Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Notable Deaths of 2016

I have read that headline so often recently.  We are coming to the end of 2016 and we have lost so many people of note.  Every time I read one of those headlines I think, "Donny was a notable death." He was notable to me and to our family.  He didn't qualify to be part of the list that makes it online, but there is no loss felt more keenly by those that loved him.  There is such a hole in our lives and sadness seems to fill the space he had here in our lives.

As I read of one more celebrity that has died my thoughts go to their loved ones in a way new to me. The sadness that I feel for these families now that I have lost Donny is of a more profound quality.  I am more aware of what losing someone can do to you.  We read about fans mourning, but now I think more of the people closest to that person and their grief.  We all grieve in our own way, but there is sure to be some overlap.  

My own sadness as I read of these notable deaths deepens.  I know how I am feeling and can only imagine the grief these people are going through.  People die all the time.  It is part of the cycle of life, but for me and maybe for others it is unique.  All around the world people have just lost someone, but to each of us it is a new place for us to inhabit.  We have to learn how to be in this world all over again.  We are born into this new world that is missing the person who made the world a better place, a place to look forward to, a place with joy and laughter.

So, I will add my best guy to each list of Notable Deaths of 2016.  Donald James Koller was my "notable" and I am awash in some of the same grief these other families must now find themselves wading through.

The Hopeful Romantic

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Day Without Tears

That day was yesterday.  I can't really say why I didn't cry, but I didn't.  I think this makes a total of two days that I have not cried since I lost Don.  The first was just a few weeks after he was gone and now I add yesterday.

The first time I was so very busy that I didn't even notice until late in the day that I had not cried.  I do remember feeling guilty.  I still miss Donny like crazy.  Numerous times each day things happen that bring that loss front and center.  I won't try to analyze the guilty feeling.

Yesterday I was not extraordinarily busy.  It was a work day and I had a bit of last minute Christmas shopping to get done.  I am getting better about being alone in public.  I still tend to not meet the eyes of other shoppers.  If I ran into someone I knew I am not sure if the tears would appear or not.  Anyway, work, then shopping, home to take care of my animals, fix my dinner, etc.  Several times I thought about how I hadn't cried.

Today I cried just a bit on the phone with my youngest daughter talking about Donny.  Just a side note - I am a crier.  I cry for happiness, sadness, frustration, sappy commercials and any time I feel the passion about something well up inside of me.  I would tear up telling someone how I loved Donny...and this was when he was still alive!  Little wonder that I cry now.

I am still finding my way in this new life of mine.  Mostly I just go with the flow and then notice something is different later.  Even writing this on Don's laptop instead of my desktop computer.  Not really worth mentioning, just something that I thought of earlier today.  When Don was still here I would rarely use the laptop.  Either he was using it or just my own reluctance because the keyboard is not my norm.  Interesting what we can do when there is little choice, hmm?

Everyone tells me that I have a long way to go in this process of grieving.  I am sure that I do.  A day without tears is only part of this journey.  I will continue doing what feels right.  I don't know what each new brings, but I am open.  Open to remembering Don and how he filled my life.  Open to learning more about me.  Open to what the world holds for me.  After all, I am The Hopeful Romantic!

Thanks for listening,

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Is This Normal?

Being newly widowed is not something you can prepare for.  Each day I do things I am familiar with in a new frame of mind.  Sometimes I pause to think about something being different.  I ask myself a lot if what I am doing is normal.  Is this what other widows do?

I think that feeling comes from the desire humans have to be accepted, to be one of the group, to fit in.  I certainly don't mean to tell you I want to "fit in" with being a widow.  I can't imagine anyone wants to be part of this group.  What I mean is, "Is what I am feeling/doing/experiencing normal?"

The first thing I remember asking myself if my feeling was normal was the idea of being called a widow.  I was one so why not?  For me it is such a sad word.  I was so much more than Don's wife, so why would my new title only reflect that he was gone?  Also, I didn't want people to look at me with pity in their eyes.  I know that people are sorry for my loss.  I get it.  I am sorry for other women who have lost their husbands.  After a few weeks I found that I spoke of myself as a widow.  Perhaps to remove some of the sting since I was the one who tagged myself as such.  Now, at just two months since I lost my best guy, I still can't say I like the title but I don't bristle at the idea.

I changed small things about how I live.  All the advise books will tell you not to make any big changes for 6 months or a year.  There was nothing huge, but I am trying my best to do what feels right.  After about a week of sleeping in our big king sized bed alone I moved to another bedroom. We have two unoccupied bedrooms so I tried one and then the other looking for some solace and some desperately needed sleep.  I could go to sleep easily enough, but I would wake in the small hours of the morning and would not be able to "turn my brain off."  While I was still in our bed I found myself thinking he was still there with me only to find cold sheets where once there was my fuzzy bear of a man.  Again I wondered if this was normal.  If I was normal.

There were other things that prompted me to wonder how normal I was.  As I began talking with friends who had been widowed I found that they had done much of what I was doing now.  So I was normal.  As normal as I could be.

I don't wonder about normalcy much now.  I know the time of being without Don is still new, but I feel as if I have my feet under me just a bit more today than two months ago.  This does not mean that I do not grieve for this man that filled my life.  I do and I think I always will.  One more thing that I think is normal.

The Hopeful Romantic

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I Used To Look Forward To Weekends

There are two reasons for my recent posts.
1. an outlet for my feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc. about losing my husband
2. to let others in my situation an insight into how it can be

Some days are so tough to get through.  For me weekends are especially difficult.  Monday through Friday I go to work and have just a few hours each night to manage by myself.  In those hours I take care of my two cats and one dog, make food for my dinner and my lunch for the next day. prep my work clothes for the next day, plus whatever else I can attend to.  Pay bills, write thank you cards to people who have extended some kindness to me since Don died, laundry and so on and so forth,

Weekends are a whole other story.  I used to look forward to weekends like so many people do.  Not now.  Too much time by myself.  The quiet of the house doesn't help.  I try to keep the radio or TV on, but even that is not always enough.  I feel the sadness creeping up on me.  I imagine if I did something when I first noticed I could do something.  Sometimes I do. Sometimes I just let it happen.  Crying is not a bad thing, but feeling myself sinking into despair is a bad thing.  It becomes a downward spiral that is hard to stop.

Sometimes I tell myself to "fake it until you make it" and that can help.  Can being the operative word.  I will start something that I know I enjoy only to find that the sadness has other ideas.  The tears stream down my face.  Sometimes I sob, sometimes it is just tears, the endless tears.

I know it will not always be like this.  I try to focus on that.  I want to laugh, dance in the kitchen while I cook, smile at something that delights me.  I will.  I know I will.  Right now it is hard for me to see that time, but tomorrow I will wake and go on.

The Hopeful Romantic

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Waves of Emotion

Maybe it is because I love the ocean so much that metaphors that draw upon characteristics of the sea appeal so much to me,  My grief since losing Donny is like the waves of the ocean.  Some are gentle and wash around me without much force.  Others knock me down and make it hard to breathe.

I had this notion in my head and then I read similar descriptions from others.  I feel comforted to know what I am feeling is not so different from others in my position,  Isn't it part of the human experience to want to be part of a group?

Today, without warning, was a big wave day.  It was also a work day for me and that helped me get through.  I help people and helping others helped me put one foot in front of the other.  This morning I felt like pulling the covers over my head.  By midday I was able to talk without a lump in my throat.

One thing I keep reading about grief is that it is not something you get over, but live through.  If I were to "get over" then today would have been so out of place because it was so much more difficult than yesterday.

So, one breath after another, one foot in from of the other I will get through.  I don't like that Don is gone and I will always miss him, but I will learn to live again.  Someday.

The Hopeful Romantic

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's All About Me

That is what Donny used to say early in our marriage.  He would tease me by saying that whenever I would be serious about something that was bothering me.  It was his way of getting me to smile and lighten up a little.

It took me a long time to figure out that was why he would say that.  I would only see it as a selfish statement.  Oh sure, I would laugh when he said it, but inside I would think that he didn't get it.  He was married now and was a father.  It couldn't be all about him!

He took his role as husband and father pretty seriously.  He felt a responsibility to me and our girls. He had to provide for us and see that we were cared for.  He did a good job of that, so much that as our years together accumulated I could see that his sense of responsibility weighed on him.  I was the silly one making him smile or trying to cajole a smile from him.  I would always see something good even when times were at their worst.  (Hence the name of this blog...The Hopeful Romantic)

It was only in the last couple of years that I was able to see his intention.  With a devilish glint in his eye and a grin on his face he was taking of me.

I was writing to him recently (something that I do regularly) when I told him that he would laugh at my attitude being all about him.  Even though he is not physically here with me anymore I feel him all around me.  A song on the radio that he especially liked...something I made for dinner that he would have really enjoyed...a blouse that he liked on my.  It occurred to me that I am looking for him and that he is here in all of those ways and more.  It seems that his is still taking care of me.

The Hopeful Romantic

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Talking to My Husband

Yes, I talk to Donny every day.  I thank him for things he did that help me now.  He set the mortgage payment up so that it paid without me having to do anything.  He told me that password for his laptop...again!  I never could remember what it was and I asked him just days before I lost him.  I found that he had bought a multi-pack of the bar soap we both liked.  Some things seem little, others give me pause and I am grateful for the things he did for me.

Besides talking to him, I write him a letter most every day.  In those first few horrible days I poured my grief out to him in those letters.  I told him I loved him, that I missed him and wondered how I was supposed to get by without him.

I don't regularly reread those letters, but recently I read the first couple again.  I was surprised to find that things I had told him in those early days were repeated in later letters.  I don't write to him every day and I don't have a certain time of day that beckons me to his computer.  I just write him when the mood strikes.  Sometimes I want to tell him something that happened that day.  Being empty nesters we spent a lot of time together.  I always looked forward to seeing him at the end of my work day and catching up with each other.

So I talk to him.  I know that somewhere out there he is still listening.

The Hopeful Romantic

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Best Guy

Well, it has certainly been a long time since I was here.  I still love to write, but I like to be in the moment and there just never seemed to be a time when I wanted to sit and write.  I will tell you why that changed.

My husband, best guy, best friend, lover, partner, etc., has died.  I lost him just over a month ago and I still feel rather numb.  While his health was not the best I never thought I would lose him at such a young age.  He was only 57.  Far too young to be gone.  Far too little time with him in my life.  For now I can't really talk about his death.  Maybe later.

Right now I am focusing on getting through the next hour, the next day.  Thanksgiving was no worse than any other day.  It was sad that he was not there, but it is sad that he is not here everyday.  We were empty-nesters with two cats and a dog.  Just us.  We saw our children weekly or more often. But for the most part it was just us.

We were married for a bit more than 15 years.  We were not youngsters when we met and I had been married before.  Like most couples, we had our good times and our bad.  Don, my husband, told me that neither one of us was perfect, but we were perfect for each other.  So true.

I find myself looking back from the moment I knew he was not going home with me.  I found myself being thankful. I am thankful for the last two weeks we had where there were no cross words, no arguments, no rolled eyes or exasperated sighs.  We certainly have had all of those, but as I reflected back there were none in those last two weeks.  I stopped at two weeks because I really couldn't go back any further without a calendar and I was glad.  Glad that I did not have guilt about saying something mean spirited or anything else that would have had me wishing for a do over.  

There are a lot of things I am thankful for and I try my best to focus on those.  I try not to deny my tears.  I do try to create a buffer around me when I am in public.  I try to not go places alone right now.  I don't want to talk to people who may not know he is gone and end up crying in the aisles of the grocery store.  I am trying to be kind to myself and to go with the flow.  If it feels right, I do it.
Right now being here and telling you about Don feels right.

Thank you.
The Hopeful Romantic