I can’t explain with full rationale why I have taken a hiatus here. This means so much to me, why do I push it away?
Every time someone asks me if I’ve “written lately” and “well, why not?” I stumble through a half-ass explanation about being anxious and not wanting to share certain things out of privacy or whatever.
Even I don’t really believe what I’m saying.
I know its horse shit.
I know its these two things: 1. I haven’t given myself the time to. & 2. I am afraid, and letting my anxiety win. Period.
Yes, I think some things while they’re happening need to be kept in the space between my ears in the name of processing them. Sometimes we need to let things work out in the comforts of our own heart first.
But part of this brain child was sharing and showing what the grief goblin looks like. What motherhood, womanhood, as a young(er) widow looks like. What it feels like. What it looks like.
You might feel this too, but I know deep in my being, I wasn’t called to this life to hide, go numb, back away and keep my voice small like I felt I always did growing up.
This is my way, has really always been my way, of stepping out and being a little louder than I know I have been, and could be.
Letting the light shine in the dark places.
Especially battling anxiety every day of my life since last summer, I am fighting a bitter battle shuffling through thoughts and new circumstances and getting it all out of my head and giving it air to breathe out in this space… this space where I created, even! The space it deserved to be.
The space I know makes me feel more like myself. Takes me home to my true self.
Its just scary. And lucky for (only) my anxiety… fear is good company.
I don’t want to be scared of this space. Or too scared to let myself break open in it.
I knew this would do this. I could tell you with certainty I KNEW this would bring fear to my drivers side door.
Sharing vulnerability like this is so my wheelhouse, but to say its always easy and I’m not scared, I’d be lying!
I’m so mentally tired, still broken, exposed and bare.
And go on to admit that every day I feel like I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING. I don’t have a “plan,” I am just following my desires minute by minute, and the pull on my heart to keep just doing the next right, good thing(s).
Is that not enough to get us through this racket? Is that so wrong?
I don’t think it is.
And maybe when I’ve got all these good, right, things lined up… all strung together like bulbs on a wire… I’ll look back and see the “plan.”
I had one all along, I just never gave myself enough credit.
I keep thinking of something a very dear friend asked me a few days ago in our walkie-talkie conversation.
Yes, I have been communicating in full disclosure mode in a smartphone app. In fact, I have had and continue to have my most ferociously vulnerable albeit erratic, conversations in a walkie-talkie app.
Wids might find this helpful…
In the days that followed Shayne’s death, I found my inbox overrun and I was overwhelmed by talking on the phone.
So I didn’t.
The hundreds of voicemails, messages on social media, texts… I was appreciative of the amount of support I received, but it pained me to hear or read how sad people were for me and how their hearts were hurting for Shayne and his family, too. Facing their pain for us, although not the same, was just as hurtful as having my own. So I put the phone down.
After we left Houston and began taking Shayne to his resting places, I turned all my messages to Do Not Disturb.
Quit answering phone calls.
Checked out of being available to people. So I could be available to myself.
I wanted to be on my road journey, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the beach, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy what was in front of me. And quiet everything and everyone else for a minute.
Once we moved here, into our new home, I slowly came out of wanting to feel so isolated. I was settling into a “new normal” and already felt lonely without my person, no physical support system in proximity, with such heavy life decisions to make.
I started using a walkie-talkie app on the daily, so I could keep in touch with my inner circle on my terms. If I wanted to listen to their message, I pushed play. If not, I waited. If I wanted to answer their question right away, I could. If I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t check the app.
I didn’t feel like I had to “answer the call,” or felt any pressure to make one.
I just checked the app when I was ready to communicate.
The strong ones, the ones who I refer to when I say they’ve stuck their hands in the fire, began their own rituals of just checking in on me every day. Patient souls.
In each their own way, touching base. Never just so they could ‘check it off their list’ they made an attempt to connect with the lonely widow.
But if I needed to work through something… make a decision… tell a story about him… cry… scream… laugh… breathe. They checked in and back in and kept checking in, following up about this, and that and the other.
I’d hit record.
And in their time, they’d listen. Never any expectations.
I have done this this entire year. Worked through every big feel, every big decision I have made with this incredibly patient tiny tribe of my lifers.
Who, for better or worse, have listened to me go through every step of this grief process over walkie-talkie voice memos.
They’ve heard it all. Every detail. Every piece of my mind. Every freak out.
Every doubt I have had with this new life.
Every mountain I created out of an anthill. Screaming my face off with a fury from every fiber in my body in a Target parking lot. Sobbing uncontrollably as I drove along 98. Heard me steal sips of my Sauvignon Blanc while sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor, pouring my heart out about my week.
Listened to my obnoxious laughing fits at inappropriate death jokes.
Heard peace in my voice after yoga. Or pure joy as I sat by the beach.
Listened to my stories about Shayne.
Encouraged me to, and listened in real time as I made myself give the dude at the eyeglass store my phone number, which in turn unleashed this beast in me to think there’s a shot in Hell of hope that I am, this crazy widow, capable and deserving of “romance”… even though he never called me.
Finally someone did. The guilt, excitement and nerves, they heard about it.
Kept tabs on me when I traveled alone to follow my heart.
Wins, losses, confusion. All of it.
I wasn’t on a phone call waiting for my turn to talk, or holding in thoughts and feelings in fear of them running out of time to speak to me or getting distracted.
I’d just press record and let the grief run right on out. Every thought. Stream of consciousness-style.
So incredibly thankful for the HOURS and HOURS I am sure they have listened to me… I cannot imagine that being easy to be on the other end of hearing.
So, yes, inner circle, you have stuck your hands in a fire and I am forever and ever grateful for you listening. What I have poured into them this year I am sure has scarred their hearts a little, and maybe made them think twice about giving me their usernames… but I am grateful they just keep loving me. Good, bad, ugly. They’ve heard it.
So thankful… for the first time in my bereaved life… feeling like someone was truly, truly listening to what I was saying and eager to listen.
Our conversations are definitely evolving from my emotional outbursts to …shooting the shit. Updates. As I nestle deeper into my new normal… I lean on them less and less for these daily check ins and their counsel.
So getting back to it, what did my friend ask me…
“Do you allow yourself to still dream?”
In a 6ish minute voice blurb while I watched Brooklynn pounce around a playground, I confessed to her in a nutshell that …I wasn’t sure.
I get close, but I back away.
Short answer, I’m living so in the moment… so maybe not. Yet.
Shayne was logical. I was definitely the dreamer, always dreaming of our next adventure, pushing him a little farther with me… take a little riskier dive into the unknown. I’d give him one reason why it would work, “Why not?” and he’d have 5 smart reasons why it just didn’t make sense. I loved him for it because I needed that sometimes.
He’d look at me like I had 5 heads sometimes or laugh.
His head, heart and feet were so planted. Like a tree. How fitting. And I was up in space, in the clouds, dreaming and scheming beyond our circumstances.
But after awhile, life just gets messy and tiresome and weird and decisions have to be made, ruts rear their heads, growing pains flare up, negativity and doubt manifest and ho-hum happens. Dreams aren’t rising to the surface as much as you had allowed them to before all the realness.
I finally got him to sit on a cloud with me about 2 years ago.
After I started doing some heavy duty personal development.
He saw me reaching, saw me changing before his eyes and wanted to be where I was.
He finally got the permission he needed, by watching me show up, to dream bigger with me. The last 2 years with Shayne was just about us leveling up.
We were just starting to become everything we had hoped we would be, on the brink. Together.
Since he died, my brain function to think big picture has been disabled.
He was in the big picture. Now there’s no Shayne.
What is the big picture now? Well, I don’t rightly know.
How do I look into the future that feels so abandoned, like he took it with him with his last breath?
Who do I dream with, myself? How do I?
Do I even have the same dreams now that I did with him?
I’m figuring that out now I suppose.
One of our dreams was to live here by the beach so I guess… check! Dream realized.
But, ok, what else? Keep going?
So much of who I was and am is because I was considering him to be apart of my life now, and for the rest of my life.
Growing old with him was the dream.
Watching our little ladies grow up, attending every program, play and event with our hands clasped together watching them succeed, him having to wipe my buckets of tears and looking over and watching him cry like a baby at his babies.
Those were the things we loved talking about, dreamed about. Watching our family thrive. Simple. And traveling, making memories. We didn’t want much from this whole thing, just a simple, beautiful life that was ours.
The dream wasn’t a big finale, destination of success and money. It was the whole damn joy ride of raising our girls.
The journey with our family.
The big stuff and, the every day loving each other.
Can I do that alone? Without holding his hand? Wiping his proud dad tears?
Gripping him so tight, my heart string tied to his, knowing his heart so deep, watching it beat out of his chest with pride and joy.
Now that he is gone… do I create new dreams? For myself? For our family of three?
I can’t decide right now if thats heartbreaking or motivating.
And I don’t want to keep doing things because “he would want me to,” honestly, that’s exhausting. Living up to a dead person’s expectations.
He wouldn’t want me to be constantly striving to live up to any expectations he may or may not have left, I know that.
Because not only am I finding out who I am without the identity of being his wife, but who I am and want without considering my partner’s needs and wants.
Its equal parts liberating, lonely and depressing.
And considering I spent my 20’s getting married and starting a family… I feel like I’m starting back over again and rediscovering who I truly am before life, marriage and motherhood told me who I needed to be to help us all just make it through the day.
I am relearning myself, while simultaneously relearning a new normal.
Every decision I made, every goal I set, every dream I had wasn’t made without him in earshot, and for our lives together. As a pair. Everything I have done since I was 19 considered him.
But I do know what his love feels like and felt like and how it has empowered me.
I know what the dream feels like, a dream of most to feel in their lifetime… unconditional love. Absolute. It is so powerful. The most.
And maybe my dream is to give it and feel it again. Why not?
I don’t know if I have allowed myself to open up and dream big… yet. Should I? I’m still living very moment to moment, day to day.
Maybe: 1. I haven’t given myself the time and 2. letting fear stop me from starting.
What does that look like? What does that feel like?
A sky full of stars, I would think… and hope.
Dream on, wids.