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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Braving the coming weeks

December and only weeks left of 2014….

This is my most favorite time of year. Well, it was my favorite time of year. Hopefully it might become my favorite again some time. Usually, once the air starts blowing crisp I get excited and start thinking of ways to celebrate and decorate.  My fondest for Christmas comes from my beautiful mother.  She would make the holidays so great for our family.   When she passed from cancer the holidays were not the same and then grew tremendously better when children entered the picture.  Nothing like seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes to really understand the blessings of the holidays UNTIL I saw it through the blessed eyes of true love.  All those years of having Tim’s friendship, comfort, abundant love and protection made every holiday only another reminder of how blessed I was.  I wouldn't change anything, I just want to do the holidays with Timothy again.


My thoughts of this time of year have changed along with who I am. Drastically changed. I'm angry, streaked with envy. I feel anxious, eager to just get this all over with already!   I need not to think of next year’s battles, just about how I'll get through the current ones.   I try to find ways to do things to remember Tim, but as time goes by I feel I am the only one.   After he passed, so many reminded me he was not forgotten and now they are fewer and fewer.  

 I let myself have sad and angry moments. Then I try and force myself  to live life.  I just live with grief hanging above me like a dark cloud. Even after a year and half  it isn't getting easier...I'm just getting used to the dark cloud.

My view on life is glazed over with anger and disbelief of this new life.   HOWEVER…  I can see through the cracks of pain that there are things to be grateful for.   Most of all having the blessing of Tim’s presence in my life and experiencing unconditional love.


Here’s to the cracks becoming larger in 2015!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Timelines for grief?

The sun sets everyday and the view from where we are allows us to see it differently just like when someone loses a loved one and they experience it differently.    
I’d been taught that if I worked hard enough for anything, I could achieve it. I struggled with the notion that I could work myself into the ground, but not inch myself a step closer to my goal of having my Timothy back.
In current life, I look to spend time with people I can be myself with.  New friendships or friendships that bordered on the outer circle of friends is very much a struggle, and unless I feel instant warmth from someone, I admit to holding them at arms length to avoid letting them into my bubble.  
Unexpectedly,  I wanted people to know what had happened to me, so it would excuse my quietness at times.  The biggest security blanket I have is for people to not expect too much of me.
Now, I find myself not wanting to share much at all.  I has been 1 year and 5 months and more and more I hear things like: It is time to move on, don't be sad, don't be angry, see a Dr/Therapist, put yourself out there, live life and be happy.  Well, I hate to disappoint, but I can not at this time live up to those expectations.  It is easier to keep to myself to avoid the disappoints all around.
REMINDER:  Be patient and remember there is not a timeline for grief.  Tomorrow the sun will rise and set again and I have the opportunity to experience it differently.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Grief Triggers

So, here in Central Florida a celebration called “Biketoberfest” just ended.  If you are not familiar, thousands of motorcycle riders roll into the Daytona Beach area for an extended weekend of sun, beaches, entertainment and bikes, bikes and more bikes!

In the past I would be excited for this time of year!  Yeah! It is Biketoberfest.  Now, I stay home and off the roads because it is Biketoberfest.

Well, I miscalculated and decided to plan a road trip to Atlanta in the middle of this huge event.  Driving extra cautiously and at the same time trying to tune them all out.  They would breeze by me with not a care in the world.   They were all enjoying the ride, the moment, the weather and the comradery.  With every mile another trigger is pulled (boom) another memory, another heartache.  It did not matter the type of bike, the color of the bike, the sound of the bike, the speed of the bike or the description of the rider (s).  It was one hit after another.  A couple passes by and I can she her arms wrapped around his waist and those where my arms.  If I close my eyes and still feel that closeness, that bond, and then I remember I will never have that experience again in my life.  I felt angry, anxious and sad all in one moment.  Talk about feeling crazy! I say this to provide one small glimpse into grief.  The triggers are different for everyone but for every person that has experienced a major loss they do exist.  They can be small reminders, but just like that they can put you into a deep grieving space where you are distracted from what you were doing and suddenly find yourself in that space where nothing else matters but your pain.  I believe as humans we crave connections/bonds with each other.  The death of a loved one does not diminish that desire, I believe it actually intensifies it.  We want what we cannot have.  It is as if the trigger finds a way to get that connection back. 

I am learning as a go and I am trying to give myself permission to be okay with my emotions.  Looking through "grateful" lenses is one of the most difficult challenges I have. 


My question now is how do to be thankful for the experiences that keep that bond without being tortured.....

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ah-Hah Moments

Walking this road, I have discovered much and I have had many “ah-hah moments” 

When I think back to my happiest times, some go back to my childhood, some go back to motherhood but most go back to my life with Tim.  Flashes so vivid I could hear laughter, see colors, feel the air and recall my thoughts of the pure content I felt being in that single moment.    So now I think, what happens now?  I actually have thoughts of “never again”.   As of this moment this feeling is fueled by anger, sadness and fear.  Yes fear.  I have actual feelings of fear.  I never expected this one.  If confuses me.

Anxiety and fear have become a part of the “new” me.  It is a feeling that is very foreign to me.    My fear is not scary movie , ax murderer fear.  My fear is what if something else happens?  Why open my word up?  So that it can be crushed again?  Accidents DO happen, and honestly I will not survive another blow to my heart, my world, my life.   This has truly altered who I am. 

Okay.   So now I have recognized where I am at.  I have identified why.

THE CAUSE:  Why you suffer from anxiety, panic and fear of being abandoned? 

At some time, you experienced an event that you interpreted as abandonment and made you very afraid. When the event occurred, the brain chemicals produced by anxiety synthesized into proteins and were stored in the emotional brain (amygdala).  Now, whenever you encounter something that "reminds" you of that traumatic event, these proteins are "disturbed," and you experience the same feelings now that you did then - panic attacks, anxiety, fear, terror of being unloved or left alone.

I share this so that if you OR someone you know has experience a loss, please know that they will likely not be the same person prior to this loss.  From the inside out it changes you.  It is not as easy as telling someone to “let it go", “move on with your life” or “get over it”.  


For me, I understand where I am right now even if no else does.  I am trying!


Friday, September 19, 2014

In Time


I watched a movie that highlighted the power of love and an underlying message to simply live each day as if it were your last.    I found myself understanding that it is the power of love that makes this journey feel so impossible.   If I had not loved and been loved so deeply I would not miss it so much.   I kept thinking, if I could go back in time, I would have a conversations with him and tape it so that I replay it in times when I have doubt.   I would take in and appreciate every little small moment not just the big ones.   In my personal, intimate world,  I would engrave every touch, smell, word and noise in my memory so that I never forget.   I still wear my ring, have pictures everywhere, spray his cologne and wear his clothing so that I don’t forget.    Normal?   Not sure.   Even if someone were to say it wasn’t, it would make no difference to me.  

I find myself wondering that if in time I am able to embrace my future does that mean saying goodbye?   I have not and I am not willing to do that.   So now what? 

Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye? ~Author Unknown



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seeking Success

Before this life altering event happened to me,  I had no idea losing a husband caused such devastating despair. I always admired the courage of those who had lost a loved one and how they were able to cope.   I was convinced I would have had an emotional breakdown apart from God's sustaining presence.   I have tried lately to make some goals for myself   This has been a painful process, as it focuses me on the future which still seems full of questions and insecurities.


For me, I have tried to stay short-term.  I need to keep them attainable and I need to be careful not to expect too much of myself.   I understand now how easy it is to send myself down a road that does not lead away from depression that awaits me.  


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Perception Changes in Grief

Perception
an attitude or understanding based on what is observed or thought

Since Tim’s accident, my vision on life is much different.  A bird singing, the sun rising, the stars shining all are observed through new eyes.  I know my ebbs and flows and it often feels like the ocean.   Rough and turbulent one day and more calm the next.  I may look down and see clearly to the sand and return to cloudy waters.  It is my perception, the depth and clarity of my vision, that makes it appear so.  Others will look from the outside and may assume or perceive something different.

If I have a smile on my face does that mean I am happy?
If I am laughing does that mean I am okay?
If I am out having a drink with fiends does this mean I am moving forward?
If I am still wearing my wedding band does this mean I am in denial?
If I don’t go out does this mean I am depressed?
If I still have clothes of my loved one hanging in the closet does this mean I can’t let go?
If I don’t talk about my loved one does this mean I do not miss him?

It is all perception and if you want to know the reality, just ask. 


Monday, September 8, 2014

I wish you peace....

After experiencing my own grief I have become extra sensitive to others that experience their own personal loss.    I find that we often get confused about what to say and what not to say.    A sudden death is a shock to the system.   It’s the suddenness of it that’s just overwhelming. Hearing things such as “he is in a better place”, “it is God’s plan” and “Time will heal” was NOT helpful and frankly made me a bit angry.   Although the words spoken are all well intended, during this time you have so many different emotions and all you want is your loved one with you.  I found that the most helpful was expressing a simple sympathy and just being there.  Finding peace/comfort was and still has been the most difficult thing to come by so I now offer others the wish of peace during the most difficult time in their lives.  I have had several people in my circle that have experienced loss recently and while I could NEVER understand their loss I certainly can understand the heartache.  


I wish you peace!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Signs from God

After vacationing this past holiday weekend, it occurred to me that maybe coincidences are God's way of being anonymous. I do believe that if we are receptive to them, God gives us little signs of encouragement, comfort and consolation in our everyday lives, signs that He is with us.  Sometimes I am not sure if there is a sign being given or if it is just my desperate attempt to find hope.  I suppose either way it is good, right?  I was blessed to experience these "signs" while in a beautiful place with beautiful friends and came back with a bit more hope.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Small steps....

When a woman loses her husband, she is often also losing her best friend, chauffeur, workout partner, or even handyman. Our husbands often fill multiple roles in our lives. Some of the more challenging things I have experienced that I thought may not be so big have been handling problems that come up.   Tim took pride in “taking care” of me in such a way, I did not have to worry about something challenging come up.   Today my anxiety set in when the washing machine stopped working.   Normally, superman would rush in and no worries, but not this time….   It was just me and I got angry as the pressure was turned on.   Good news for me is that I was able to settle down, take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, read the manual and fix the problem    I smiled and high fived myself!   It maybe small for some but it was a small step in the right direction for me.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Resilience

There are so many types of loss…  Death may claim a loved one. A marriage or friendship ends. Health fails. A pet dies. A job is lost.. By my own experience and those around me,  I feel the most painful losses we will ever experience are the deaths of a mate, child, parent, or sibling, or a loss under traumatic circumstances.


The death of your mate means the loss of daily companionship. The loneliness is hardest to bear in the evening and on weekends.  The absence is SO obvious that it is hard to ignore.  (Trust me, I have tried)  As painful as the death of a spouse or partner is, some people who have gone through this process find strength and resilience they didn’t realize they had.  Many have found new causes / charities , etc to get involved in that bring meaning.   Time, in my case has not been my friend but I do feel It is possible to cherish your loved one and memories and also find strength and hope in a new phase of your life.   For me, I am still not sure what this “new” phase is.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Give the Flowers Love

Deciding to productive at home, I went outside to pull weeds and trim flowers/bushes.   Even in what many would consider a very simple task, I was completely overwhelmed.  Tim took such pride in his “green thumb”.  He was an early bird and while the sun came up, he would slip his flip flops on and water, feed, spray and trim the flowers.  In true Tim fashion he would take my hand and bring me away from desk to admire God’s beauty.    I looked at what is now there and the flowers were just as sad as I was.   They were in need of some serious  love.   I walk by them almost every day and I have surely ignored them, just I have ignored many things.  So, I did what needed to be done, I gave the flowers love.  Maybe I should try showing some of that to myself??


Monday, August 18, 2014

Smile because it happened!

Discovering who I am now has been one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.   I try to keep encouraged by reminding myself that I was blessed to have the time I did and not dwell that I no longer have it.   Easier said than done.....


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Angry? Why yes.

During grief it is common and normal to experience anger toward God, the person who died, toward people who say the wrong thing, toward people who don’t say anything at all, and toward the world in general. 

This is something I am struggling with recently.  Watching our youngest pack up and leave for college, I have had strong feeling of anger.   Angry that Tim was not here to be a part of this experience knowing that he would be doing flips in excitement.  Angry that we are left to go on with our lives (now in different directions) without Tim.  I had a nest full and now what?  

So yes, anger.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Road to Recovery

This about sums it up!

Tears have a wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go and to work through his sorrow. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery. - F. Alexander Magoun




Sunday, August 10, 2014

Finding My Way Through Grief: Showing honor ....

Finding My Way Through Grief: Showing honor ....: Thinking back today and bringing up so many emotions.   I had a vivid memory of Tim's motorcycle "family" coming to support us...

Showing honor ....

Thinking back today and bringing up so many emotions.   I had a vivid memory of Tim's motorcycle "family" coming to support us.  The "family" escorted myself and family to the memorial to show honor and respect for Tim.  Tim had a passion for riding and I envision him being proud and feeling very honored by this gesture.  (Pictures attached)

I find some peace when I am able to do things to honor Tim.   I feel like others are tired of hearing this but for me this really is 24/7.  Superman on my car, superman at home, superman in the yard and superman in my heart.  This really is a huge part of my grieving process.  I want him to know EVERY day that he is missed and loved.   I don't know how else to do this.


Friday, August 8, 2014

TIME...

One thing I never really understood during this past year is the saying I heard many, many times “time will heal”.   Sorry to say, this never helped and for me, has  been my worst enemy.   Time is only minutes that go by.   Time moves you through your life whether you want it to or not.  

I have grown through this walk and realized many things about myself.   I am fragile and have been broken,  but in some ways I have seen strength come from inside that must have been hiding somewhere.  I am resurfacing as a different person.  I know that even though my walk in faith has suffered, God has not forsaken me.

For many, healing comes from God, Friendship, music, poetry, children, animals, etc.  It come from all sources and comes at all different times.  Every person grieving will take their own journey , experience their own healing and work on their own timelines.   Be patient.....


Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.  ~Jacques PrĂ©vert

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Moving forward....

Making steps to move forward for me is one of biggest hurdles.   It is very difficult to think about going to dinners, weddings, parties alone. It is hard coming home alone.   Dating??  That is funny!   I am naturally not a social person to begin with and it gives me anxiety to make steps to start the process without my number one side kick and social machine (Timothy).  

I take small steps and I am never looking too far ahead!


Moving on is simple, it's what you leave behind that makes it so difficult.
- Anonymous

Monday, August 4, 2014

Improving your body chemistry.



Your body and brain are in a feedback loop: A bad mood makes you tired, which makes your mood worse, and so forth. Interrupt the pattern by getting up and moving around.  Take a walk or eat something healthy.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Physical Effects of Grief

One of the most difficult things for me during this first year was the physical effects that grief has had on my body. Living with grief is hard enough; then, to have all these physical symptoms makes it even more difficult.   My body went through a trauma emotionally when I lost Tim and it went through the ringer physically as well.    Lost weight, gained weight, no energy, no motivation, anxiety, awful sleep patterns and lack of a healthy diet.   In general,  just not feeling well.     I understand this is “normal” but as I sit here at 3:20 in the morning I am wondering when I will make it to the gym and church tomorrow.  Knowing I need both, where will I get the energy or motivation from? 




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Defiance in Grief

After spending time with the boys, and I realize that we rely on the memories of Tim to help us move through this time of our lives.  I find myself feeling anxious that I will lose my memories of him.   I don’t want to forget ANY of those moments.   I worry I will forget the sound of voice or his touch.    I don’t want to let any of it go.  When I think of  moving on without him, I feel VERY defiant.    Acceptance is obviously still a challenge for me and this goes back to my point that the stages of grief really are just guidelines on what you MIGHT experience.

"Death leaves a heartache difficult to heal;
Love leaves sweet memories no one can steal." 


Found On A Tombstone in Ireland, dated 1889:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day by Day

Day to day…  different emotions occur spontaneously, and sometimes multiple in one day.  One thing I can tell you is that the during the process of grief, these emotions do not occur in a predictable order.  My emotions are random, sometimes overwhelming, and completely unique to my personal relationship.   After speaking with my sons, what they are grieving is separate and unique to them.   How we react and emote changes day to day truly demands patience.   During grief, patience comes slowly.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sorting through....

Overwhelming feelings even after a year as I slowly start going through Tim’s belongings.   I was patiently waiting for a natural calm emotional state before cleaning out.   I am still not convinced I am ready but one step at a time.   I work at for an hour or so then I have to stop.

Tim loved his shoes.   He would keep them in boxes and after each wear, clean them and then return them to the boxes.  I have tons of nike boxes in my closet with shoes I can’t wear.  Why?  Having his things with me sadly still brings me some comfort, like he is still with me.

I will take it little by little.  It is still very difficult as emotions well up constantly.   
One day at a time…..



Friday, July 25, 2014

Myths and Facts About Grief

I found this and thought it may hit home for others that may be going through a loss of a loved one.

Myths and Facts About Grief
MYTH: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.
Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.
MYTH: It’s important to be “be strong” in the face of loss.
Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.
MYTH: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.
Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.
MYTH: Grief should last about a year.

Fact: There is no right or wrong time frame for grieving. How long it takes can differ from person to person.

Best advise I can give......  Be kind to yourself though this journey.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Understanding your grief....

Understanding your grief....

Grief is not an enemy or a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human. Grief is the cost of loving someone.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Advise for helping someone through grief.

Advise for helping someone through grief.


Even if you have never lost someone close to you, we all know how it feels to be in a very difficult time.  Words of encouragement can uplift a person’s spirits.   I have referred back to sympathy cards/messages as reminders to myself.   If you personally knew the person that passed, I would recommend adding a memory you have.   This also helps the person know that their loss is unique to their specific relationship.  Every loss is different and every relationship is different so every person will grieve differently.  When grieving memories are the only thing left.  Those thoughts/prayer and encouragement of strength and resilience through this difficult time are often the best thing you can offer.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Symptoms of suffering a personal loss

·        WOW did this hit home.   In some way it validates that maybe I am not as crazy as I thought.
·          
I came across this list of symptoms many people share after suffering personal loss:

·         Feels physically drained - Yes
·         Can't sleep at night - Yes
·         Forgetful and unable to think clearly -Yes
·         Noticeable change in appetite -Yes
·         Physical distress such as chest pains, headaches or nausea – not for me
·         Stays extremely busy to avoid thinking about his or her grief – OH Yes!
·         Eats, drinks watches television, etc. excessively – OH Yes!
·         Participates in harmful activities – not for me
·         Senses or dreams about the deceased -  Yes
·         Becomes withdrawn, lonely and apathetic - Yes
·         Frequent sighing and crying – Yes



There have been so many  ups and downs!!!!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.   Not sure about this but I feel it is a good guideline.   I have experienced ALL of these but not in this order and sometimes at one time.  I seriously oscillate from one stage to the other, often swinging back and forth between happy and sad, angry and calm.  (Sometimes in one day)     
Grief is defined as “deep sorrow” .    For me, depression is only one part of it.    From the day of his accident I have experienced anxiety and this is brand new to me.   It truly is like entering into a life as a new person and I just want things to go back to “normal”.    When I ask to go back, the answer is always NO……    I  think this is the most difficult to accept.  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

HOPE..

Today, I was thinking back to the beginning of our relationship and remembered how hopeful I was.  I remembered that the hope I had in the beginning turned to pure JOY.  The love I received from Tim brought me JOY.   I AM grateful for that love.    Loving someone unconditionally is wonderful and losing that person brings unimaginable heart break.  I think that is the price you pay for experiencing JOY.   I would not take back any moment I was blessed enough to experience with Tim and in retrospect the price is worth it.      Now, knowing this and making choices for my life going forward, I will always think twice because paying that price again may take me under.    

Maybe tomorrow I will feel different???



Thursday, July 17, 2014

I saw this today and felt connected to the words.   Seeing grief through others can be eye opening.

"They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies. "
— William Penn

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One Year Realities....

One year has past.    Okay, now what? 

I think I expected to feel better after that first year, as if I have reached some sort of significant milestone that would  change things for me.  I think I expected that grief will ease as the second year begins.  So far this is NOT true and is making me feel very unsettled.  Point of advise… NEVER set expectation while in grief!

I have truly been trying to adjust and find different ways of learning to survive. As time goes by, by nature there is diminished social support, financial instability and the most important for me a struggle to maintain by faith.   In the flash of a moment, everything changed and I still shake my head in disbelief that “THIS” is my life.


Maybe tomorrow will show me different?



Intimate Relationship with Grief



I have had a revelation:
Surprisingly, I have come to have a intimate relationship in the past 7 months. 
A very unexpected and unwelcomed one.
I have an intimate relationship with my grief.
I wake up in the morning and it is there in bed with me.
Against every wish, I rise and the grief is in my bones, sharing my breakfast.
Off to work, it sits in the passenger seat like we are one.
School events, grief is there as I cheer and I as suppress my anger.
Quiet moments are the worst, grief lays over me and I can not hold the tears back.
With every song, smell, movie, meal and sound it is there.
Every key in the door, grief greats me and reminds me of it presence with silence.
Closing my eyes, still there waiting for sunrise and another day to share.
The most intimate worldly relationship I have every known was ripped away and now there is .......    God and I cling to his robe and ask for mercy.

J Lane