Holiday spirit

Nearly every morsel of me wants to title this blog…bah humbug…but that little light of hope I carry around won’t let me do it.  The holidays are upon us and well, they are bringing me down.  At least I think it’s the holidays.  I’ve had so many changes this year. The largest one, taking a new job hasn’t been what I had hoped. My personal life, well, I’m not sure how much personal life I have because I work a bunch and it is catching up with me. My boys just aren’t themselves.  Is it really as simple as we are back in the midst of the holidays again and our broken hearts surface again in a more distinct way?

I really do have a hard time some days sorting out which is which.  Are some of the things that bring me down just normal things or am I taken down more deeply because of my widowed soul.  I know many people struggle with work, children, balancing their lives every day. Is the acute pain I feel because down deep, I know my life would have been very different if cancer hadn’t knocked on my door nine years ago and taken the only man that could put up with me?

It has been a very long several weeks.  Really, it has been a long semester.  The new job I took, shuffled our lives around so much.  That coupled with the fact that it was necessary for me to take on coaching for extra income the last six weeks has exhausted me.  I was already feeling pretty guilty about how much time I am with my boys, but add coaching and I only see them for three or four hours a day, if that.  I feel like that out of touch parent.  They spend more of their days with other people.  The time we are together is not quality time because it’s catch up time.

I’ve been trying over the past several years to let my social life back in too.  I’ve had a bit of success, but I think the more I let it in, it compounds the loneliness. Once a month or so, I have a night out and then the nights home feel quieter, lonelier than before when I was just used to being alone at night. Does that make sense? I think again, changing jobs has a huge impact here too.  Teaching in high school is a much different beast than teaching in an elementary school.  I’m not sure if it’s just this particular place or high schools in general, but the apathy runs deep and I finding myself disappointed in my choice.  I love the kids and the teaching, but miss collaborating with colleagues.  I keep telling myself that it takes time to build new relationships in a new workplace, but now I’m not sure if that’s it.  I miss my former colleagues very much.  I miss a work place that fosters building relationships and models it.

I also had very sweet, dear friend let me down in a way I never thought would happen.  I trusted this friend with a very vulnerable part of me.  A place of respite and safety for me has disappeared.  I am so hurt by this and what appears to be a lack of care for the disappointment that my heart is broken.  It really makes me wonder if it’s worth it to put that trust in someone, anyone really.  So, I don’t know if it’s just a normal disappointment that’s hurting my heart or is it my own abandonment issues that make it impact me more.

All these pieces of my life march into the holidays with me.  I see the spirit around me rising, but I’m feeling more broken this year.  My fragmented heart is feeling its scars. I am thinking about my boys and another year without their dad has passed.  My little one is always so angry.  I’m not sure if it’s a phase or if it’s his grief coming out sideways.  My big one had his heart broken by a girl.  He appears to be handling it ok, but again, that anger comes out.  I wonder if he’ll struggle with the same abandonment issues that I struggle with as he moves into adult life.  I wonder if we will always be waiting for the other shoe to drop when we have happy moments.  We did know happy.  We did know safety, security.  We did know love. The other shoe dropped though.  I really don’t know if I’ll ever be able to buy in completely again.  I want to, I hope I can, but I don’t believe I’ll be able to get there.  Well, because I know nothing really lasts forever.  Nothing.

Yet, despite nothing lasting, the light of hope, the memory of love, and the longing to feel safe again will propel me into the holidays the way it always does.  I will go through the motions and hope they become reality. I’ve come this far, I can’t give up now. I know I will hit moments when it feels like life is miserable. I know this.  I know I will hit moments that scream at me that I’ve made the wrong decision, trusted the wrong person, or let myself and my kids down.  I will pick myself up and try again.  I have survived.  I will continue…holidays or not.

That damn hope.

That wonderful hope.

That undying hope.

Time

Seventeen years ago I got married. In only a few days, I will have been alone as many years as I was married.  Crazy.  Thinking back, I feel like there have been so many lifetimes in my one lifetime.  There is this intangible thing about time, yet when I look back, time feels so concrete.  When I think that eight and a half years have passed since Dave died, I really can’t wrap my brain around it.  In those early moments, it felt as if time had stopped.  If it hadn’t stopped, I certainly wanted it to stop.  I wanted to stay as close to the moment that he was still on the planet as I could.  I didn’t want to move.  I didn’t want to go forward into a future without him.  Now, I am sitting here and I’ve survived many more years than I ever thought possible.  Time has passed. I can breathe again. Who knew?

In those first years, time was the enemy.  It moved at a snail’s pace.  Every day took forever to pass.  The nights moved even more slowly than the days.  The exhaustion of the day would take me to sleep quickly, but only a few hours later, I would wake and lie awake for the rest of the night wondering how I would survive the rest of my time here.  How would I raise our sweet boys?  How would I crawl into bed every night alone?  How would I ever make it through another day without his smile?

It took many years and much help from others to get where I am today.  In many ways, time seems to have passed quickly.  How could so much time have passed already?  On days like today when I sit and remember, it feels like he was just here.  As I look around my life though, there are so few signs of him anymore.  Life is so different.  I am so different.  He is still in my heart like no other can be.  He is still in our conversations.  He is still ours.  The thing is, this life looks so much like me now.  I miss his imprint on my life.  We were so different. I miss the variety.  Time has cemented my will on this life now.  On days like today, I wonder what would be different if he was still here.  Would time feel like distance or like home?

I wonder too how he would feel about how I’m doing with all of this.  There’s the quick answer…he’d be proud of how I carry on and survive…but, I’m not so sure he’d like our world with so much of my slant in it.  He loved me, but he also balanced me.  He saw through me.  He knew when enough was enough with me.  I miss having someone to call me out on my stuff.  I miss that my kids don’t know “the me” that I was with him.  I still think I was better then.  I think my heart was softer.  I think the feeling of being beholden to someone and giving them that same space in your heart, life and soul makes me better.  It was such an investment of time and energy, but so worth it.  Maybe it isn’t time that feels intangible without him, maybe it’s me that feels less tangible?  Maybe it isn’t the movement of time that is so elusive, but it is me who feels so detached most days that I’m elusive?

I do know seventeen years ago, I made one of the best choices I ever made.  I would do it many more times…even if I knew that how much pain that choice would bring. To find each other was such a lucky moment…to lose each other, not so lucky…but I still feel lucky most days.

As time continues to push me into the future, sometimes it feels my life with him was the fantasy.  It feels like maybe that part of my life didn’t happen.  I know this new life so well now that a life with love at my side is a distant memory.  Time has cemented me into this life I created to survive losing him.  It is his love that keeps me strong and hopeful.  It is that memory of him loving me that gives me hope that maybe someday another will be willing to walk beside me, hold me near, and love me, even in this transformed state.  The more time that passes though, the more I don’t see it happening.  I know that no one will love me as he did.  That’s just not how it works.  New people love us in ways we never knew possible and I’ll love in new ways, but there is a tapping in my heart that the more time that passes, the longer I survive on my own, the less possible that new love will be.  Time becomes concrete when I look back at it and as I become even more capable of handling life alone, I fear that I don’t even look around anymore for a different way.

Time heals? I’m still not sure.  I do know that it passes whether I like it or not.  Is it better or worse? Who knows?  It is just different I guess.  I am so different now than I was seventeen years ago as we stood together and took the risk.  Time passes.  Time changes me.  Elusive or concrete, tangible or intangible, it still moves me forward…I will sit in it, survive it, look back at it, and continue to wonder where it will take me next.

Summer Wipeout

I know most parents feel this when we hit mid-summer…”when will the kids be going back to school…I need a break!” As a sole parent, I don’t know if it’s worse or not.  I know that I have to do it alone though.  I also know that there are parents out there with spouses that do it alone.  In my neck of the woods, school begins again in early August.  This year, I’m kind of feeling like summer has been too short and blown by quickly.  I worked most the summer and am feeling all those things that I didn’t get done weighing on my shoulders.  I’m happy I worked.  The boys have done great this summer and in general, all is well.

I don’t feel like I had any moments of respite though.  I don’t feel caught up and I don’t feel settled.  I love the start of school.  I love it for me and for my kids.  There is always this time prior to the start that I feel restless and stuck.  I am feeling like I’ve been in this same place before so many times.  I feel the anticipation of not having a permanent place to work again.  I feel the stress of not being sure how financially sound I am.  I feel the loneliness of having done everything on my own for another summer.

Summer wipeout.

This week and next are the weeks that call for my greatest level of patience.  I have done all the leg work for setting things in place for another school year and now the ball is out of my court.  I must be patient and wait.  A dear friend reminded me the other day that things most often work out for me…with work that is.  She reminded me that last year I really did achieve what I had wanted.  I worked in a place that I love all year.  I gained experience and wisdom.  If only my patience had increased!

I think when the heat of summer sets in to stay, I feel the weight of my daily life a bit more.  I miss the moments of respite.  I miss moments when I don’t have to be in charge.  I miss the moments of pure relaxation and fun.  I have been much better recently about taking care of myself and making sure I have down time.  As a sole parent though, I haven’t really felt any true down time like I used to feel it.  I am always on and always need to be.  I’m all my boys have.  Even with good self-care, this fact alone makes me weary.  I miss feeling safe and relieved at the end of the day.  I miss not always having a to-do list.  I miss sharing the responsibilities.

Truthfully, I will most likely always shoulder the responsibilities of my children, our lives, alone.  There are very few brave souls that will step in and love me and love my boys…finding one brave soul…well, nearly impossible.  I am grateful though for the responsibility in a way too.  I am so grateful to have these lovely boys who remind me so much of their dad, who, although they can wear me out, they always love me and in their own ways saved my life.  Without them, the responsibility of caring for them, well…I probably would have faded away after Dave died.  I nearly did fade away even with them here…but it was my love for them that gave me hope each day.

So, even though I’m feeling restless, a bit wiped, impatient, and mentally and emotionally fatigued, I know the summer wipeout will pass.  I know in a few weeks, we will be back to full steam again and I will have landed just where I was meant to be…for now.  I will continue to care for myself and carve out the time I need to recharge.  I will rely on myself to be my safe place…hard to do all the time, but I will.  I will do my best to rest peacefully in the thoughts of how far we’ve come and that I am surely a survivor.

It’s a long road…

 “…cause it’s a long road to wisdom but it’s a short one to being ignored…”

~Flowers in Your Hair, The Lumineers

Driving to San Diego is one of my favorite things.  I love getting up early to travel the empty highways.  I love the way the landscape changes as we ascend the dry, desert mountains on the Arizona side toward the moist, lush, green mountains on the San Diego side.  I love the descent into the cooler, summer weather.  I love the way my boys sit in the back seat together watching movies, reading, or listening to music.  My big huddled with my little gazing out the windows excitedly waiting for vacation to begin…even though it already has.

I love driving.  I love listening to music and watching the road speed by me.  I listen to old, to new, rock, alternative, country, R&B, well, pretty much anything.  I listened to The Lumineers for a while this time on the drive.  I was thinking about the upcoming weekend and the upcoming experience at Camp Widow West while the music played.  When Flowers in Your Hair played, a line of the lyrics got stuck in my mind:  “…cause it’s a long road to wisdom but it’s a short one to being ignored…”

Throughout the weekend these words kept creeping back in to my mind.  Since Dave’s death, it has been a very long road for me.  Now I’m not saying that I am full of wisdom, but I am working on gaining some.  It’s not really wisdom of knowledge I seek, but wisdom of the soul.  This wisdom I value is the understanding of pain, love, joy, sadness and survival. I have worked very hard to come back to life over the past eight years.  I did not want to come back to life in the first year or so.  I wanted to go back and be with Dave.  All I wanted was him to be with me…for him to be here… not dead.  It was a very, very long time before I could even admit to myself that I wanted to survive and be happy again.  In finding that truth and admitting it, I wanted to find the wisdom of surviving a heartbreak that I thought would be the end of me.

One of the paths of wisdom I chose was writing again.  I also chose reading the words of those with similar loss, pain, and hope.  I found Widow’s Voice http://widowsvoice-sslf.blogspot.com/ shortly after beginning my own blog.  I was inspired by the truth shared.  I was inspired by the openness in sharing loss.  In my real world it was very often hard to share the truth and pain that was always lurking in my heart.  When I shared my deepest pain, fears and loss it made my people around me worry.  When I wrote it down and shared it with the widowed community, it helped.  It helped me.  It helped a few others.

Sharing with the widowed community through my writing lessened my need to share about my heartache publicly, verbally. I let my blog be the main voice of my grief.  With that simple act, I decided to become more of a listener than a speaker.  Now for those who know me…this is a difficult act…I’m quite the chatterbox…but, nonetheless, over the past years, I have tried to listen more than speak.  When I think of the lyrics that stuck in my head, I think of this.  Early on when all I could do is share my story with the people around me, I soon felt ignored.  I felt like they couldn’t listen to me anymore.  I felt isolated…hence, the name of this blog…I felt like I was out on an island alone with no way off.

So, this last week when I went to San Diego as a volunteer, I went hoping to be a listener.  Now, I’m not sure how well I actually did it, but I heard the stories of many women and a few men.  They openly shared their journey with me whether we were strangers, acquaintances or friends.  I witnessed courage in many ways.  I witnessed pain and joy, tears and smiles.  My biggest hope is that one widowed person felt heard.  I wanted to be a soul who really listened to their story, their pain, their struggles, their triumphs and successes.  I wanted one less widowed person to feel isolated, alone.

I’ve worked so hard on my own stuff, that I was able to listen and it was about listening to them…not their words setting off my own stuff.  I heard them, not me echoing in their words.  Although there is always an element of this, it wasn’t about me; it was about the person in front of me who blessed me with their presence, their story.

I think part of the true wisdom of Camp Widow West and East is the gathering itself.  The bringing together of people who don’t really want to see anyone or go anywhere because of their broken hearts and wounded souls.  There is such wisdom in being present to another person, even if no words are spoken.  This gathering is one of the only places in my life that I feel truly embraced with all my widow scars.  I don’t scare anyone there or make them uncomfortable.  I am not scared by their stories and am anxious to hear them share their wisdom, brokenness, the ways they heal themselves, the ways they survive every day.

I come home from San Diego wiser than I was when I left.  This is not because I did anything in particular…I just went.  I stood and sold t-shirts and books and listened.  I was there…it’s really that simple.  I just went.  For those of you who haven’t gone yet, it is worth the trip.  For those of you, who shared your story with me in San Diego and share your story with me here, thank you!  You inspire me and give me hope. It is through our solidarity that we gain the wisdom of survival and hopefully peace of mind and soul.

It’s a long, difficult road, but in the end, the wisdom and understanding gained has changed me for the better.  It is a change that I wish had been triggered by something other than the death of my husband…but, once I was able to breathe again, it is a road I now travel willingly because I know I am not alone on this journey anymore.

Preparing for camp

This week, I am preparing myself for camp.  Soon, I get to be a small part of the fifth Camp Widow West created by Soaring Spirits International (http://www.sslf.org/).  It is a weekend put together specifically for those who have been widowed…no matter what the circumstances or situation.  It is in lovely San Diego.  It is in the same area where Dave and I often vacationed.  It is a place of hope and solidarity.  It is a place of laughter and heartbreak all rolled into one.  I remember the thing that struck me most when I attended several years ago… the only common thread…being widowed.  To see so many men and women who had suffered this great loss come together to share their struggle, their hope, and their stories was inspiring.

This year, I am going back as a volunteer.   Volunteering is a more natural state of being for me…participant is really hard for me.  I know that although I wear the volunteer badge at this one, I will still be participant, whether I like it or not.  I know that I will listen to the story of others’ loss and I will share mine.  I know that my heart will break as I listen to the newly widowed and that I will be inspired by those who have survived this journey longer than I have.  It is a bittersweet place.  It is filled with broken hearts that still smile, laugh, and continue to face a life they had never imagined.  It is amazing to see how people turn tragedy into miracles.  It increases my hope and gives me the courage to thrive in my unexpected life.

So as I prepare, I get ready to face the heartbreak of others.  I get ready to experience my own loss in a new way.  I get ready to share my story with those who will hear it.  I have the wonderful opportunity to meet some of my heroes!  I get to be with the other bloggers who share their stories.  I get to listen to the stories of those who have created a place of healing for so many, including themselves.  I get to remember and see how much I’ve changed over the years too.

This year, the boys are coming to San Diego with me.  I was going to go alone, but then thought about sharing the inspiration with them and the value and the possible impact that it might have in their lives.  They don’t often see this part of loss.  They don’t often see people other than us surviving the loss.  It can be an isolating experience losing a spouse, or in their case, a parent.  They will have the opportunity to see others who walk the same walk every day.  They will meet other children who share similar struggles, sorrow, joy, and hopefully understand that we are not alone on this journey.  They will get to see a part of me that they don’t really see too.  They don’t pay much attention to the writer mom they have…sure, sometime they see the books come in the mail and they know that I write.  They might see that what I do has a bigger role than just me sitting at my desk.  They might see that words are healing.  They might see that sharing our story not only brings healing to us, but may bring comfort to others.  They might experience the solidarity of hope and healing that I have been privileged to experience.  I hope they are comforted.  I hope they are inspired.  Even if they are not, that will be ok.

So as I prepare, I think about all the other people who will attend. I wonder how I will be changed by their stories.  I wonder how I will be inspired.  I look forward to the unexpected…and for me that is huge!  Looking forward to something isn’t always a part of my life anymore…it is a more rare and precious thing.  Looking forward to the unexpected is an adventure!  I am so grateful to have this adventure ahead of me!  Camp Widow…here we come!

***Important Note – Camp Widow West is an adult experience for those who have lost a partner or spouse.  My children are not attending this event, but are accompanying me on my trip.  Their experience will be based on seeing my participation as a volunteer, not as participants.  They will be spending time with friends and family while I volunteer.***

May I be blunt?

I believe we are all grown-ups here.  I know that my boys don’t read my blog…or are even vaguely interested that I write one at all.  So, with that said…I hope you’re not offended by the topic I’d like to write about today.  I find that my widowed friends are often blunt about many more things than my non-widowed friends and I am somewhat surprised that we really don’t talk about this more often.  I don’t read many blogs that deal with it and I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous about putting it out there.

So, here goes…

I miss sex.  I really do.

After over eight years of widowhood and only one not so much a relationship long distance relationship, I really miss physical intimacy.  I don’t only miss the sex though.  I miss the emotional connection…the emotional intimacy that goes along with having a committed intimate relationship.

But…I really, really miss the physical contact.  I miss holding hands.  I miss being embraced.  I really miss kissing. I miss touching and being touched.  I miss sex.  The even more complex thing is that I miss all the things you can’t get in one night…so to speak.  I miss the connection when you look into someone’s eyes and know that they really want you as much as you want them. I miss lying in someone’s arms.  I miss the knowing smile.  I miss collapsing into to bed at the end of a long day and there is someone there wanting to make it just a wonderful bit longer. I miss the way I forget everything and can melt into someone.  I miss that moment…well, I think you know what I mean…

I was widowed when I was 39 years old.  I think that’s a little too young to give up my sex life.  Here’s the thing though, I wasn’t ready back then.  I wasn’t.  I missed Dave more than words will ever be able to express.  I missed him with everything, every part of me ached for him…including my body.  I missed his touch, his kiss, his embrace.  I was still in my post-partum months from our second boy when he died.  I don’t talk about this much, but, we never had sex after our child was born…I regret that deeply.  Dave was diagnosed five days after our little one was born and on chemo within a week.  So, although I our intimacy was brought to a level that I never expected, we never made love again after his diagnosis.  There were lots of reasons, but none of them seem viable now.  It is my one regret.

So, needless to say, I’ve spent most of my time since his death celibate. Many days go by and I don’t think of it.  Many years went by and I really didn’t feel like a sexual being anymore. I am though.  I am affectionate and truly miss the physical attention and giving physical attention to someone else.  I miss the receiving and the giving…I miss the icing on the cake.

Recently I watched a repeat of Louis CK and the bit he does on being single after divorce.  It is very funny.  It is very true.  He talks about not ever expecting to be single again and thinking about getting out there again.  He talks about not being “presentation” ready.  He talks about the awkwardness of being in your forties and single again. He talks about not ever expecting to be single again.  Well, I haven’t felt “presentation” ready in a long time.  I’ve been working on my physical wellness more lately.  I have tried to eat healthily for a long time, but I haven’t made exercise a priority in my life until more recently.  I have tried to stay up on my yoga over the years and tried Pilates for a while, but finding the time and the money was always a challenge…well, here again, I could go on forever with reasons why…but it really isn’t viable.

Fortunately a good friend got me back into exercising again and I am feeling much better.  I forgot about one consequence of feeling better physically though…my desires are back on the rise again…something about exercise and endorphins I think. Hmmm…double edged sword…

So, I really don’t know.  I know what I miss, but know what I miss won’t happen overnight.  I know that the sex I miss only comes with emotional connection and emotional commitment (forgive the pun).  I know that what I miss takes time to build and it’s rare to find.  Some days this leaves me feeling hopeless. I often wonder if I will ever fit this back into my life.  I wonder if I will ever be given the opportunity again.  I wonder if anyone will be brave enough to take me…presentation ready or not.

Physical relationships have always been important to me.  I don’t know why, but I am happier, more energetic, and I feel, well, more tangible, more visible when I feel desired and am with someone who cares for me.  Honestly, there are many days when I wonder how I’ve gone so long alone.  It was so easy when I was younger.  I’m not sure what complicates it now.  I do know that I miss feeling visible, tangible, and desired. I have been really lucky in my life to have been in relationships with some very, wonderful fellas.  Maybe I’ve just been spoiled?  Maybe I just need to wait a little longer? Who knows? I’ve said it before and maybe if I keep saying it…it will be true, I think if I keep my heart open some brave man might be interested and I’ll find myself in a new beginning again, icing and all.

Lack vs Abundance

Years ago, I adopted a quote I heard as a personal mantra.  It was nearly twenty years ago now and the mantra is still a part of me.  I believe it. I remind myself of it daily.  It has given me strength to face deep challenge and the grace to appreciate the joys in life.  It helps me walk in awe of the human spirit and natural beauty.  It reminds me that today’s feelings of lack will pass and moments of abundance and gratitude will follow.  “Everything is in divine and perfect order…NOW!” is the quote that I repeat to myself in difficult and joyful moments.  I wish I could remember where I found it all those years ago.  I love these words for several reasons.  They speak to the current moment.  They leave the future and the past where they belong and remind me that every moment I am given has something for me to receive or to give or both.

This past week or so, I have been fighting the blues.  Change has been abundant recently and has left me a little off balance.  I have been questioning my decisions and how they affect my children’s lives.  I have been wondering how my choices to pursue my master’s degree, to teach, and the relative poverty I experience because of these choices will impact the boys long term.  As I faced a new challenge of beginning a new job again last week, I struggled with leaving them home to manage on their own.  My big boy is fifteen and completely capable of watching his brother.  He has even been certified with emergency care and a babysitting class…still…I worry.  Today on facebook, a friend posted an article from The Huffington Post by Christine Gros-Loh ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-grossloh/the-milestones-that-matter-most_b_3195567.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false). This article reminded me of perspective.  This reminder brought my old mantra front and center.  As I continue to reflect on it, I am amazed how remarkable a simple shift in perspective can change feelings of lack to abundance…at least in my mind.

When I read this, I thought of the many moments of growth my children have had in the absence of my physical presence.  I am reminded that the work and love that I have put into parenting them has built the foundation for them to learn who they are as individuals.  It is without me hovering that they have both learned new things about themselves and mastered new skills.  My little one plays soccer skillfully for his age…I had nothing to do with this…well, I was his ride to practice and back.  My big boy has successfully navigated much of our surrounding area on his bike…alone!  Imagine these boys find their way without their mom watching every moment!  Sometimes, I seriously need to let it go and remember the gifts and skills they will learn.  They know where I am.  They have back up plans.  Hopefully this summer will be a time of growth for all three of us…mommy included.  “Everything is in divine and perfect order…NOW!”

I am also facing changes professionally again.  Right now, I have a wonderful opportunity to work with the skills I have nurtured and worked so hard to achieve.  Here’s the rub though…it is in a totally different environment.  Not only will I be a part of hands on, experiential learning with children…I will be doing it in a totally new environment.  I get to continue to the work I love while learning about the natural world in a new way.  I got to go in the enclosure with an 800lb Galapagos Tortoise and see many animals I’ve only seen from a safe distance up close and personal…feeding them, touching them, and being amazed by their beauty!  I remind myself that this is an experience not everyone will have.   I get to work with behavioral enrichment of children and wild animals!  What a gift!  This past week, I have been burdening myself with the worries of how it will all work rather than living in the wonderment of the amazing things I will receive from the new people around me and the way my gifts may touch their lives.  “Everything is in divine and perfect order…NOW!”

I have also been lonely.  All of these changes have also reminded me of the successes I have achieved over the past months.  For me, many times the successes feel more shallow without someone to share them with…I know I have my kids, family, and friends…and I do share with them…but it’s different when there is someone in my life who desires me.  I was reminded what it felt like to be desired again after many years and now it’s not there again.  So as I think of my mantra, I realize that although there may not be anyone there right now, I feel healthier and stronger physically now than I have in many years.  I have worked very hard the past six months to take care of myself physically. Over the years since Dave died, I neglected this part of me. I have pushed myself beyond my self-imposed boundaries and am reaping the benefits of my hard work.  It has reminded me that true outer beauty comes from the confidence I have in myself and how comfortable I am in my own skin.  The strengthening of my body has strengthened my confidence again.  I know that as long as my heart is open and am patient, someone will find me attractive and once again, I will be desired for all that I am, with all my strengths, my challenges, my compassion, and even my baggage.  “Everything is divine and perfect order…NOW!”

So today, I can see my life though this perspective.  I am grateful.  I know that I can see things this way because I did experience a couple of weeks off balance and searching.  I know that both sides are there to add depth to my life.  When I give both sides the time and energy they deserve, but don’t get lost in the sadness endlessly, I grow.  Those moments of loneliness, feeling lost, feeling the lack help me shift perspective, become more resourceful, and experience gratitude for what I do have in a new way.

“Everything is in divine and perfect order…NOW!”