Grief is Different for Everyone

So much for being more present.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I can see how that can be true.

I think part of being human is we tend to overthink things. I know that’s the way it is for me. I’ll plan out something in my head then talk myself out of doing it. I think there are many writers out there who do the very same thing.

On May 5 I went out to the cemetery and sat with Ross. It was the one year anniversary of his passing so I took a couple cans of Guinness; one for him and one for me. His can is still there, albeit a little warm. He did prefer it on tap but a can was the best I could do. Besides, a glass just would not last long.

I have been struggling with coming to terms with how much my life has changed. I’m sure anyone who has lost someone dear to them can relate. I also know everyone deals with grief differently.

Life goes on, no matter what shit-show we have going on in our lives. We’re still expected to show up, be present, and act like our world has not fallen apart. Just today (July 15) I talked to a man in our community who offered his condolences; over 14 months after Ross passed. He said he hadn’t seen me so hadn’t said anything before. I get it; no one has seen many people in the past year plus. (Post published just after midnight July 16.)

We chatted for a little while, and as I drove to the funeral home I cried. Today was the day I sat down with the staff at the funeral home and picked out a monument for his grave. I had considered one type, but after the meeting I opted for something different. I think the decision I made today is the right one. And to be honest, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. My kids will have some input before the order is finalized, but that’s it.

We never know what’s going to trigger an overwhelming sense of loss; no matter how much time has passed. Losing the person you were supposed to spend the rest of your life with definitely knocks you for a loop.

I have spent some time working on a grief journal, and have made a couple versions. One is a digital one (for use with an iPad/tablet) and the other is a printable one. There’s a lot of the same content in each so buyers can choose whichever format works best for them. The printable one can be found here and the digital version can be found here. Both are in my Etsy Shop, along with a number of other printables, patterns, and planners.

A few pages from the printable grief journal.

Having an outlet to share my experience with others has been good for me, even if it is in the form of a printable. My goal is to help others work through their grief, plus earn a few dollars here and there. A girl’s gotta eat, so I can’t give my journals away.

What I can do, however, is connect with others through my posts. I know no two experiences are exactly the same, but by being able to share our stories and talk about our dearly departed, we will be able to move forward.

I share some of my story in my journals, and some has been shared in previous posts. I find the more I am able to talk about him the more I can move forward. And by moving forward I don’t mean forgetting him; I mean being able to live my life without him. I said it before and I’ll say it again: we were supposed to grow old together. I was NOT supposed to become a widow 8 days before my 52nd birthday!

When I started this blog and website all was right in my world. I learned very quickly I am not immune to everything going south, as is no one else. So bear with me as I work through my shit-show; and feel free to share yours if you wish. We all have something going on, and we do what we can to make the rest of the world think we’re coping just fine.

Mindset Makes a Difference

I’m back!

The past few months have been months of figuring out who I am, and what I want out of life. Mostly, they have been months of learning.

Seven months have passed since I lost Ross and so much has changed in that time. 2020 has been a crazy year as it is, but becoming a widow without any warning has been the worst.

The first few months I tried to keep busy as much as possible. I built a two-level deck, resigned from my job at the library, worked on my yard, and tried to just get through each day without him.

As time passed I told myself I could either wallow in my sorrow or continue to live life to the fullest. I have control over what I do, and having a positive mindset no matter how shitty the situation is so much better for my wellbeing.

I miss him every day and catch myself thinking about what I want to tell him when he gets home. Just last night I wanted to tell him what a friend had said, and then cried when I remembered he wasn’t going to be home to tell. It’s those moments that are the hardest.

In August I became an Independent Pampered Chef Consultant, plus a Young Living Distributor. Both allow me the freedom to improve my health and wellbeing, plus the lives of others. And best of all, I can work from home.

It took me a few months to get back into the kitchen, and I credit being a Pampered Chef Consultant for helping me get there faster. I like to cook and bake, but when Ross passed away it was all I could do to just get through the day much less cook meals I wasn’t going to eat.

When I did cook, it wasn’t much. I basically lived on cereal, granola bars, and convenience foods from the freezer section of the grocery store. Now I am cooking, and the convenience foods have been replaced with portions I have frozen. There are days when I don’t feel like cooking but I still have a home-cooked meal.

Ross wouldn’t have wanted me to be sad all the time; he always wanted me to be happy. Once I started to see through the tears I realized I still have to live. The choice of how I do so is mine and mine alone. Being sad all the time doesn’t help anyone mentally or physically, and definitely not emotionally. I am slowly moving forward; an important step in the healing and grieving process.

No one knows how another person feels; only how they feel themselves. It took me months to realize life does go on no matter what. The sun still rises and sets, without discrimination.

On top of losing him COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in my world simply because of all the restrictions. We couldn’t have a proper funeral so immediate family was present while everyone else was given the option to watch the live feed on Facebook. When restrictions were lifted slightly we couldn’t rent a venue for a memorial get-together, so we had family and friends get together in my yard after the inurnment at the cemetery.

And as of today, lockdown is happening once again so Christmas will be a very quiet one. Yes I’m bitter, but at the same time I have to be grateful for what I do have. I have kids that call or text me every day, friends who check in from time to time, and in-laws who are close in case I need anything.

There are good days and bad days, and having someone to talk to is important. When you suffer a loss you never know just where the most support is going to come from. You may think it should be your family or close friends, but sometimes it comes from someone who is a little further out of the circle. I learned that first-hand, and am forever grateful.

This is the first thing of any length I have written since May 5, aside from pages and pages in my journal (which has also been neglected lately). Life dealt me cards I didn’t like, but it’s up to me to make them work. I have chosen to play them through rather than fold so whatever comes will have to be taken in stride.

Now before I bore you completely I will close, but not before I say this: If you find yourself in a situation you have no control over, do what you can to make the best of it. Life isn’t always fair. That’s just a given. Do what you have to so you come out on top. It may take weeks, months, or years…but don’t give up on yourself.

Grief Sucks

Eight weeks ago today I received the most terrible news of my entire life. It has changed who I am, who I will be, and well, pretty much everything about my life after (his) death.

Losing Ross was sudden; something we didn’t anticipate. It was a shock to say the least, and in some ways it still doesn’t seem real. We’ve gone through the funeral, the inurnment is to follow in just over two weeks’ time, and then I will continue to try moving forward.

I have neglected my blogs, my websites, and a few other things. Grief is not an easy thing to get through. In all honesty, I don’t think we ever really “get through” it at all. I know for me it has hit me like a ton of bricks.

With that said, I will be getting back to writing in more than just my journal. The posts here may be about life, and death, and the things they both bring, but it is all part of the healing process. He was my world, and I miss him more than words can say.

I’m not ashamed to say I cry – a lot. As a writer I can put my feelings down on paper. And there are so many mixed feelings that come with grief. In the same token, I know I need to move forward and continue with my writing for clients and myself.

Ross was my biggest fan and supporter of my writing, and I feel I would be letting him down if I stopped. My second novella in my new series was dedicated to him (I started it a year ago) and it will stay dedicated to him. Now I just have to finish it so you, my readers, can enjoy it as well.

Thank you for being patient while I got life sort of figured out. I know I’ll have my okay days and my not-okay days, but one day at a time is all I can do.

Grief sucks. Who’s with me on that?

Cherish those you love.

I feel as if 2020 has been unfair to so many, and it has really hit me hard this week.

On Tuesday May 5 I lost the love of my life to cardiac arrest; that’s a call no one ever wants to get. My heart is broken.

It has been a rough week, with more rough times to come. I just wanted you to know that’s the reason my posts will most likely be few and far between (sparser than usual) for the next while.

I have so many things to deal with, and am thankful I have the support of family and friends to get through it all.

Cherish every moment with your loved ones: you never know how long you really have with anyone. He and I were supposed to grow old together.

Stay healthy, and stay safe.