Hi Babe -
I decided that I need a break from grief. I can't deal with my life anymore. I'm done grieving. I'm done processing. I'm done reflecting. I'm done living in pain. I'm done crying. I'm done trying to find some sort of meaning to all of this. Maybe there's nothing more than just this. I wish I can say I ran out of tears, but I haven't. I just don't want to feel anything anymore. I'm just numb to it all. I refuse to let myself process anything right now. I've reached the point where the levee has broken and the water is rushing out and I can't stop it anymore.
I'm so mad and angry with you right now. I can't believe you left me and you're not here to support me through yet another dark period in my life. You were supposed to be the anchor that held me steady when the storm is raging around me. The storm that is raging around me right now is a category 5 and you're nowhere to be found. I'm so mad that I can't even believe you didn't finish your laundry before you died. You could have at least finished all your laundry before you decided to drop dead on me!! It would have been one less thing for me to do and deal with after you passed.
So, I've decided that being angry with you is very unbecoming of me so I rather just not deal with grief or pain right now. I just need a break from everything. So, I've decided to put all my pain and grief for you and my grandma inside of shoe box and store on the top shelf of our bedroom closet until I'm ready to pull it out and confront it and deal with it. As for now, it's all going into storage until I have the emotional strength or bandwidth to deal with it. For right now, I will try to focus on living and finding who I am now without you and without my grandma.
I don't want to get lost again....
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written. It’s been a rough few weeks and it’s been really hard to process how I’m feeling between family drama, grief, and having to relive your death like it was the first month-- my emotions are on overdrive. A ramification of seeing extended family for the first time since you passed is that everybody is rushing to offer condolences, advice, and “words of wisdom and comfort” to help console me during my new status as a widow, which feels like I’m reliving the pain and grief of losing you all over again while I’m struggling to deal with “my grandma is dying.” And it doesn’t help that I feel like I have to shut-down all emotions in order to “deal” with my family because that is the only way I know how to deal with my family. It’s a good thing I’m great at compartmentalizing, but I know at some point it will all just hit me like an avalanche. So, until then, I’ll just continue to proceed with business as usual.
Okay, so what's my point, right? I know that's what you're asking?! Anyways, so, what I’m trying to say is, I just don’t know how I’m feeling. I just feel blah! Like I have no feelings or emotions whatsoever at this moment in time. I think I’m also scared to really let myself feel the pain and grief of my grandma’s passing because there will be no one to pull me out of whatever hole or deep, dark abyss I fall into. So, instead of feeling, all I’ve been doing is moving forward. I feel like I’ve made so much progress on my grief journey since you passed, that I just can’t let myself go there again. I don’t want to go back there again. I refuse to go there again. It’s too hard and painful. I’m not sure I will be able to make it out alive this time. I don’t have a village waiting around to support me this time. I’m on my own now, so I have to pull myself together and out of whatever hole I fall into. So, it’s best to not go down any hole or deep, dark abyss. I’m already hanging on by a very thin piece of thread, I don’t think my sanity can handle anything else. I just feel so alone. You’re my rock; my north star. The person that’s supposed to get me through this (at least that was the plan), but now you aren’t here. I have no anchor to hold me steady when the storm is raging around me, and no north star to guide me home. I’m afraid if I let myself go, I will drift aimlessly and endlessly at sea, lose all my bearings, and not know how to get home. I’ll be lost at sea and nobody will even know to look for me. So, now that all I have is myself to get me through this, I’m managing the only way I know how, and that’s to just keep moving, even if at times, it feels like I’m going in circles and going nowhere.
Well, I think I’m at the stage where I’ve turned off all emotions, and I've been keeping busy and distracted by planning my grandma’s funeral, so I don’t have time to feel anything until I can get through my grandmother's funeral services. As you know, my family shows no emotions or any signs of weakness under any circumstances. Remember, it’s survival of the fittest in my family, and any signs of weakness will be used against you!! (Okay, it’s not that bad, but I do have to be on guard to deal with the baby auntie since she has crosshairs on my back!!) But whenever I go home, it’s really hard to feel anything since I have to compartmentalize and be “stoically strong” to survive my family.
Anyways, I’ve also thought my grandma’s passing would be completely devastating and that I wouldn’t be able to get over it. That losing my grandmother would be the hardest thing I will ever have to endure. She’s more than just a grandmother to me, she’s like my mom! She lives with my parents, and she’s raised me since I was born. She even risked her life by picking what I call “baby bananas” (they’re miniature bananas that grows in Southeast Asia) in her own fields during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, so I wouldn’t starve since my mom couldn’t produce enough milk to breastfeed me (yup, starvation does make it hard to produce sufficient milk to breastfeed your newborn child when you can barely sustain yourself!! Sometimes, I wonder how my mom even had enough nutrients and nourishments to sustain the pregnancy to even birth me during the war and starvation my family endured under the Khmer Rouge regime.) If she got caught, my grandma would have been killed by the Khmer Rouge soldiers. Honestly, my family and I were lucky to even be alive with all the craziness and genocide that was going on during that time. At the end of First They Killed My Father, which is a good depiction of the hardship and trauma my family went through during the “Killing Fields” under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, there was a scene where a woman gives birth to a baby, and I said out loud, “Who the heck has a baby during this turmoil and craziness!!” Then I realized, “Oh crap!! My parents did!!" I was literally one of the many newborn babies from that scene.
But now, after my grandma passed, it just feels bittersweet. Knowing that she will no longer suffer and be in pain, makes my heart feel light. But whenever I feel sadness, I can’t tell if I’m sad and grieving for her or if I’m sad because I’m going through this grief process and journey alone, without you by my side supporting me. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve been cheated since I can’t feel the depth of my pain and grief for my grandma since this is such an easier pill to swallow than than my 49 year old husband’s untimely and unnatural death.
Grandma is with you in heaven now, can you please help take care of her for us? Make sure you greet her with your sunglasses on, give her that charming smile and boisterous laughter of yours, and don't forget to kiss her on the cheek (you know how she loves that and giggles like a schoolgirl whenever you do that!!) Remember how she had a dream that a black man wearing sunglasses kissed her on the cheek before she even met you?! She told Auntie PY about the dream, AL overhead it and told my sister, who in turn told me about it? (Yes, it’s always so roundabout and a game of telephone with my family!! They can never be direct about anything!!) We were like, “OH WOW!! She has a sixth sense and just foretold her future!!” since we were planning to have you “come out of the closet” soon!! Don’t forget to show her around heaven and ask her to introduce you to my great grandma! You will love her also. You call her A’Bah! I think you’re supposed to meet her because ever since you passed, I mainly dream about you and her. Now, I wonder if I will start dreaming about my grandma!
Anyways, as you know, I come from a long line of strong, courageous, and prideful women (can’t really tell you if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m sure it’s a double edged sword most of the time). I inherited my strength and tenacity for a “good fight” from my grandmother and my calm, cool, and rational demeanor from my great grandmother.
Honestly, I have no clue how I'm feeling right now. I don't think it's quite hit me yet. I feel my emotions bubbling around, but isn't quite ready to boil over and spill out yet. As you know, it’s been a long, arduous, and bittersweet journey for my family and I. Grandma has been sick for awhile now, and I’ve been advocating for hospice care for about a year. Even after her stroke, the fight for hospice care seemed futile. Since I've arrived in So Cal about two weeks ago, I started building my army of ‘advocates’ to fight for my 'cause.' I even talked to grandpa and told him we needed to help grandma find peace and acceptance and not more hospitals. I said, "Every time I look at grandma, my heart breaks because I know her soul is fighting to escape her feabile body, and it’s time we stop being selfish and finally ‘let her go.’" All of last week felt like a chess game between my aunt PY and me. But, I’m glad that at the end of the day, she decided that hospice care was the right path for my grandmother. (I’m glad she decided it for herself, and I didn’t have to ‘usurp’ her, because that would have ended really bad!! Hopefully, she doesn’t read this blog, or else I’ll have a reckoning waiting for me when I see her again!!) I don’t know what the doctor said to Aunt PY that made her change her mind about hospice care, but whatever it was, we are completely indebted to him. We were able to bring my grandma home, say our goodbyes, and perform 4 days of prayers, chantings, and blessings with the monks. The family felt the prayers, chantings, and blessings helped eased my grandmother’s anxiety and fear of death, while it also helped her find peace and acceptance, so she could finally let go of this temporal world and transition to the next part of her spiritual journey.
After my grandmother passed, my aunt CY called and said, “There’s two big, white butterflies flying around in the backyard. (which is very rare in So Cal) It’s grandma telling us she’s okay!!” And I added, “The second butterfly must be great grandma because she told me she was coming to pick up grandma in a dream I had a year or so ago!!” Last year, before grandma had her first big health scare and ended up ICU, I had a dream about my great grandma! I saw her about to walk through the front gate of my parent's house, and I yelled from across the front yard, “A’Bah, what are you doing?” She said, “I’m here to pick up your grandma!” Then, I abruptly woke me up! Shortly after, my grandma went into the ICU and I remember sitting in the ICU room with my aunt CY and telling her about the dream. I thought that time was the end for my grandma. She was really sick and we weren’t sure if she was going to pull through or not, but she did because she’s a fighter!! During that hospital visit, the attending doctor that saved her life ended up being an old friend from high school who I hadn’t talked to since graduation. He was my messenger. He told me we were walking up a slippery slope with my grandma’s care. He also made me realize that I had to put aside my own pain and grief of potentially losing my grandma, so I could advocate and be her voice for ‘quality of life’ instead of ‘quantity of life’, especially at the end when she no longer had a voice. It took a year, and a lot of failed missions and battles lost, but at the end of the day, the war was won, and my grandma found peace and acceptance. Her body can rest, and her soul can be free.
I love you A’ma! Please come and visit me in my dreams often!
So, I’ve literally shut-down in order to deal and cope with being home and dealing with all the drama surrounding my grandma’s care. This has been an interesting journey, one that I’ve been on for a year now. Somehow, I always thought it would be more devastating, but I don’t know if it’s because I’ve already been to hell and back or if I’m just so amazing at compartmentalizing to the point that I’ve been able to shut-off every ounce of emotion I have to get through this experience. Although I’ve had my moments here and there when I’m alone, but essentially, I feel nothing. I’m all business and pushing my agenda with the family to get them to make the “right” decision for my grandmother. But really, there’s no “right” decision in this instance. It’s all bad, and it all sucks! No outcome is good, but what the doctor said was, “Ask yourself how you will look back on this decision 5-10 years from now. Will you be okay with the decision make now or will you regret it?” That was a good way to phrase it. Sometimes, we don’t look at how our decisions will affect us in the future. We tend to make decisions in a vacuum and only look at the consequences and ramifications in the here and now and not in the longer term. I will never be able to live with myself if I don’t wholeheartedly advocate and support comfort-care / hospice for my grandmother. She’s in so much pain and it’s so hard to see her barely lucid and confined to a bed with all sorts of tubes coming out of her body. She can’t see or talk anymore and we don’t even know if she can hear us either. Sometimes she can hear us, while other times, she cannot. The family is divided on her care and everybody has an opinion. She has expressed that she wants to live at cost, but at what cost is she really willing to live in? Now that she can’t talk, we can’t really know if she still really wants to live at all cost. She is illiterate, so it’s not like she can write anything on a piece of paper to tell us what she wants either. Sometimes, we don’t even know if she can hear us or is cognizant. At times, she’s trying to talk but nothing comes out and she grows frustrated. But, one thing I know for sure is that she is in pain, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Anytime she is alert and aware, she is in tears. The tears well around her eyes and she looks so scared and frightened. Everytime I look at her, all I see is pain, frustration, fear, and sadness. It’s like her soul is trying to escape her body. It’s like her soul is banging on the door to be let out of her body. I want whatever decision brings my grandmother peace in her last days, and I can’t accept that she is at peace in her current situation when all she does is cry and looks so scared, like she is trapped inside her own body. Although I spend all day with her at the hospital, it’s hard to sit by her bedside for long periods of time. On Wednesday, when I went to hold her hand and tell her I was leaving to go back to my parents house, I completely lost it and was sobbing hysterically over her body. I had gone to the bathroom earlier, and I could feel all the emotions rushing in, but I was able to fight it back. But when I went to say goodbye for the day, it all came rushing out of me like the water rushing out when the dam breaks.
I’ve seen death in two of the most extreme forms in the last year. My grandmother has been deteriorating in the slowest and most painful way possible while you went so quickly that I didn’t even have time to grab our life before it shattered right in front of my face. In my grandmother’s instance, I felt like I’ve been saying goodbye to her for almost a year now while I never got to say goodbye to you at all. Let me tell you that both ways suck. Each with their own pros and cons, but both SUCK no matter how you cut it!! I always thought you would be here to help me get through this grief and pain of my grandmother, but you’ve been missing for two of the most darkest periods in my life. I can get mad at you for not being here to support me and carry me through the fire, but at the end of the day, the only person I would hurt with all this anger is myself. And, as you know, that would be very unbecoming of me.
It also occurred to me the other day that you’ve been carrying me through the fire whenever I can’t get through myself. (You know how much it pains me to admit that right?! That I, Ms. Independent, actually needed you for something!!) But, most of the time when you’re carrying me through the fire, I’m usually kicking and screaming and telling you that I don’t need your help. But, of course you know me better than I know myself, so you pick me up anyways even when I fight you all the way through. You let me kick and scream in your arms as you are fighting me and the fire all at the same time! I know, I make it so hard for you at times (okay, most of the time)!!! How do you even put up with me for over 14 years and still love me to no depth!!
Grandma had a stroke! I’ve been in the OC since Sunday. Been spending my days in the hospital with her. It’s been very hard and difficult to watch her this time. The stroke affected the left side of her brain which affects analytical thought, logic, speech, organizational skills, and a slew of other important functions. She is paralyzed on the right side and is unable to speak. It’s like watching someone trapped in their body trying to get out. She goes in and out of alertness and consciousness. At times, we can’t tell if she is asleep or awake. Everytime she is alert, she is in tears and is grasping our hands tightly. I can only assume her tears are filled with fear, frustration, sadness, yearning, hopelessness, and helplessness. She can’t even tell us what she wants or needs anymore. She is also on a feeding tube since she can’t swallow, so technically, she is kept alive with a machine right now. I’ve tried advocating for hospice care for almost a year now, but somehow quality of life hasn’t prevailed over quantity of life at this moment. My grandma needs help easing her pain and fear of dying, not more hospital visits and tubes being inserted into her to prolong her suffering. She needs help finding peace, so she can transition to the next part of her journey. Since my voice and advocacy has proven futile, I’ve decided to go home. How can you make anyone see something they cannot see?! It's literally impossible. Ultimately, I've decided that this is not my battle nor do I have the emotional strength or fortitude to sit and watch my grandma's soul struggling to get out of her body. It looks like that scene from the Exorcist where the lady writes "Help Me" on her stomach. I was never able to get pass that scene in the Exorcist and it was the first 15 minutes of the movie. I've decided that I can no longer sit back and watch the trainwreck that is about to happen. I’ve said my goodbye to her today, and I’ve accepted that this is my grandma’s and aunt’s journey now. They are on the only passengers remaining on the bus while everybody else has gotten off, and their fates and destinies are intertwined; it’s between them and the universe now, and whomever’s will is the strongest will prevail.
I'm a survivor...
Six months Babe! I can’t believe it’s been six months since you passed. I’ve been reflecting back on my journey so far and I can’t even imagine I am where I am now. Bewildered and dumbfounded that you even left this world and that I am even sane and functioning after it happened. Both possibility and outcome were completely unimaginable and unfathomable before January 7th.
After you passed, I remember running through the entire day and weeks after your death over and over in my head. It was on repeat in my mind like I was binge watching some tragic horror movie, and not my life. I couldn’t even believe this was really happening to me as I was living each day of it. I mean, doesn’t this kind of thing only happen in the movies? Even now, there are days where all I see are flashbacks of certain events and moments of your passing that constantly replay over and over in my head. No matter how hard I try to eradicate all these traumatic memories out of my head, they refuse to leave my mind and continue to resurface over and over again. I continue to walk down the valley, thinking it can’t get any deeper or darker than where I am, but I’m always amazed at how deep and dark it can really go.
Today, when I woke up, I was in a really bad place. I just felt so stuck and defeated. Like I’m trapped in the middle room; imprisoned and unable to break free. Did I tell you?! The middle room is like grief purgatory! You know you can’t go back, but you can’t find the strength or courage to go forward either. So, you're just stuck!! Stuck in the middle room, and you can't get out!! You're standing at the threshold and looking out at your salvation. You can see the clear, blue skies above and the lush green grass and vegetation before you. You can feel the sun’s rays hitting your face. You can hear the birds chirping. You know that your life would be so much better than where you are now if you can take that first step over the threshold. You know you want to step outside into the world where it’s sunshine and rainbows, but you can’t, even though it’s luring and pulling you over. You want to cross over the threshold, and you know it will be better than where you are now, but all you want to do is run back in time as quickly as possible. You want to run back and make time stand still and never move forward to January 7th. Even though you know that life doesn’t exist anymore nor can it ever be again, you can’t help but always hope for it to come back to you. I’d give up anything for one more moment of that life. Hence, the feeling of being stuck, defeated, hopeless, and frustrated with myself when I woke up this morning. I felt like I was knee deep in the “muck” and couldn’t get out; like I was being trapped in quicksand. The more I struggled, the deeper I sank, making it harder to break-free. It feels like you’re dying a very slow and painful death by suffocation.
So, as a way to cope through this emotional “episode,” I decided to start writing, but a few sentences in, I decided I wasn’t going to let fear be my boundary any longer. I need to find my voice and speak my truth. I had been wanting to make a statement on facebook about your passing, since I never said anything publicly on Facebook, and there were still a lot of people who didn’t know you had passed. The only thing I did after you passed was changed my profile photo to the last photo we took together, but I didn’t say anything. I just replaced the profile photo, and at that moment, that was enough for me. I was fine to suffer in silence. I didn’t need anybody to know my pain nor did I need anybody to feel sorry for me either. Then about 5 months after you passed, I started to feel like I needed to make a formal and official statement so everybody was on the same page. I didn’t know who knew and who didn’t. I guess it was my way of making sure I leveled the playing field. So, I told myself, I was going to post something for your birthday, but as your birthday approached, I couldn’t find the energy or courage to do say anything. So it came and went like any other day. After your birthday party, I decided I was ready, and I would say something on your 6-month deathversary. I wanted to tell our story from the beginning and lead up to the tragic ending. So, a week or so before your 6-month deathversary, I posted my favorite photo of us when we first met in 2003. Then a few days later, I posted a photo from our wedding (which is the only photo from our wedding that was ever posted on social media)!! But, as your 6-month deathversary got closer, I got cold feet and couldn’t do it, so I aborted mission. I just wasn’t ready to publicly acknowledge in an open forum that you left this earth forever. I can barely believe it myself, so how can I convince a couple hundred people of something I can barely believe myself?! Also, it was completely out of character for me to share something that intimate and private on FB. So, I decided this wasn’t a ‘rip the band-aid off and jump off the cliff’ kind of moment. But, I ended up watching a video of Eileen Huang, a spoken word poet. She was in high school, and she used her voice to speak her truth against gun violence in our country. She was so brave and eloquent. Then I watched another video of a high school student who was calling for stronger gun control after the Parkland shooting. Then there were all these videos of undocumented immigrants who weren’t afraid to share their painful stories of family separation in the “Keep Families Together” movement, and I thought myself, how amazing it is to find your voice and the courage and strength to speak your truth and tell your story. So, I somehow found the courage to finally write a post about your passing for FB. I also realized that the person who didn’t feel comfortable sharing such intimate and private details of her life on FB was no longer me. She isn’t here anymore. Whoever is standing in her shoes right now is a person who’s still evolving and trying to find out who she is. She is a work in progress and needs to step outside of her comfort zone if she is going to survive this tragic journey she is on. Once I decided to write about your passing on FB, the words just flowed out of me like they were waiting to finally break free. I was finally able to stop crying after I posted the comment on FB. It was like I finally found my voice and the warrior within me to push the envelope and break through the barrier of fear that was holding me captive. I finally found my voice and the courage to speak my truth and tell my story. I was finally able to break free of the shackles that were imprisoning and holding me back. But, I know there’s still a lot of work to be done before I can even take the first step through the threshold towards a life without you, and this is the first small baby step towards the right direction. I have to continue finding my voice, speaking my truth, and owning my story if I want to survive this tragedy. I have to start owning my story if I want to become the person I want to be--a survivor.
And if you're curious, below is what I posted on FB:
On January 7, I lost the love of my life and partner for over 14 years without any warning or notice. In about twenty minutes, my entire world shattered and turned upside down. Six months later, it’s still hard for me to own my story and accept my fate. But, I refuse to be bounded by fear, I am determined to find my voice and own my story.
He was my rock, the anchor that held me steady, the calm when the storm is raging around me. He is usually the person that gets me through these kind of situations, and now, in my darkest hours, he is not here to get me through the most difficult period in my life. But, I know that his love and strength will continue to carry me through while I’m learning how to “dance in the rain” until the storm passes, and I can see the rainbows again.
A few weeks before he passed, I asked him “How much do you love me today?” He responded with, “You can’t measure the depth of my love for you.” I started to laugh and said, “What the heck are you talking about? Of course you can. You do it all the time!!” Generally, whenever I ask him this question, which I ask often, he usually uses his hands and arms to indicate the barometer of his love for me. Some days, his arms were as wide as he can stretch them while other days, it was just an inch. So, this was the oddest response to a question I’ve asked him for over a decade. Of all the memories we’ve shared through the years, this one stands out the most since it felt like the universe was giving us the goodbye we needed to get through such a tragic event, since it knew we would not have the opportunity to say goodbye on the day he passed.
Without knowing it, this is the last photo we will ever take together. We were supposed to grow old together, but the universe had other plans for us.
I love you, Babe! You’ll always and forever capture and 'bewitch" my heart and soul.
You know what I got in the mail today? Some random realtor sent me a letter to express her condolences on your passing (she even listed you by your full name), and to tell me that she can assist me in selling our home since she specializes in estate sales. You know, just in case I needed money to pay taxes, outstanding liabilities, or legitimate heirs. So, I guess the surviving wife who currently resides in the home with her five fur babies must not be the legitimate heir! She goes on to say that she doesn't know my particular situation, but she is prepared to do what is best for me and the estate!! SERIOUSLY?! How about not sending that letter at all, that’s what’s best for me and the estate!! I was so annoyed that I read ⅓ of the letter and threw it away in a fury. She also included pamphlets for stats on houses around our hood and a checklist of stuff I should do to get the house ready for sale. And that she also specializes in "as is" home sales! I'm like WTF is wrong with this lady!! It’s like the vultures are swarming overhead, waiting to eat your flesh off. This letter reminded me of another letter I got a couple of weeks ago about taking a loan out against your estate until I finalize probate. They said probate can take up to a year or more, so if I needed money to pay bills, they can give me a loan against your estate while I’m going through probate. When I got that letter, I thought to myself, there’s such a thing? Take a loan out against your dead loved one’s estate while you are waiting for probate? Like there’s actually a business for that!? I wonder what the interest rate would be on that type of loan?! Probably 30% interest or something crazy like that! It’s like selling your soul to the devil so you can pay the electricity bills. I thought having to wait 3 months for your autopsy findings and another 6 weeks to get the autopsy report was absurd, but I think these two letters takes the cake for most absurd. It’s almost predatory in my mind! It’s like taking advantage of the weak and feeble while they are languishing in their darkest hours. But the fact that they exist means that there’s a need for them, or else they wouldn’t exist! Which also pains me to know that some people are forced to use these type of services to just keep the roof over their head and food on their table when a loved one dies. It’s like selling your soul to the devil while you're going through the darkest hours of your life just so you can sleep in your bed and eat. Can it get any worse?! I guess only time will tell what other type of absurd letters I will be getting in the mail to constantly remind me that my husband died and what crazy resources are available for me to sell my soul to so I can continue to put a roof over my head and food on the table because you died!!! I think this is definitely worse than google giving me ¯\_(ツ)_/ as a search result!
UPDATE: ugh, I was so mad that I decided to write the realtor a scathing email after I posted my blog entry today, which says the following:
I got your letter regarding your offer of condolences that my husband passed and that you would be interested in selling our house so I can pay taxes, outstanding liabilities, or legitimate heirs. I find your letter very insensitive and disturbing. Please never ever contact me again.
Your letter is very predatory and insensitive. If I ever decide to sell my house, I will never ever use you.
Please grow a heart before you send other grieving widows(ers) this type of letter again!
UGH, I know what you're thinking, she's just trying to get her hustle on, but at my expense!! NO F'IN WAY!!!
It’s that time again to take a pulse on how I’ve progressed through this journey. The last time I did this was on March 25. Let’s see how I’ve evolved over the last six months (almost) after you passed. Comments from March are in red. New comments from today are in blue: (ha! without realizing it, the red and blue color combo is perfect for today!! Happy 4th of July babe! Remember, we couldn’t wait to see the fireworks from the house last year?! We said we would throw a 4th of July BBQ if the fireworks were spectacular from the house?! **SIGH** just another reminder of an unfilled plan!)
nothing’s changed here!
I will never wake up from this nightmare. This is my life now, my story, whether I like it not. I didn’t have a choice in the matter, but I have choices on how I choose to move forward, continue living, and celebrating our story and your life. I will take it slow and one step at a time. I’m learning to be patient and forgiving of myself, I will fall and I will move backward, but the goal is to always find the warrior inside of me, so I can continue to pick myself up and fight. I’ve also come to learn that strength and vulnerability are intertwined and that’s the beauty of life’s dualities. I have to always remember that “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
see above comment
Earth 1 doesn’t exist anymore. Earth 2 is my only reality now, and I’m learning how to adjust in this new world. Even though I know that only Earth 2 exist, I can’t help but always look back and yearn for life in Earth 1 again. Even when I’m forging forward and trying to figure who I am and where I want to go in Earth 2, all I really want is you and life in Earth 1 back. Every part of me knows that it’s impossible, but that hasn’t stopped me to still want and yearn for it everyday.
see comment above
There were many things I could have done differently to save you, and I could have pushed you harder, but at the end of the day, I know that you will always be you and there’s nothing I could have done differently that would change your fate. The only person that could have changed your fate was you, and you decided that you knew better than the signs your body was telling you. So, you paid the ultimate price. I can be mad and angry at you (which I think I am in some small way deep down inside), but ultimately it changes nothing but makes me an angry and bitter person. And I rather not be an angry and bitter person, it would just be very unbecoming of me, you know what I mean?!
See above comment
This is how our story ends, Babe! I thought I had to write a few more chapters before it really ended and leave our life behind and start a new one by myself, but what I’ve come to realize is that our story ended, but your presence and memory will never die or end in some chapter of my story, you will always and forever be a part of my story and my life. I just need to figure out what that means and looks like as I progressed through the rest of my journey and story. I’m fairly certain our relationship will never end. It will always continue to evolve and forever be a work in progress until the day I die.
I can’t seem to find the strikeout feature so I can finally strike this comment out.
The pain will never end or go away. It will always reside in my heart and soul forever. It’s a part of who I am now. It’s a part of me. It’s a part of my journey and my story. The more I’ve come to accept this, the easier it’s become to love myself and be more patient and forgiving with myself. I don’t think I feel empty now, but what I do feel constantly is loneliness. It’s hard to go from having a life partner to share your entire life and world with to having nobody. Just wanting to go watch a movie or have someone to hang out with or do something with requires thought and work now. It’s not as simple as, “Hey Babe, let’s go do the movies!!” or “Hey Babe, do you want to go try that new restaurant that just opened up down the street?”
Empty - not really anymore
Numb - not really anymore
But I do feel lonely most of the time now, even when I’m in a room full of people or doing things with family and friends. What I miss is the connection we had, the laughs we shared, the looks we would give each other that require no words but we knew exactly what they means. But, nowadays, I just feel incomplete, like I’ve left a piece of my heart and soul somewhere, and I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Even without saying a word, we knew what the other person was thinking. We used to say to each other, “I know you better than you know yourself.” And the more I think about it, the more I realize how true that is. Now, when I think about having to start all over again to build what he had with someone else, it just seems so daunting.
Happy to announce I don’t feel this way anymore. I think the feeling is still there though, but it’s less pronounced and manifests as a skip in my heartbeat.
this is still ¯\_(ツ)_/. I know I’m in the ‘I’m not okay and that’s okay’ phase of this journey. I’ve also come to realize that ‘okay’ may mean something very different to me now than what it did before. I may never be okay like before, but that doesn’t mean I’m not okay. It just means my ‘I’m okay’ now looks different than before. I may not know what “I’m okay” in this new world order looks like yet, but I will die trying to figure it out.
Nothing’s changed here
I don’t think I’m going to die soon, but I still do miss you and want to see you again. But at least now that I’ve finished my estate planning, I at least know my affairs are in order and I don’t have that feeling like there are loose ends to tie.
I will never know the answer to this question. I just have to keep living each day to the fullest and be open to whatever the universe has in store for me.
Well, except for Samy, I’m making it work with the fur babies! Although they are going ‘rogue’ as you would like to call it! Hey, something’s gotta give and discipline is it when you’re a single parent of five needy, high maintenance fur babies!!!
With a lot of help and support is the only way I can manage this house (and my life) right now!
Nothing’s changed here
Nothing’s changed here
I’m more comfortable in the house now and getting used to being alone and it always being quiet. Your stuff is still here, I haven’t really done much but organized the utility room with all your tools and stuff. I tell myself I’m almost already to start going through your things, but whenever I think about it, I just lose all willpower and desire, so everything is as it was before you passed.
I’m not ready for a roommate is what I’ve come to realize unless it’s somebody I know I can get along with and live in harmony with.
Nothing’s changed here
Work is my only solace right now. It’s the only place where I feel like everything is the same and nothing has changed (maybe the only thing that has changed is me at work, but other than that, it’s business as usual!)
Nothing’s changed here
I have to start casting a wider net of people to start looking after the animals when I travel for work or pleasure! I still need to travel for work, and of course all the soul-searching spiritual journeys I want to go on, so I better starting making some new friends that can help out with the babies! I’ve even asked my dad to come up here and take care of them for an upcoming trip. You know I’m desperate if I’m asking my dad to come look after the babies! He might burn the house down or kill one of the animals!!
This hasn’t even crossed my mind. But some days, I do feel like selling everything and just roaming the planet like a nomad though!! At times, I feel so confined and constricted with life and ‘adulting.’ Why bother doing any of it when we all end up in the same place anyways. Why do we subject ourselves to this rat race?! What is it all for?! We can’t take anything with us when we die!!
The answer to this is still I hope I will figure something out sooner than later. As for right now, it’s later!!
I can breathe now, and I continue to forge forward even on days when moving forward seems futile. I’ve come to realize there are two types of widows(ers) in the world (after reading more and more articles on widowhood), those who get consumed by the void or those who continue to embrace life and take it by the horns. I’m striving to be the latter, even on days when I can’t. I just think about you and how you would never ever want me to get stuck in the void. You love me too much to want that for me and I love you too much to not keep living for the both of us.
My happiness and joy currently comes in the form of connecting with you through the blog and journaling, sharing our story and keeping your memory alive, and continuing to fulfill the plans we made together.
see comment above
This has definitely been hard. There are times where I feel like I can do it and then there are other times where I’m just overtaken by grief. All I can do is continue to put one foot in front of the other. Baby steps until I can walk and run again.
Nothing’s changed here
Nothing’s changed here
Nothing’s changed here
I think the answer to this is yes, but when I’m ready and when it feels right! I’ve started thinking about this more and more by reading articles on dating as a widow and what it’s like to be dating in your 40’s. Some of the stories and experiences being shared are funny and hopeful, while others make it seem like I’m doomed before I start!! One widow relates her re-entry to the dating scene to a NASA spaceship re-entering earth. Some live to tell about it while others crash and burn!! Daunting, right?!
So, instead of doing my performance review, which is due tomorrow, I decided to write you instead! I know, I’m such a procrastinator!! I don’t know what came over me tonight, but I was texting with EE about a trip to take at the end of the month (yes, another #nofear camping trip, you know I’m always wanting to go on a spiritual journey!! If I was footloose and fancy-free like I was in my early 20’s, you know I would already be in some far away land, trying to find myself, but since I’m almost 40 with 5 animals in tow and a mortgage to pay amongst other things, running away and leaving life behind becomes challenging, you know?! #adultingaintnocakewalk). I was also reviewing the finalized plans for the backyard from the landscape architect and solidifying my weekend plans with MP. I started to ask MP if he could help animal sit so I can go on these mini-quasi-spiritual journeys, and out of nowhere, I just started crying. Just like that, I was crying uncontrollably in the dark in the dining room with only the light from my computer and phone glaring at me. I think it all just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to run away, but I knew I couldn’t really run away or escape because ‘adulting’ got in the way. I was missing you a lot and feeling very alone when I was going over the backyard designs. It was also this realization that the backyard is the last and final item on the list of things I wanted to complete and fulfill from our life together. A life that I know doesn’t exist anymore, but somehow I can’t seem to let go of. Days before you passed, you kept bugging me about ideas for the backyard, even though I kept insisting that the backyard was the last thing on the remodel list after the bathrooms and replacing the doors and windows. But you kept saying, “I know we’re not going to do the work on the backyard soon, but we can at least talk about what we plan to do now?!” I kept saying, “Why talk about it now when we have all the time in the world to discuss it later?!” But you wouldn’t drop the subject, and you kept insisting we discuss it now (it was almost like you knew something was up and wanted to make sure I knew what your final wishes were!! Why couldn't you insist on telling me what you wanted me to do with your ashes instead?! Then I wouldn't have to sit here and figure it out on my own. **SIGH**). I think, I also felt really bad for always wanting to run away and leaving the babies behind. Whenever I leave now, they get very anxious and are extremely happy and relieved whenever I return. I think, whenever I’m gone now, they’re unsure if I will come back or not since you left and never came back. They get overly anxious and more stressed out whenever they know I'm getting ready to go somewhere. I know the babies are still grieving, and they need me to be a more present and stable force in their life right now, but how can I be that present and stable force in their life when I can barely do that for myself?! So, all the self-pitying and frustrations culminated in tears that gushed out of me uncontrollably.
It’s the internal struggle that continues to rage on inside of me. The need to always want to move forward and ‘get on with life’ while the yearning and longing for what was and wanting to live in the past keeps holding me back. It’s like each step I take forward, I’m always looking back and wanting to move backwards instead of forward. All I keep hearing in my head is this quote by an anonymous source, “Don’t look back! You’re not going that way!” But, backwards is the only way I want to go though. Forward means I have to live this life without you, and most of the time, that thought is completely unbearable. It brings me to my knees and makes me feel so hopeless and defeated, like there’s nothing left to live for. There are times when I feel like I’m almost done saying goodbye to you, but then I have a day like today, and it makes me realize that I am far from being done saying goodbye to you.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.