Tuesday, December 14, 2010

amazing mamas

Yesterday, my kiddos and I attended the Bethlehem Walk at our local Baptist church. While I am FAR from religious, it was so historically interesting and allowed me to have a conversation with my kids about the origins of the Christmas tradition.
The kids loved 'everything' about it, although I think Liv enjoyed the small, fresh loaves of bread the best judging by her pleas to go back for more. Briar really enjoyed collecting stamps on his Bethlehem map throughout the 'marketplace'....and then hoped to look at them while laying in bed (I didn't tell him that I had thrown his muddy coat in the wash upon walking through the door not realizing that the 'map' was in his pocket. I am SO hoping he forgets before I have to explain him that the hard piece of whitish lint at the bottom of his pocket was once his beloved map.)
As we walked through the ancient town, we had been instructed to keep an eye out for a baby named Jesus. Halfway through we came upon a young couple in wonderful costumes amid the hay bales depicting a barn-like scene. "Joseph" was very believable in his performance as he greeted us with "Shalom" and brief small talk about the tax man. His poor wife, however, was struggling.
"Mary" was a very young mama who was trying to breastfeed her hot, tired and altogether annoyed little one. As an audience stared on, she attempted to calm her baby with her breast without giving these onlookers something they hadn't anticipated - a flash. She seemed to be trying to look "Mary-like" - calm, serene and with a instinctive mothering knowledge that could subdue her baby with just a soothing word and mama's milk. As a mom, I could see through her thin facade to the panic and frustration she was feeling and as I led my children to the next vendor I thought of all the things I wish I had known before having my babies.....

  • Wear slip on shoes - you will always find your hands full of baby paraphernalia, car seats and bags when you suddenly realize that you should be equipped footwear as well.
  • Make sure to cross your legs when you cough, sneeze or laugh really hard - I don't know that any explanation is needed here. Oh! And say 'goodbye' to your days of jumping on a trampoline.
  • Do you remember those catty girls in junior high who gossiped about everyone no matter how perfect and fabulous they were? Get ready for round two. Mom's can be harsh to and about each other. Find a group who is as self-deprecated as you are and don't take the others opinions too hard. You're doing a great job - the best you can. And really, they worry about their inadequacies as a mom as much as, if not more than, you do.
  • You are amazing. You created a life within your body. Yes, the skin on your stomach resembles the face of a Shar-pei - but for very good reason. You made a tiny HUMAN BEING within it!
  • You wouldn't know if your baby was ugly. It's better this way. Who would want to snuggle a trash can lid? You will stare into those shiny little eyes and know that this is the most amazingly awe-inspiring little one ever to have graced this Earth with its' tiny feet and mustard coloured poop.
  • When people have issue with your breastfeeding in public, stare at them and speak loudly at the person with you, "I can't believe they are eating in public! How disgusting!!" I believe breastfeeding is normal, natural and healthy. It seems that the over-sexualization of the breast in our society has done terrible things for our children's eating habits. Would you eating your lunch in a dirty, public bathroom stall? Blech.
  • Everyone may have an opinion on what you do and how you do it. YOU are the expert on your children. Trust your gut as you're the one who loves them the most and have their survival and mental well-being first and foremost....and you'll presumably be the one paying the therapy bills when they hit their teens.
  • Also, though you may be feel judged while others look on as your sweet, wee one pitches a holy fit atop the wood chips on the playground thus embedding thousands of tiny slivers beneath their soft skin to ensure a long and drawn out reminder of this damned humiliating venture to the local park; they most likely are just reminiscing over the fact that the only way to soothe their child's impending tantrum at the grocery store recently was to allow their kiddo to plunge a damp, chubby finger into their parent's nostril as they strolled down the aisles in the shopping cart....while all the other parents stared and thought about their most recent brush with 'CIH' (Child Inflicted Humiliation) .
  • Play with them whenever you can. Even singing "Super Planet Janet" for the fifty millionth time while you secure their lifejacket before swimming at your summer cabin will go a long way to defining you as a great and attentive parent.

Friday, December 10, 2010

what it is

Photo from golfest

Talking about being a widow is not something I always do....or want to do.
Sometimes I need to talk about it. Express why I am attending a social engagement alone. Assure others that I'm not a 'cast off' - that my husband left me because he was physically unable to stay....not because he found me in bed with my tennis instructor. Now and then, I have to purge the sadness by letting even grocery store clerks know that my husband died. At these times, I am quite skilled at wedging it into any conversation under any scenario.
Other times, the whole story of his loss seems a nuisance. I dance around the topic of the whole event until it is entirely necessary to mention the fact that he dropped dead for fear of having strange, unexplained holes in my stories and sounding like a lunatic.
I found myself in the latter situation tonight. I held off talking about it for as long as I could....and finally just stated, "My husband died in 2008".
I did not want to hear the "Oh! I'm SO sorry! I had no idea!" As I answered, "Yeah, well, it is what it is." And I realized just how over-used but very astute this saying is.
I felt slightly....resentful. Not for being a widow. I just didn't want to be different. I wanted to be one of the moms talking at the table about runny noses, bullies and fuel economy. I didn't want to feel marked by loss. I didn't want to be pitied. I didn't want to explain again what life is like alone. Because often, now, it just is.
I don't really know different anymore....because this is now my reality. And it is what it is.

Friday, December 03, 2010

the wishlist

My children are aware that Christmas is in 23 days. Already they are making their preparations for the big day. Snow flakes already adore most of the windows in our house, our advent calendar is hanging above the fireplace and letters to Santa are ready to post. After ruminating long and hard over what she would write, my eight year old daughter, Liv, stood up from the kitchen table with a letter for Santa clutched in her skinny, little hands. Hope and excitement lit her face.
"Do you think Santa can bring whatever you ask for if you only ask for one thing?", she whispered.
"It depends what it is, I suppose", I answered nervously imagining pink polka-dotted unicorns and hot-air balloon rides to the moon being requested. I was surprised when she handed over her note.
Her words make me vacillate between laughter and tears....
I don't know what I'd do without these little people who make life so much harder and some much more bearable in one motion.

P.S. Briar asked for a remote control monster truck taller than his head. Not as emotionally charged, but certainly enough to strike fear in a mother's heart. How the HECK is Santa going to pull off Christmas????

Monday, November 22, 2010

Daddy O - Frances England

I know this song is supposed to be a happy and upbeat song.....but it makes me sob for my kiddos and all they`ve lost.

how I can tell I'm getting old

  • I loathe seeing snow on the forecast.
  • I don't carry tweezers in my purse purely for sliver removal anymore....Now it's to attack the strange beard hairs that are suddenly sprouting from my chin.
  • I had to explain the 'rules' of Pacman to the babysitter while she played my vintage handheld game.
  • I feel more comfortable when I wear higher cut jeans....and I'm just fine with that.
  • I have finally realized that Lola in the Kink's song is a transvestite. Yes, that last line says "Lola is a man" but somehow this fact eluded me for all these years.
  • I don't have a Twitter account. But the local elementary does.

Friday, November 19, 2010

advancing Advent

Photo from Queen's School of Medicine....Don't know what the calendar has to do with med school, though....
We are beginning to gear up for December 1 and the beginning of our Advent calendar.
Although I despise the upselling in stores, the piped in carols in early November and the general consumerism involved in the Christmas holidays, I love the excitement of the kids, the coziness and craftiness of the season.
I resent the feeling that the standard seasons - Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, have been replaced by Spring, Summer, Fall and Christmas.
This year, however, I am going to attempt to embrace and cherish the memories and yuletime feelings. I don't imagine that my kids have any appreciation for my grumblings over business-side of Christmas. I am sure they prefer to snuggle in front of the fire with hot chocolate whilst making popsicle stick snowflakes for family.
So wish me luck in my hunt for Christmas Spirit. I am a tried and true Grinch in need of a different perspective. But if my kids will benefit from it, I am willing to try....Just don't stand me in front of a Christmas light display while playing Jingle Bells over the loud speaker for a few weeks, please.....

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I keep returning here to write something. To let you all know that things are okay and that life goes on and we are happy. They are, it does and often we are.
But I am feeling the weight lately of a realization. One I should have had two years and eight months ago.
This is FOREVER.
Not solely being without Jeff.
But taking the garbage out by myself. Half-heartedly laughing at a movie alone. Waking up with two frightened children and their nightmares. Making turkey dinner for three.
All of it. Alone. All of it on me. All of it, my responsibility.
The monotony of continuing on is exhausting. The strength needed to smile and be optimistic waning.
I am at a point where I feel like my 'get out of jail free/talk about Jeff as much as I want' card is expiring and I should allow a conversation to pass without dropping his name. But I am not ready. He is still my lover/friend/husband.
I want to write about it all. I want to talk about it. I know that so many will tell me that it is MY timetable and to do what I need to do....But I also wonder about other's patience and my sanity for remaining in the world of 'what was'.
I am so painfully lonely....and writing about it seems so terribly lame and pathetic. I have never felt this lonely. Socially, I am quite satisfied. I have great friends. A ridiculously busy life. No 'free' time.
But 'intimately', I am starving. I want to whisper in the dark to someone who will whisper back. I need to know that there is someone, who happens to have a physical body, that has genuine interest in the intricacies of my mind and my little family. To feel that when I am drowning under an ocean of mundane yet necessary tasks, that someone will help....just because. I want to be touched. I want to not be alone. I want to have the luxury of allowing fear and vulnerability in.
I want to be loved again.
....And I feel so pathetic for writing about this loneliness yet again.

(Thanks, Jen....)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

brand name








Labels are words that used to describe ourselves and others - a way to quickly and efficiently identify traits and tendencies.

When I think about the labels used to describe or identify me, the one that gives me most to think about is 'widow'.

Initially, I despised this branding. I hated the term and what it meant - that my husband was dead. I didn't see myself as the typical widow in black gracefully and wisely fading into the background. I wasn't sure if my personal portrayal of this word was proper or made me a 'good widow'. Somehow this term seemed to mean to me that I had failed.

Over time this feeling has changed. Now I wear this name tag with a little bit of pride and a lot of awe. I have made it this far. Two and a half years ago I would never have believed it. I did not think I would genuinely laugh again. I would not have imagined that I would enjoy life and all its' mysteries. It astounds me.

At the risk of sounding pompous, I am kind of proud of myself. I am stronger that I ever thought possible. I'm not a warrior, but a widow. And I have chosen to get out of bed each morning despite believing that the last morning that mattered had already happened. The loss of my husband has taught me that there are few things in life to be feared and that taking a leap of faith is far less terrifying as I once thought.

Now that I carried the 'medal' of widowhood, I wonder how long do I get to wear it? In five years, does the noun 'widow' get taken from me and get replaced with 'widowed'. Will it cease to be a label and instead become a verb? If I ever enter a relationship again, do I stop being a widow and become one of the ones on Facebook with the status of "Married"? I feel that I would be both....Would "It's complicated" be offbase?

I now wear my label as a mark of my late husband. An etching of "Jeff was here" in my perverbial bark. Although I may be ready for another label or two, I would like to keep my hard-earned 'widow badge', thank you very much.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

For awhile, I have been thinking that I'd love a chiming wall clock. As a child, we always had a beautiful Dutch clock in our house that ticked away the time. This ticking sound reminds me especially of spending 'sick days' at my "Oma's" house vaguely listening to her clock as I dozed in an ill stupor reassured by the constant clucking of the clock and the itchy pale green blanket she'd provide.
The day after mentioning my desire for a clock to my father, I was at my beloved Sally Ann gazing at a cute little wooden side table attempting to think of a location in our house that it would suit. Initially, I failed to notice the old cardboard box atop the table as I mused that someone must have passed away for all this beautiful wooden furniture to show up in the shop all at once.
When I gently flipped open the lid of the box, I found a treasure inside. An amazing Canadian-made wooden chiming wall clock. Thrilled with my find, Briar and I paid for our score and took it home to install it on our wall immediately. It now ticks away the seconds, minutes and hours within our home...It makes me wonder about the previous owner and if they found comfort in the heartbeat that the clock provided.

Friday, October 01, 2010

wishing it were

Photo by Tom Grey

My daughter, Liv, has always loved stories. Stories of mythical creatures and the lessons these myths hold seem to entice her imagination into applying these learning experiences upon her life.

Awhile back, for movie night, the kids and I watched ""The Secret of Roane Inish". After learning of the legend of the Selkies, Liv was truly enraptured and enthralled.

"The seas around Orkney and Shetland harbour the shy Selkies or Seal-Faeries (known as the Roane in Ireland). A female Selkie is able to discard her seal skin and come ashore as a beautiful maiden. If a human can capture His skin, the selkie can be forced to become a fine, if wistful, wife. However, should she ever find her skin she immediately returns to the sea, leaving the husband to pine and die. The males raise storms and upturn boats to avenge the indicriminate slaughter of the seals." -- Brian Froud and Alan Lee, "Faeries"

Liv has decided that her father was a Selkie. That the pull for the sea was too much for him and he had to return to his home....Leaving us behind - me, his wife and his 'Darkies', the offspring of the Selkie and a human. But she feels that he is happy in the sea and that one day we will see him there amid the waves.

While the thought that the pull of the ocean was stronger than his love for us fills me with sadness, this explanation of his 'departure' from us fits so very well that it carries some ....comfort, even for me. That he is back in the ocean that he so dearly loved. That there is a 'reason' for him to leave us. A need stronger than we were able to fight against.

As I watch my kids learn to accept the loss of their daddy, I find healing in their ideas and theories. To them, I am the giver of comfort. The one who offers a stable shoulder and an empathetic word. And I wonder if they will ever understand that not only does their presence make life more than bearable, but it brings me peace and understanding of our loss.

I know that he died. He is not literally in the sea. I know that he didn't leave us because he was a seal. But the sparkle and wonder in this theory adds a magic that is not present in the 'real' story of his loss.

And I love to imagine him in the place he loved best ~ the sea.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There are two ways to live your life;
One is that nothing is a miracle.
The other is to live as though everything is.

~ Albert Einstein

Friday, September 24, 2010

senseless socks

Photo from here...

One of the biggest lessons I've learned on this journey of widowhood is that grief is not logical. It makes no sense. It's arrogant and naive to believe that we think we know how we would react in any stressful or painful situation. Segments of our lives, portions of our morals and many of our ideals become frayed and scattered.

When we begin to remake our lives, things, us, are decidely different.

I've had people tell me that they would never be able to part with their husband's things should he die before they did. I've had others report to me that they have thought that I am clinging to the past by keeping some of Jeff's belongings. I don't know which camp is right....I just know that there are some things that I had never given a thought to and that now have such meaning....or maybe not 'meaning', just value to me emotionally that I am unable to part with them just yet.

There are items in this home that I will never be able to use, I can't remember a specific moment that signifies importance or that are truly undesirable to anyone besides myself. Logic does not, at all, enter my thoughts in the hoarding of these objects.

The specific thing I am talking of....Jeff's mismatched socks. Can't do it. I don't know if I will EVER get around to discarding them.

They lay tangled in a basket on the shelf above our washing machine with the kids and mine. The only distinguishing factor between the socks is that his are decidely larger....and dirtier. They no longer smell like him. I have never found their mate crammed behind the washing machine or at the bottom of the hamper. So they sit in the missing sock receptacle...and wait.

Everytime I reach into the basket to attempt to match the socks thrown in there at the end of a laundry folding session, I find his single socks. I don't know if it is the symbolism of being left behind, if it is the thought that these are the last of his personal effects that are tied in with our daily lives or if it is just that I can't bring myself to throw out something that holds proof that he walked with us. It's simply not logical.

But the lack of pragmatic thinking does not make me discard them. I still smile inwardly and occasionally shed a tear when I attempt to match his single socks. Because grief, it really makes no sense.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

jackie genius

We've been having some difficulty with remembering to close the chicken yard door after ourselves. We used to allow our 'girls' to roam free in the whole yard often. This relaxed attitude has fallen by the wayside with the arrival of Caleb and his adoration of the flavour of chicken feces....and then his desire to wipe his pink drippy tongue over our faces, hands or bare toes.
I had been loathe to attach a bungy or some sort of spring for fear of squishing little fingers...or faces in the door with such an abrupt closure.
After much thinking....and then viewing a very similar system in a magazine (this isn't the genius part), I came up with this little beauty.
The magazine version had some sort of glass ball attached to a beautifully topped fence post.
Ours is much more....utilitarian but, still, brilliant.
We've used a branch found in the woods behind the house, some twine, a mason jar and two eye screws.
Briar and I dangerously used the reciprocating saw to create a pointed end on one end of the branch and a flat side on the other.
I pounded it into the ground using a sledge hammer about a 60 cm (2') away from the hinge of the gate.
We attached an eye screw near the top of the post and another near the middle of the top bar of the gate.
Liv punched a hole in the sealing disk of the mason jar with a nail.
Folded in half we fed a small amount of the twine through the hole in the lid and the sealing ring. In the loop under the disk, we fed a bent nail to anchor the twine in the lid.
Briar filled the jar with soil making sure to remove as many 'critters' as he could find so as not to subject them to a harsh and untimely death inside the jar of doom. The jar was screwed into the lid. (The jar was the genius part....although anything heavy would work...but I still think it was mildly brilliant....)
We tied one side of the twine into the eye screw on the gate about 60 cm down and after holding it at various lengths at the post decided on the best length for the twine to be most efficient and useful.
Ta-da! Genius at work!!! Smooth, slow closing......

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Worry is a misuse of imagination. ~ Unknown

P.S. Just in case anyone out there in the blogosphere is wondering, I am still writing for Widow's Voice. I've just chosen for the time being to leave the majority of the widow 'stuff' over there and write about the rest of our lives here. I swore I would never do that....but at times, I just feel that maybe to some people, my 'widow' musings may sound....I don't know, longstanding. I just think that maybe, at times, Widow's Voice is a more appropriate forum for some of my thoughts than here. Unfortunate for me?Yes. Permanent? Probably not. Just bear with me as I get over some of my self-consciousness after the last little hiccup.

And, if you want you are free to read them whenever you so chose.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

the first day

Liv started school today....."real" school. Grade three at the school that I attended as a young whipper-snapper.

Last night, she excitedly chose her outfit for the day. We planned how the morning would go and what time we'd get to the school.

She woke at 6 am and wanted to get up. I coaxed her back to sleep for a few minutes before she was chattering away and again attempting to vault from the bed. I was thrilled. She was excited. She was enthusiastic and positive......And then I asked her to let the chickens out.

Generally, it was downhill from there. She didn't want to do it. I want to stick to the rhythm that had worked for us and feel that we are all contibuting members of our family and as such have roles to fulfill to keep the house running smoothly and harmoniously.

Harmonious, my ass.

Needless to say, by the end of the first hour of climbing from the cozy nest of the bed that the three of us had spent our night together in various states of sleepy entanglement, I was pissed off and ready to start frothing at the mouth like some rabies infested mad-dog. She was screaming at me that she shouldn't have to "do it all" as she is "just a kid" and it is my job to "do this kind of stuff". Briar was hollering plaintively as the puppy had hold of his shirt and was hindering his journey up the hallway to his breakfast. After I chased the puppy away from Briar's backside, he managed to sneak off to a corner in the living room to shit on my computer's electrical cord.

Liv had taken to hiding in a corner in her bedroom muttering mostly quietly to herself while occasionally loudly spewing a variety of age old adages, such as: "I hate you!" "I don't want to go to school!" "You love Briar more!" "I wish I had a different mom!"

I storm through the house throwing needed items into my purse while giving a verbal dialogue of my thoughts using a variety of non-G-rated wordage (Is that a word? Wordage.) and taking a nervous child's behaviour far too personally. Anyhow......

If you had witnessed this scene, you probably would think that....well, I don't know what you'd think. I just know that you would most likely think this home was a chaotic, crazy place and would try to get out a fast as humanly possible....

Then, after a few minutes of travel, at school, imagine a calm, serene mother and child. The little girl is nervously clutching her mama's hand and trying to remain inconspicuous by hiding behind one of her mother's abundant thighs. The little girl is big eyed and sweet. Quiet and shy but pleasant to talk to. The mother probably seems gentle and confident. Not the rabid creature she was only minutes before.

After getting the sweet, subdued little girl to her class, speaking to the teacher, and lingering in the hall outside the class long after all the other mothers have gone, the angry/gentle mama drives away without her little girl.....crying. Wishing her daughter's first day had been different than this. Wishing her husband had been there to share the joy....and the chaos. Wishing that she didn't feel so awful leaving her little one for others to educate and explore with. Feeling a hypocrite for sending her to public school but knowing that she must do it if she is going to keep food on the table and clothes on her little one's backs.

Friday, August 27, 2010

three four tens and a five

Yesterday was my birthday.
Thirty. Five.

So young.....yet SO bloody old! Half way to seventy and I haven't gotten much figured out. Is this the secret of adulthood? Act like a grown-up and everyone else thinks that everyone else IS a grown-up? Except, of course, themselves?

The kids were much more excited about my birthday than I was....I asked for one gift. "Please NO arguing today. Just today. ONE day. Puh-leeeeease?!" Next year I'll ask for something more attainable.....like a pony.

Thirty-five seems so old on me. On others, it seems to be just a number. Like watching a friend try on an outfit that looks 'good' on them but you would never be caught dead in. "You look great!", you claim....but if you imagine the pink star sequins adorning your less than abundant cleavage, you cringe and flush with horror.

I think I'll take a tip from Jeff, he used to joke that we should tell everyone that we were ten years older than our true age. None of this 'eternal 29' crap! I look pretty good for 45!!!!!

So fourty five it is! Happy 45th to me!

Friday, August 20, 2010

are you there grief? it's me, Jackie

Now and then, I sit down before the computer on the night before my post is due for Widow's Voice and stare blankly at the screen. Mentally, I examine my current thoughts, my day's mullings, recent happenings. I gleen for any unprobed areas of the loss of Jeff.....and find none.

It's not often that this happens. But occasionally, there is quiet. An acceptance. A compliance with what is.

Jeff has yet to return from his voyage to "Heaven". The kids and I still miss him. His clothes still inhabit his drawers.

But at times, the ache is subdued and the crying is quieted.

It is these times that I fluctuate between joy at the thought of recovery, pleasure from the lightness acceptance brings, sadness that this may mean that I am moving away from 'him' and guilt that the pain is not so pungent and painful.

But I know I'll fret for awhile, worry about what to write, go to sleep and wake up thinking of something I wish he could have heard Briar say, remembering how he loved to eat hot dogs wrapped in pilsbury croissant dough and cheese (SO greasy and revolting the thought actually still turns my stomach) and wondering if it's true that daughters are more likely to be promiscuous without their father in attendance.....And the next week, there will be no loss for words.....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

my four cents

Who knew that my last post (and maybe a few others) would have touched a nerve for some? I do feel that all of us have the right to our various views and opinions.....Hell, the world would be a remarkably boring place if we all believed in and supported the same ideas! I do, however, want to clarify some issues here...just for my own comfort.

Not that it matters much, but the 'anchor tattoo man' in the last post did NOT have an anchor tattoo. He was throwing out a bunch of cheesy and extremely obscene pick-up lines, aside from the comment that I chose to post, that did not sit well with me.....and I can expect would not good over well with any self-respecting woman. I suppose I was in error for not either including this information or for writing about the encounter in the post.

Yes, I have posted before about issues that now annoy me (that would not have bothered me 'pre-widowhood'). I suppose I must not articulate myself well if I am suggesting that I have a problem with people making queries or comments about my husband. Although it does ocassionally sadden me with the already frequent reminder of losing Jeff, I merely find it interesting to witness just how society assumes all of us have the same family dynamic. I am not excluding myself from this observation, either. In fact, just today while asking a patient's father for the name of a child's mother for in the chart, I thought for a moment, "That came out so easily. What if the mother doesn't live with the child? What if the mother is deceased? What if the mother is estranged?....How could I have worded that differently?"

Sometimes I do laugh, I suppose at the expense of another's discomfort, for being honest about my status as 'widow'. If someone inquires about or mentions my husband, is it more polite to lie and imply that he is still alive? Or should I sugarcoat it and use terms such as "passed away" or "no longer with us"? I find it humourous solely for the purpose of the observation of reaction. An anthropology study of sorts.

Why should I feel embarassed or apologetic for another person's discomfort of death? That is their belief system. However, I no longer shy away from the subject as I once did. It doesn't mean I'm correct in my dealings with death; it just means that I have stopped fearing it. Death will happen to all of us....not if but when. People just don't like to talk about it. It wasn't so long ago that our culture would whisper various ailments or details of a loved one's death during discussion for fear of 'catching' it or bringing bad juju to their family. I feel that the use of watered down statements about death and dying are an offshoot of this superstition.

As for the differences between divorce and widowhood, I feel that I am free to have this opinion as one who has been widowed. Nope, I've never been divorced. I do not know all the pain and discomfort this very unfortunate circumstance must hold firsthand. I can imagine it is truly awful, as I believe I stated in that post. I do still feel that both tragedies are unique unto themselves.

On one hand I think that we (as in me too) are all too sensitive to perceived injustices and need to just get on with our lives and just fucking live it. But as this is my blog and a place that I muse and mull over my life and its' happenings, I write about issues that have hurt/affected me/given me pause for thought. I do not claim to be right. I just claim to be sorting through my life as I learn. As all of us, I am a work in progress.

I am certainly not proposing that I have it worse or better than anyone else. Although my husband had, I have not lost a child. I do not have cancer. Although bitterly divorced, my parents are still alive. I manage to keep food on the table. I get to dip my toes in the ocean whenever I so please. As such, I do not write about living landlocked, grossly poor, ill and grieving a child without any parental assistance. I write about being a widowed mom to two little ones while trying to do what is best for us as a small family and the thoughts that I have as I travel along this adventure. Yup, I write about widowhood a lot. You know why? Because hoping my husband somehow has an eye on us from afar and missing his laughter takes up a good portion of my thoughts. I suppose that if you were wearing similar shoes, you would have similar thoughts. I can only assume from your comment veiled behind hidden or anonymous profiles that you do not. I may be wrong. As I said before, I do not claim to be 'right' either. I also have never claimed that my pain is 'any more real' than anyone elses.

I am sorry that my thoughts seem to have raised some issues for you. I am going to encourage you, if you feel my thoughts are 'ignorant' or 'rude', please do not read my blog any longer. I do not want to upset you. But I do want to continue to write as I feel that it helps me to process MY pain (and I am not going to apologize for finding the loss of my husband painful). I am also going to remind you to read the disclaimer on the right-hand side of this page.

P.S. I don't think you really do 'get' the widow humour......

Friday, August 13, 2010

funny "ha ha" or funny "horrific"

Photo from Reader's Digest - laugh yourself to good health

Being a widow is a lot of things. Scary. Sad. Lonely. Guilt-ridden. But an unexpected side effect of the loss of my spouse is the humour and hilarity.
Maybe I was a funny person before. Maybe it has been in me all along. But after spending time again this year at Camp Widow, my cheeks hurt from laughing....and I didn't spend the time giggling at myself. Either death finds funny people or funny people just curse those around us.....or maybe, when life has you scraping the barrel, you begin to not take it as seriously. You realize that you can't jinx yourself with a belly laugh and no one has ever ceased breathing for joking about the ceasing of breathing.
I now find it more comfortable to be able to face the sadness and fear down and speak it out loud....and then laugh in its' face. Unfortunately, lay people sometimes seem to be either very uncomfortable with this M.O. or they seem to think that I am flippant or nonchalant about losing my beloved Jeff. I can assure you I'm not.
But a sign-in sheet at work for the staff party where it inquires whether each staff member will be bringing their spouse fills me with a desire to answer in the allotted box, "No. The seat belt won't properly hold the urn."
A man who approaches me at the bar surrounded with other widows who have attended the widowhood conference states to me that it is such a coincidence that he has the same tattoo on his forearm as I do. "Oh?!", I say, "So your husband died too and you got an anchor to signify both his job as a fisherman and his role as an 'anchor' in your life????? Wow!!!!! That IS a coincidence!" Shocked, he tells me that I am mean and rude. I just thought it was plain funny.
A woman at Camp Widow sported a shirt that said, "My husband died and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." This shirt has brought me many moments of mirth for the last week as I recalled it.
I love that we can find humour at such a deathly grave situation. We are not (as) afraid anymore. We now know that you will not be struck dead for a good chuckle.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

adding to the pack

I have tried to resist. I have tried to talk some sense into myself. I have tried to convince myself that we are better off financially and obdigation-wise. I have tried to divert my attention.....But somehow all I have wanted to do since Freckles' death is get another dog.
I realize that the last two years of his life, he was a major head-case that needed not just some deep emotion empathy and redirection, but hard-core antidepressants. His seperation anxiety after the death of Jeff, followed so very quickly by my beloved dog, Eli, was more than his big heart could bear. And although, at times, euthansia seemed the only solution for his window frame destruction/light switch removal/door knob denting/etc., I miss having him around.
I had contacted a woman about purchasing a puppy from her at the beginning of next year. We had chosen a golden retriever whose mother was imported from Germany. It all was so perfect and full of coincidences. The breeder is a younger widow with two children living on a farm. We had decorated a jar with pictures of puppies and started to save for the purchase of the puppy and its' initial vet bills. I was being responsible and logical about the process of adding another member to our family.
But, really, my heart is far from logical. I think probably even moreso since the death of Jeff. When something feels right, I do it. I do it with gusto and just hope that even if my actions yield horrific results, I have learned something in the process thus making the experience valuable.
As I perused the adds on our local used site, I was struck by an add containing a sweet and forlorn-looking german shepherd cross puppy. After speaking to the woman who had him, I felt completely compelled to see him. I told myself, "We don't have to get him. I can just go see him, pet him and be on my way if it doesn't feel right." But, alas, as soon as I set eyes on him, had him in my lap and felt his kisses I was struck.....with puppy love. As I watched how comfortable he was with Briar's loving and at times, overly playful misinstrations, I fell farther. When I watched Liv's face filled with contentment as she stroked the puppy's fur as it calmly laid in her lap, I was head-over-heels.
So two days ago, we headed out to pick up our little guy. He's going to be a big guy as he is german shepherd, husky, leonberger cross.
We've named him Caleb.
So far, he's been fabulous. No chewed up shoes. One accident on the rug. Lots and lots of snuggles and cuddles.
And even if he does do something.....puppy-like, I will remind myself that although Eli was the best dog in the history of mankind, he once ate a pound of butter as a puppy....and barfed it on the floor. And really, he is too small as of yet to detroys curtains, door knobs and other household structures as Freckles did....And he's not fast enough yet to kill a chicken. ;)
I am smitten.

Friday, August 06, 2010

those in the know

Today I begin my journey to the Soaring Spirit's Loss Foundation's Camp Widow. I feel as if I am running to the arms of dear friends.....although some of these people I have never met.

I will spend my time with a couple of hundred people who know what widowhood is. Really know. Not an abstract idea that is hard to fully wrap your mind around until the day it settles its' weight around your shoulders. But those who have felt the fear of knowing that when our lives are lost, our children become orphans. Known the loneliness of suddenly losing all the support and comfort of our partner. Become familiar with the uncertainty of not knowing who you are without your 'other half'. Discovered the joy of finding out that you are still whole - even missing half your heart. And, hopefully, the excitement that can one day happen when experiencing the rebirth after your past life has ended.

I am ecstatic to be with this communtiy once again. To know I am not the only one. To know I don't have to explain. To know, that at least here, I am not alone.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

the town treasure chest

In our small little town there is a wonderful little Salvation Army. The kids and I love to go and scout through the shelves for treasures. I have a rule though - we are not to enter the shop UNLESS there is something we are needing or looking for. We rarely come out with the thing we went initially in for, but we come out with some amazing things and fabulous deals.
While wandering our beloved little shop last week, I came across this little gem. $2.99 the sticker said. I admit that at first I had no idea what it was....but the little silver tube off the side gave me a hint. A stovetop espresso/cappuccino maker!!!!!! It is the most amazing thing.
And while I have only taken up the habit of coffee drinking in the last eight months or so of my 34 years, I am delighted and excited to be able to make myself gourmet coffee on the woodstove! (If you know me, you know how much I LOVE low-tech).
So I've decided that each time I find some fabulous score at the local Sally Ann, I'm going to tell you about it.....And that alone gives me a reason to return to the halls of heavenly second-handing! ;)

Friday, July 23, 2010

are you lonesome tonight...

Photo from Desicolours

I'm not dating. I have gone on a few....dates. But it never felt right. But neither does this loneliness.

I don't want to go through the hassle of meeting, dating, getting to know the other person's "issues", introducing this person to family and friends, getting giddy when they come around, having our first argument, finding out that they have an oddly close relationship with their mother...who hates me, and having to dump their mama's boy ass after going through all that.

I want to jump straight to the comfy fart-in-bed stage. The leave-the-door-open-when-you-pee level. I want to not worry that they find my poultry obsession a little alarming or that my kid's habit of climbing into bed with me every night is not overly annoying. I want to be with someone who finds my kids cute even when snot is running down their chin.

But, alas, the only one who can fit this bill is a husband. My husband.

I worry that no one will ever love my kids as much as their daddy did. And that even if some man was willing, I may not let them through 'the gate' as I seem to fear that anyone with any interest in us must either have pedophilic tendencies or a death wish.

I'm scared that no one could ever love me again despite my habit of repeating deliciously interesting words under my breath until they cease have meaning. "colposcopy. colposcopy. colpscopy...." Or that the horrifyingly large amount of matter on my thighs that resembles marbles under blue-white coloured cloth would repulse some poor man. Or that they wouldn't know that laughing when I'm raging and screaming at some perceived injustice, although seemingly counterproductive, is just what I need to see life's bullshit as it is - bullshit.

I want to jump to husband and wife. I want to miss all the ups and downs of possibilities.

I want comfort. I want warmth. I want Jeff.

Friday, July 16, 2010

the perfect father

Lately, Liv and I have been struggling. We have been fighting arguing about everything from whether she should brush her extremely knot-filled hair before departing for the day to whether older sisters are 'allowed' to speak to their younger brothers in a hatred filled voice to whether it is her job to clean up her mess. She claims that my requests for daily self-care (teeth brushing, semi-clean clothes wearing, etc.) are demands upon her body which I have no right whatsoever to impose....and that this is exactly why nature has so much trouble supplying humans with their 'needs' because society has created an unreal ideal of human hygiene (If you are confused, don't worry - I don't totally get the rationale either).
I am holding my breath wondering what Liv is going to find issue with far too often for my liking. I am emotionally exhausted and communication/NVC/positive parenting deficient.

Recently, Liv has started to not just fly off the handle with anger over the injustice of expectations upon her body, the needs of others in the household or my desire to have a calm and communicative homelife....but at the idealized image she holds of her father and my perceived shortcomings.
She regales me with reasons that I am less of a favourable parent to her father. I don't play with her enough. I yell more than he did. I don't love her as much as her daddy did.
The ironic and most painful part of this is that although Jeff was a kind, funny and loving father, he was not always hands-on. He would wrestle with Liv. Or snuggle on the couch watching a movie. He'd occasionally make something with her in the garage. He loved to listen to her read or hear her tales of daily life on the phone weekly while he was fishing.
But I was the one who cuddled her to sleep and got up with her in the middle of the night. I wasn't holed up in the garage drinking beer and watching WWF. I was mixing the homemade playdough and kissing away 'owies'. I knew what size of shoes she wore and how far up she liked her coat zipped.
He was a fabulous daddy. But the image she has of him is just not accurate. And I am being compared to a 'saint'.
One evening of overly expressed dislike of my inadequencies as a parent I (remarkably) calmly told Liv of her father. I explained that he was a fabulous guy and my very best friend whom I loved with all my heart and wished with every part of my being that he would be back with us. BUT that he was a real person. He made mistakes and lost his temper and sometimes stunk like B.O. He didn't like how I loaded the dishwasher and ate pickles straight out of the jar. It doesn't mean he was 'bad' or 'mean' or 'unkind'....just that he was like the rest of us. 'Real'.
With horror on her little angry face, she told me that I was never to talk 'mean' about her daddy ever again. That he was 'perfect'.
And really, he was. He was perfectly him....But I hope that one day, and not TOO far away, she can see that I am perfectly me....and I am trying the best I can to do the job that he and I used to do together.

I do not want to take Liv's love or admiration for her daddy. I don't want her to ever stop thinking that he was wonderful and hilarious. But why does it have to come at the cost of her love and devotion to me?

Friday, July 09, 2010

...and by the way

Photo from Auburn University

I am seeing all sorts of old and familiar faces since we moved back to my hometown. It's been great getting reacquainted with now-grown children of my youth. We discuss how the town has changed. That the one stop light in town is no longer the one stop light in town. Gossip about the nastiest boy in our class has changed and where he is now.
I find it so very interesting to know who or what the townsfolk have become, who they've married and how many children they've had. Looking at the faces of their little ones makes me grin seeing the familiar face of their parents as children staring right back at me.
Somehow during the conversation I seem to blurt out, almost Tourette's like, "My husband died."
I feel like a dork when I say it. But I can feel it building inside me like a burp and suddenly spew it out at my long-lost aquaintance. The moment after resembles the pause that I could imagine occurring if I had indeed loudly belched in their face. My burped words seem to echo between us.
If I somehow manage to come away from our brief visit in the parking lot without this almost involuntary admission, I feel as if I have mislead the other person somehow. That they are missing some huge part of the puzzle. But if I include it, it's an echo invoker.
I still, after two years, do not know what is the appropriate way to include this humungous tidbit into a brief summary of my life.....and socially, I don't know if any one really wants to know?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

living again

I am loving our new life.
Although I am finding the cost of living here more than I expected, I am finding that this life in the town I grew up in to be so much more fulfilling and exciting.
Striking out and building a life that includes Jeff and the memories we have of him, but built around our needs now and our new future has been exhilarating.
I find myself wondering what is around the next corner....and not always with dread or fear. I have hope for joy returning to our lives and the little things that maintain our happiness now.
Having the forest and the ocean just steps from our doorstep is how I imagined my children growing up. Exploring, building, imagining, creating. It makes up in (small) part for the loss of my ability to stay home with them 24/7.
And on that front, I have to say, that (and I feel immense guilt saying this), that I am enjoying my time away. I come home with stories for the kids of what my day was life, what I did and how I perform a blood occult stool test (yes, this involves poop). I love having grown-up conversations, feeling in control of our income, feeling valuable and using my brain for something other than remembering the recipe for fabulous bubbles (10 parts water, 1 part Dawn or Joy dish soap and .25 part glycerin). I know that my job as a mommy is the most important thing I will do in my life.....but I also think that I need some time to just be "Jackie" and without having someone to spell me off when I need time to myself, I feel intense frustration at times. With this frustration comes guilt and feelings that I am not a good and selfless mother. I have to remind myself occasionally that Liv has had me home for seven years and Briar for four - This is entirely longer than the standard one year in Canada and the six weeks in the States.
Life is still a bit off-kilter as we settle into our new house. We are almost finished unpacking. Most of the pictures are up. The linen closet is organized. We are just fine-tuning now.

The fresh air is fabulous. I SO love the cool breezes and foggy mornings. Being in the village brings remembered faces and a sense of comfort in knowing where everything is and the names of all the streets. The kids are loving having friends close by and frolicking in the woods....Where they find strange and amazing things - abandoned cabins, huckleberries, cathedral-like beams of light streaming through the trees, gnome stumps, deer trails, little streams and "Barbie doll graveyards".

I have started working on the garden, built a compost and have started planning the garden for the start of the next growing season. I've built a larger chicken/duck yard and all our poultry buddies are pleased. The kids and I climbed through some of the bushes on the property trimming out the underbranches to enable us to put our toadstool stools under the leafy canopy for a pretend fairy home for the kids.

I am happy. The kids are happy. Life is good.

Friday, July 02, 2010

when Jeff died.....

As a widow, how many times have you said, "when/since/because _____ died"? Even after two years, three months and six days, I regularly use this phrase. Does widowhood define me this much or is it that the loss of my husband has been so life-altered, self-forming, world-shifting to me that I can attribute most of the occurrences in my present life to the event?
I prefer to believe that my life, goals, priorities, etc have all been modified, improved and streamlined. I hope that I can now see more clearly what is 'important' rather than that the definition of 'widow' has become so entwined with my vision of 'self'.
Or am I just lying to myself and hiding behind the loss of my other half?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moe Schmoe

Our cat, Moe, puts up with everything. Literally everything.
Briar, the perpetually love machine, carts him around upside-down as an impromptu backpack. Moe regularly endures being cuddled in a well-meaning but overly zealous fashion while the little people in our house attempt to fall asleep. He rarely complains when being dressed in baby clothes or as he zips down the driveway in a doll stroller. Once, I even had to interrupt a friend mid-conversation to inform her that she was standing on Moe's tail as she spoke.

We had planned to keep Moe indoors for two weeks after our move to ensure that he knew where 'home' was. We didn't want our special and sweet teddybear of a cat to go missing. After a week of Moe's pleading, however, we succumbed to his requests for some outside air. He stuck close to home but rolled around in the fresh grass as if he was expressing his extreme pleasure in the luxuriousness of its' lush green carpet. After that he came and went as if he had always lived here.
One morning last week, as the plumber and contractor came and went I noticed that Moe was looking a bit nervous with all the activity involved with all the new bodies in our house. He stuck close to the ground and ran in short bursts from corner to corner of the room with a wary look in his eye.
That was the last time I saw him. Heartbroken, the kids and I made ads pleading for Moe's safe return. Liv wrote her own posters and I went from door to door asking our new neighbours if they had glimpsed "Mohito Meow Mein".
Days passed and no Moe. I started to brace myself for the worse and worried as I made my rounds yet again to the ditches on our street that I would find his little body mingled with the mud and weeds found there.
Three days later as I sat on the toilet (Sorry for too-much-info there) in my nightly preparations for bed long after the kids had fallen asleep, I thought I heard a slight "mew". Listening more intently, I realized that it was coming from the wall beside me. Staring in disbelief at the drywall between the bathtub and toilet the contractor had repaired three days previously it dawned on me. Moe is in the wall!!!!!
I ran to the garage to arm myself with some tools all the while loudly reassuring poor, entombed Moe that it was going to be okay. I ripped that wall apart, pulled out a pile of insulation, and to my joy and amazement two little golden/green eyes stared back at me.
An extremely grateful Moe devoured his food and lapped up water for an amount of time I would have thought abnormal if the situation had not been so far from normal.
Although he was so dehydrated even his little puckered bum-hole was even dried out and flaky (again, too-much-info - Sorry), he has fully recovered after his under the bathtub burial and he doesn't even seem to hold any ill feelings toward the bathroom.
Our sweet little, Moe-lasses! We love him to bits and pieces!

Friday, June 25, 2010

apples and oranges

Although apples and oranges are both fruit, they taste, smell and feel different. They are both round. They are both sweet. But one is crispy and succulent and the other is juicy and zesty. Some similarities but you would never mistake one for the other.
When attempting to understand another person's circumstance we often seek out seemingly similar situations that have occurred in our lives or the lives of those close to us in an effort to empathise and comprehend the feelings of others. These attempts are most often an effort to offer solace and comraderie to the speaker of said issues.
As with most people, I have had this occur so very many times....and these kindly meant comparisons have increased in abundance exponentially since Jeff died.
I have had people liken the loss of my husband to the loss of their cat, the death of their grandfather when they were three and most often, a divorce in their family.
As a child of divorce and as a generally empathetic person, I can certainly see some very pronounced similarities. But I would never go so far as to say that I fully understand how a divorced person feels.....or that someone who has experienced the break-up of a family from divorce completely 'gets' the loss of a spouse to death.
I have to admit that at times, this comparison gets my hackles up. I feel angered at the thought that my loss is at all.....chosen.
I realize that often people do not want to get divorced. I can see that no one sets out when getting married with the idea that they will also get divorced....and that in someways, we should be more prepared for the death of our other half (because death always does eventually happen) than the separation of spouses.
But in Jeff and my situation -death, no one CHOSE to leave the other. It was, essentially out of our hands.
There was no lead up. No warning. Yes, Jeff wasn't feeling well for a couple of weeks before his death. But neither of us suspected that his lack of zest would result in the loss of his life.
Yes, like a divorced single parent, I do my parenting alone. But I do it alone everyday. There is no one else to consult (which at times I am sure is a real blessing) and no one else to send the kids to on a regular basis...or even an irregular basis. The kids have me to watch their extracurricular activities. Just me. There is no one else to cheer them on (or to glare at me from across the field). There is no one else who loves them as much as only a parent can (although I am aware that in some unfortunate situations, even an alive parent does not provide this unconditional love for the little ones either).
Fortunately, I never have to see the love of my life with some other woman's hand in his. I know he died loving me. I do think that having someone I love tell me that they no longer cared for me would tear my heart into tiny smithereens. When I see Jeff's expressions staring back at me from my little one's faces, it is a joyous moment - he still exists in them....and I am sure that at times this must be a difficult experience when you dislike or have been hurt by the other parent of your child intensely.
Although in divorce, you watch your marriage 'die', you do not watch as someone you love dies. Yes, metaphorically it is very similar. In 'real life', it is grossly different. Different pain, different sadnesses....different phobias.
As with many divorcees, I am lonely often. Bone-achingly lonely. I still wish that our lives had turned out differently. I worry for my children and wonder how this loss will affect their lives in the coming years.
But I have the luxury of loving my dead husband. And you have the luxury of hating your live one.

**I do so hope that this entry does not offend anyone or their feelings regarding death and divorce. I have been musing over it for quite sometime and just felt it pour out....**

Friday, June 18, 2010

the impending father's day

It's actually 3:28 a.m. as I write this. Unpacking from our move and working at the clinic have kept me so busy that I haven't spent any amount of time ruminating about what thought of loss has most taken up my mind this week.
But as I've driven to work, opened boxes of photo albums and placed Jeff's dresser in the corner of the room, the thought of the impending "Father's Day" has popped into my head briefly and painfully.
I have come to fear this day for my kids. I worry that they'll begin to notice other 'normal' families out for Father's Day breakfast. That the flyers in the mail advertising copious amounts of tools for the other kid's dad will highlight their lack of an alive one. That the ties or other seemingly useless items that kids make to mark the day that they celebrate their dad will cast little shadows on my little one's hearts.
On Sunday, you'll find me at work. My kids will be babysat until I return to them. There will be no special brunch, fancy formal wear accessories or tool belts to give to Jeff to mark what a kind, funny or loving daddy he was.
So in the afternoon, the kids and I will practise our own father's day tradition. We'll head to the beach with helium balloons clutched in hand, tiny folded notes tied into the strings and send Jeff the father's day messages we wish we could hand over with a huge and mushy hug.
I hope he'll get them. I hope he will know that we remember what a fabulous daddy he was and will never forget his part in making our lives as special as they were...and are.
Thank you, my Jeffrey, for our little ones. Thank you for your giant love. We love you right back. Happy Father's Day, my love.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the new digs

We're finally in the new house...every night. The shower is fixed. The beds are in their permanent positions and the playroom is festooned with all its' miniture household items.
I have been unpacking like a crazy person. I am determined to have the house functioning in an efficient manner before I go crazy. I dislike the temporary and chaotic feel a house has until all the garbage cans, towels and books have their spots. I like to know where the scissors live so that when I need them, they are where they should be. Finding them wedged between the wall and a cardboard box just doesn't do it for me.
Anyhow, the house is getting a more 'homey' feeling and I am feel less panicked.
I have started my new job and am really enjoying it. I am working in a doctor's office as an M.O.A. (medical office assistant). My favourite parts are smiling at the little ones who come in a bit fearful and hopefully making their visit a little less scary. I find that if I tell them about my kids, they seem to trust me more....and I LOVE doing urine tests. I never thought I would love doing something that had to do with someone else's bodily secretions....but it's really COOL!
I am enjoying learning and am finding that I sleep better knowing that I'll be able to buy groceries without having to do the financial juggling act I usually have to.
I don't like being away from the kids....but I love getting home and telling them about all the new things I've learned.
The chickens and ducks don't have a permanent housing arrangement yet as we still have to get a fence up in the backyard. So far it's only deer netting that is keeping them somewhat contained.
We've walked to the beach a few times and collected so many salmon berries that Liv has taken to making 'jam' for on her toast.
I haven't yet had a moment to complete my assignments for the organic master gardner course that I finished....but I am hoping to have them done in the next few weeks.
Liv is LOVING the backyard, the deer that meander through, the GIANT mushrooms to look at in the woods and looking into the stream.
Briar is enjoying riding his bike up and down the driveway, spraying the garden hose on anything and everything and cuddling with the chickens (as always).
I think we're going to like it here. I think we're home.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood (Trailer)

getting my voice

We’ve moved. Our stuff is in the new house…..but the house isn’t finished. The shower doesn’t work and two of the rooms remain incomplete. Although the garbage and previous tenants belongings have finally been removed, we haven’t been able to unpack our stuff and claim the house as ours. We have been staying with friends until it is safe and comfortable to stay here with the kids.

I’ve felt angry, frustrated and without ‘roots‘. Unsure what to do and how to express my disappointment, I remained quiet initially. This was Jeff’s department. He was the vocal advocate for our family.

One of the lessons that I’m trying to teach myself in the wake of Jeff’s death is the ability to voice my concerns and to act as the proponent for our family. It’s hard. I feel like a ‘bitch’ if I express my displeasure. I also agonize over the thought that they may not take me seriously. (Jeff used to say I was about as terrifying as a ‘hissing kitten’ when I got angry.) I worry that others are hurt or angered by the voicing of our family’s needs or expectations….but there is no one else to do it. No one else to turn to. If I expect to have my concerns heard, I need to say them out loud to someone who can make a difference.

So although I felt like vomiting at the thought of possibly causing discord, I spoke to the landlord. I expressed my worries and the concerns for my children’s safety amidst the broken glass that littered the property. I spoke about the need to have a working bath for the cleanliness of my kiddos. I told them that I hoped I would not be charged the full amount of our rent for this month…..and I didn’t cry. They didn’t cry. No one got angry or yelled. It was amazing! I stood up for us and I did it without Jeff. I know he’s looking down at me and smiling. “That’s my girl!!”

Friday, June 04, 2010

moving day

Photo from arttherapyblog

In times of stress and unease, I occasionally look for quotes to use as a mantra to repeat when necessary.
So tomorrow as we move from the house that we shared with my beloved best friend/husband/father of our little ones, I will be repeating yet another appropriate phrase in the hopes of easing the fear, sadness and sense of loss that this change is bringing....along with its' intrigue, curiousity and excitement:

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." ~Anatole France