Leaving A Mark

About a month ago I got a tattoo to memorialize Bryan. At the risk of sounding like a devotee of Twilight [for the record I AM NOT. I don’t even know what they’re called], Bryan imprinted so profoundly on my life, that it just made sense to leave an imprint on myself to mark that time. [Update: I just Googled what you call fans of Twilight…apparently it’s “Twihards”. Cool.] I thought a lot about what I wanted to permanently remind my of not only my amazing husband, but also of the earth shattering effect the aftermath of his death has had on me and those in my orbit.  It goes without saying that this has FOREVER changed me to my core (but not like beneficially in the form of six-pack abs or anything) as well as the trajectory of my life.  Needless to say I couldn’t take this inking as lightly as if I was at Daytona Beach Spring Break ’87 excited for my butterfly wing lower back tattoo. No offense to any of my tens of readers with lower back tattoos. Love you hot messes!

lower back tattoo

True story: this was the first thing that came up upon Googling “lower back tattoo”. NOTE: Shown here for reference only. I do not, I repeat do not, have this tattoo.

Also, I should note this wasn’t my first tattoo, so the “should I get a tattoo at all or not” wasn’t really a factor in my decision making.  It’s true what they say, once you get one, you definitely want more. Anyway back to the design.  For a while I had wanted to get a tattoo based on this new technology where you tattoo a sound wave and using an app can then play it by scanning your tattoo.  Bryan had left me so many cute, funny, and random voicemails that I envisioned using one of those, and I’m deathly afraid of forgetting the sound of his voice (like it keeps me up at night).  Well thanks to my shitty iPhone and shitty Sprint service, my phone deleted ALL OF MY SAVED VOICEMAILS (more on that here) so that idea was a bust. Thus it was time to resort to the trusty old internet machine. Scanning Pinterest, memorial tattoos run the gamut from beautiful to heart wrenching to tacky to confusing to just plain poor ink work. While I went for inspiration, I definitely wasn’t seeing what I wanted.  I had figured I would do something more symbolic vice the very on-the-nose broken heart, inspirational quote, birth/death date.  I also figured I’d know it when I saw it.  Every few weeks I’d peruse the boards seeing if anything new or interesting popped up, and no dice.  My “Inkspiration” (get it?) board was about as full as it was going to get.  And thus this idea languished on my mental to-do list for a while, you know with all the other basic functional things I was struggling to do: get out of bed, shower regularly, maybe do a load of laundry, try watching less Netflix, it’s getting embarrassing, etc. etc. You know, the usual.

Then one Friday in April I was driving along A1A beachfront avenue a la Vanilla Ice and decided to just pop into the tattoo shop I’ve used before and like.  I’m making a concerted effort as of late to “just do it” (no Nike reference here) instead of waiting until the drive and/or motivation manifests itself, because the funny thing about depression/grief is, it basically never does and you just have to push through it. So I went in and started chatting with the gentleman about elements I’ve seen from Pinterest that I like and things I didn’t like and why I was getting this tattoo in the first place.  He seemed interested in this tattoo project and gave me some ideas right away that I hadn’t even considered.  He offered to draw up a design and asked when I’d like to come in for the session. Turns out, he had time the next day and if I didn’t jump on it, my schedule would preclude me from getting it for weeks (I’m very busy and important) so I said why the hell not and set the appointment.  I’ve noticed this is a pattern I’ve developed. While I don’t tend to make rash decisions (SEE: lack of new fancy car, move to Bali, opioid addiction or shaved head in year one of widowhood), I don’t have a problem pulling the proverbial trigger quickly once I’ve considered it for an acceptable amount of time.  So while I may have “considered” the tattoo for close to 2 years, I actually got it in under 24 hours.  Ironically enough, Bryan was not a fan of tattoos. Like at all. So perhaps my hesitation came from a subconscious feeling of wondering how he would feel about it. But too late! It’s my body my choice* I have to give a shout out to Marc at Florida Velvet Tattoo.  He did great work and came up with a design I love.

Editors Note: *Except in Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, Missouri and other pending states.

tattoo 1

Just me, in total calm blissed-out zen and definitely not clenching a stress ball with excessive flop sweat.

I got the forget-me-not flowers because not only are they generally used to memorialize someone, they are also the flower used to represent SUDEP. Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy or SUDEP, is what Bryan passed away from.  I haven’t really talked a lot about it on here, but I do have plans to as I’m starting my pro-active phase of grief. I wouldn’t say I’m at the “acceptance” phase yet by any means, but this is a new one I made up unique to my “journey” (eye roll).  The swallow, or at least that’s what kind of bird I’ve decided it is, was just all around sweet to look at (just like my bae) but also links to the way I think Bryan still comes and visits me now and then.  You may call BS and that’s fine, I’m surprised I’m open to this stuff as well, but I saw a Medium about 4 months after Bryan died (a post for another day) and she said that Bryan had been trying to visit me and was tapping on my window as a bird.  I had noticed a bird had been coming to my window for what seemed like an excessive amount of visits to not get bird seed, but hadn’t put it together.  So for now, I’ll choose to believe it.

 

tattoo 2

I’m happy to say it healed nicely and has caused me to seriously expand my racer-back tank top collection, which I don’t hate.  Pro tip: when getting a tattoo make sure you wear black. Apparently they like bleed or something. Until next time, wittiest widow over and out.

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.

Untitled Death Anniversary Post

Today. Today is the day that Bryan has officially been gone 2 years.  Sometimes it feels like it just happened yesterday and I’m right back in the shock, sadness, and chaos of those first few days.  Other times it feels like it was a dream you wake up from and have a hard time remembering the details.  It’s surreal to think about my life just 2 years and 1 day ago and how I don’t even recognize it, me, or people in that life.  There’s very little about Emily BBD (before Bryan’s death) that seems to have carried through to Emily ABD (after Bryan’s death).  Sure, I’m still “me” but for the most part I feel fundamentally changed in my core being.  This is something I have a hard time articulating.  Those that know both Emily BBD and Emily ABD will say sure, you’re still you, just sadder or maybe more cynical.  And while that’s true, I feel like it’s more than that.  I see the world differently.  I react to situations differently.  I care far less about what people think and what kind of impression I’m making, for better or worse.  It’s likely worse, but whatevs.

One the 1 year anniversary, we honored Bryan in a park he loved with a memorial celebration surrounded by friends and family.  It was healing and sad and genuine and gut wrenching, yet still had its funny moments.  I loved hearing stories about him before I came along from this childhood friends.  In a way it felt like I was still getting to know him.  Today there will be less pomp and circumstance, but I know that many people will be thinking about him, hopefully laughing a little bit and likely crying a lot.  In fact, I wrote this yesterday to allow for maximum “feeling my feels time”. #selfcare

bryan memorial

As my sophomore year of widowhood comes to a close, I can say with certainty that those who warned me it would be “harder” were right — sort of.  Maybe it’s just different. Year 1 is all about addressing the shock and surviving.  Year 2 is about getting down to the business of living and your “new normal” whatever the fuck that is.  It’s the mundane, boring existence that surrounds the majority of everyday life.  It’s maintaining a house, paying bills, running errands, going to work, seeing friends (when you can force yourself to leave the house)…except doing it all solo with this nagging pit in your stomach that’s there to constantly remind you of the void in your life.  Plenty of single people live happy and fulfilled lives. So I’m not knocking them at all.  In fact that was me for the majority of my twenties. I was out there doing it!  It’s just that now I have to do it while knowing what could have been and how it’s just sometimes easier with someone in your corner.

sad

When the shock wears off and the early stages of grief have ended, you gain a different perspective on your situation.  In this second year, I think it was less about that longing and acute missing Bryan feeling (don’t get me wrong, if that dude showed up today I’d be all over him like a spider monkey), and more about my anger and sadness at my life situation.  When I thought about myself as a “widow” and what that meant, it was no longer always “my husband is dead, WTF” like the first year.  It was more like “I feel lonely, angry, empty, annoyed” and an overall feeling of “I can’t be bothered” to be dealing with this life circumstance.  But SPOILER ALERT I did anyway. Yay me.   There’s also a sense in year 2 from those in your orbit that you should be moving on.  I’m here to give this PSA: there is no timeline on grief! Once a widow, always a widow.  And unless you’re a licensed professional or a widow/widower yourself, you have no authority to infer/imply/or flat out tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing or how I should be living. That’s just #FACTS.

phoenix

Possible tattoo idea??? Am I Right? [sidenote: those experiencing grief are not known for their rational decision making skills]

Also, in an exciting turn of events, and when I say “exciting” I really mean “daunting” and “triggering,” the anxiety and guilt that lay dormant for 18 months over how it all went down decided to rear its ugly mug, and I’ve been addressing my latent PTSD in this second year as well. FUN STUFF!  Sparing the details, I know on a rational level that I couldn’t have done anything to change the outcome, but when my brain decides to flash the scenes from the day, it’s pretty damn rough.  I don’t want to remember Bryan that way so I’m working through that bullshit with Dr. F.  Maybe the 3rd year is when I become a self actualized phoenix who rises from the ashes in a blaze of radiant color not yet seen by the human eye to say “Hello World! Here I am!”. Probably not. But hey, you never know.

Love you Bryan, mean it.  And you too, widowinos.

mebryanoct16

My Life Does Not Spark Joy

As many of you probably have also done recently, I stumbled upon that pixie-esque Japanese delight that is Marie Kondo via her ubiquitous Netflix series, Tidying Up with Mario Kondo.  I had a vague notion of who she was via my layman’s knowledge of the cultural zeitgeist, but I was woefully uninformed on the truly life changing art that can come from purging your shit.  Anyhoo, after watching a few episodes, I decided to think about just what does and does not spark joy in my life…truth not much.  All touchy-feely thanking your clothes as you chuck them in a trash bag aside, Mrs. Kondo makes some goods points with her patented KonMarie method.

marie kondo joy

I’ve never been that happy about anything, including Bryan, as Marie Kondo is about a stranger’s black t-shirt.

I’ve noticed over the last 716 days that I’ve been husband-less that I’ve started to fill the void in my life with “things”.  It started slowly at first, perhaps out of boredom, that I might go to Ulta just to browse; or open the Amazon app just to see what they recommended for me.  Now, almost 2 years later, (ugh the dreaded deathiversary is fast approaching) I’m Diamond status at Ulta, and have a whole 3rd bedroom full of still-packed boxes of my former married life, as well as Amazon boxes full of crap I don’t need.   Who buys a bedazzled dickie or marble-look bathroom cups just because Amazon suggests them? I do.

dickie

If I’m being truly honest, this dickie has totally sparked some mutha fuckin’ joy.

When I first bought and moved into my post-marital home last year, there was a lot to do and a lot to buy, and I have to admit, I was kind of getting a rush from buying a new comfy couch, selecting the perfect quartz counter top, and going all in on a fancy front loader washer and dryer.  So many paint color choices!  Is the thread count on these sheets high enough? Never mind that I had like 4 sets of perfectly fine sheets somewhere in a box.  I needed to buy these new ones. My former self would have been ashamed.  Who succumbs to basic domesticity so easily? Oh. That’s right.  A widow who has already had to succumb to playing the game of life with a 2-7 offsuit hand.  It’s starting to make sense now!

So after folding my underwear in thirds and letting my socks “rest” as Marie suggests, I started to get inspired.  What else could I start storing vertically so it’s viewable in my life?  Better yet, what could I just say “Arigato” and  “Sayonara” to and start to remove some of the weight off this emotional yolk I’ve been bearing? (Sidenote: the yolk is a very deep emotional metaphor for how I feel burdened daily that I came up with in therapy. Continuously evolving y’all.)  Since I’m finally starting to learn that the tiny rush I get from ordering stuff and seeing the box on my doorstep, or grabbing the latest mascara and earning more points, is fleeting, and that I generally feel just the same or worse later, it’s time to think of all the good the purge does.  I’ve started to avoid and purge negative influences as well.  It’s not just my stuff I need out of my house; it’s some of the dark emotions and feelings that rumble around in my head that need to go. It’s letting go of the hurt I feel towards people who let me down.  It’s starting to remove the “stuckness” I have and opening myself up to moving forward…in whatever fashion that may be.  It is also totally about thanking my Camp Horizons ’97 t-shirt and tossing it because it no longer sparks joy for me.  Until I;m a totally self-actualized human being, I’ll just be breaking down a bunch of cardboard in my guest room.

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”

fyre-festival-aftermath

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.

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.

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.

kevin mcallister

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.

grand canyon

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.

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.
    socks-feet-pajamas-table-85842.jpeg

    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:

thoughtsonthings

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.

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!