m feeling like I don’t want a yearly reminder that requires months of planning ahead of time…I’ve worked myself into a situation that will require that I devote a couple of months a year before the anniversary to thinking about him. I should’ve left well enough alone and just had to deal with the one day of the anniversary. Way to go, overachiever! Lately I’ve had the overwhelming sense that I just want to move on. I want to shut the door on this old life in a way and start over. I want to run away from the pain. Not very brave of me, and not very strong- but it’s the honest truth. I’m just so tired of having his death be the focus of my life. It feels so heavy all of the time and I want to cast it off.

I walked in the door 11 hours after leaving my house this morning feeling drained, obliterated, and incoherent. I felt emotionally exhausted and couldn’t really do more than sit on the porch in a stupor while the girls played.

And that’s when all of this finally came together in a flash of insight.
I finally saw how I got from point A yesterday evening: dread
To point B tonight: punch drunk*
Maybe I can sleep it off…


*punch-drunk
adj.
1. Showing signs of brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head. Used especially of a boxer.
2. Behaving in a bewildered, confused, or dazed manner.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quiet mind...


“Go in all simplicity; do not be anxious to win a quiet mind, and it will be all the quieter. Do not examine so closely into the progress of your soul. Do not crave so much to be perfect, but let your spiritual life be formed by your duties, and by the actions which are called forth by circumstances. Do not take over much thought for tomorrow. God, who has led you safely on so far, will lead you on to the end.” - Francis De Sales


I love this quote because now more than I ever I feel like my life and the decisions I have to make are the product of circumstance. This is certainly not how I planned my life. And it surely is not how I could’ve ever imagined it. But it is my life, the only one I have, so I must take it as it comes and make decisions based on the hand I’ve been dealt. And I must believe that God has a greater plan that I just can’t understand at this point.

I know it will be a difficult process as I continue to walk the fine line between being excited about someone new, while still actively mourning the loss of Andie. I am not na├»ve enough to think that my grieving is done. I am not “over it” and I have not “moved on”.

It has been a struggle to decide when I should let the world in on the fact that I am seeing someone. I didn’t want to make the announcement too soon only to find that this relationship would fizzle out and I’d then have to face all the ensuing questions. I didn’t want to keep it a secret as though it was something to be ashamed of, but at the same time I needed to feel secure before I announced such a momentous step.

And while I have had a couple of months to adjust to the idea and process my feelings about it, those who are just now learning of him are still shocked and surprised. Which only makes my comfort with it all the more awkward. I think they expect me to not be ready so soon, but I’ve done a lot of emotional leg work to get to this point. I've simply had a head start.

I am sensitive to the feelings of those who are still hurting, and who are not ready to see me “move on” with my life. I understand that Andie’s family and close friends will have a harder time accepting this than my own family and friends. I know it will take time for people to get to a place of acceptance.

I know that people ultimately want me to be happy. Many have said as much to me on several occasions. In the weeks after his death people told me that it was okay to eventually move on. But saying that, and actually being okay with it when it happens are two very different things. I think people have been okay with the idea of it, but when they actually see another man beside me they have almost a gut level reaction to it. I can see it in the subtle shifts of facial expression or body language. It seems that people are okay with the idea of it if it fits their version of how it should go and when, and not necessarily my version of it.

I have grappled with the idea of moving on for almost a year now. Mainly because people would often say to me that they knew I would find someone new one day. My own father in-law has had this discussion with me at least three times that I can remember. I almost felt a pressure about it in the early months after his death and it made me angry and indignant. But with time I have come to accept that this is in fact what I want for me and for my children. And it is also, I believe, something that Andie would want.

This is a hard position for me to be in. Wanting to be happy and being okay with this transition for myself, but also understanding that others are not yet ready for me to make this transition. However, what most people cannot even begin to fathom is the emotional work I have done to get to this point. It is I who has had to live every second of every day without him. I am the one who has two beautiful, yet constant reminders running around that look just like him, reminding me that he is not here. I am the one who remembers what it was like to have his face be the first thing I saw every morning, and the last thing I saw every night. Nobody else has had to deal with his absence on such a global level. Nobody else’s life was changed with such magnitude. Most people get the emotional reprieve of going on about their own lives in their own schedules, which allows them to feel some normalcy. I have not had that luxury; nothing about my life has stayed the same. Nothing is as it was. And nothing feels normal. It has been a long, hard, process to get to this point.

He still consumes my thoughts for much of the day, albeit in a different way than before. Now it is often with fond memories. Sometimes I talk to him in my mind, imagining how he would guide me in daily decisions. It is rarely with pain that I remember him anymore. I would venture to say that to most people though, he is only a fleeting thought. He probably does not cross the minds of his friends daily anymore; only when something happens that triggers a memory for them. I can tell that me and the girls are not on people’s minds as much by the drastic slow down in contact from others checking on us. And this is okay. It means that everyone is healing, and everyone is moving on…just at a different pace.

The bottom line is that I have to do what feels right in my heart. What makes me happy, content, and fulfilled. I have to move on with my life in a way that gives me a quiet mind. Worrying about what other people think of my actions only increases my anxiety and apprehension. And letting go of the control feels so freeing. This is a new part of me that has emerged through this experience. A more mature part of me, and I like it. I don’t have to control everything in my life, and I don’t have to have it all planned out. Controlling comes from a place of fear. I don’t want to live my life in fear. I want to appreciate what I have while it’s here instead of always planning for the worst case scenario.

The circumstances of my life have drastically altered who I am, who I want to be, and where I want my life to go. I am giving it all up to God with faith that he will lead me in the right direction in the end.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leap of faith...

"Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down" - Unknown


There is a wonderful new blessing to my life. Someone who through fate, timing, answered prayers, or maybe just dumb luck eased his way into my life over the past couple of months.

First through emails, then through texting, followed by phone calls and visits…never pushing past my comfort level. Letting me move at my own pace, but standing by all the while ready to walk this journey beside me. Allowing the connection to grow and evolve on its own. Slowing down to allow me to catch up if he got a step ahead of me. He has stepped aside to give me time and space as I need it…never selfish in his pursuit.

He is honest and respectful. Understanding and reassuring. Strong and confident. Gentle and kind. Caring and insightful. Interesting and intelligent. Protective and accepting. And above all, he is patient with me and this convoluted process.

He inspires, motivates, and challenges me to be a better person. He pushes me to let go and just trust in him, believe in the possibility of us, and have faith in God.

He is the answer to the repetitive prayer I’ve prayed: For God to allow my heart to be open, and accepting of whatever or whomever He puts in my path. For me to trust that if love walks into my life I can accept its presence with grace and dignity.

I have to admit that when I have heard stories of other widows who have moved on there was always a sense of judgment on my part. How could they move on so soon- how soon is too soon? How could they proclaim to still love their dead husband, but still have enough room in their heart to love another? I couldn’t understand how that could even be possible. There was also a sense of jealousy that they had gotten lucky enough to find love again; I did not think that would ever be possible for me. But once you start down this road the issue becomes, how do you continue to hold the love in your heart for your husband while making room for new love to grow there too? I’ve found it’s like having more than one child- your heart expands to fit the need. How do you incorporate who you were then, with who you are becoming? How do you integrate your old life with your new life? I don’t have the answers to these questions. These are still challenges I must face and I realize they will continue to be for some time…

I never imagined that I would be in the very position that I had scoffed at. I couldn’t fathom that I could ever let go of my pain, or that I would ever even want to let go of the pain long enough to find happiness. After all, holding onto the pain has been all there was to hold on to. And I think that’s why this worked. He eased his way into my life ever so gently that I didn’t even know he was beginning to take up residence in my heart until it was too late to deny it.

I am on the precipice of something exciting and grand. I’m ready to take the leap of faith and see where I land and where this experience takes me. My perspective has shifted again and I find myself back in the place of believing that there is a power greater than us that guides us in the right direction even when the fog is too dense to see through it. I am acknowledging that I don’t have all the answers to how my life is going to work out, nor am I supposed to.

I’m learning to enjoy it one moment at a time. To take things at face value without questioning or analyzing them to the point that I destroy them or push them away. I’m learning to let go. To surrender the control and accept that it’s out of my hands…I’m learning to place the responsibility on the shoulders of someone much grander than I.

In my journey to find happiness…I am finding peace in my heart.
In my journey to find comfort…I am experiencing a calm stillness within.
In my journey to find love…I am opening my heart and allowing myself to take a risk.

Here I stand, humbly accepting that the universe indeed has more to offer me than I ever thought possible…