Monday, December 27, 2010

A Holiday Outlook

It's hard to believe we are nearing the end of another holiday season. As a child, you ache for Christmas and all that it entails. As you get older, it's less magical and more practical... you tend to ask for things you need. There is a plateau period as an adult (before having children) when the holidays merely exist. They don't hold the same magical value when you are a childless, unmarried adult and ask your parents for a new vacuum or a coffee pot, both major necessities. Although the value is depleted, often a glimpse of magic is seen through a niece or a nephew, slightly rekindling the spirit that accompanies the holiday season.

Having a child changes everything. Seeing the magic through a little one's eyes is truly priceless. Creating memories and traditions to orchestrate this special time is one parental job I would not trade for anything. I wish I could bottle the excitement or simply push a button to have it last forever. The holidays become a different kind of "special" when a child's excitement is involved.

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. As Tyler gets older, his enthusiasm for Christmas is contagious. He learned all the classic carols and relished in looking at Christmas lights. He wrote letters to Santa, decorated his own tree, and bought toys (albeit slightly unwillingly) for those underprivileged.

We also spent the holidays with someone else. Someone unique and special who has given me a new outlook on life and love. I am truly happy. We are truly happy together. All three of us.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mark Sanchez Syndrome

The Blogging World... It's a vast community that until I became an actual blogger, I had no idea existed. There are awards, groups, gurus, and different levels of blog "celebrity." I have had amazing experiences that have stemmed from writing the blog. I have made new friends, connected with old ones, won a few awards, received a job offer, and saved thousands of dollars on therapy. When I started this blog I had no idea it would turn into something that I would come to depend on so greatly. I was also clueless to the fact that people would actually want to read what I considered to be my therapeutic outlet.

Lately I feel like a fair-weathered Jets fan... (Explanation: I am only a Jets fan because of Mark Sanchez.) I really only blog when something is wrong or I am mentally struggling with a situation. When things are going well, I find I don't have much to write. As in the case right now... things are going well, really well, and that means I sit at the computer and struggle to come up with a post. Amazing that I can write two paragraphs on not having anything to write... go figure.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New School Year

I haven't written in over a month and don't really have any legitimate excuse.

School started. Which in our world begins a new year (not New Year's Day). I am sharing a contract this year, which means I only work Monday through Wednesday. It is the BEST schedule, and I can honestly say that I love every minute of it. It's truly the best of both worlds. The paycheck is the only part where an adjustment is necessary...

"What do you DO on your days off?" is a common question.

I definitely manage to keep myself busy running Tyler to and from school, while volunteering in his class, along with the mundane errands, the time seems to slip by rather quickly. I am hoping to go back to school to get my doctorate, but probably not until next year. I am also dabbling in the idea of getting my secondary credential which would enable me to teach junior high or high school. Sometimes it's not about what I do (or don't do) with the days off, but it's about the guilt that I do NOT feel when I need to do something for myself. That in itself is worth its weight in gold.

Tyler is playing soccer and loving it! I am still pulling for baseball... or golf... since I'm in search of a high payout which would support my early retirement dreams. ;) Soccer just won't cut it. David Beckham, he is not.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


September 11th is definitely a day that will stick in our minds forever. Saying, "We will never forget," seems a little cliche, yet still very accurate.

I look at this day through different glasses now. The widowhood initiation for them was sudden and tragic nine years ago. I often wonder if they ever want to STOP sharing the death anniversary of their loved one with the entire country. I know for me, that day was not one to celebrate, commemorate, or exalt. It was a day that I wanted to spend by myself... within my own thoughts. I didn't need or want other people sharing this day with me. I want to celebrate his life, not his death. I can't help but wonder if the 9/11 widows ever feel this way.

Make no mistake, I don't feel we should ever forget the death of our loved ones, just be free to handle the death anniversary in a not so public manner.

Maybe after I have nine years under my "widow belt" I will feel differently, but this year, in this moment, I feel for the widows that never get to acknowledge their spouse's death without the whole country watching.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The McHogansteins

At Camp Widow I had the chance to meet some online friends who are now real-life friends. They have proven that life exists after widowhood. Blending their families totaling five kids, they have found a happiness that is apparent to the naked eye. Mike and Irene have what I want... an understanding love. Understanding in so many ways.

First, I have to mention my strong adoration for Irene. She helped me before, during, and after Bill's death. She answered questions for me that I couldn't ask anyone else on this planet. She just recently published her story and her book will be coming soon to a bookstore near you. I will have a dedicated post about Irene and her amazing book (that I was fortunate enough to read) very soon...

This post is about Mike.

He clearly loves Irene with his whole being. He is confident and doesn't cringe at Irene's blog titled My Sainted Dead Husband, like some men would. In fact, he is well aware that Bob (the saint) is a part of their family. He respects that the life Irene and Bob shared still exists. As the live husband, Mike is not jealous of the sainted dead one. I would like to think that Mike is not anomaly and one (or two, or three...) more Mike(s) are out there willing to pursue life with a widow.

I can only imagine that there always feels like another person in their marriage... albeit a very quiet person, but a trio nonetheless. A widow's situation is not chosen. We don't have an ex worthy of complaint. In fact, quite the contrary, we have a spouse that we still love and want. Seeing that it's possible to have that level of love gave us all hope that it still exists. It's not easy, for that I am certain, but seeing Mike and Irene together was a gift.

I want to find my very own Mike.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Enter at your own risk.

If you are sensitive or take offense easily, please skip this post. It is not for the faint of heart... These are funny, sad, happy quotes (by numerous people, not necessarily by me) from Camp Widow. Some are brutally honest and some are painfully sad. There may be some that don't make sense if you haven't lost a spouse. Some might make you cringe... IF you haven't lost a spouse. There are many, MANY more, but this gives an idea of why we (the attendees) loved our weekend.
*Fellow widows - feel free to add any I missed.*

Why wouldn't he date a widow??? It's not like I killed the guy."

You are my first choice for this life.

You can't say, 'Would you rather be with...' when it will never be an option.

Death ends a life... not a relationship.

I have graduated from MILF to WILF.

It takes courage to leave the idea you once had for your life... behind.

'Ma'am, just have your husband carry it when you get home.'
'Well, that might be awhile... I don't think he's coming back.'

A 13 inch tumor??? Your tumor trumps my tumor.

I'm a DD... Since he Dropped Dead.

Widow party crashers.

I'm sorry you dropped your cell phone, and you think it's the worst thing in the world. It could be worse... your husband could have cancer... and die.

Taking out the trash was NOT supposed to be my job!

Drunk Widows Playing Bingo

Death sucks.

Widows rock.

Widowhood sucks.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I can honestly say that I miss my Camp Widow friends each and every day. Being one of many instead of the only one is a feeling that words can not describe. The weekend played a monumental role in my grief process. Although we all began the weekend in very different places; I think we all left a bit further along in our individual steps of grieving.

I truly believe I have reached a new level. Not a "high," but definitely not rock bottom, either.

Am I moving on? I'm not sure that is actually possible... but I am moving forward. I'd like to think that my emotions are leveling out, and my "sadness" is no longer echoing in the deepest hole on Earth.

I feel a bit like Goldilocks. It's not too hot, and not too cold... but just right. I feel just right with accepting that grief is a process, and I can't accelerate the outcome. There really is no finish line in this race. I will never be "over it" and I now realize (to quote Bill) that, "it is what it is," and oddly enough... I'm OK with that.