2019: Same Shit, Different Year

Hola fellow widowinos.  It’s 2019 and you know that that means!!!…Absolutely nothing.  The new year has never really meant more to me than the passage of  time, but as a lonely woman it only serves to highlight the status quo of my less than awesome life.  Apologies for my MIA status the past few months. The final quarter of every year is a bit rough for me as I forge through the emotional minefields of my late father’s birthday, Bryan’s birthday, my dad’s death day (on Thanksgiving!), my would-be wedding anniversary that I’ve never actually celebrated with my husband, and of course Christmas.  Ah, the holidays! As of I’ve said before, now fraught with melancholy!  But I digress. So for as much of a resolution as I plan to make, I resolve to post on a more regular basis, as I know you all are itching with anticipation at every thought (not really).

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Since we last spoke, I can’t say anything totally radical has changed.  I go to therapy, take my meds, try to get out and be social, work the steps and go to meetings — oh, wait that’s a different program isn’t it.  Maybe that’s my problem! But in all seriousness, while I don’t always feel like I’m progressing in my grief day-to-day, when I make periodic check-ins from this day a year ago, I do see some progress (I think, I hope).  For example, Christmas 2017 I just pretended wasn’t happening.  So much so, that I flew over an ocean to get away from it.  I spent the actual day of Christmas in rainy London catching up on sleep from jet lag from my Christmas Eve flight across the pond (side note, how does Santa do it?! amiright?).  Then I spent the subsequent days sightseeing and drinking tea and being around friendly strangers who had no idea what my story was and I LOVED it. Also, Christmas in general is far less commercialized and in your face in Britain than it is here, so it was a welcome relief.  This year I decided to face the music and acknowledge the day and the time with the family I have left. It wasn’t…horrible.  Maybe next year I can say it wasn’t too bad. I even willed myself to put a tree up in the home I  bought completely after Bryan that he has no connection to.  Opening those Christmas ornaments was like a firing squad of emotion as I unwrapped newspaper only to be hit upside the head with “Remember your engagement???” or “LOOK! Your honeymoon!”.  Needless to say, decorating the tree took a few hours as I had to take to my bed frequently and revive myself with loads of smelling salts.  BUT I did it. And I guess I’m proud?

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I’ve also been more cognizant of the fact that time is moving forward for those around me, whether I feel like it has for me or not.  Within my friend group in just the last few months, there’s been a birth, 3 new pregnancies, a couple moves, a cancer diagnosis in remission, and quite a few new furry friends.  Oh and also this girl I know announced her THIRD ENGAGEMENT! I mean kudos to her. I’d love to know her secret. Anyway, all this to say that while I’ve spent the past few months trying out makeup tutorials on Youtube and watching really obscure crime documentaries on Netflix, the world has kept on spinning.  I hope, with cautious optimism of course, that 2019 brings me something more exciting than just the final season of Game of Thrones, but if that’s all, it wouldn’t be that surprising.  Until next time, here’s to whatever kind of 2019 you want to have, and dear God I hope the House impeaches Trump.

The Holidays…Now Fraught With Melancholy!

Mother’s Day 2018 was just a couple weeks ago, and I made my not-obligatory-but-really-obligatory-because-the-passive-aggressive-guilt-isn’t-worth-it-if-I-don’t-go trip home to Virginia.  It was…fine.  The weather was beautiful and brunch was delicious, but I couldn’t help but notice the overall air of melancholy I felt the entire time.  The house was so quiet, the wifi questionable, and I felt simultaneously lonely and longing for alone time.  Grief is wack like that.

Going home doesn’t make me happy the way it used to.  After my dad died in 2011, the first holidays were very shall I say, “dark”.  Literally and figuratively.  Like for real, my dad put up all the Christmas lights a la Clark Griswold, and you know my mom wasn’t climbing on the ladder to hang 27 wreaths on every window of the colonial I grew up in.  His passing was Thanksgiving Day so those first few holidays were a total blur/nonexistent, but by Christmas 2012 an attempt at normalcy was made.  I say attempt because I wouldn’t consider it a rockin’ around the Christmas tree success.

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Home Alone with cardboard friends would have been better

As I sat in the living room by the tree with my brother and mom, I couldn’t help but notice how quiet it was.  No music playing, no extended family or friends like years past, the gifts just seemed not as exciting, and as if we were just going through the motions of opening them.  I remember thinking, I guess this is what family is now, and being depressed at said thought.

A year later I was dating Bryan and I was excited to go home, celebrate the holiday with him, and meet the clan that forged him in the fires of Moordor! j/k he was just a normal baby j/k he did actually weight 11 pounds! Anyway, his family has always been very close, more close than mine, and they did the holidays up right.  His sister had just had a baby and Bryan was quite proud of his new nephew.  Throughout the time we were together, I started to like the holidays again.  He definitely influenced me as I saw how happy he was to spend time with family, cook great food, and exchange thoughtful presents.  When Mother’s and Father’s Days came, he dutifully picked out charming, hilarious, and loving cards, and ensured the Omaha Steaks for his pop came on time.  (Getting weekly Omaha Steaks mailers became a joke in our house after that. They are relentless about the meats)!  Celebrating the holidays with Bryan was just more relaxed, joyful, and we started to make our own traditions.  Suddenly, I no longer associated the word “obligation” with holidays.  There we were, just living the dream, putting up tiny Christmas trees,  passing out on White Russians at Thanksgiving, and shotgunning beers at the Grand Canyon on the 4th of July!  But then, and I don’t know if you’ve already heard, he DIED.  What a jerk.  In the aftermath, holiday celebrations were frankly the last thing on my mind, as I was transported back to that pointless melancholy feeling but times a million.  I couldn’t understand how people could look forward to those days that seemed like a waste of time, money, and mental energy.

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America’s Birthday 2015

I still generally feel that way about designated days for celebration.  So I as I flew home and sat at a spring brunch to honor Mom, it stung extra hard to know that Bryan could no longer honor his mom whom he loved so much, and that I was once again a single lonely woman without the family I made for myself.  The crazy thing about this widowhood is that it never stops surprising you in new and shitty ways!  On the surface I wouldn’t expect Mother’s Day to be a trigger day (I use that word because I”m woke, y’all), but it inevitably was.  I made a point to visit with his mom and stepmom and send them each a card from the both of us, because I know that’s what Bryan would have done.  It was great to see them, and I’m thankful we are so close.  I just wish every damn holiday wasn’t so hollow. Wittiest Widow, over and out.