Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What could change; what could not

I sat in a dark basement unsure how to operate a complex power tool when Mike approaches and I ask him why he bought so many complex things. He knows what I really mean,

"Why did you die and leave me with so many complex things to figure out?"

For once we aren't rushing into each other's arms, we aren't clasping to the wisps of each other that still linger in our subconscious. We just stand and talk, face to face. Like the soul mates we once were.

"When I had the choice to die, I couldn't resist. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities".

I huff a little air out of my nose. My mind goes back, almost 3 years back. To the morning he lay on the couch, between this world and the next. He had survived before: I had revived him, others had revived him. But this time he chose to float further down the stream of nothingness. Losing his full consciousness to the void.

I tell him I understand. I can't hide the pain, but it doesn't boil on the surface like fresh blisters anymore. He leans down and looks me in the eye, "I am sorry I don't get to visit like I'd wanted, I don't get to see you grow up. I left a lot of pain, you and Mark took the brunt of it."

I remember last year at the cemetery - 2 years after. The only person who seemed to ache like I did was his closest brother. The sight of each other was almost too much for either of us to bear. The only other person his little brother Mikey loved as much as him, was me - and vice versa.

One last thing strikes me as my alarm starts robbing my time with Mike short: he isn't magically better. I am not talking to the Mike I fell in love with at 17, or the Mike that sits atop the pedestal in my memories: the one carved of the good times and not the bad. I am talking, albeit rationally, to the Mike that left.

There is no illusion that the mental illness and brain injuries that sold our time short would have reversed and graciously re-instituted our marriage.

Regardless of his decision to float away, we would never have lived the life we had planned. Those dreams were not meant for us. Even if he had chose to live, our marriage and love story had already died.

Thank you for joining June's Widowed Blog Hop. I hope you'll stop by the other widowed bloggers and send them some love.

Samantha of the Crazy Courage blog
Janine of One Breath At A Time
Red’s The M3 Blog
Christine of Widow Island
Tim’s Diary of a Widower
Running Forward: Abel Keogh’s Blog
Tamara of Artful Living After Loss
Jessica at Buttons to Beans
Missing Bobby: A Widow’s Journey
The Grief Toolbox
The Widow’s Mite: Encouragement for Widows
Widowed Yogi
Choosing Grace Today

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dreams While Inside the Bear Trap

Bear trap

Forgiveness is the swan dive of freedom off the cliff of anxiety.
Can we muster the courage?  What if we-
Forgave ourselves
Forgave our partners for dying
Forgave our in laws for not understanding.

Is there a way to grant forgiveness
for transgressions you don't understand?
The search for responsibility: 
to sort the seed from the shaft,
truth from the pain that bore it.

There is power in accepting guilt,
The enticing illusion of control within reach.
Sometimes I can't stand the pain of reality.
Like a cold glass of vodka, soothing its way down the spine:
I delve into the fantasy that his voice is only a phone call away. 

Its a tempting trap.
One that I all-too-willingly step into each time I walk the trail alone.
Every damned time. 
The bear trap of guilt snaps through my bones and entraps my consciousness. 
Keeping my sanity captive until I manage to pry and drag my battered body away.

Limp and bruised I try harder to listen to the warnings and rationalizations:
I did the best I knew how.
It was his time.
There was just too much pain.

But not tonight.
Tonight I write to you with one leg stuck in the trap
and no more energy to battle.
My fingers are chilled and raw.
I have spent every night for nearly a week
flogging myself for each and every mistake.

I see Mike in my dreams,
watch the double hop on his right leg when the left couldn't keep up.
I find him unconscious again and again.
Watch the news of his car "accident" over and over.
Feel the deep emptiness in my chest when he would cry to me for help.

Every. Time. I. Am. Helpless.

I am bludgeoned by a subconscious
replaying each scenario to find a way out.
Like an investigator rewinding footage
in my relentless search for meaning.
If only I can find why,

Maybe he could grow up,
Maybe he could breathe deep and laugh,
Maybe it's all a mistake.
Maybe he could be loved.
Maybe he could love me.
Maybe everything wasn't a mistake.
Maybe, just maybe he could live.

Welcome to monthly widowed blog hop. Please stop by my friends and fellow widowed blogger's sites and leave them some love. I hope you enjoyed the piece of my soul that I left for you today, please leave me some love in the comments as well.
With love and light,

Samantha of the Crazy Courage blog
Janine of One Breath At A Time
Red’s The M3 Blog
Becky’s Choosing Grace Today
Marriott of Miracles and Answers to the Prayers in the Life of Marriott Cole
Christine of Widow Island
Robin of The Fresh Widow
Tim’s Diary of a Widower
Running Forward: Abel Keogh’s Blog
Carolyn at Modern Widow’s Club
Andrea of International Brotherhood of Single Mothers
Tamara of Artful Living After Loss
Jessica at Buttons to Beans
Missing Bobby: A Widow’s Journey
The Grief Toolbox
Ferree of Widow’s Christian Place
From Me to We: A Young Widow’s Journey

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Desolation and Gray Canyons of the Green River, BLM Photo
Grief can cause you to shrivel, withdraw from the world.
Instead, recognize
the space created by the pain that inhaled deep
A river flowing beyond its banks.

Because of the flood of 2010, my river widened its reach
It loves you with your pain, it accepts your craggy shores,
and washes over you with abundance.
Currents and rapids of life exhilarate and fascinate:
what could possibly be next?

I invite you to camp on my shores,
share in the ever changing power of water.
Quench your thirst for acceptance.
Shout with anger until exhaustion:
only to hear the roar of the rapid overpower your fury
then soothe you to sleep with the consistency those things bigger than you or I. 

Even if you clutch everything close to your chest, the water changes you
the sand sifts between your fingers and evaporates.
Do not expect to walk away with the pain you brought in,
instead anticipate your boulders turned to pebbles.

In the same way. I will not host a "support group".
I will not invite pain, harsh words and self sorrow.
Instead, I will accept your oblivion, your misery
and your ability to be grow.

Call out individuals and invite honest connections. 
invite the water of change into your life.
soak your shriveled, battered roots in the abundance of love.

With the power of the river behind you,
examine your own boundaries,
look above your toes.
The old valley was beautiful, it is truly something to be missed:
but damn, aren't the gentle crocuses and fawns of new life a sight to behold. 

  Welcome to Blog Hop Wednesday. Enjoy my fellow bloggers pieces below, and remember to leave me some love if what I shared today reached you in any way. 

With love and light,

Samantha of the Crazy Courage blog
Janine of One Breath At A Time
Red’s The M3 Blog
Becky’s Choosing Grace Today
Marriott of Miracles and Answers to the Prayers in the Life of Marriott Cole
Christine of Widow Island
Robin of The Fresh Widow
Tim’s Diary of a Widower
Running Forward: Abel Keogh’s Blog
Carolyn at Modern Widow’s Club
Hello Grief
Andrea of International Brotherhood of Single Mothers
Tamara of Artful Living After Loss
Jessica at Buttons to Beans
Anne – Missing Bobby: A Widow’s Journey
The Grief Toolbox

Monday, January 14, 2013

Why I Rise - One Billion Rising

I have been graced with the opportunity to be a part of One Billion Rising Salt Lake City from the ground up. I have encouraged women and men to share their stories of why they rise. But I've been fearful to write my own story. There are so many reasons why I rise that it makes it difficult to identify just one. I've written and rewritten several posts, accounting the deep dark secrets that lie in my heart, and the cobwebbed mazes of my brain. But I am realizing that the real reason that I am moved to rise - is because I can. I have a group of friends and supporters that are stronger and more supportive than I've ever had in my life. I've always been scared of being "that girl" or labeled a feminist. Guess what? I am one. I am tired of pretending that women are treated equally in hopes of being treated equally myself - it doesn't work. I will stand up and say that it is not ok to say "you learned from that didn't you?" instead of "that was wrong, what he did to you is not acceptable and I stand by you."

We as women are called man-haters if we breed natural distrust and fear from being beaten & raped. But we are also playing the victim if we admit that infidelity, sexual assault and domestic violence has shaped our outlook on the world. This fear of judgment and constant minimization plays its own part in perpetuating the cycles. We don't get the help we need. We sit in the corner crying when the lives we want to live seem out of our reach because we can't control the demons in our own mind. So today, I'm breaking my own fear - and telling you why I will RISE!

I rise because it feels good.
I dance because it lifts my soul.
I strike because inequality exists, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

I will rise on February 14, 2013 because I didn't rise up homecoming night 2000 when I was assaulted by a friend's brother whom I had also trusted with my first kiss. When my PTSD from my early childhood became so strong that I didn't fight back. For years, I accepted this complacency and fear as guilt and my own personal culpability.

I will rise on February 14, 2013 because I never had the chance to kick the ass of the boyfriend I trusted to be my "first" who cheated on me and left before I spent 4 years, 2 surgeries and 5 biopsies to clear myself of the cancer he left as reciprocation for my trust and fidelity.

I will rise on February 14, 2013 because I didn't rise up when my 350 lb husband had difficulties with his mental illness, picked me up and threw me into a chair while I kicked and clawed and tried to escape. Only one of the many times I feared for my life in my own house. I will rise because I lived in the shadows for too long, believing my mother in law that this was my fault and I was culpable for every mistake he made, dollar he spent and his own life that he took.

I will rise on February 14, 2013 because my education is as good as those possessed by men. I studied as hard, read the same books, held a full time job and cared for my family to afford to pay as much as the men who graduated with me. I dare say I might have learned more from it, because I also had to learn how to work in groups that didn't want to "be 'the team with a girl'" when "I don't even LET my wife have a credit card, I just bought her a new minivan - she should be thanking me" was what I heard on the first day of my program.

I will dance on February 14, 2013 because on August 6, 2010 I learned what it meant to be in a community of women for the first time. As a widow at 25 I learned to trust, confide in and depend on other women to heal me, help me and share in my joy and sorrow. I learned friendship and the power of women. I have never met a more powerful and passionate group of women than those who have endured the loss of a spouse and still wake up to greet the new morning. 

I will RISE STRIKE and DANCE because I am a vibrant, beautiful and strong woman who isn't about ready to take any more crap and smile and say thank you. I learned that for myself - and I want to share it with women everywhere. WE DESERVE MORE. I want to change the world so my little sister, and eventually my daughters don't have to worry about what NOT to wear so as to stay safe when they go out with friends or walk home from school. Instead I will teach my brother and my sons to treat people fairly and be cognizant of the words they use, and always stand up for what they believe. And when I remarry it will be to a partner who values my safety, who respects my voice, hears my soul and loves who I am.

If you would like to be involved with One Billion Rising please go to If you are in the Salt Lake area please connect with us at and We will be DANCING on the University of Utah Campus (Feb 14th noon), we will STRIKE the Ikea Draper store with a flash mob (Feb 14th 7pm) and we will RISE with a reception to fund-raise for a great cause and connect women and those who love and support them on February 15th. Please look up the information and support us. Support me. It would mean a lot. You might be surprised how it might empower you.

With love and light,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Apologizing for sad


Why do you apologize for feeling sad?
Sad was made for days like these.
On the spectrum of bad days - this ranks among the champions.

If today isn't allowed to be sad,
how long are you going to miss out
on all the other emotions
before you realize you're denying yourself.

You deserve the right to be sad,
happy or mad.
Even puppies are sad when you make them sleep alone.
So why not you?

If today is sad,
and there is no way around it -
do me a favor and promise
not to apologize for it.

Apologies mean there's something to be sorry for
and you didn't choose, nor cause this bad day.
So embrace the shitty, hug the sad, cry yourself to sleep
and keep the hope alive that tomorrow turns the bend.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Who are "baby widows"?

 Baby widows, trying to find humor in "deer widows weekend"
I tell you - we have dark senses of humor!
(Post Publishing Note: I wrote this over a year ago and it has had well over a thousand page views, people who, like yourself, or someone you know searched for "baby" or "young widow" please don't feel as isolated and scared as you do. You are not alone.)

I identify myself as a baby widow.
Well probably because I made up the term.
But the story is simple...

The day after I received the horrible call I sat at a computer and tried to search "whats next?"
Mr Google didn't seem to know what I meant.
I tried searching for "young widow", hoping to find direction.
Instead I was horrified -
a "young widow" is one who loses their spouse before age 50.

EXCUSE ME! I am 25! 
I turn 26 next week, 
tomorrow is our 2 year wedding anniversary, 
what do you mean 50? 
My parents aren't even 50!

What does that make me -
a baby widow?

Yes, a baby widow.

I sent a text to my cousin
(married the same day, widowed one year earlier)
What are we - baby widows?!
She replied back that she still didn't know what we were,
But she was sorry I joined her ranks
"Baby Widow" fit as well as anything else.

So who is a baby widow?
Someone whose heart was broken before it was even fully developed.
A baby widow lost her future before she had even begun to live it.
A baby widow cries about the children she never got to have,
the legacy that has been lost, the connection severed.

Mike's 27th birthday - taken by my first "baby widow sister"
Baby widows cry next to grave sites,
and onlookers carefully ask if you are visiting your parents.

Baby widows get "hit on" when they transition their wedding ring to the other hand -
young lustful men sense the opportunity and assume divorce.
But baby widows are cunning, and a little bit spiteful of innocence -
they quietly savor the shock of putting a cocky gent in his place with words like:
"dead husband", "widow" or "cemetery".
Even better if you can sneak "autopsy", "cancer", "corpse" or "suicide" in there,
but those opportunities are harder to come by.

Baby widows become crusaders.
Their youth and feelings of powerlessness revolt against the sadness
they can't allow this world to push them so far down.
They rise back up
with a vengance they fight for anything they can:
better FMLA coverage, cancer screenings, suicide prevention, MS treatment, widow's support.

They tirelessly support each other.
There is nothing more important to a baby widow -
than the well being of another baby widow.
It is why we show up with bottles of wine to "help" clean out garages.
Why we hold each other while we sob about the sale of a house.
We offer to pick up each other's kids from ballet -
because we know the betrayal of the heart that comes from one more family member not getting why we don't "have it all together yet". 

A baby widow is isolated.
Not because she necessarily wants to be,
but at an age when your friends are either partying hard, or having their second planned child
who could possibly relate?

Friends have barely begun to lose grandparents,
and a few unfortunate ones have lost parent(s)
You start identifying those friends who "get it".
Those whom you don't have to tire yourself out
by trying to put on your "public face".
Death eyes I called it.
Those who had looked death in the eyes,
and were daring to continue living. 

Baby widow hear thoughtless things:
"you're pretty, you'll be remarried soon"
"at least you didn't have kids"
"this is all for the best"
"haven't you moved on yet"

The worst is when its from your own family.
The ones who supported you and celebrated at your wedding,
now barely 3 years later, struggle to look you in the eye
as you prepare your husband's grave for its one year memorial.
They wonder why you return.
Why you wipe the dirt, leaves and snow away.
Why you swear at his parents every time you come here.
Why can't you just let it go?
When in your heart you can't let go the one thing you were supposed to do
as his wife, was to ensure he was cremated - and scattered.
You curse his family every time the snow is deep, it means they haven't visited.
The cold hard earth that they interned him in.
Now he's lonely, not free on the breath of the plateau.
My pseudo ceremony with fake fire-pit ashes, but real tears.

A baby widow fights these feelings of inadequacy
as she begins to put her life back together.
She tries to date, but finds the pedestal hard to see around. 
As is the glaring fact that she has already failed.
He died! How much worse of a wife can you find?
Who would possibly want to stand where a dead man stood.

But baby widows are nothing if not resilient.
Baby widows love as if there is nothing left in their souls.
They wake up and find the sunshine -
or put on a record and find some within their own smile that sneaks out.
Baby widows are a miraculous breed of impassioned, dedicated, beautiful souls.

They will always get back up.
They will even have the strength to give in,
to look inside,
to examine how to do it better.
They will always find a way through.

Baby widows inspire me.

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