Good-Bye 2023...

It's been a while since I signed into my blog and when I did today, a draft came up.  It was to be a post of my NY trip this past September.  I didn't even realize I hadn't finished it, let alone post it.  They call it widow brain.  Boy I hate that word.  And how did it all of a sudden become New Years weekend?!  EKKK.

Here is an excerpt from that post, kind of a segue into todays post...

"It was early March 2020 and I was in NY to celebrate my friend of 40 years turning 60.  She had a party, it was pre-covid, barely.  Shortly after, when we were safe back home in LA, two friends that were at the party ended up in the hospital and my friends cousin died.  My husbands early onset dementia kicked into high gear at warp speed and the entire world shut down.  And my personal world would surely never be the same.

And here we are, September 2023, my first trip back for the wedding of that same girlfriends son and to reconnect with my roots and beloved old friends.  I love NY and I will always be a native NY'er, but I also love California with all my heart and it's been my home for 34 years.  I feel at home in both places, and there are other places in the world I feel at home in too, where I have never even lived.  That's the beauty of wander lust.  Turns out home really is where the heart is".  That was as far as I got...

As it turns out, home can also be discombobulated, wherever you are, when grief has become a part of your life.  People ask me how my year has been.  I say it's actually been pretty good, I had a lot of fun, even made some new girlfriends which is a blessing in midlife right?  But I also say, my husbands still dead.  Silence.  No one knows how to deal with me.  And that's grief.  People are uncomfortable with it. They either never mentioned it or try to console you in some way.  But there is no way.  It's a very personal and lonely journey.  And it is always with you even on the great days.  I often describe grief as  floating in the ocean. You're weightless, the sun is shining on your face, and you feel good.  Then, without warning, the current pulls you under, (cue the Jaws music).  Now you're gasping for air, trying to fight your way back to the surface.  And you make it, you always make it, and you struggle to get your breath back, and you do, and you float again.  This scenario goes on all the time, on and off like a light switch.  But on my fantastic NY trip in September with family and friends, I'm happy to report I made it a few days in a row without going under. 

I also made multiple visits to my favorite places this year like Ojai, San Fransisco, Joshua Tree, and Arizona.  I thought I'd take my first solo trip to Europe but the state of the world has me feeling safer closer to home.

I belong to an online widows group, it's very sad.  Sometimes I can't even read the posts, sometimes I chime in.  The women have all kinds of stories of how their spouses died and I won't share them because they are all horrible, but what I've learned from the group is that I find it tragic that some of them feel they can't go on.  And I ask them to consider - how would your loved one feel if they knew that their legacy was that their death destroyed your life?  I know what my husband would say.  Hell No!  I'm not going to tell you it's easy, it is not.  I cry at least once a day.  But when I cry I always hear Mike say something funny and I laugh and then just like that, I'm back on the surface floating again.  It's quite the roller coaster.  But I'm on a mission to live an extraordinary life, for the both of us.  

Most people think that grief gets better with time.  It changes, but I'd never use the word better to ever describe grief.  As I step into this new year, and the 2nd New Years without my husband, I have to say that the passage of more time actually makes it sadder, but I look forward to the ways I can move forward with my life while honoring his. 

I always pick a word and a theme for the year.  On my recent year end girls trip I choose my word, 'thrive'. My friend said she thought my word should be fierce, because she thinks I'm fierce, which made me laugh.  So maybe I'll have two words for 2024.  I'll be Fierce and Thriving. 

I don't think I'll ever finish that NY post.  But that's OK, I have another NY wedding on tap for 2024!  And I like looking forward instead of backwards, after all, if you drive looking in your rear view, you'll crash. 😉

With grace and gratitude, I wish you and yours a Fierce and Thriving 2024. 

Happy New Year!