One Little Piece of Bone

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

Parker tripped off a step.

She was taking Siah out for a walk, something that fell on her shoulders far more often than mine, and Siah went the wrong way around the porch rail. Parker lost her footing and tripped off the edge of the porch.

She broke the tip of her bone, in a non weight bearing area that normally causes some pain but doesn’t even keep people off of their feet. Most people don’t even realize they broke it.

But hers never healed and 3 years ago today she went into surgery to have it removed and have some ligaments and tendons moved around so everything would heal properly.

I took some pictures and a video of her that day in the pre-surgery room.

She hated me taking her picture.

I’m kinda glad she did because it allowed me to get “the Parker look” on video.

She was still wearing the boot from surgery the day she died.

These next few weeks are a series of memories leading up to the day she died. These next few weeks are the final moments. The tension, the struggle. Things just weren’t right and I didn’t see it.

But it wasn’t my job to.

I can’t believe it’s been a full three years.

But I can’t believe it’s only been three years.

Time is a dichotomy.

I’ve felt this grief building in my gut since the beginning of the month, I knew it was coming.

But I’m not sad right now. I’m grieving for sure, but it’s not the gut punching sadness.

It’s hard to explain.

I miss her. I miss who she was and who she would be now.

I miss the Parker look when I would do something supremely unhelpful to the situation.

But I’m not sad. This isn’t that kind of grief.

I’m at peace with where life is right now.

But I also know that may change over the coming weeks as it gets closer to June 8th.

I hope she’s at peace where ever she is.

I don’t have a specific believe in an afterlife, but I don’t have a non-belief either. I know she’s somewhere even if it’s just the ashes in a box. She still exists either as matter or a soul, somewhere.

I hope she’s at peace, where ever that is.

She spent too much of her life not at peace.

One little piece of bone.

That’s all she broke.

 

 

The Duality of Mother’s Day

This is a Really Real Mother Post and also a Really Real Widow Post.

Mother’s Day is both wonderful and hard.

I’m love my role as a mother. I’ve loved every phase of motherhood even though there have been periods that were harder than others. I always found the joy in every part of my relationship with my son.

As a teen I wanted 5 kids and felt I was meant to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. I wanted to be the quintessential housewife while also having dreams of a career. Above all I knew I wanted to be a mom.

Well, I got the title of mom much earlier than I planned and by giving birth at 19 I grew up right along side my son. We were a team.

In hindsight I’m glad he was my only. It set us up to have an incredible bond.

Things just have a way of working out the way they are supposed to.

When he was eight Parker came into our lives and grew into her role as his other mother.  She was never really step mom, she was equal mom, and eventually favorite mom, a title she still holds from the grave.

While he was very much her son, she wanted to give birth to her own biological child. At one point we had a donor and we tried. I still remember the look on her face when we realized her growing health problems meant we had to stop trying. In one of her last emails before she died she talked to a friend about both, how much she loves Draven and also how much she wanted a bio child and knew it would never happen.

I’m glad she got to experience motherhood and I hate that she never got to experience it in that way.

I know it broke her heart.

Every Mother’s Day she is on my mind. I didn’t just lose a wife, I lost the only other person with whom I will ever share the title of mother.

I’ve seen lots of posts on Facebook about how wonderful mother’s day is and also how hard mother’s day is and for me, it’s both.

So today I’m quietly reflecting on memories of raising my son and sharing that job with Parker.

I hope today is a happy day for you, whether it’s because you are celebrating mother’s day or because you find some other reason to smile.

Remember, motherhood doesn’t have to be about giving birth or raising children. Motherhood can also be about nurturing your own inner child, or the kids in the neighborhood, or chosen family, or fur (or scale or feather) babies, or any number of other ways one can nurture and protect.

I feel the need to thank everyone who has been following along with these posts. I appreciate you all.

 

 

 

Love Looks Different In Death

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

I’m kinda pissed.

And maybe it’s because I’m judging myself, or I feel judged where there is none.

But I’m pissed.

A friend shared a video about a widower who visits his wife’s grave every single day, taking three buses to get there.  And the video ends with, to see true love, look no further than that couple.

I don’t visit my late wife’s ashes every day and they are in my house.

But I don’t love her any less because of that.

I don’t even wear the necklace with her ashes in it all that often anymore.

But that doesn’t mean what we had wasn’t real.

I don’t cry every day anymore.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t love her enough.

I don’t have to pay widow penance.

I don’t have to wear a black veil.

I don’t have to lovingly tend to her urn for hours every day.

I don’t have to prove that it was true love.

My anger at that video is probably irrational.  It’s a cute story, but it felt like it was saying true love needed to look like that after death.

True love can look like this too.  Parker and I were pretty damn amazing considering the life we were dealt.

We didn’t have much, but we had love.

Nothing I do, or don’t do now, can ever take that.

Forever and Always, Always and Forever

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

Sometimes it just hits me.

She’s gone forever.

Sometimes, I’m just answering a question “Who had the biggest impact on who you have become?” and I realize, she’ll never get to experience the person I am now.

Always and Forever, Forever and Always is what we used to say.  And for a long time I said we were still Always and Forever, Forever and Always, in a different sort of way.

Today it hit me that she’s also gone, Always and Forever, Forever and Always.

Sometimes, that emptiness in the pit of my stomach feels like it is infinitely deep.  Like the tears may never stop coming.

Like, as much as I changed my life for the better after she died, the hole she left behind will never close.

Yesterday I felt like maybe, I wanted to take down the shelf in the house that is still dedicated to her and I.  Today I’m glad I didn’t.  This ebb and flow of emotions.  The waves of grief and moving forward.  The desire to leave it in the past and the push of feelings into my present.

I miss her.

Right this moment I’m having a very hard time with the idea that she’s gone, forever.

I miss her touch, I miss her voice, I miss who she was, and I hate that I’ll never know who she would have been.

I hate that she’ll never experience this version of me.

I wonder what she’d think about my new love of pink.  I wonder how she’d feel about my love of unicorns and bright colors.  I wonder how she’d feel about me sharing everything on Facebook and the blog so freely.

I wonder if I’d even be doing it if she hadn’t died.

I miss her today.

I hate that she left me.

I’m happy with my present life.  I don’t want to give it up.  I wouldn’t want to make a choice and I’m glad I don’t have to.

But I can’t believe she’s gone, Always and Forever, Forever and Always.

Joy Sucking Ghost Wife

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

I’m supposed to be on cloud nine right now.

And on one hand I am (Probably my left hand, the one wearing my shiny new ring.)

On the other hand, I’m stuck in widow hell.

There is so much grief over my happiness.  Grief I didn’t expect.  And I don’t know what to do with it, where to put it, where to store it this time around.  You’d think by now, I’d be used to this.

Every major event brings with it mourning because Parker isn’t here to see it and be a part of it.

But I don’t want Parker to be a part of my engagement to Wonder Woman.

I also hate that Parker has to be dead for me to have an engagement to Wonder Woman.

And I just want to be engaged, lovingly engaged, happily engaged, without it pulling up all of these feelings about a ghost.  It’s as if I’m still afraid of hurting her even though she’s dead and gone.  But I don’t even want to be thinking about any of this, I just want to be engaged.

A woman, engaged, to her fiancee.

I don’t want to be a widow right now.  I just want to enjoy this ring on my finger.

But the more I push these emotions away, the more I push them down and the more I reject this grief, the more it will push back.

I just need to learn how to let these emotions have their space with this.  They caught me off guard with the intensity and persistence and I wasn’t prepared.  Sometimes grief comes back up at inopportune times, and I don’t really get a choice in that.

I feel guilty about it.  I feel guilty for being a widow who is now engaged, and I feel guilty for being engaged and thinking about my widowhood.

Widowing ain’t easy.

Monday Question of the Day!

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If you could convince everyone in the world to do one thing at least once, what would it be?

I would convince everyone to do a professional photo shoot.  Photos are so important and no matter how many reasons you convince yourself that you need to wait to be thinner, happier, have a better home, better reason, better clothes, more money, etc.  Just get the photos done.  I’m so glad my fiancee and I went and I really wish my late wife and I would have made the time/found the money to get a set done at least once.

TS-7_websize

Permission Slip Not Needed

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

In yesterday’s episode, I had crashed hard and pulled myself out of it enough to get dressed and go to the gym.

It worked!  Chatting with Bat Woman and bitching about all of the things while getting coffee, then blasting music through my ears while dying on the elliptical did the trick.

And on a different note . . .

I’m constantly realizing how different my relationship with Wonder Woman is.  How much healthier.  And it’s still taking some getting used to.

I leave in 24 hours for a 4 day trip to see one of my closest friends.  I’m not used to being comfortable leaving to do my own thing.  I’m not used to wanting to do my own thing.

I’m used to feeling like I need permission or guidance to do my own thing.

This time, other then checking in to make sure she’d be home to take care of Siah (the dog), there was no need to make sure Wonder Woman was okay with it.  I’m trying to remember if I ever asked “do you mind?” in relation to this trip, but if I did, it was out of habit and not out of necessity.

That’s new to me.  And I think the change is mostly me.

I was really good at being codependent.  Parker and I fell into that style of relationship very well.  But, I think she would have been perfectly happy for me to go off and do my own thing, and I couldn’t at the time because I needed her for comfort and security.  I didn’t know how to exist without her beside me.

Death has a way of challenging that.

I’m still slightly amazed that I can take trips like this and not be a complete mess for days leading up to the trip.  In this case, I planned the trip less than a week ago and here we are 24 hours before I leave and I haven’t made a single list.  And I won’t, I’ll just throw some stuff in a suitcase sometime tonight, pack my CPAP in the morning, and head on my way.

What’s the worst that can happen?  (Now I’ve gone and done it.)

Flash

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

Sometimes the smallest things take me back.  Driving home on mobility today the driver commented on a street near my house that was incredibly steep.  I responded it was no fun to walk it.

Suddenly I could just barely see, over on the sidewalk, Parker walking up the hill beside me, holding my hand, on our way home from the mall.

Lost in a daydream I barely remember finishing my conversation with the driver.

These flashbacks are treasured gifts.   Moments in time that I get to relive, remembering Parker, still breathing, beside me.

I never know when they will show up, I can’t will them into existence.  Most of the images I see in my head are from the few pictures we took over the years, or from that final moment that I saw her, which is forever etched in my mind.

When she shows up in my dreams, she’s often just outside of the frame, I know she’s there but I can’t see her, can’t touch her, often can’t even quite hear her.  I can no longer recall her voice at will.

But sometimes I get this rare gift, and I can barely see, Parker walking up the hill beside me, holding my hand, on our way home from the mall.

Gone Too Soon

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post
but it’s one of those that is
also a Really Real Widow Post.

TW:  Mention of death by suicide.  Mention of suicidal thoughts

I check my Facebook memories every day.

I’m looking for old conversations, or pictures.  Those hidden gems from Parker or Kidlet.  Memories of Wonder Woman and I first meeting.  Signs of my growth.  Patterns of my various labels, mental and physical.

Today there was a note that a friend had sent to me 5 years ago, saying wonderful things about Parker and I, and how we were raising the Kidlet, and how amazing he was.  Parker and I met this friend while we were living in the homeless shelter.  She was a younger girl, sweet as could be, with a bright light in her eyes.

She was going to change the world.

I remember the day, it was only 5 months after she posted the note on my page, I saw people start posting on her page that she was gone too soon, and that they couldn’t believe she decided to go out that way.  I remember how hopeless I felt that she had died, and that it had been so long since we had seen each other.  She lived so far away and transportation was such an issue for us.

Gone too soon.

I thought of her after Parker died.  Wondered if they ran into each other up there.

Parker had just started a college semester.  Just that day her last book had been bought.  She had picked a new major and was excited about becoming an X-ray tech.  We were finally starting to see some light at the end of a very very long tunnel we had been in.

Gone too soon.

When I’m in the depths of my suicidal thoughts, I can’t hold on to the feeling that Parker and our friend left this world before their time.  All I can think of is getting out.

Right now that seems so foreign.  I can’t imagine wanting to walk away.  There’s so much left to live for, so much left to do.  I have degrees left to get, I have words left to type, lives left to change, words left to be heard.

There are sunrises and sunsets that still need to be seen.

But then the clouds obscure my view, and all I can see is the pitch black nothingness.  I just want to escape, just want to make the pain stop, I just want to free myself, and everyone around me, from the burden that is my life.

I have so much love left to give.  There’s so much love left to receive.  I don’t want to walk away.  It’s not my time, it’s not the end.  I won’t let myself be

Gone too soon.

Missing her squared.

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

I follow a lot of grief blogs and Facebook pages and something I read today discussed how a lot of people expect us to just “get over” being widowed because we have a partner.

That just doesn’t happen though.

Anyway, someone goes on to mention that, when their partner goes out of town, missing them is like missing their dead spouse.  Even though they know it’s not the same, their subconscious still pulls up grief.

HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!

I consider myself this independent person, I thought I had stopped with most of my codependent ways, but when I miss Wonder Woman, I really MISS WONDER WOMAN.  But that doesn’t make any sense to me.  I know she is alive, I knew she is coming back, I knew she isn’t gone-gone, but it feels like grief.

It was nice to see this reflected in someone else’s words.

This doesn’t just happen to me when Wonder Woman is out of town.

She was unemployed for 6 months and we spent a lot of time together, and now she works long days out of the house, or our schedules are opposite and we’ll go from super early in the morning until almost bedtime without seeing each other.  It almost feels like those early days when I had to learn how to exist without Parker by my side.

Not the actual act of doing things.  Not that at all.  I’m fiercely independent now and will figure out how to do things on my own and being alone most of the day has only reinforced my ability to figure out all of the things.

But as soon as I realize I miss her, it knocks me back a few steps.  It’s a punch in the gut that sometimes will have me curled up in bed like the early days of grief, and I’m laying there wondering why I’m being so ridiculous.

I try to blame it on depression or being over tired or just anything but missing her, but the fact is, it’s grief.  It’s this weird feature of widowhood where my brain doesn’t quite know how to miss my partner without pulling up what it’s like to miss the one that’s never coming back.

And that’s why I will always be a widow no matter what other title I take on.

That’s why I don’t stop being a widow just because I’m in love again.

And while it’s a pretty crappy feature of this title, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.