My thoughts after, After Life

“Tony had a perfect life — until his wife Lisa died. After that tragic event, the formerly nice guy changed. After contemplating taking his life, Tony decides he would rather live long enough to punish the world by saying and doing whatever he likes. He thinks of it as a superpower — not caring about himself or anybody else — but it ends up being trickier than he envisioned when his friends and family try to save the nice guy that they used to know. “

after life

If you have Netflix (who doesn’t) and/or you’re a fan of British comedian Ricky Gervais, you might have heard of this new series, After Life. I was made aware of it by a friend, and I initially avoided it thinking it was a little too close to home.  Well I’m happy (?) to admit my preconceived notions were not affirmed.  This show gave me ALL them feels.  I laughed (a lot), I cried (also a lot), I got annoyed, angry, amused and felt peaceful towards the end of the show.  Perhaps what stood out to me the most was the authenticity with which Gervais wrote about spousal grief without having experienced it firsthand.  He tells a story that’s so perfect a mixture of the mundane daily life, the profound sense of loss, the internal struggle and isolation one feels, and finally those fleeting moments of joy or levity that don’t happen nearly enough.

 

My “grief journey” such as it is, has been a messier one.  As I settled into life as a widow and the “obligatory period of everyone feeling sorry for you and giving everything you say or do a total pass” ended, it was obvious that my journey was going to be a rough and dark ride.  I haven’t turned to Jesus. I haven’t spent my days being nothing but “grateful” for the time Bryan and I had together. I haven’t thrown myself into my work, or taken on some great life goal like running a marathon or starting a foundation, or going on a speaking tour, or any of the other myriad of “acceptable” grief rituals propagated throughout media and society. Instead, I’ve owned my general “zero fucks left to give-ness” with gusto! As I’ve said before, I just don’t have the mental bandwidth to be polite and and listen to your stupid story about your new gluten-free diet, or let assholic people’s behavior go unchecked. The tagline of the show “hell is other people” could have been written about me.  If my circumstances have taught me anything, it’s there’s so much wrong and injustice in the world and I won’t have it! And by that I mean, I won’t let it happen without first providing a pithy and cynical comment for the record.  So I feel like this is why After Life resonated so deeply with me.  Dr. F pointed out just the other day that perhaps it’s because watching a show that mirrored back a grief experience more similar to my own made me feel less alone on this journey.  And I think she’s right. Tony’s “superpower” is one I was also intimately familiar with. For a period of time I too thought it was suddenly so freeing not to sweat the small stuff and not give a fuck about what I said or did.  I had no fear of death and knew that was always an option in my back pocket.  While it didn’t end up being my superpower per se, I considered it my silver lining or consolation prize if you will, to the state I found myself in.  [Side Bar: Bryan HATED the phrase “per se” so I just cringed when I wrote it. Sorry B! RIP. much love] Tony’s also got that one thing that keeps him from completely going off the proverbial ledge: a dog named Brandy.  His wife loved that dog and Brandy’s a loyal companion, so the least he can do is take care of the dog in honor of his wife’s wishes (which you see periodically throughout the show).  I think that’s such an important aspect of grief too.  While you’re “in it” you’ve got to have someone or something that keeps you grounded in reality and keeps you going. It’s nearly impossible if you don’t.  It can be anything, a hobby you’ve always loved, a pet, a person (but that can be tricky), an event you’re looking forward to, or maybe just the will to see it through.  For me, I think it was a Katy Perry concert I’d planned months in advance–we can unpack at another time–and maybe the stubborn desire to not accept that my life would end on such an unceremonious fart.  Even when I was at peace with being done, something would just say “yeah, but fuck that. that would be so lame to let this beat you.”

after life headstone

Good Dog

Ricky Gervais has commented publicly that nothing he’s ever done in his years-long career has had this much of a reaction or positive and intense response. Not even The Office (crazy I know! But I think the American one is better, oops)! He’s been reading comments on social media and is writing a second season. I don’t usually tweet, @, or comment on the LinkedIn profiles (that’s still a thing right?) of celebrities, but in the last week since finishing the show, I let him know what this show has meant to me and to thank him for “getting it”.  It’s one thing to find a movie, show, book, album etc. that resonates with you and inspires you to be great; it’s a much rarer feat to find that same connection when you’re at your lowest and some piece of mainstream media is willing to get in the trenches with you.

A Dissertation on Women Who Publicly Complain About Their Husbands, Ferguson et al, 2019

Don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay I guess I shall elaborate if I expect this to ever get published in any kind of research journal of fine repute. This is my less than subtle, bitter way of saying I’ve got no time for women who think it’s cute and forms camaraderie to complain about all their husbands’ mundane shortcomings in a very public forum, i.e. a kid’s birthday party where he is not helping out enough. I. AM. NOT. HERE. FOR. IT.  Once, I tagged along to a birthday party for my nephew and was horrified by what I saw, heard, smelled, and tasted! Aside from the fact that kids’ birthday parties nowadays have to somehow be a social event for the parents as well by forcing them to stay the entire 4 hours (barf), these kids are spoiled beyond belief! This party might as well have been a soft opening for the next Cirque de Soleil show. What happened to a slip n’ slide and some pizza from Little Caesar’s? But that’s a post for another time.  What I encountered was a privileged white woman in a gaudy McMansion running around frazzled and talking mad shit about her husband, who was casually watching football.  Now I’m not defending the lazy, chauvinist guy on the couch, but I am defending the fact that she chose to marry him and she got what she got. So frankly, if he does what he’s always done, you have no one to be mad at but yourself.  Plus, I assume he left the couch at least occasionally to go to work and pay for that structure that some people refer to as a house, but I thought was more an art installation depicting the housing crisis of 2007. Also, for the record, all of these tasks he wasn’t completing to her specifications were ridiculous and unnecessary. I’m pretty sure that if the green PJ Masks (some random kid shit) goes before the blue one, the party will survive.  Anyhoo, she then proceeded to gather all the hens, I mean moms, and me, around her giant granite kitchen island and roll her eyes and tell us what a loser he is and dick he’s being.  I had just met her that day, but was already over it, as it were, by the Trump sign I’d seen earlier in her front window. So I felt the need to say “yeah…but at least you have a husband.”  The silence was deafening.  I know that she knew my situation, but still thought I would delight in the take down of her beloved (it’s debatable). Well, false.  I promptly turned around and filled a glass with the signature cocktail (?) chosen for this 4 year old’s birthday party.

pj masks

The source of Trump Tammy’s ire.

While this is an extreme example, I find I notice the one off negative comments about spouses much more nowadays. And it really grinds my gears! Aside from the obvious lack of husband due to his permanent vacation, I can honestly say I’ve always found it ugly and never spoke about Bryan that way when we were together. Now my distaste is just turned up to 11. Of course we fought and of course he annoyed the crap out of me, but I didn’t think telling an acquaintance (or rando I just met at a party) how bad he was at loading the dishwasher was “fun” or even made him better at loading said dishwasher.  This is separate from confiding in close friends about relationship problems and bigger issues.  That serves a very important purpose, and I’m happy to be a sounding board for my friends to this day.  I just want people to take a step back sometimes and be thankful that he’s even there to yell at about how he laid the PJ Masks characters out so shittily in the first place. Oh, and keep it to yourself, because it’s frankly a boring conversation topic to begin with.  That is all.

Yo, this post is Fyre.

OMG you guys. Puhleeeze tell me you’ve seen the documentaries about the music festival that never was, Fyre Fest. Not going to lie, I subscribed to Hulu just so I could watch its documentary, Fyre Fraud, only AFTER I devoured the Netflix documentary aptly titled Fyre.  For an emotionally unstable widow, these docs are my kryponite.  I vaguely remember when this shit show all went down (April 2017) but to be fair, I was barely showering back then.  Well after watching the downfall of over indulged millennials, I went down an internet rabbit hole that took me days to get out of.  When I did finally emerge 48 hours later, I knew I had a mission in life. Everyone I know should walk, nay RUN to their nearest streaming device and check these hot messes out. Maybe all the shit that’s happened in my life has led me to this point?  Wait. that’s dark.  So maybe not.

fyre

 

I’ll still keep spreading the good word of the Book of Fyre though.  This is a cautionary tale of what can happen when Ja Rule (R-U-L-E!) becomes friends with this dork ass Jersey Boy named Billy, and their social media personas take over their cognitive decision making skills, or lack thereof.  Aside from the juicy factor, I feel like this is really a social commentary on the FOMO culture of the 21st century.  All the hype and build up and buzz around this music festival was just a facade, and ultimately led to its downfall.

fyre-fest-documentary

The “dream team”

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There isn’t an insta filter strong enough for this wasteland.

That’s just me getting all deep and cerebral about a juicy gossip story.  Maybe this resonated with me so much because my grief and subsequent depression makes me feel like people’s shiny happy social media lives have been turned up to 11, and I constantly have to remind myself that I’m not the only one with a less than an American Dream reality.  So when the curtain is pulled back, and the private yacht-luxury villa-sushi-Pablo Escobar island-fantasy was just that, a fantasy, it was more than just a little satisfying.  I honestly feel like Josh is all of us when watching these documentaries.

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Chicken soup for the middle-class soul is right! You know everyone grieves in their own way, and I’ve been told over and over by “experts” that there’s no wrong to grieve.  So I guess I can add smug realness to my box of therapy tools! Any moments of the day not spent thinking about my life or doing the “hard work” of moving foward, or “being strong” are moments I cherish.  So these collective 3 hours was time well spent in my book.  I would love, love love to discuss all the amazingness that was Fyre Fest in the comments. Until then, I’m going to go look for my glamping villa, I mean FEMA tent now.

Music to Cry To: The Ultimate Widow Playlist

So it’s been a hot minute since I posted to the Widowino Universe.  Apologies, I was just experiencing some summertime sadness, laying on a flamingo float alone in my backyard pool staring up at the clouds.  Speaking of summertime sadness, sometimes I just like to chill and feel my feels while listening to sweet jams.  I’ve always found music to vibe with whatever mood I’m in, and ever since I was a newly minted driver cruising with windows down rocking out to Now That’s What I Call Music Vol. 8, it’s been a meditative experience for me.  Bryan was the same way.  We made playlists for every experience, big or small.  Whether it was a kiss-themed playlist for our aptly named “Smooch Fest 2014” all the way up to allowing our wedding DJ zero creative license by giving him literally every song to play, music “rocked’ our soul.  So it seems right that I created a  new soundtrack for the shit-storm that is my current life.  I’ve been collecting songs for months, in anticipation of the ultimate sonic release and this post, of course.  So if you’ve been searching for the perfect melancholy blend of notes, look no more!  These are the ultimate songs to do the emotional heavy lifting.  Have you ever been crying in the mirror and thought I wish I had some equally depressing music right now? THESE are those songs!  Or maybe you’re on a train, not sure where it’s going, and while you rest your head against the rain covered window, you thought “you know what this cliched sad moment needs, a soundtrack”. Then you’ve come to the right place!  The playlist can totally be played on shuffle, but for the true emotional roller coaster, I suggest playing them in the order listed here.  Enjoy! (Note: for maximum enjoyment have a day, in the tub, with red wine and a good cry.  Make sure to stay in there long enough for the water to get cold and then ever so slowly submerge your head.  Lastly, tell yourself you did your best over and over.)

  1. On the Nature of Daylight — Max Richter.  If my life was a movie, this is the song that would have been playing while you watched me run up the stairs in slow motion and find Bryan.  The song that played while the EMTs pushed me out of the way as I was hysterical, still in slow motion.  The song that played while the phone fell to the ground in the foreground of the shot…yes, still in slow motion. Too morbid? I think you may be lost then, here let me direct you to a site that might be more your speed.  Now I just mostly listen to this song when I take my makeup off in front of my Hollywood vanity mirror in total darkness except for those 12 mirror bulbs illuminating my face and its suddenly aged (pronounced “age-ed”) wrinkles. I’m also wearing a chic mu mu a la Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard.  Interesting side note, I wear mu mus now. I’m really leaning in to this whole widow thing!  Sheryl Sandberg would be proud, on BOTH accounts.
  2. Life and Death — Paul Cardall.  This aptly named little diddy  has a lot of the great melodies you think of when something profound happens in life, or death…Oh I see what he did there!  Cardall actually wrote this song while facing his own mortality waiting for a heart transplant, and I think that really gives it the extra punch of authenticity, don’t you?  The crescendo is quite dramatic and good for solo train rides around the 3:45 mark.
  3. Fade Into You — Mazzy Star.  Everyone has that quintessential emo moment of their adolescence when they were feeling hella deep. Just me? Oh.  Well anyway, for me that moment was the slow dance prom scene in the highly underrated 1995 movie Angus. The popular girl had just given Angus some #realtalk about her bulimia and actually imperfect life and it was deep AF for my 10 yo self.  Point is, this is the song they dance to as prom king and queen.  Now that I’m old enough to actually understand its meaning, I think the lyrics are a solid metaphor for my feelings on losing my identity as part of an “us’ and a wife and how I need to forge a new identify. #barf
  4. To Build a Home — The Cinematic Orchestra.   This song was a must add to the playlist ever since I saw that crappy old crock pot spark and set those curtains aflame and then proceeded to lose my shit along with the rest of America.  If this is the song that’s played the moment the Pearson family’s life went up in literal and proverbial flames, then it’s good enough for me.  Of all the songs on my list, I think this one elicits the most single dramatic tears down my face.  I think of the future I won’t get with Bryan and the fact that I won’t get “to build a home” with him, like ever.
    this is us fire_1516940816229.PNG_76549928_ver1.0_900_675

    FYI: I store my crock pot in a certified clean room devoid of oxygen now.

     

  5. When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die– Moby.  If you’re surprised to see a Moby song on here, perhaps you’ve never heard of Moby.  The first line of this song is “Where were you when I was lonesome?” for pete’s sake!  It’s a question I ask a lot; maybe to myself and maybe to Bryan, depending on what you believe, but at this point I still have anger over him leaving me, and by all accounts, and Dr. F, that’s perfectly fine.  Also, I felt/feel like dying a lot, cold or otherwise, so this makes sense.
  6. Captain Phillips– Henry Jackman.  One thing I’ve always done is listen to movie scores while I need to concentrate and write and think.  I do it even while blogging! When I heard Jackman’s score in Captain Phillips, it moved me.  Maybe it was the majesty of Tim Honks, America’s hero (that’s his name right?) bringing the captain’s fear and anguish to life, but this song gives me the feels.  The tagline of the movie was “out here survival is everything” and most days I feel like I’m just surviving, so this tune was apropos.
  7. Born to Die — Lana Del Rey.  Fake lips and horrible live performances aside, I actually love Lana Del Rey.  This song epitomizes how I feel when I’m out pretending to the world to be “okay”.  It’s also got a zero fucks given vibe, which I must admit has been one of the few freeing things to come from the tar pit of my brain.
  8. Nothing Compares 2 U — Sinead O’Connor.  It’s totally been longer than 7 hours and 16 days since Bryan took his love away, but I do certainly sleep all day so at least that part of the song is accurate.  Plus this is a true oldie but goody when it comes to the lonely hearts club.  I’ve also considered shaving my head more than once over the last 18 months, and Sinead may or may not have been the inspiration.  Hey, a widow’s ideas can’t all be winners okay?? Bonus: The single dramatic tear game in the video is quite strong.
  9. The Cold — Exitmusic.   Another “cold” song.  I guess there’s only so many metaphors for sadness.  Lead singer Aleksa Palladino’s voice is haunting and how I envision I would sound if I had any talent.  This is the quintessential song for solitary staring off into the distance, perhaps by a body of water (dealer’s choice), or better yet headstone. True Story: this song came on while I was visiting Bryan at the cemetery.
  10. Habits (Stay High) — Tove Lo. This is the song I imagine would be the personification of my life, if I had gone down the vice route while dealing with grief.  I’m honestly a little bummed it didn’t happen for me, I hear opioids are all the rage right now.  But according to my extensive widow research since this is a blog of the highest journalist integrity, self medication and destructive decisions are a common part of many people’s grieving process.  So this song makes the list as an homage to my fellow widow divas currently laying over in Struggle City, and that’s just fine.
  11. Runnin (Lose It All) — Naughty Boy ft Beyoncé and Arrow Benjamin.  If I lose myself, I lose it all.  That’s the theme of this anthem that Queen Bey sprinkled her magic dust all over.  It talks of loss, loneliness, and doing it all yourself, with a catchy beat to back it up.  They don’t call her a queen for nothing.
  12. Green Light — Lorde.  A little bit of anger, a little bit of hope, and lot of bad assness.  I wish I could “just get my things and just let go”.  In some ways I’ve done that already, but in many ways I’m waiting for my green light, stuck in neutral at that light that’s always red at that abandoned intersection.  Why can’t I just hit the gas and go?  What’s stopping me? Oh right, crippling depression.
  13. Elastic Heart — Sia.  I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.  Grieving does nothing if not make you harder, better, faster, stronger©.  You start to see the world differently and you’re forever changed, as much as you may try to fight it.  I feel like Sia really gets me and my internal struggle here, so good job Sia.  P.S. How do we feel about Shia LeBeouf in the video? Oddly attractive and rugged? No? Yeah, me neither.
  14. All By Myself — Celine Dion.  You might be thinking…hmm safe choice.  Or “wow this one’s a little on the nose”.  And to you I say, don’t question Celine or my’s decisions ever! The reality of the situation is I am, in fact “all by myself” and I “don’t wanna be” anymore, sooooo yeah.  And who doesn’t love a good power ballad to sing into their ice cream/dinner spoon (hello 2:40 mark)?!
  15. Dancing On My Own — Robyn.  When I get there, this is the song I think will be my anthem when I’m at peace with my new life and I’m just out there, dancing on my own, and owning my dance.

So there you have it, music essential for being in your feelings.  I’ve got loads more but this post was taking longer to write than I felt like it should so that’s what you get!  Let me know what music gets you through hard times and makes you feel the feels!  I’ll make a B-sides soon with reader suggestions.

Not Guilty, but a “Griefy” Pleasure

So a funny (is that the right word?) thing happens when someone close to you dies.  My theory is, in an attempt to take a mental break from the 24/7 pit of despair that is your brain, you tend to become obsessed with random and often obscure hobbies, habits, or tasks.  For me, it’s MURDER PODCASTS.  I can’t explain it but in the months since Bryan 86’ed this living thing, I’ve become a subscriber, longtime listener, and no-time caller to not one, not two, not three (sensing a pattern?) but 12 murder-themed podcasts!  In my current state, I enjoy few things more than taking my lunch break in my car, blasting the air conditioning and listening to Karen and Georgia rehash their newest favorite murder.  I live a wild and crazy life right?

Some people find podcasts of this topic disturbing and/or morbid, and I can’t say I disagree, but I guess I’m going through a “Blue period” or something.  Although I highly doubt my blue period will yield anything as profound as what came out of Picasso’s (one semester of art history and I am impressive AF!).  I have to say though, I think we were on the same page when he painted Femme aux Bras Croisés (Woman with Folded Arms) because that’s me pretty much any time I’m in public. At work? sitting in a meeting freezing with a BRF and “folded arms”.  Waiting in line at Target? Switching from one foot to the other because I most definitely have to pee, with “folded arms”.  Laying on the table getting my eyebrows waxed? Pursing my lips in agony with “folded arms”.  You get the idea.

pablo picasso blue period femme

She’s slaying #notimpressed

But I digress.  What was I talking about? Oh right, muuurrrrddddeeeeerrrr! Or redrum if you’re dyslexic.  [This blog is certified compliant Section 508 of the ADA].  Anyhoo, I can’t explain it totally, but the things that help me forget about my current life circumstances even for a brief moment tend to be dark; unless it’s “Parks and Recreation” on Netflix, but that’s really universal.  Perhaps I feel less hopeless about the future seeing resilience that comes from others who’ve been through some shit and come out on the other side.  Maybe it’s the comfort of knowing, “well damn, at least my life is not as fucked up as that one!”.  Or it could be the lessons learned.  It’s a sick, sad world out there and I believe knowledge is power.  How was the Golden State Killer finally identified? Does Iceland have the death penalty?  Why was my sorority so crazy about security in our college town?  All of these questions and more can be answered, in the wonderful world of murder podcasts!  [Answers: 1) familial DNA match from ancestry.com subscriber 2) no 3) because Ted Bundy murdered 2 women in my sorority’s chapter house at FSU 40 years ago]

I know some people, including my mother especially, would rather I not dwell on the dark arts (only Harry Potter you’ll ever get here), but until I see the world as a place worth living in, I doubt my satisfaction from these stories will lessen.  If nothing else, it provides an escapism that I’m yet to find in anything else.  And for the record, plenty of “happy” well-adjusted people listen to them everyday. So maybe check out some of my faves, in no particular order:

  • My Favorite Murder where I learn how to stay sexy and not get murdered.  It’s hilarious and educational!
  • Dirty John This took the world by storm and had a crazy twist.  Bonus points for the sense of superiority you’ll feel knowing this would NEVER happen to you.  Even my mom liked this one!
  • Serial Killers I mean yeah, the title is pretty much a dead (get it?) giveaway
  • Up and Vanished The case of the disappearance of Tara Grinstead starts out “colder than Alaska” but the story of the people in this small Georgia town sucks you in.  Aside from the ridiculously annoying millennial host, they actually solved a murder case in real time and that’s pretty awesome.
  • Sword and Scale  Likely the darkest of the bunch but also the most factual and in-depth.  I never understood the doll baby on the logo though…

 

That’s all I got for you, fellow or future murderinos (that’s an industry term).  Until next time, I’ll just be widowing out listening to stuff about murder.

My Yard Needs Cutting

This morning as  I left for work my landscaper rolled up to conduct his usual bi-weekly lawn maintenance.  I waved to him and anticipated the inevitable “Your grass is cut, you can pay me now” text (I’m paraphrasing).  Like clockwork my phone pinged, however this time it was joined with the little passive aggressive shame nugget that I really should be having my lawn cut more often because it’s summer and why don’t I pay up so the yard won’t look like shit? (again, paraphrasing).  I mean he’s not wrong…it was starting to look a little Florida vacation home circa 2007 (that’s a cerebral economy joke in case you didn’t get it).  At the same time it’s like “Back off bro! I’m a lonely widow who doesn’t own a lawnmower!”  This just proves to be another glaring example of one of things I hate about widowhood…having to do all the shit myself.

Before I met Bryan,  I lived alone and embraced my independent womanhood.  Sure, I wanted to find a life partner, but I was okay running my own self.  In the immortal words of the Child of Destiny, “All the women, who are independent, Throw your hands up at me. All the honeys, who making money, Throw your hands up at me. All the mommas, who profit dollars, Throw your hands up at me. All the ladies, who truly feel me, Throw your hands up at me.” Yes, that was me being an independent honey who profits dollars.  When I did find a true partner in Bryan, I found that I relished taking some of the load off.  Suddenly I wasn’t responsible for EVERYTHING and it made life easier.  This isn’t some profound new idea after all, but I know of plenty relationships that aren’t that way, and I think, “what’s the point?”

Bryan was happy to do the grocery shopping, vacuuming, and getting the oil changed in my car-three things I have always hated, and still hate, to this day.  He also did 99.9% of the cooking (there’s one time he was gone and I had to feed myself and another time I made him a cake).  It was glorious, I just watched Jeopardy and food appeared.  Now I don’t mind cooking per se, it’s the cleaning I hate…and he did that too.  The kitchen was his domain and I was fine with that.  Nowadays, I go to the grocery store maybe once a month if I’m lucky and barely microwave a frozen meal.  I eat out way too much, causing damage to my wallet and waistline.  That’s just what it’s like in the abyss.  I recently had my kitchen completely redone with new cabinets, counter top, back splash and paint.  I’ve cooked in it ONE time.  #realtalk  The reason for this is likely 1 tbsp. laziness, 2 cups depression, 2 tsp. hatred of dishes to clean, and 3 tbsp. indignant bitterness that Bryan isn’t here to cook for me.  Now that’s a recipe for…wait for it…disaster!  LOLz

I also tend to ugly cry most late Friday nights as I land at JIA at 11:48 pm from a long week in Nowhere USA and must drag my 50 pound bag a mile to my car, if I can even remember where I parked it.  Pre-Bryan I didn’t mind this ritual.  I could finally drive my car and not some shitty Chevy Crapper (trademark pending), I was finally warm in the Florida air, and I could sleep in my own bed and catch up on my TV.  When Bryan and I were together he always picked me up from the airport, and dragged my suitcase up and down stairs.  I would literally say “You can take my bag now” unironically.  Those were the days, you guys.  When I landed at DEN I was suddenly a little less exhausted and bedraggled because I knew my man was waiting for me at Arrivals Door 508 with (always) a Coke Zero and (sometimes) pizza!  But that is no more.  I must carry my own bag, metaphorically and literally. I’m so fucking deep aren’t I?

Last Friday night, my flight from Minneapolis was late and I landed at 12:20 a.m.  I’d been up for 19 hours.  My bag was the last one on the carousel and after walking in stifling humidity (no longer pleasant) keys betwixt knuckles to avoid rapists, I could not find my car.  Widow brain had struck again and I totally forgot where I parked it.  Twenty minutes and two elevator rides later, it was spotted, but not without a parking ticket!  So yeah I cried all the way home.  Thanks Bryan!

I’m chalking this up to the many “secondary losses” I’ve mentioned before. I hope to someday not feel like every day is a burden and utterly annoying and exhausting.  I’ve got to retrain myself to embody the Destiny’s Child mantra of a honey who makes money.   I guess I just got too comfortable having a husband.  Pro Tip:  Don’t have a husband and you’ll never be mad/sad when you don’t have one! On that note, I think I’ll go pay the landscaper now.

Club Widow, like Club Med but Shittier

As I’ve said before, unless you’ve gone through the Titanic sinking-esque experience of your spouse dying, you’ll never truly know what it feels like to wake up every day after that contemplating death, hating everyone and everything, and constantly asking “what it is it all for?!”. I know, fun stuff right? But I’m not here to talk about that heartwarming topic, not today at least. I want to discuss something I have personally found to be an amusing side effect of my life circumstances, the online widow/widower support group.  You’d be surprised by a) how many of these there are, and b) how quickly and easily they find you when you get your newly minted widow status.  It’s like they have Russian bots or something! In the 14 months since Bryan hasta luego’ed (see how I butchered Spanish and made that a verb? I’m totes multilingual), I’ve joined about 5 online groups, un-joined 3, and hidden the other 2 from my news feed.  From the nearly constant updates, the petty drama (oh yes), and the sleazy dudes trying to slide into your DMs (that’s what the kids say isn’t it?), I’ve had to reign it in. As a wise woman once tweeted to the Cheeto in Chief, sometimes it’s important to “delete your account”.  So without further ado, let me be your Frommer’s travel guide for your visit to Club Widow.

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I know that’s supposed to be a trident, but it looks an awful lot like a W…for widow. Subliminal message much?

  • Just because we have this life-altering event in common, doesn’t mean we will have ANYTHING else in common.  Obviously any group composed of people on the internet will be diverse in all ways (age, income, location, nationality, race etc.), but the unique thing about widow/widower groups is that that somehow matters less in these groups than others, or frankly none at all.  Throw all of the elements that make you a unique individual out the window, because here at Club Widow, we’re all the same! Now let’s divulge deep emotional scars to complete strangers! When I do check in and read some posts it’s amazing how many people live their lives in total chaos, primarily from their #poorlifechoices.  Now without having a deep conversation about privilege and my bubble, these are people I doubt I would ever cross paths with otherwise, and so it can be interesting (but mostly sad and/or hilarious) to get a peek into their lives.  Sometimes it helps just to know that hey, maybe i’m not doing as bad as I thought; I mean shit, if Nancy* is fighting with her in-laws (and broadcasting to literally thousands of strangers) I should be thankful for the awesome relationship I have with mine, right?  For example, here’s a post on one of my “favorite” online support groups from 14 hours ago:

“I need advice as I’ve been in full blown out agrument [sic] with my family they say I should be able to make it on 234 a month without a job yes my rent is cheap and it’s 60 a month but I’m still paying deposit this is another 50 a month then diapers are 25 wipes 15 phone 50 internet 85 then if my baby needs milk or something it’s more and in Feb that gets cut off”

Wow, okay. Let’s unpack this shall we? First of all, where the hell are you living that your rent is $60 a month?! That’s amazing. I want to go to there [update: it’s Missouri, so no I don’t].  Secondly “if” your baby needs milk? Now I don’t pretend to know anything about keeping a human alive but isn’t that like a given? Last I checked, I didn’t think milk was optional, but I haven’t checked in a while. Lastly what happens in “Feb”? I mean that’s also like 8 months away (math ew) so I feel like the “full blown out agrument [sic, yes I know how to spell and want you to know it too]” will be resolved by then, no?  You might be thinking, hey wittiestwidow, you’re being kind of callous, you don’t know her story!  And that’s my point, I DON’T know her story, or anything about her or her situation, yet she’s making it my business.  What am I supposed to do with that?  How can I possibly help her? I’m all about venting, but I gotta say, I’ve got nothing for you, Nancy**. Cannot relate. Doesn’t compute.  There’s hundreds of posts weekly, just like this that clog my news feed if I let it.  They’re not always this heavy, but there’s always drama, and more often than not, it’s self-inflicted.  Another example, paraphrased: “my son won’t get a job and is eating me out of house and home. every time I give him money and food he never says thank you. how do I kick him out?”  Um..I’m sorry for your loss and life is downright muthafuckin hard, but I don’t think this relationship is a mutually supportive one.  The sad thing really I’ve learned, is that for many widows/widowers they simply don’t have a support system and so they use a virtual one.  I wish there were more resources out there because the internet is not what I would consider an emotional resource.  As I’ve said before, I don’t know where I’d be without my extensive and robust (love that word) support system.  And for that I’m grateful.  So when the posts pop up:

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  • Online widow/widower support groups all have stupid names. I’m not sure why this is a trend, but it’s a lame one IMO. There’s a tendency to make grief cute or more appealing, and I don’t know where that comes from. Grief is raw, dark, real, and intense. There’s no reason to gloss over that. Now I doubt I’d ever start an online widow/widower support group because as you can see, I’m lukewarm about them at best, but you can bet your sweet ass if I did, it would have a witty, yet appropriate name like “Life is Pointless” or “Fuck. Period.” I don’t know, I’m just spit balling here. So far, groups I have come across include:
    • Hot Young Widows Club aka “HYWC” — Cool. This experience has made me feel neither hot nor young.
    • Late Night Widows & Widowers aka LNWW — They love acronyms don’t they? And why do we only grieve late night? I’m not good at compartmentalizing my day like that.
    • Widow Dark Thirty — Alright, kinda catchy. I see what they did there.  I’m just not sure what the death of Osama bin Laden has to do with my husband’s.
    • Widow Peeked Inside — Enough with the puns already. Widowhood is not some awesome drug trip Alice in Wonderland-like hole that you eventually get out of.  Let’s not make it sound mysterious and intriguing shall we? Also widow peaks are for vampires.
late night widow

I guess there aren’t any widowed graphic designers

widowed peek inside

  • Everyone is obsessed with their “Chapter 2”.  So if you thought there was societal pressure to get married and settled down; quadruple that pressure when you’re widowed.  Apparently it’s a race to remarry or find a new partner.  I didn’t get the memo.
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    Me, not racing to the new love finish line

    When they’re not posting about family drama, widow/widowers can’t wait to post about the great love they’ve now found and how awesome they are.  Also, again with the “cuteness” factor, widow/widower groups have dubbed a person’s subsequent romantic relationship his or her “chapter 2″…eye roll. I can’t relate to a lot of the elements of these groups, but this one in particular baffles me.  Dr. F has told me that just like the pace of grief is unique to everyone, the pace at which people get back on that dating horse is also unique to every individual.  And that’s the only thing I can understand. Because the thought of dating was at one point as foreign to me as the concept of a trade deficit is to our president, then shifted to physically repulsive, and now that I’m just #deadinside it just seems like a waste of time.  Bryan was so 100% my “bae,” that I can’t imagine finding another human being on this earth that fits me as well as he did.  And we all know what to do when the glove don’t fit…stop wearing gloves. That’s how it goes right?  I’ve been told it will just be “different” with another person but I can’t really wrap my head around what that life would look or feel like.  Confession: I did go on one Tinder date recently (that’s a whole other post) and I pretty much decided it wasn’t for me.  I think I’m ruined for life honestly.  Like this guy was perfectly pleasant and nice, and if I was 27, I probably would have been more excited about him as a prospect.  But post marriage, as short as it was, I know what a great relationship (for me) could be and how you truly can be so perfectly matched with someone, that “fine” and “nice” aint cutting it.  Basically I need a clone of Bryan.  Ethical questions be damned, how far along are we on that whole human cloning thing? Not ready for prime time? Oh damn. Anyways, so for now I read the myriad of happy Chapter 2 posts, and assume they’re just desperate AF. Which leads me to my next topic…

  • They are not immune to catfishing!  Wow, who would have thunk it, widows: they’re just like “us”!  I mean the proverbial us.  I’ve seen Max and Nev do enough internet sleuthing to know I’d never get catfished. But that’s neither here nor there. A few months back I came upon one of those happy Chapter 2 posts and quickly realized this woman was being had, and not even well. She’s just that dumb.  Picture an overweight 60+ illiterate (trust me the post was barely legible) meth mouth (hey it’s vivid) gushing over the new love of her life in “Scotland” whom she was going to visit in a few weeks and basically leave the good ole US of A behind. She claimed to have met him through a friend so it was totally legit.  The “friend” was also internet only (read: same catfish).  Did I mention he looked like THIS?! SCOTT FOLEYIt wasn’t an actual picture of Scott Foley, but the photo of a guy this catfish had stolen looked almost exactly like him.  This guy is definitely real, right?? Hot 30 yo Scottish men fall in love with uneducated obese women old enough to be their mothers all the time! (Sidenote: I’m just now realizing that’s how love works and I’ve been doing it all wrong!)  Anyway, she had just posted and there were only about 7 comments so far, all congratulatory in nature.  Well I thought somebody had to say it, so I did.  I can’t remember exactly what I said, and I reaaallly wish I had screenshots but it was something along the lines of “not to rain on the parade but just make sure you’re being careful”.  Aren’t you proud of the restraint I showed? I know I’m great, I was just testing the waters.  Well once I said it the commenting floodgates opened and it was glorious (see MJ gif above).  As she adamantly defended her new love, it came out that they’d only been talking for a few weeks, never on the phone or video chat, she already gave him money, and he said they wanted to get married(…).  Within minutes some savvy members had found the picture he sent of “himself” on the verified account of a US-based doctor. Game Over. It was amazing and I really hope she weighed all the massive evidence we provided and heeded our advice.  But probably not. She whined about us being “jealous” and then deleted the post and left the group.  But I’m sure she’s happy in Scotland with her years-younger American/Scottish/Dr-Scott Foley amalgamation.
  • It’s a tribe mentality and be ready to GTFO if you don’t conform.  As with many of the comment threads on social media, it can be a real garbage dump out there.  The piling on is incessant, and while these groups tout “safe space” and honesty, if you don’t grieve exactly the way they do, the pettiness can come out.  Hey, at least it makes me feel alive again! After being in the Hot Young Widows Club for a few weeks, I found the posts rather surface level, self-serving, and inauthentic.  It seemed it was more a place to brag about your life and have strangers blindly cheer you on and validate your choices.  I thought that’s what regular social media was for.  So I posted asking for more substantive commentary on how others get through their grief and how we can really get something out of this group, and noted it was likely not a popular opinion. Truth, it wasn’t.  All these really “nice” widows made passive aggressive comments saying I was judgmental and to not question how others grieve, that we’re here to support each other! blah blah blah.  Needless to say I bounced. I did get a few members private message me saying they agreed, but I wished they would have said it publicly.  Sometimes it’s lonely being right!
  • I find the term “support” a loose one.  While these (often times) closed groups brand themselves as supportive networks for the bereft, they don’t always work out that way.  When they’re not spilling drama or bragging about their chapter 2, they’re posting a lot of selfies fishing for compliments or posting stupid memes you’ve already seen 398305804958 other places.  And there is also the particularly shudder worthy widower who likes to tell “all the women in this group” that they are beautiful and “deserve good man”…like him.  Hmmm no thanks.  If I realized I wanted a 58 yo diabetic I’d know it was time to bow out.

Now you’re probably thinking, “why even bother with traveling to these Clubs Widow?”  Well for all the bullshit I’ve mentioned above, every once in a while there are truly relatable conversations or positive advice that emerge.  Mixing in some outside perspective from Betty Jo in Duluth helps me to not forget this situation is universal in a lot of ways, and we’re all just trying to make it through.  When I joined them early on, I especially looked to widows who were further along to get a sense of what to expect, and I have to say that was helpful.

I hope this pocket travel guide proves helpful, and don’t give your money to a stranger you’ve met on the internet, like ever.  Widowed or not, that’s just sage advice.

 

*Not her real name. These groups are anonymous and I protect their sanctity until the day I die!
**Still not her name. Sanctity remember?!

 

It’s the Little Things Really

I was walking through the airport last Sunday and I thought I saw Bryan walking toward me.  A tall, bearded, burly, bespectacled (alliteration! You’re welcome Mrs. Yagel, 9th grade English teacher) young man with a kind smile had just come up the jet way from the plane I was about to board.  For a fleeting moment I was like “hell yes! it’s about damn time!”  My heart literally skipped a beat at the same moment my eyes finally focused to of course reveal it was not, said dead husband.  Your mind plays funny tricks like that on you when you lose someone you love.  I fancy myself a rather rational person, yet throughout this process I keep escaping all logic in short moments.  For about a half a second I truly thought it was him, and my mind and body did too as my heart jumped and I became laser focused.  All the sound and logical thought that’s been fighting to come through these last 13 months just disappears.  Shittily (word? yes) enough…this happens fairly often.  Sometimes I’ll be driving or doing something else that lends itself to my mind wandering, and my mind likes to then take these moments to remind me “hey, can you believe your husband is dead?! That’s bananas!”.  It’s like my subconscious wrestles with the reality too and needs to keep resetting itself.  I can’t really explain these little moments, except to say they are like micro-bursts of forgetfulness-realization-shock-depression all rolled into about 1.25 seconds.  I then sit and dwell for a few minutes as I’m reminded all over again “WTF THIS really is my life! How did I get here?!”  The tears well up, I stare off into space, a shocking and/or vivid visual or memory of Bryan may or may not pop in my head, but then I take a deep breath, loosen the drawstring on my sweatpants, and go back to that bag of Doritos and season 7 of Parks and Recreation I totally haven’t been letting occupy my time for the last 2 hours (or 4).  My body really is a temple, y’all.  I wonder when the shock will wear off.  Maybe it never will.  Maybe as I accept my third Pulitzer for “excellence in grief journalism” I’ll fall off the stage when I get a micro-burst and I’m like “wait, what? I have THREE Pulitzers?Awesome! They’re because my husband died? NOT Awesome!” [face plant].

Other moments I find quite fun are the times something funny, stupid, boring, sad, embarrassing etc. happens and the first person I think to tell is Bryan, only to be reminded in that instant that I can’t do that. Ever. Again.  I won’t say these happen too often or too strongly, as my rational self keeps these in check most of the time, but I hear from others in the bereft club of life that these can be a real punch to the emotional nut sack!  And sometimes they are for me as well.  Just earlier today I was in the bathroom cogitating on this very blog and thought, hey maybe that’s a funny topic, let me see what Bryan would thi-oh wait never mind. Sigh. [flush sound].  Irony of ironies, he probably would have totally dug this here blog o’ mine.  He was a witty writer and cunning linguist of the utmost quality, and I know if I had started a blog for any other reason, he would be my Editor In Chief.  In a weird way, he encouraged me to share my “thoughts on things” and even made this Facebook cover page for me once so that I could share my witticisms across social media:

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Hmmm. Perhaps a prophecy is being foretold! If that’s the case, I would just like to say, if you knew something I didn’t back then Bryan, I am NOT amused.  However, I will continue to share my “Thoughts on things” and thanks for letting me hash out my crippled stream of consciousness on a key board.  It’s something in my routine that I actually don’t hate and, it really is about finding joy in the littler things after all.

Thoughts on “Branding”

I’m not one to consider myself particularly tech savvy, or one to be too focused on the image of this blog (I figure that will come later when some art house Imprint discovers me and a 22 year old in the marketing department redoes my site before my book tour), but I realized the theme I had hastily chosen was not working for me.  Apparently it was called “intergalactic 2” (read: 1)why are there 2 of these themes and b) nerd city) and just not giving out the depression/self reflection/witty vibes I was after.  Thus, the page has been updated with a new look, and it’s hopefully easier to navigate.  This theme is called “bloggy” and I figured I couldn’t really get any more on the nose than that.  Let me know what you think of the new look.  WordPress has a million designs and they’re all somewhere between basic™ mommy blogger and Swedish architecture firm.  Basically, I’ve got option guys!

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Let’s put some ideas in the idea machine!!! Think outside the box! Touch Base! Circle back! Team work!

A Listicle of Things I Learned in Year One!

Hey Guys,

Wittiest Widow here, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all the great online publications of the highest journalistic integrity (I’m looking at you Buzzfeed!), it’s that people LOVE listicles! As I enter my sophomore year of widowhood, I’ve tried to reflect on the lessons I’ve been forced to learn.  I won’t say there’s any meaning to what’s happened, and if one more person says “everything happens for a reason” I will promptly ask them to jump off a bridge, but I’d like to hope I’ve made some progress.  So here’s a nifty list of some tidbits I’ve learned as a widow of 395 days.

  1. Apparently I’m “really strong”.  I wish this meant that when your hubby dies, you suddenly gain hulk-like strength and can bench press 300 pounds (is that a lot? I clearly don’t work out), but in actuality it’s the “emotional strength” you gain. Bor-ing.  Apparently adrenaline-car-lifting-strength is only reserved for mama bears, or tiger mothers, or whatever other maternal animal analogy people use these days.  Anyhoo, not going to lie, the first days and weeks after Bryan kicked the bucket were a total blur.  I didn’t know how I’d survive, and I sure as hell had no desire to.  That’s just a fact. (Disclaimer: Not being on this earthly plane is something I fantasize a lot about these days, so if that makes you uncomfortable, sorry. K thanks bye).  I was told just the other day by a dear friend who stayed with me that first week, that I didn’t even have the strength to eat a grape. A single grape.  I mean WTF?! First, I love grapes! And second, man that’s weak.  I think it was just an overall lack of will.  Everything, and I mean everything seemed pointless.  Why do people shower? Why do people eat? Conversation? It’s for the birds! Going to a job, who needs it?! All this to say, life was totally unbearable.  I still don’t know how I progressed, except that time is the only constant and it just kept moving forward.  And, I think, because I just had to.  I had people counting on me, even if I wasn’t counting on myself.  I still find that grating to me in my weaker moments, but for now I’m faking this whole living thing until I make it!
  2. My Ride or Die (get it?) Crew is different.  As you can imagine, I totally go to therapy (can’t you tell how well adjusted I am?), and “Dr. F” has taught me a lot about what they in the biz call “secondary losses”.  Basically, not only do you lose the love of your life, but you can lose a lot of other awesome stuff you never even imagined! For me, it was my house, my pet, my future, my sense of self worth, and some of my inner circle, just to name a few.  I had heard it before and can certainly attest to it after experiencing it first hand, but you’re filled with gratitude and surprise by the people who come out of the woodwork to be supportive; and totally hurt by those you thought you could count on who come up short.  Overall, I’m lucky to have such a wide and supportive network of friends, especially my sorority sisters, high school friends, Rotaractors, and great coworkers.  I can never thank them enough for the notes, messages, flowers, funny care packages, offers for happy hours or manicures, and persistent phone calls I’ve received over the last year.  Whenever I’m feeling particularly alone or hopeless, I’ll get a “Happy Galentine’s Day” card in the mail from a friend who I haven’t actually seen in years.  The reverse of that also happens however.  Sometimes those closest to you can hurt you the most.  Obtuse is a word I’ve come to use a lot.  I know that people’s emotional intelligence runs the gamut, but it’s still surprising when your bff would rather go to an Orange Theory class than sit with you 3 days after the funeral when you can barely eat that aforementioned grape.  Or when you talk about your sudden and great pain and someone compares it to the death of their cat (insert eye roll emoji here).  My goal throughout this grieving process is to be honest and let the emotions come as they come.  I’m not fine, so I shouldn’t say I am, right?  Well you’d be surprised (or maybe not) just how many people would prefer I say I’m fine.  I can tell my grief is uncomfortable for some, and I know it’s distanced me from some friendships–these friendships being the ones you think will step up when something like this happens but in reality the exact opposite happened.  I try not to feel jealous and post a nasty comment when on the 1 year anniversary of Bryan’s death, you don’t acknowledge it and instead post pictures of your latest vacation.  But I digress.  We’re all just out there trying to live our lives, and I know everyone else’s lives move forward, even when mine stands still.  But I can’t pretend it doesn’t sting.  #Truthiness
  3. That shitty, heart-stopping, emotional pain doesn’t really lessen.  Although I shower regularly (okay semi-regularly), and only think about dying 5 times a day as opposed to constantly, the pain hasn’t really lessened.  I would say it’s different, perhaps more familiar.  Obviously a year has helped me get harder, better, faster, stronger, but I’m not hard AF yet.  I cry less, but things still regularly set me off.  Example: I partake in a unique form of emotional cutting on a daily basis by checking out my Time Hop app.  I get to look at all the awesome things I was doing 1, 2, 3 etc. years ago and compare it to the hellscape that is me now.  I don’t know why I do it, but I just can’t stop.  The first step is admitting you have a problem right???  Things I “look forward” to are always disappointing.  I used to see commercials of a woman looking sad in a board meeting and then staring sadly at her unused pottery wheel as a way to illustrate her depression.  Then she got the right pills and was back to banging out bowls and mugs!  While I’d never make pottery, and I’ve always looked sad in meetings, I can relate to the loss of the interest and overall apathetic attitude.  On my best day, my mantra is “blerg”.  On my worst days, I can’t even think of one that’s bad enough.  I miss Bryan so much it hurts–yes physically hurts.  In the first months my hair fell out, my skin was crazy, my body ached all over, I had heart palpations, and I felt and looked like I aged 10 years over night.  I guess in a lot of ways did. Blerg.
  4. It’s Emily 2.0 Now.  So suffering a massive and traumatic loss changes you man.  It just does. Kind of like prison, or so I’ve been told.  The Emily that was here for 31 1/2 years peaced out the day Bryan did.  I can’t totally explain it, except to say I feel different and look at the world differently, and Dr. F has totes validated my feelings so I know it’s for real.  There was a time I was angry about this.  I liked who I was!  I didn’t want to be different!  I may not have been totally self actualized, but I generally got up every morning and felt okay about me and the decisions I made.  Now I feel like I’m stumbling through life and failing left and right, or I just don’t care at all.  Not a great way to be, and just like Stella, I need to get my groove back.  I’ll just have to accept that it will be a different groove.
  5. I miss Bryan MORE now.  Can you believe it?!  After some of the initial shock fades and your constant babysitters are around less, you have to get down to the business of living solo. Ugh.  The reality of life without him has set in.  And what is life really but a long, lonely march towards death?? Maybe not for you, but I mean at least for me it is.  I’m sure in a hilarious ironic twist I’ll live to be like 90 years old.  That’s a looooong time without your bestie and loooong time not living the life you guys had planned together.  I struggle with the “one day at a time” thing, given that I’m a planner by nature and trade.  I take in the totality of life without Bryan and it gets overwhelming to think about.  I think about all the inside jokes we’ll never share again.  All the stupid, hilarious conversations we’ll never have. All the road trips we’ll never take.  All the houses we’ll never buy and fix up.  All the TV we’ll never watch together.  My God, the television might really be the worst.  I love Netflix. That is all.
  6. Misty water colored memories.  I’m scared sometimes, by just how fast the memories fadeI’m sure it doesn’t help that I have widow brain (that’s real thing, Google it).  I want to remember all the things that made Bryan my hubby all at once, and it’s just impossible.  Sometimes I watch videos of Bryan, just to keep his voice on my mind.  This summer, my stupid phone deleted all my saved voicemails one day and I had a meltdown at a Firehouse Subs.  That was fun.  But when a random memory does pop in my head, I’m diligent about writing it down.  These are things I hope stay in my head when I no longer remember who I am or how to go to the bathroom on my own.  I could just drift off to the memory of Bryan singing Amy Grant’s “Baby Baby” just because.
  7. I’m Like the Most Empathetic Person Ever Now.  Experiencing Bryan’s death and the shit storm that’s followed has caused me to see the world in a new lens.  When I hear of someone who’s lost a parent, spouse, child etc.,  I don’t just feel sad for them, I’m shattered all over again.  My pre-widow self just wasn’t capable of this higher level of sympathy and empathy, but now it’s like a super power y’all.  Not that it’s a super power I particularly wanted, but I actually feel useful sometimes when these new, raw grievers talk to me and I can honestly relate or just be there to listen.  I’m acutely aware of the “well what the hell do I do now?” feeling that comes after the funeral, cards, and casseroles stop coming.  So I try to keep those grieving on my mind and reach out.  You’ll never know what it’s truly like unless you’re a part of this club that nobody ever wanted to join, but if you do, I hope you support the other members.
  8. Just cut the bullshit.  Ain’t nobody got time for that! When you’re all exposed in the pit of despair, you get skilled at prioritizing what’s worth emotional energy and what’s not.  Just call me Imperator Furiosa because I’m a woman on a mission and I’ve got very little patience! Since I have so little energy to begin with, I can’t waste it on the bitchy woman at the grocery store, or the dick head that cuts me off on my commute home.  I just tell them to have a #blessed day and be on my way.  Okay maybe I still flip the bird, but I’m not still thinking about it 10 minutes later.  Baby steps. I’m still grieving!  One day I”ll get there.  I also put less credence into what I see on social media in terms of comparing my life and goals to other people’s highlight reel.  Everybody has got shit they’re going through, and it would be nice if we could just acknowledge it and be cool with it.

So that’s that.  These are just some knowledge nuggets I’ve accumulated these last 395 days.  I know I’ve got more to learn, and maybe I’ll update as I stay buckled in to this vomit-inducing carnival ride of widowhood that I just can’t seem to get off of.  Any of you have pearls of wisdom to share?  Ideas for posts? Be sure to comment!