The Liz Logelin Foundation

Tonight I am going to an event for The Liz Logelin Foundation that helps newly widowed families in need. I am an old pro as a four-year widow and it warms my heart knowing I can support other widows and widowers in the early days of their grief. If I can comfort even one person and help them believe that things will be okay down the road, then my mission has been accomplished. What has been the most comforting thing anyone has said or done for you?

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Anniversaries and Milestones

Today is the four year anniversary of Todd’s death. Sometimes it feels like it’s only been four minutes since he died. An unexpected memory will arise or a scent will waft by awakening an emotion in me that reopens the rawness of those early days of grief. Other days it feels like it’s been fourteen years – Todd’s face just a hazy memory and his voice barely discernible amongst all the voices of my past. I guess grief is like that – an unpredictable, always changing journey of emotions that can take me down one moment and lift me up the next. Tonight I am at my daughter’s swimming lessons just spending time reflecting on my life with Todd and my life since he left us. I watch Brooke in the water and I know he’s next to me cheering her on too. Thanks Todd for the impression you left on my world. You continue to motivate and inspire even in your absence!

Reconnection

Well, it has happened. After nearly four years of widowhood, dating finally feels right. I have gone on dates. I have tried online dating and matchmaking services. But it felt unnatural and forced. But looking back, I know now that I wasn’t ready. It was me that was forcing something.

But now, after some recent talks with and dream visits from my late husband, Todd, and some clear signs from the spirits, I know now is my time. And despite the fear and anxiety I have over dating (if you’ve read my book you know what I’m talking about), it is clear that things have shifted. I’m the most secure and confident in myself than I have ever been and I just feel great! (which probably means disaster is impending) But nonetheless, I’m diving in with heart and mind open to new love. It doesn’t mean I love Todd any less, but that I am honoring myself and doing what I know he wants for me to do.

Ready, set, go!

True Empathy

My heart broke today when I learned that one of my daughter’s classmates at her preschool lost her dad over the weekend. When the teacher told me the news, I looked over at the little girl playing at the table next to my daughter. They are both curly blonde cuties and now both daddy-less at such a young age. I wanted to just pick her up and squeeze her tight and tell her everything will be okay. Her mom brought her to school today and I imagine her in the early fog of grief. I want to hug her too to take away some of the pain. But only time will heal and all I can do is offer support and send love to their family. Please send your positive vibes to every other widow and widower out there raising kids and keeping life somewhat normal in their new normal.

Purging

I’m working on my next book on managing stress and working on a chapter on change. When we face big changes, we experience such discomfort and anxiety that we don’t open ourselves up to the possibilities that lie beyond the change. I have been a widow now for almost four years. Some days it feels as real and raw as being a 4-day-old widow. Other days its as if I’ve never been anything but a widow. And everyday I still struggle with the change. Every decision is exhausting because I feel like I need to weigh and analyze the potential outcomes over and over to be 200% certain I am doing the right thing. And yet, I have also realized I need to just take a leap of faith sometimes and go with my heart and gut. But it’s hard to do that sometimes because it often feels I’m leaving a piece of myself and my husband behind by moving forward.

This last part of the summer I have been weighing some big decisions and trying to purge the junk from my house and mind. I am trying to separate memories that are attached to material objects. I have a pair of red pants that I have zero chance of fitting into ever again. But my husband loved them and I just can’t bear to part with them. I haven’t even put them in a box or drawer.. They are still hanging with all of my other pants that are two sizes bigger. Every purge is a change and every change is a struggle. But I am trying to look beyond the change at the possibilities that are ahead.

Family Dynamic

Brooke is only four-and-a-half but is acutely aware of the differences between our family and the traditional view of a mommy/daddy/kids family. I try to reinforce that there are all kinds of families all defined by the love they share. She understands this and calls our dog, her and me “our little family.” But that doesn’t stop her from asking questions and suggesting we expand our clan. She asks for a little brother or sister. She tells me I need a boyfriend so she can have a dad again. She finds every opportunity to add to our household at every turn.

We recently added two fish to our family and Brooke already loves and embraces them as if she’s had them for years. (And as if they are human and not fish!) I so badly want to give her a sibling and a father figure she can grow up with, but it’s overwhelming thinking about adoption as a single parent or having a baby on my own. And the idea of a boyfriend is appealing after almost four years of widowhood-but even more inconceivable than another child. (long story that requires another blog post someday) So I will continue to reinforce the strength and validity of our non-traditional family and hope everything else just falls into place the way it’s supposed to…

Pay It Forward

I went to my monthly widow luncheon yesterday. It was the third meeting and the second I have attended. I am the youngest there but have been widowed for longer than many of the women. I feel mixed emotions. Sadness for the losses we have suffered, pride in our ability to pick ourselves up to keep moving ahead and also a bit of fulfillment knowing I can help those other widows who are new to this club that none of us wanted to join. (I stole that line from someone and can’t remember where I read it.)

Yesterday a woman attended who lost her husband just two weeks ago. She is young, gorgeous, three kids in junior and senior high school and so brave to have attended the luncheon so soon after her husband’s death. I could see the grief in her and felt her sadness and pain as she absorbed the stories of the other women and tried to share hers. Her numbness mixed with such raw emotion was almost four years ago for me but sometimes feels like just yesterday. I wanted to just hug her (and I’m not a hugger), bring her home with me and fast-forward her grief past the early hopeless days. But I know the only thing that will heal her is time. And yet my heart aches for her and the other “fresh widows” out there in the beginning stages of their mourning.

All I can do is continue to spread my message of minimizing stress and maximizing life and hope that as other widows encounter it, they will embrace it and find some comfort in knowing they aren’t alone.

Solo Travel

I am sitting on a plane headed to NYC for a tradeshow for work. I have a love/hate relationship with travel. I love to have some me-time especially in a city I love. But leaving my daughter breaks my heart every time. She doesn’t mind me leaving. She gets to spend time with her grandparents (both sets) and gets spoiled for a few days. It’s much harder on me being apart than it is for her. And I hate leaving the dog too. He is like my first kid – the big, chubby furball. And I tend to get a bit travel sick-just call me a high maintenance traveller!

Despite my trepidation leaving my comfort zone of home, I always try to embrace my travels whether for work or play. I eat good food, sightsee, do my work and connect with friends wherever I go. I get evening hours to myself to do what I want. This trip I am doing some good dinners with friends and hitting a Broadway show. And I love to just walk the streets of NYC and absorb the energy and remind myself that I am more than just a widow mom. I am an adult, woman, writer, businessperson and brainstormer who feeds off of my surroundings. I need to grasp on to these opportunities as they arise and let my brain work as it will.

And so while my love/hate relationship with travel continues, I try to squeeze as much out of the love part as I can!

Fatherless Father’s Day

My daughter knows her dad is dead. She is only four-and-a-half but still knows that a body can stop working right and then stop altogether. But I want to preserve Fathers Day for her. Despite not having a living daddy, I want her to know that the day is special and a time to commemorate that unseen force working in her life. So we celebrated all day with memories and stories of her dad. And later we saw my dad who I am thankful for every day! We also sent special vibes to my father-in-law across the miles. So despite the lack of a physical father presence, we knew he was with us in spirit – and probably on the couch watching the US Open most of the day like he would have been if he were here.

Mommy Bear

I am at swimming lessons with my daughter. I am so protective of her being a widow parent. I hope I don’t end up being one of those overprotective moms who wont let my daughter walk down the street without me holding her hand at the age of 16!