I’ve had time to reflect tonight. It’s the first weekend I don’t have plans, but I’m making a few things happen.

Two years ago, I would have been devastated to be alone on a weekend. I would have thought “all these happy families and couples are together. Why not me?”

Two longer-term relationships later – I failed one and the other failed me; in short they weren’t meant to be – I feel ambivalent about relationships. I know that I didn’t have a perfect marriage. Who does? We didn’t do a lot on weekends. We worked during the week so winding down was the agenda on weekends, or we were busy with kids when they were younger.

Once the kids got older we didn’t go to beaches in the summer. It wasn’t Bob’s thing. I acquiesced, I guess, because you can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do, or you can try and it ends up in a fight. Besides, he didn’t have great health so he needed to regenerate after a busy work week – at least that’s what I told myself. In relationships you often concede rather than push. 

Six years after Bob passed away I know I have lived a different, fuller life. I’ve done things I would never have done before. I put myself into situations I would have avoided – large crowds for example. I had a year at a lake every weekend (relationship #2). Didn’t turn out to be  all I’d hoped for in my mind when I thought I wanted it with Bob, but I did love being near water.

It took me four years to even think about dating (because I was battling very deep depression). And when I did, I chose online dating, resulting in more misses than hits, a typical ratio before you meet “the one,” or the “the one” you think is “the one,” (who, it turns out, actually isn’t).

Somehow I lost four years and maybe that’s why I feel many years younger than I am. But reality says I’ve actually moved ahead a full decade, as far as age numbers go.

Reflecting on what I thought and what is, I always believed I’d be in another relationship – the “after Bob,” different than our relationship because I’m different now, but that hasn’t happened. And now I’m not as sure as I was that it will happen.

I don’t believe that humans were meant to be alone, but some people make a conscious choice to spend their lives without a partner. I look at couples now and realize they aren’t always happy.  I see them making accommodations for their differences and wonder if I have the energy to do that, let alone set the intention that I want it.

But one thing I do know is that you really do have to be happy with yourself before you can share yourself with someone else (law of attraction) and before now that wasn’t where I was at.

Right now I’m the happiest I’ve been, probably in my entire life. With my depression under control I have more energy. I can work. I don’t have negative self talk. In short, I feel ‘normal.’ And that’s very strange for me because I realize now that I’ve never felt normal in my life, at least the times I can remember in my life.  

As with any reflection I don’t know if there’s an answer here. I think the question is “Will I be alone forever?” I do know that somewhere inside me I’m being told to let life happen organically, rather than pushing it (read: online dating), and be true to my new-normal life belief that you need to live life one day at a time. But sometimes, when you think you’re not looking for anything, it actually appears right in front of you. 

I will always miss you

It’s been almost four years and my heart still aches.
I will always miss you.

I am in a different place than I was four years ago, but
I will always miss you.

My heart is open to new possibilities, but
I will always miss you.

When I see couples together and I feel jealous.
I will always miss you.

I am stronger than I was three, two, a year or less ago, but
I will always miss you.

I walk without you beside me but I’m told you’re always near. I don’t feel you.
I will always miss you.

I wonder what life would be like if you were still here.
I will always miss you.

A bird, a word, a song, all reminders of our life together.
I will always miss you.

Realization that finding someone like you is impossible but I must go on.
I will always miss you.

I am hopeful that I will find a light and a different kind of love beyond sad memories but I will never forget you.
I will always miss you.

I will remember you forever even as my new life evolves.
I will always miss you.

Learning from loss

I’ve been writing blogs about my journey for a website called Headspace. Right now I have blogs two posted:  Till Death Do Us Part: Living the Vows of Marriage and Life After Death:
Death, Grief, Mindfulness and Meditation. Two more are slated for publication in November and December, and I’ve been commissioned to write another two. They’re all based on this journey from grief to ‘new normal,’ and in between. The amazing thing is that I’ve come to a point where I can write about the sadness but the ending is uplifting. That’s a huge leap from then to now.

In my last post here I wrote about the beginning of a relationship. It was an amazing journey. I learned I could have feelings for someone else and not feel survivor’s guilt. I learned that I could enjoy life and feel passion. But I also had to learn other lessons that weren’t always uplifting. In the end we parted, and my lesson since then has been that I can live my life as a single person and be a whole person on my own. It’s another chapter in this ‘new normal’ life.

I don’t see myself being alone for the rest of my life. I will never forget Bob and he will always be my husband. Those of you who have gone through this understand. But many of us also feel the need to connect with someone to move into a new chapter even, or especially, after such a profound loss. .

airbnb-superhostOne of the most influential things in my metamorphosis from sad and bereft has to do with opening my home to strangers. I became an Airbnb host in October 2015 and, to date, have hosted more than 40 guests in my home, from as close as my own city. to as far away as New Zealand and China. With each guest I became more confident and comfortable sharing my home. I offer my guests a place of respite and sanctuary from busy schedules in their everyday lives or if their visit brings them here to study or work. In return, they’ve given me gifts and notes of thanks and written glowing reviews on my Airbnb site. I must admit I’m a bit jealous because my cats – Joey and Cassie (get better reviews than I do! And for my efforts I’ve become an Airbnb Superhost, which is really just a status but it’s nice to be recognized for being a kind, caring host.

This week I begin what I think will be the final phase of my mental health healing. I’m taking a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) program for depression, to help with depression relapse. I’ve felt strong enough to handle the sad moments myself these past few months, but having tools to combat it when it reappears can only be a good thing. Depression is like any disease. It doesn’t just disappear. It’s ongoing and must be treated. I use mediation, exercise, work, positive affirmations, gratitude and have good friends surrounding me with love. I am thinking positive thoughts. It feels like another lifetime when I was holding on to dear life. That’s a good thing. I’m stronger now.

I’m even strong enough to work again and actually can focus (no more ‘widow brain’). This year has brought me new clients and a positive attitude about my abilities, capabilities and talents as a writer. I have a more focused perspective about what I want to do and the clients I want to work with. I am manifesting my desires and they appear.

We all lose loved ones and I am close to losing someone very special in my life again. It’s the natural ebb and flow of life. But if I have learned one thing from loss, it’s that someone new comes into our life at just the right time when we need them. And if we are lucky they stay with us, at least for as long as we need them. This keeps the flow coming in. Life and death are not mutually exclusive. They are what we must experience in our time here. And with loss comes more understanding about ourselves. I have learned a lot from loss, and I am sure I still have more to learn.


Learning from loss was originally published on Write From Here

Be thankful and stop complaining

Be Thankful Mantra

Someone posted this on Facebook the other day. Bang! It hit home for me in a HUGE way! It will be my mantra this year. Not only that, I plan to ask people who are complaining to “be thankful and stop complaining.”

How did I get into this rut? I’m not sure. But looking back over the past few years I remember complaining…a lot.

When my daughter calls me she sometimes needs to vent. I get it. I’m her mom. We tend to dump our problems on those closest to us, whether it’s just to use someone as a sounding board or when looking for advice, but mostly just to vent. At the end of the conversation she usually says: “Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, mom.” Yep, that explains it perfectly.

A friend of mine, Doreen Pendgracs, and blogger extraordinaire has several blog posts about being thankful, for example: a salute to 2012: it’s been a good year. I’ve read her blogs, and hundreds of posts and blogs on the Internet all focused on this topic. So why is it that I never really got it? And what is it about this small poster that finally opened my eyes, or at least made complete sense to me, as opposed to the messages within all the noise that’s been bombarding me for decades?.

Don’t get me wrong. I do question why I’ve been so blessed. I’m sitting here in my office that’s probably as big as a tent that houses a family somewhere in a refugee camp. I’m not saying I don’t think about that. I do. A lot. Every day. But I still complain about silly little things – the slow driver ahead of me, the fact that it’s cold outside, I don’t like how my hair looks today, I feel fat (when others are starving all over the world). There is definitely inequality going on here. And I get that too. So why don’t I do something about it? I’m going to make that my mission this year.

In the meantime, it’s enlightening to find out how others spent their holidays. Please check out this article.

EXCLUSIVE! On Berkeley’s Telegraph, Few Creatures Stirred X-Mas Eve — Or Did They? by Steed Dropout WARNING! GRAPHIC LANGUAGE!

It’s what really prompted me to write this post and realize that I am so very fortunate; again, not an epiphany but all these things have brought this to the forefront for me, today, the first day of 2013.

So it’s another new year and today is January 1st 2013. Now it’s your turn. What do you have to be thankful for? What will you do this year to make a difference?