Day 31: one month

On this anniversary it would be very easy to let myself wallow in my misery, but instead I’m going to list out 31 of the positives that have happened over the last 31 days. I’m sure there will be plenty more self pity in the days to come. After all, my blog is about documenting my journey through grief in the most honest way I can and for now, most days the journey is depressing and difficult. My hope is that some day in the future my good days will outweigh the bad and my writing will reflect that. But for today, my choice to be positive is to celebrate me and my completion of the most difficult month of my life because my survival deserves to be celebrated.

1. I found out more people than I imagined actually did understand how important my husband’s contributions were.

2. I received support from both expected and unexpected quarters.

3. I have reconnected with friends that life became a little too hectic to connect with before all of this happened.

4. My parents have been amazing.

5. My faith in people has actually improved.

6. I finally successfully killed a scorpion all by myself. My new method is to toss a rubber mat on it from a distance and then dance on the mat. Unconventional? Sure. Effective? You bet!

7. I truly understand how good my life with my husband was, and it was such a gift!

8. As much as I HATE “Let me know if there is anything I can do”, I have learned some people actually mean it and sometimes when I swallow my pride and ask for help I actually get it.

9. I never knew how much love I had from friends.

10. My goal was to have a service my husband would be so mad he missed and I feel that I, along with so much help from friends and family (especially my sister-in-law), achieved that.

11. I’ve been easing back into cooking and am planning on sharing some of my “cooking for one” finds and inventions as I find more of them.

12. I’ve started to learn how to ask for help on some things. I have a long way to go on this, but I am trying.

13. I have connected with many other young widows who feel much of what I feel and make me feel a little less alone in this.

14. I had one amazing dream about my husband that I choose to believe was him really reaching out to let me know he loves me.

15. I have a crazy puppy that makes me laugh, smile, and along with my other dogs gives me a reason to get up in the morning.

16. I have recently gotten back to being able to listen to music again and it is so therapeutic.

17. My job is so incredibly understanding and seems to genuinely want me to take care of myself so I can eventually make a full time return.

18. I feel closer to my wonderful sister-in-law than I ever have before. We went through the gauntlet together and she is one tough lady that I am so proud of and grateful to have in my life.

19. I finally was able to be in the master bedroom long enough to take a really long bath instead of a quick, efficient shower.

20. When the funeral home dropped the ball on communicating with us, friends stepped up and expanded their responsibilities and roles in the service to make sure everything ran smoothly.

21. I had a gift certificate from my husband I forgot about and used it buy Maine lobster rolls. They should be here later this week.

22. I’ve started to enjoy food a little again.

23. Sleeping is improving. It also has a ways to go, but it is getting better.

24. My couch turned out to be worth every penny that I was concerned about spending at the time.

25. Some acquaintances have described my husband as humble because they had no idea just how much he did to try to make the world a better place and this has made them want to leave a similar positive mark on this world. I can’t think of a better, more fitting legacy for him to leave behind.

26. I have gotten back to writing like he always wanted me to do.

27. I have been reminded just how many awesome experiences I packed into our all too brief ten years together. We saw the world, did crazy things, and left nothing on the table.

28. I have managed flashes of productivity at work. I know it will keep getting better as time goes on.

29. I have tricked people into believing I am strong. Sooner or later, maybe I will be able to trick myself into believing it too.

30. I have found some insightful books to help me along this journey.

31. He made me feel special enough in his short life to make me feel special for the rest of mine, no matter how long that ends up being.

So there you have it. I had to really reach to think of some many positives, but decided even the small stuff adds up to there being a lot of good still left in my life. It is so easy to be consumed with thinking about what I lost, and truthfully I still am consumed with it, but stepping outside of my grief bubble and recognizing how much I still have was a worthwhile exercise.

Day 25: life lessons

When faced with the impossible task to eulogize my husband, I tried to concentrate on what I really wanted people to know about him. It started making me think about everything our marriage taught me. Today, I am feeling tired and overwhelmed, so I am going to simply list of the eleven lessons I talked about in my speech. Each one has a reason and story, which I may talk about in the future, but for now, here they are:

1. One person with drive and motivation can take on what others may say is impossible and make a real difference. So for him, if there is something you want to make happen, just don’t accept no for an answer.

2. Life moves really fast these days. Too fast. Often we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to look beyond a first impression.  I can attest that first impressions are not always right and you could find the treasure of a lifetime by giving something, or someone, a second look.

3. Find a perfect moment and hold onto it, cherish it, and let it live on forever because despite everything, thinking of my perfect moment with him still gives me peace.

4. No matter how bleak things may be there is always a reason to smile.

5. Although it can feel like a trite statement, sometimes, but not all the time, things really do happen for a reason. (This one I think I need to add some context to in order for it to make sense. I wasn’t referring to him passing away. Instead I was talking about the blessing of getting a brand new puppy the day before he passed because she was such a comfort to me and all the people that came to visit. She and my other 3 little ankle biters give me a reason to get up in the morning.)

6. An act of kindness that may seem small to you can mean so much more than what you may have thought. 

7. Be who you are and embrace it, even if who you are is a super nerdy guy. There are other super nerds out there that will naturally migrate to you.

8. Love fiercely, intensely, and without wavering.

9. Do not wait to make your dreams come true. Take that big trip you have on your wishlist now. See the world.

10. People love you and care about you more than you can ever imagine. Don’t focus on who doesn’t like you, embrace those that do.

11. Don’t be camera shy. Let as many pictures of yourself with your loved ones be taken.

So there you have it. 34 years on Earth and 10 years together boiled down to just eleven things. It feels so insignificant. I felt at the time I could go on forever with lesson after lesson, but in the moment, those are the things that meant the most to me so it is what it is.