Saturday, August 17, 2019

So I Cry

My eyes leak, regularly. I've always been a weepy woman during touching moments in movies, in life, while reading a good book, during parades with marching bands, get my drift.

My eyes and my heart still cannot encompass the enormity of losing someone to suicide though. The mind can't grasp that much trauma at once. It protects us by numbing us in the beginning. Yes, we keep moving, we make decisions as best we can, but our heart is protected by not feeling. I am still taken back by the reality of this. Still trying to wrap my head around the facts and the fallout. Still trying to accept what I will never understand.

So I cry. Mostly I cry in the truck. I find that to be a safe space where the waves of emotion flood over. I can get through my work day just fine, yet in the safety of the truck my eyes leak. Sometimes I cry between home and the highway, sometimes between work and home. Sometimes I cry when I lay down at night. Sometimes I cry at a memory, or a moment, or for no obvious reason even to me. Those moments are my heart comprehending the scale of his actions and the pain of the loss. 

My head simply cannot process this all at once. So in little bits and pieces, grief leaks out and healing happens. I get that this is a normal part of the process. I know some days it's harder than others, some less so. I know to others I look like I'm doing fine, functioning, and finding some joy in life. In some ways, and some days I am. It is hard to share the struggles and the pain. Partly because it comes and goes so randomly, and partly because people prefer not to hear it. It's a grueling pain to deal with from a choice ridden with stigma. 

I know comprehension is difficult unless you've walked this path. I hate that my kids were taken on this journey because of this happening in my life. We want to protect those we love from intense trauma. And yet, they too have to grieve, they have been changed. While time has passed, it is still a pain in process. It is finding the strength and grace to keep moving, and taking time to weep when needed. It is breathing in and breathing out. It is owning the reality one day, one tear at a time.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

It's Not A Rant, It's My Reality

Ever notice when we really want to express what affects us deeply we call it a rant. I've had those rants before, I'll have them again. I've started conversations with I'm just gonna rant here for a second. Or, finished a discussion with, that's it, end of rant.

We are allowed to do this, required to do this. It is not a rant, it is reality. Maybe your reality is a loss of another kind, loss of life as you knew it to a health diagnosis, loss of a marriage, loss of a child, loss of identity, loss of faith, loss of trust. 

We don't have to apologize up front for feeling our feelings and sharing our pain. Owning it and sharing it divides the pain. We are called to share of ourselves. Granted it is so much easier to share the absolute joys of life. It is a much deeper experience to share the pain of life. Not that others can take that weight completely from us. I'd pass it on in a heart beat if that was really an option. Here, you take this pain, it sucks. But no, it's ours to walk through. Holding it in a tight knot prolongs the pain. We have to release it to relieve it. Having a story means little if we don't tell it.

My reality is I lost my husband to suicide. I lost him over a long period of time before mental illness claimed him. The man I married and the man I buried were not the same man. I lost him and life as I knew it. I lost the me I was before, the things I trusted as constants. I lost hopes and dreams. 

My reality is people never mentioning that lost life of mine. It is knowing that simply saying I lost him to suicide will full on stop a conversation. It is rebuilding a new life one day at a time. It is finding small joys, and working through great grief. It is finding peace in a solitude I never asked for. It is finding the words to share my journey and actually speaking them.

My reality is sharing my story, as I am able, as I grow through it. I promise, I am growing through it. It is opening up to others. It is acknowledging others pain as they walk through it. It is realizing I still have much to give.

I can share of myself repeatedly, passionately, emphatically and without apology. It is okay to speak of hard things. It is not a rant, it is my reality. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Fine Line

There is a infinitely fine line between joy and grief. I never realized that until the grief journey became my path in life. Perhaps, one must experience great loss to fully embrace great joy. Not that I didn't have an appreciation for joy before. I did, I think. But, and there is always a but, there is a depth to it that came with experiencing loss.

This is good news. There are a few good things that come from the experience of a death by suicide, or other tragic loss. Gifts, if you will. It's nearly impossible to see the gifts at first. And, truthfully, one would never ask for these gifts. Never in a million years. Some gifts are destined for us. 

The gift of tears. No one wants to cry from pain, from loss. It's much easier to cry with joy. Tears cleanse, tears heal, tears always remind me I'll come out stronger on the other side. And I do. The gift of growth. Growth is hard, no one wants to learn this way. But, what an education. The gift of learning I need to ask for what I need. I'm suck at this. I am a push through, do without, make due person. I'm learning to reach out, to share my story, to ask for what I need. Loss has been a catalyst for this. The gift of depth. As the healing goes on I feel deeper. Deeper pain, yes. But also deeper joy. It's a fine wobbly line in between, but crossing back and forth is part of life. The gift of awareness and self care. I can't help you if I don't take care of me first. There is a life lesson if I ever saw one.

Here is the deal. Feel things. Feel deeply. Feel gratefully. Feel with tears, when tears come. Feel with laughter, when laughter comes. It's a fine line, this life of ours. A line that offers gifts. Accept them.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Opening Up

I've decided I have a lot of love to give, to share, to enjoy, to receive. I'm not going to waste it. So let me just inform the universe it's okay, actually more than okay, to open the floodgates of love. 

I'm pretty sure I don't have to do anything more than that. I know this, because I believe in the Big Guy upstairs. He holds the cards, and truthfully He doesn't need my permission for anything. His plan is better than any I could dream.

But, and there is always a but, I do have to be open. For a long time I have not. I've been struggling to find my footing. Working through regrets, afraid of more change, picking up the broken pieces. In a way I have hunkered down and been holding on in the quiet of work and solitary life. I alternately savored the solitude and wrestled with it. Face it I've felt beaten by my losses, and traumatized by the stigma of being a survivor of suicide loss. If I sound like a broken record, forgive me. I have to, and will, own this truth over and over to accept it, even though I will never understand it. Perhaps if I stand up boldly to it, another will find the courage to do the same. 

I deserve to look forward with joy. I deserve to be loved. I am not defined by my loss as much as I am being reborn from it. I am learning to use my words. If these aren't graces from pain endured I don't know what they are. We rarely get the life we bargained for. Sometimes it is way, way more beautiful that we could have ever imagined. Other times it is tragic in ways never anticipated. Sometimes it is both beautiful and tragic. Sometimes early joys dissolve into epic grief. Life is hard, life is blessed, life is beautiful. 

I chose to let go of the fear of living fully. This journey may be harder than I anticipate and easy than I envisioned. It will involve pushing through, opening up, being grateful for how messy life can be. It will call me to be brave in ways only God, my therapist and I will understand. It will require grace and growth. We are called to love and be loved. It's time I started answering.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


I spend a lot of time mowing these days. I have some thoughts about that. Up until last summer I'd never used the riding mower. Oh, I was welcome to use the push mower any time, lol. But not the John Deere. I admit I was leery of it at first. I can honestly say JD and I are in a committed relationship.

Here is what I've learned, I rather like mowing. For 2+ hours a week I have life under control. My edges are clean from trimming. The yard is neat and lovely. It looks picture perfect. I accomplished that neat and tidy, that picture perfect. I take comfort in that small period where I've got it all.

Most the time, I/we/you/me haven't got squat under control. I don't know about you, but I guess, you also find life both blessed and chaotic at the same time. Both, full to the top and empty beyond belief. Sometimes simultaneously. It's not what I expected, not what I ever dreamed, and yet full of grace. 

I like the neat and tidy, the under control part. Those of us growing and healing know it's messy, and gut wrenching. We're not sure how we'll come out on the other side. We know the healing will be a life long process. We worry the loneliness will never end. We push hard just to keep up our momentum. And, we long for the comfort of rest. We dream of path's less rocky and exhausting. 

So if my two+ hours of mowing gives me a semblance of normalcy, I'll call it a win. At least temporarily I need the bliss of the idyllic. I wish you the same, respite in the pain of progress, and peace during times of growth. If mowing does that for you, you're in good company.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Life Is Hard, Say The Words

Life is hard, although most of us keep that to ourselves. We tend not to say, I'm hurting, I'm struggling, I'm lost, I'm worried. We put on our game face and tend to the business of life. We rarely say....I am a survivor of suicide, part of every day is hard. Or, I'm a cancer survivor, I'm thrilled to be "cured" but I am forever changed and struggle to define the new me. Or, I lost a child to miscarriage. Part of my heart will always be broken. There are things we don't say, things we need to say, and things we are afraid to say. Granted, not everyone needs to know our whole story. But, some do, and we need to find the words to share it. Someone needs to hear it, to ease their burdens. To end the isolation.

I've shared before that I have never felt as invisible as I do now. People didn't know what to say immediately after Gordon died, and even with the passage of time, they still don't. It's like there are safe subjects and few veer off that path. Work is a safe subject, the dogs are, my kids are. How are you is still a trick question. Even when I give a safe lead in, few march willingly into my life reality. God bless those who do. Not so much with how are you, but with how was this for you? How is life looking for you today. Or simply, what kind of day is it today? Even days filled with absolute joy, such as my daughters recent wedding, held a flip side with sorrow weighing heavy on the heart. We can, and do, feel both complete joy and pain at the same time.

I think I need a t-shirt that says, I'm Not The Same Person I Was - Love Me Anyway. Or one that says, It's Okay To Say The Words. We are more than those words, and there is no shame in sharing it. We are strong, not by choice, but by the lack of other options. And, we can strengthen others by telling our story.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Letting go with love...

I heard, that your hearts are heavy and full of sadness. Tomorrow you will help, not just one, but both of your senior Labs across the bridge. Face it, they say we own our pets, but basically they own us. They own our hearts. They have us hook, line and sinker. There is nothing better than being owned in such a way. 

They own us, but in many cases we have to decide when it's time to say goodbye. It is our last gift of love for them. I think we'd all agree that decision sucks, sucks royally. Yet how could we deny them comfort? All of their years with you they gave you unconditional love and comfort beyond measure. Mixed in with antics and shenanigans. They made you laugh, and worry, and they eased your pain in the sad times. They gave with unbridled joy and tails wagging to beat the band. 

So tonight you cuddle them, give them unlimited treats and whisper I love you's. You thank them for taking up residence in your heart. You know your last gift of love is the ultimate gift of love. And while you doubt your ability to let go, you will do so with a strength you don't know you have.

With your sorrow, know that you provided for all of their needs. Know your love for them was only exceeded by their love for you. Know that you are not alone, are never alone. Know that they are so very well loved, and you will see them on the other side of the bridge. 

Sending you love and hugs......and a smooch on the schnozzle for them.