Guilt of Grief

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

There’s so much guilt mixed up in grief.

It’s like, no matter how much I try to just sit down my title of widow, it’s just there, and even if I could sit it down, I’d feel guilty about that, and the fact that I can’t sit it down, makes me feel guilty because I have a girlfriend.

This last week has been one of those traps.

I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage.  I know it’s something I want again and I know it’s not time yet, however, I’m still preoccupied with thoughts of Wonder Woman and I, and when, and if, and how, and, and, and. . . . it’s just what I do.

Who? ME?  Overthink?  Yes!  Always!

And then I realize my wedding anniversary is coming up, and I feel guilty because I got a few days into February without even realizing that it was the month I was married to Parker.

And then I feel even more guilty because I don’t even have any feels about the upcoming anniversary that will never be celebrated.

And then I feel even MORE guilty because I wonder if I somehow did remember, subconsciously, that it was my wedding anniversary and if that’s why I was thinking about weddings and marriage and Wonder Woman and I, and how wrong is it to think about a wedding to a dead woman and then have thoughts of marrying the woman I love now?

And there’s all this guilt floating around.

And I’m beating myself up over all of it.

Either I grieve too much, and it’s too much to put on Wonder Woman.  Or I don’t grieve enough and I’m not paying enough widow penance.

All of this is internal guilt, no one that matters is putting any of this on me.  Wonder Woman has never once said my grief was too much, and has always left space for my grief and Parker in our relationship (even when I think we don’t need it).  But I often wonder and worry, what isn’t she saying.

And what is the outside world thinking.

And then I also just judge myself even without thinking about any of that.  If I’m not still crumbled in a ball on the floor a few times a month did our time together really count?  If I can move forward this “quickly” was I really in love or I was I just faking it.  Did I imagine that first year of grief, was it really as bad as it seemed, maybe I was faking that too.  How did I go from all of that, to barely remembering that 6 years ago tomorrow, I said “I do” to the woman I planned to spend “Always and Forever, Forever and Always” with.

But it is really nothing, now?  If it was really “nothing” would I be sitting in the college library tearing up over those thoughts?

Grief is different now, but it’s still there.  Of course it is part of my relationship with Wonder Woman, because it’s such a huge part of who I am and you can’t have me without having that part of me.

Did my anniversary make me think about weddings?  Maybe, maybe not.  But that doesn’t change the way I feel about Wonder Woman and the thoughts I have about our future together.  It’s no different then seeing a wedding on TV and that being the catalyst.

Letting myself free from the guilt is hard.  But I think it’s a part of the grief.  It’s a part of my journey.

Everyone has a different path, and sometimes I forget that the path that I’m on is perfectly valid and okay.

I’m allowed to do this my own way.

And I don’t need to carry the guilt.


Really Real Mental Health Post

Or at least, it sort of falls under mental health but I sort of think everyone does it.

I have this really bad habit of trying to wait till the perfect time to bring a difficult discussion up.

Like I’ve said before, conflict is really difficult for me.  It goes back to my childhood when conflict didn’t happen without some form of emotional explosion.  I see things in super bright colors so even minor yelling seemed like fireworks and arms waving seemed like pots and pans flying.  I can’t tell you how bad it actually got because in my head it was all horrible.  And I don’t know how much of that horrible was different from what other children experienced.  I don’t know how much of it was just me being “too sensitive” and how much of it was a really toxic environment.

And as an adult I became the yeller and I dated and later married people who were really good at keeping up with the yelling and the arm waving and we made our own fireworks.

And now, I’m so afraid of those fireworks that when something bothers me I hold back.  And I know I’ve written about some of this before, but processing isn’t a once and done, so here we go again.

I hold back because the person has something difficult going on in their life, so I won’t talk about the thing bothering me, because it might be too much on them, and therefore make it more likely to explode, so I’ll wait.  And then I wait because there’s another stressful thing, or because I’m not in the right mood and I’m more likely to become upset.

It’s a really hard lesson for me to learn that hard conversations don’t have to mean fights.

I think, It’s an even harder lesson for me to learn that I’m allowed to be upset about things.  To me, being angry or upset means I’m going to yell and scream because that’s what anger looks like.

To be frustrated and stay calm means some sort of passive aggressiveness or plotting or silent treatment.  It can’t mean I’m angry and I understand, I’m frustrated and I’m okay with that.  Except now, that’s exactly what is does mean for me.

Even separating those feelings, anger, frustration, upset. . . . and the underlying anxiety that I feel because of them,  they all have little nuances that I was never able to figure out because I was too busy reacting instead of reflecting.

But knowing this stuff also means that I’m even more likely to hold back because I work through the emotions and decide that it’s not worth acting on or even talking about.

Finding the balance, working through these emotions while still verbalizing what’s bothering me without waiting for the perfect time, is really really hard.

It creates its own type of conflict, an internal one.

I’m relearning a lifetime of unhealthy skills and it won’t happen overnight.

But it’s happening.


I’ve had this post running around in my head for a few days now.  Figuring out how to get it into a logical series of words on the screen has been difficult.  Often I can feel a concept before I can explain it, a gut feeling of sorts where it makes total sense in my heart but I’m not sure if I can get it on paper.

This one kept bugging me though, and I know that shining light into all of my dark spaces is what helps me.  I knew this one would keep triggering me over and over again until I figured out how to put it into words.  Sometimes that’s all it takes, is finding the words.

My psychiatrist asked if there was a trigger this time that caused me to crash.  We knew that part of it was medication related but often it’s more than that.  Something needs to tip the scales to make me go so far in one direction or the other.  Often for me, it’s money or scarcity related, that’s a big one.  But this time I had money in the bank and I was doing okay.

This time it was the fact that I was gaining weight and my mobility was starting to suffer, the back and joint pain was coming back in ways that I hadn’t felt in well over a year and I was starting to have problems with functionality.  It was because I could feel that my blood sugar was out of wack and my blood pressure was going up.

But it wasn’t just directly because I was backsliding in my physical health.  Not that long ago I felt like I’d lost so much progress in my mental health as well.  The backslide in relation to Parker’s death was the trigger for me.

I had put so much stock in the fact that Parker’s death wasn’t in vain because it had changed my life and I was getting healthier.  If she had to die at least I could take her death and use it for the greater good, I could use it to push me forward and do something better with my life.  Get mentally and physically stronger, get my degree, go back to work, lose the weight, get healthier, become all of the things that she never got to see me do.

All of the things that I wasn’t able to do while she was alive, all of the things that put so much stress on her because I wasn’t able to do them.

And for 2 years I was pushing towards all of those goals and I was doing so well.  I was working towards my degree, and every time I slid backwards I got back up and pushed forward again, and I was losing weight or at least maintaining, and my blood sugar was stabilizing and I was constantly doing new things and my mental health was stabilizing and I was doing all of these things because I wasn’t going to be that sick person that pulled her down.  I wasn’t going to be the person that killed her anymore.

And I know, logically, that it wasn’t my fault.  That’s so easy to tell myself though.

Emotionally it’s an entirely different story and once I started mentally backsliding it was hard enough to convince myself that I was still living in a way that wasn’t a burden, wasn’t going to drag others down, that would still make it so I was living a life that made her death okay, even though it will never be okay.

And then I realized how much physical progress I was losing because of depression.  And it was too much.

I don’t think I realized how much I still blamed myself for her death.  I make dark jokes, I shrug it off, I talk about how being a widow is part of the fabric of who I am, but there is still the burden of wondering how I could have changed the outcome.  What I could have done differently.  And now I’m afraid of her death doing nothing to change my life and if that’s what happens, then her death was for nothing, and that can’t happen.  Her death needs to have some purpose.

There will always be a part of me that wonders why it was her instead of me.  I was the sick one.  I was the one in and out of psych units.  I am supposed to get better now that I have a second chance and if I’m not using this second chance, then what is the point in living.

I know that’s not the truth, but sometimes it’s hard to see the truth through the fog.

Being on both sides of suicide is always hard, and sometimes it just gets even harder and I have to reach out for help.  I’m glad that I’m able to reach out for help and that I have people who answer those calls.


In the widow community, people often talk about secondary losses.  Those losses that come after the loss of our spouse.  Loss of security, loss of friends, financial loss, and in some cases, loss of family.

It’s incredibly hard to lose touch with a family you once saw as your own, a family you thought you were a part of.  Death does a lot to rip people apart and it’s understandable that every person, and every family has to deal with their grief in their own way.  Sometimes there are casualties other than the person that died

I have memories of holiday dinners with a family I will never see again, gifts made with love, countless updates on how everyone was doing.  Love sent and received.  Phone calls made from the hospital keeping her mother updated because I knew how a mother would worry.   I knew her family like my own and I love them.

Unfortunately, everyone grieves in their own way and while I want to reach out and hold family close, so many people want to push me away.  It’s easier to forget I existed.  I wasn’t really the spouse anyway, not in God’s eyes, according to them.

Secondary losses are the losses that keep giving.  I don’t want to be the one to cut people out so every holiday I would call, but I was never the one that got the call.  Eventually the holidays start coming where I fight the urge to pick up the phone because maybe they just don’t want to hear from me and I’m pushing my love where it isn’t wanted.  The phone doesn’t ring, eventually text messages go unanswered.

There are so many questions it brings up for me.  So many ways it makes me hurt for me AND for Parker to wonder if it’s so easy to push me aside.

But at the same time I hurt for them.  It can’t be easy to see me living and not see her.  It can’t even be bearable to see me moving forward and know that she’s frozen in time.  I fully respect and understand that they are all doing what’s best for them in their own grief.  I’m assuming their faith and my life play war with each other as well, we know that wasn’t easy.

I can’t imagine, and don’t want to imagine what it’s like to lose a child and I have so much love and compassion for my mother in law.

But fuck, losing an entire family on top of losing my wife.

This shit sucks.

Widowing isn’t easy.


When Parker and I first got this house we got a few cheap cube units, and along with the cube units we ended up getting a decorative box that became our change box. It was on clearance and it kind of looked like a treasure chest.
Pretty quickly the buckle broke off, and I saved it for a long while, saying I was going to glue it back on, but of course I never did, so it was this plain brown box covered in pleather.
Countless times we raided the change box for money for cigarettes or a soda or to get something to eat because the bank account was in the negative and the stamps were gone.
Bus fare, mobility fare, a few dollars for Kidlet to get something because he’s a kid and should have some money for something.
We never could keep quarters in the thing and we knew we were doing well if we threw a few dollars in there for safe keeping.
Kidlet knew he could raid it when he needed something and I knew he raided it occasionally just cause he wanted something but he never took enough to cause any major harm.
So many times we’d be completely broke but at least we could scrounge up enough change to get one last pack of smokes so that we didn’t lose our minds that night, maybe it would keep us going just that much longer.
Life seemed so much different, priorities were different.
I’m still shit with money, being so so poor for so so long means I don’t actually know how to save because I’m afraid of it. Bipolar adds another twist.
But I keep cleaning out my purse and throwing money in the change box and the other day I was moving it and noticed the hinge had popped.
It had gotten too heavy to hold all of the weight.
This has never happened before. There had never been enough time without needing to raid the change box that the amount of weight was able to reach that level.
Last night I threw the box away and switched everything over to other containers.
Today at PHP I broke down over the change in my situation and how she is not here to see it. How it may never have happened if she was here.
We would still be counting change the day before a holiday to get enough cigarettes to make it through. Wondering if the lights were going to get shut off on a holiday day, or if they had to wait till a day later. Wondering if a heat wave was enough to make them leave the electric on.
But at the same time I’m afraid that nothing really has changed and that at any moment I’ll stop being able to cover the bills, that I’ll lose the help I have, and that the lights will go out or I won’t be able to fill the fridge or that I’ll be scrounging through that change box.
It’s horrible when every single positive has this ghost of the past hanging over it, this fear that at any moment it could all be taken away. That everything could change again.
I know I would survive it if it did go back to how it was. I’m a survivor, it’s what I do, Resilient as Fuck, and all, but I don’t ever want to go back to that. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Change is such a hard hard thing to deal with. It’s incredibly heavy sometimes.

Crying on the sidelines

The next 48 hours are officially cancelled.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve cried today and it’s not even the beginning of the trigger day.

I’m sitting off to the side at derby because the idea of focusing long enough to participate seems foreign.  I know I just need to get through 48 hours and then I’ll be okay, for at least a little while.

Today at PHP I felt like my parenting was called into question.  In hindsight it may have been in my head, it may have been nowhere near as bad as it seemed.  I may have overreacted and blown it out of proportion, or, years of being told that was what I was doing could mean that now I’m minimizing what happened today.  But either way, things today were hard and bad and as it ended I walked away from the building in angry, defeated tears.  And I don’t want to go back, but self care means going back because self care isn’t always bubble baths and pretty things.  It’s the hard fucking work that means healing and making it till tomorrow.  

I miss Parker so much right now.  Normally, I want her back in this world, while also realizing I’ve grown to a place where we would probably not be a good match, knowing we would not work the way we were.  I love her as part of my past which doesn’t conflict with where I am now.  But right now, it’s this feeling of wanting her so badly to be here with me now as part of all of this.  I don’t want to go back but I want to bring her here without losing what I have now including my current wonderful woman, my Wonder Woman.   How do I reconcile that in my own mind.  Not that I have a choice to make any of that happen.     

And then Kidlet and I talked, I feel my thoughts spinning, tattoo ideas, memorial ideas, how can I properly mark the fact that it’s been two years.  I know that it’s going to spin past and I will be fine but first I have to survive the next 48 hours.  I started crying on the phone with him for the first time since he left and my kid was telling me how he wished he was here so he could console me.  

I just want to live in the moment but that’s impossible when I’m worried about everything I did wrong yesterday and everything that could go wrong tomorrow.

Today, they had us do some worksheet and list 3 challenges we overcame.  I just wrote out, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.  But when we were sharing, she asked me if I could list somethings that I’d overcome,  I asked where she wanted me to start.  I wonder when people start thinking I’m full of shit.  Too much trauma, None of it has really been overcome though, it all still haunts me.  I just survived the actual moment of it.  It could still kill me.

Then we did three things I’m good at, One of them is getting back up over and over and over again, because I’ve seen the alternative and it leaves so many tears behind.  

Parker didn’t end her pain.  She passed it on.  Today at PHP I stood up for Kate Spade when someone was upset about her leaving her daughter when she died by suicide.  She had no idea what she was doing to her daughter, her daughter either wasn’t on her mind or she thought she was doing the best she could for her.  Depression is a hell of a liar and creates a black hole that you can’t see out of.  Parker didn’t do this to our kid or me, it had nothing to do with us in that moment, she just wanted to end that blackness.

Unfortunately, what happened is that those of us that are still here are picking up the pieces of what she left behind.  That means the pain she left behind as well.

Now I have to figure out how to heal it and live with it or live in spite of it.

And it isn’t easy.  But I’m doing the best I can, and sometimes, that means crying on the sidelines at derby.

The Mighty – Why We Must Discuss Suicide Openly

This article from The Mighty, along with a bit of my own insight below, is your 8th of the month post.

Why We Must Discuss Suicide Openly

“It’s unfortunate that when an individual tries to express their suicidal thoughts, they are quickly labeled as crazy, psychotic or attention-seeking. Yet once the individual actually takes their own life, they are labeled again as selfish. “They could have sought help” is often heard. What could be worse than saying someone is selfish because they died by suicide, having never known what they were feeling?”

 I have this bridge as both a suicide survivor and someone who has survived my own attempts and fights my own thoughts.

So many of the things talked about in this article are true. The way we talk about those who died vs the way we talk about and to those who are struggling . . .

And I hear and heard both because of who I am. And often the things that were said that are supposed to make me feel better about her losing her battle, make it harder to fight my own. And the things that are said to guilt me into fighting harder make her look like a horrible person because she couldn’t fight hard enough.

And the fact is, we just need to be allowed and encouraged to talk openly. I was able to go to derby this weekend because I knew I had a supportive group around me and if it got bad I could say I needed a break. I even had people asking if I was okay without trying to push me out of what I was doing.

I was able to email my boss and say I’m stepping down hours cause my mental health is slipping and she thanked me for my openness and asked how she could best support me.

This isn’t any different than diabetes or heart disease or cancer. It requires treatment and management and follow ups. And we need to be able to talk about it.

If someone dies from suicide, those left behind need meal trains, and support and comfort, not hushed whispers and “she shouldn’t be saying her wife died like that” ( true story).

I don’t post my struggles for pity. I post it each time it gets bad for 2 reasons. Because for one, it helps me to type it out and be heard.

And for two, I keep hearing how it helps others to see me be vocal. People who didn’t know it could look like this, people who are afraid to speak up. People who are afraid to ask for help.

Parker was the quiet one.

Parker is why we must discuss suicide openly.

Board of Education

Almost two years later and the board of ed sends Parker another debt notice.

Yep… she’s still not coming back to pay her student loans, I promise you. Hell, we probably couldn’t pay them if she was alive.

Yep. I’ll send yet another copy of the death certificate.

People wonder why we don’t get over our ghost spouse?

Why we move forward but we never get over being a widow?

Cause we have to remember their SSN and find the death certificate to call and punch in those numbers and read out thier names and then make jokes to try and feel better about the whole fucking situation while remembering that those last two loans were for the classes she was barely in for a week before she died.

I’m so happy with my life now but grief is a damn bitch and she’s still not coming back to pay those fucking loans.

At least I didn’t cuss out this poor employee over it. I guess I’ve healed quite a bit since the last time.


Going through things tonight I found a baggie of papers I had never looked at closely.

Parker and I handwrote lots of letters during my multiple psych inpatient stays.

While I never saved cards and don’t have many of them, she apparently saved a bag of folded letters that remind me of stuff from school days, folded in little shapes.


This little note was written on the back of a list of phone numbers of people that we were in the shelter with at the time. So it was the first of my series of breakdowns and inpatient stays, when she was holding both of us together.

Welp, that punched Draven and I both in the feels.

Of course, as I’m typing this… Draven walks out of the bedroom holding the box that Parker currently resides in and turns it back and forth looking at it (Her) and says “Mom, you used to be so heavy”

And, there’s the humor and the light. This is how we survive!

What Doesn’t Kill

So, here’s the deal. I’m not going to be one of those people that say God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle. Because, seriously . . look at my life.

However, I was one that said this phrase, a lot. But, each one of these things that kept hitting me, kept making me more of the me I was meant to be. And then, after I recovered from each major thing I would look back and say I wouldn’t change a thing because it put me where I am today, and I’m right where I am meant to be.

Now, before I say this next phrase, please realize.

I Want Parker Back. I want my wife back. There is NO denying that.

However. That situation made me who I am and put me where I am right this second. So no, a year ago, I wasn’t already strong enough, because I wasn’t who I was meant to be yet. If everything would not have happened I would not be where I am this second.

And I’m right where I am meant to be.

And I love me. And that, is an amazing feeling.