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Monday, January 16, 2017

Look Around and Remember

Another year of holidays come and go... another cycle of grief lingering.  The holidays are never easy - always the stress to not feel alone, the pressure to jump in there with everyone, celebrate the occasions and friends and family around me and be happy as everyone else is, make the toasts, kiss at new years and get on to the next year.  Look forward, not back.  Celebrate, not mourn.  Join in, don't wait to be included.  But grief isn't like that and losing your spouse doesn't provide so easily for that most especially in group settings - all group settings. 

This year more than ever, it lingers.  Perhaps it is the weekends of bar/bat mitzvahs this year, but I am feeling the grief as if I am back to year one.  These are certainly happy occasions and I am honored to have so many friends who genuinely want to include me.  But they also have stirred up a lot of grief for me that frankly I have not felt since that first year ... the always alone, the father speeches that my children will not have, the being at a party when nobody asks if I need a drink, an escort to a table or even having a seat at a table, the all of a sudden standing alone in a room full of people and having everyone else in a group.  It seems so easy to walk up and join but when you are "alone" it just isn't always that easy - so many life moments that nobody thinks about until they experience it.  I no longer expect people to think about me in these situations but I can't help but have the feelings of aloneness when I am at these events and certainly during the holidays, always.

I guess it is a good time to reiterate, not just for the widows and widowers in your life but for people in general - look around - help people remember those loved ones that are gone, talk about them, tell stories about them, honor their memory. Someone recently turned to me at a bat mitzvah and said these simple words "This must be really hard for you." - wow, what a moment of comfort and relief those few simple words brought to my heart. I will never forget that kind person.

Look around, for that person in a group that isn't being included, that needs a nudge to join a conversation or a table to eat at, perhaps is walking alone between venues.  Most people don't choose to be alone.... we just forget them along our way.

Hugs to all,


Monday, August 8, 2016


Three years.
It's not the monumental first that is commemorated by the unveiling or a "you made it through the year of firsts."
It's not the second that is the one past the first and people still remember to check on you.
It's not the mile marker fifth or tenth.
It is just the third.  Perhaps the third is the start of "everyone forgets" and "people have moved on"
But we haven't forgotten.
We remember.
It doesn't affect us every day as it once did but certainly on holidays, on Father's Day, on special anniversaries.
We remember.
Most of all we remember what it was like those years ago - the last few days, the events that unfolded that day, the final moments, the final goodbye, the final breath.
And when the anniversary of that particular day falls upon us it hurts - one year and two years and even three years later.
We will always remember.
Perhaps because we live without him every day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


LOVE comes and goes...
We risk, we experience, we love, we lose, we mourn. 
Different levels of loss generate different levels of mourning.. the end of a phase of life, the end of a friendship, the end of a life, the end of a relationship. 
We mourn.
And yet, we pick up again because we must... because collapsing into ourself isn't an option.  We aren't ready to end our living because of our loss. 
We pick up, we dust our pants off and we get back out to the living
Different losses take different amounts of time to mourn - certainly that is one indicator of the brevity of the loss. 
But we all move on... loss creates mourning and then grieving is the healing.

I am grateful for my losses.  They create the strength to tolerate the next risk knowing that I will mourn, I will grieve and I will pick up and welcome the next experience.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Second Anniversary

Today marks the second anniversary of Eddie's dieing.  I still remember this day like it was yesterday.  I am ever so grateful that Eddie did not have the long hospice care, the pain that some endure with cancer or the embarrassing episodes with his care providers.  He would have hated all of that and even remarked to our Rabbi one time "I don't want to be that guy that everyone is in the waiting room waiting for him to die."  He did have a room full of people but we didn't wait that long.

I struggle more than before with the How Tos - how to remember him always, how to make sure my kids remember him and hold on to their memories, how to honor his legacy, how to acknowledge him forever.  I try to talk about him in reference to anything that reminds me of him or is relevant.  

In the meantime, I feel we are all doing what he would most want us to do - live. But sometimes it feels weird and a bit guilt provoking. I recently read something in my book entitled "Healing After Loss - Daily Meditation for Working Through Grief."  I thought it was so appropriate - 
  • No one is asking us to forget, to turn away from all that we loved and cherished in the one we have lost. We couldn't do that.. The task before us, and it can take a very long time, is to incorporate this grief and loss into the rest of our lives, so that it doesn't continue to dominate our lives.  It's no longer the first thing we think of when we wake up in the morning, or the last thing we relinquish before we sleep.  It will always be there, but when it begins to take its place  among the good things life offers, we're on our way.  
I do believe that I am "on my way," recognizing and hoping others understand that I will forever have set backs now and then.  Thankfully all of the people in my life are supportive of me during these times and I rarely feel alone in it.

Hugs to all,

Another feeling he was with me

I recently went on a fishing trip, one that Eddie took many times with our temple.  He loved this trip and as much as he could, never missed it.  As we flew to Idaho, I put on my headphones and scrambled my music.  I fell asleep.  As we landed, I woke up and heard the song playing in my headphones - it was the very first "our song," - Steve Wonder's "I Believe" - 

I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever 
I'm so glad that I found someone to believe in again 
God surely answered my prayer.

We heard this song in our weekly yoga class when we first started dating.  It absolutely was the song that made us look at each other during the slower wind down time and fall in love.  I loved that this particular song was playing from all the hundreds of songs otherwise on my playlist - just as I landed for my fishing trip.  I know Eddie wanted to be there and with that song playing in my ear as the trip started, I know he was.

Hugs to all

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Remembering Birthdays

For sure this is an awkward one.  How do you "celebrate" someone's birthday that is no longer alive? I guess it really is just taking a moment to remember him.  But then I remember and talk about him every day. Last year, one of Eddie's dear friends sent me flowers on Eddie's birthday and said "some birthdays are worth celebrating forever."  It was perfect.

This year my kids didn't want to do anything special and I have to admit I felt a little awkward trying to force it.  I bought his favorite cake, Coconut, and we had it after dinner.  We took a moment to just think about him together and acknowledge what it would have been.  Then it was off to living for us living souls.

But always remembering...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life is Sweet, Life is Bittersweet

They say life goes on, you find happiness again, you find love again.  Perhaps.  Yes.  True.

Then you are jolted.  Someone says that something that just hits you in the heart.  It immediately takes you back to "but I don't have my spouse."  Or perhaps your kid makes that big play and you look around and you don't have your spouse to smile with, pump your fists with or celebrate later at home with, with your child.  There are the never ever ending forms "first parent.  second parent." There is someone missing in it all.

I celebrate life and I embrace it.  I am happy, my kids are happy.  The first year was so hard in the stress of how will the first ____ (holiday) go?  You get through that and you think "whew, I made it." But then the next year comes and nobody remembers to call on that anniversary to check on you.  Or you realize that some of those feelings and stressors will never go away.  Every time you walk in that room, you will continue to feel alone, just less stressed about feeling it.

But the hardest I suppose is that nobody has your back like your spouse.  And that is a very hard hole to fill and can cause the most anxiety late at night as you review your day alone and ponder how you did as a parent, a friend, a worker, a child.  There just isn't anybody to give you that unconditionally supportive feedback.

Life is sweet but going it alone - bitter too