Loveliness

When you are thrown into the bottomless pit of grief, it can be quite difficult to find any loveliness in the world. In fact, at first, it can be impossible. The world can feel ugly and dark and devoid of any beauty.

When your partner dies by suicide it can add an additional layer to this. It can leave you feeling ugly, too. Worthless and unwanted. It can feel like they left because you weren’t good enough, like your love wasn’t enough. It can feel like there is nothing lovely about you, at all.

Grief is a lonely journey. It’s dark and twisted and unpredictable. People leave because they can’t handle it. They can’t handle how ugly your life becomes. That makes the world seem even less lovely in a time you need some loveliness.

It can be incredibly difficult to start to look for loveliness again when you feel so desolate on the inside. You can sometimes get stuck in the idea that, without your person in the world, there is just no loveliness left.

For me, it came slowly. I started to notice the loveliness in other people first. I remembered the loveliness in my husband. But, it was occasionally and fleeting. I was mostly just faking any positivity, Hope or the ability to find any beauty in my world. It had been obliterated and was nothing but ashes.

I needed someone to remind me of the loveliness in the world, the loveliness in myself. The people around me gently reminded me, often, that there was still loveliness to be found. They very often reminded me of the loveliness that was still left in me.

The best way to remind someone of the beauty and loveliness in the world is to be beautiful and lovely to them. Tell them what is wonderful and lovely about them. Bring them pretty flowers or a lovely piece of art.

Sometimes, when life gets hard, we can get focused on the pain and ugliness and forget to notice that there is still loveliness, too. We can forget to be grateful. We can forget that, despite the difficulties we face, there is always unending loveliness to be found if we are willing to see it.

Sovereignty

Sovereignty: supreme power or authority.

“What everyone wants is sovereignty of grief”

I was rendered speechless by this line. We all want sovereignty. Over our lives, over our bodies, over our thoughts, over our grief. Yes. This.

We all want the ability to grieve as we choose. We all want the freedom to speak our truths aloud without being told we are wrong. We all want the power to write our own story.

I want to be allowed to speak of the sorrow or the rage or the happiness or the love or the hate and be supported instead of judged. I want to tell my story, in all its ugly details, and not have people shrink away. I want to be allowed to be silent without being questioned for it.

I want to weep. I want to scream. I want to laugh and be happy. I want to love. I want to hide. I want to love my husband and love my life now. I want to honor my past while living in my present and having hope for my future.

I want sovereignty to be and act in accordance to my truth. I want to speak without fear of judgement. I want to own my grief and my hope, simultaneously. I want to be allowed to love who I love, including my late husband.

I live with sovereignty because I accept nothing less. I choose my life and I choose to be unapologetic about who I am and where I am in my journey and what I want. I am sovereign. I honor all my feelings. I honor myself and my past. I honor my husband. I honor my life.

I am sovereign.

What You See

You see me. My smile. My laugh. My friends. My home. My life. You see all of this and would never imagine the truth. You would never know I’m a Suicide widow. You would never know that I’m a survivor.

Unless you look closely, you may miss the traces of destruction. You wouldn’t know that just a year ago my hair wasn’t this gray. You wouldn’t know that I aged a decade overnight. You wouldn’t know the battle I have fought to stay alive after my husband lost his.

Unless you look beyond my smile and my friendly banter, you may not see the grief in my eyes. If you don’t look closely, you may not see the pain that simmers below the surface. You may miss the scars that sear my soul.

You see, I seem normal to the outside. I seem like I have an average life. You’d never expect that my husband killed himself in my house. You’d never know that just a year ago, my life was shattered to pieces.

When you engage with others, be careful. You never know what others are carrying. Just because they smile doesn’t mean they don’t carry destruction under the surface. You’d never know the horrors they have lived.

What you see isn’t always the truth. People don’t always show you their scars. What you see when you look at the surface often isn’t the truth. What you see when you look at me isn’t even a fraction of the story. What you see when you look at me is what I want you to see.

What you see when you look at me isn’t the whole story. That is true for everyone. Be careful how you treat others. You don’t know what destruction they are hiding.

The Mirror

When I look in the mirror now, I see someone completely different than the person I was before I became a widow.

My hair is whiter and my face looks older. There is a sadness in my eyes that never completely leaves. There is also a softness to me. Grief has worn away my sharp edges.

But I also see a woman that I love. For the first time in my life, I love her. I see her imperfections and, instead of hating her for them, I love her more. I see a beautiful woman who has survived unspeakable horror. I see a woman who is worthy of love. I see a woman who has remained kind even when everything in her is in agony.

I see a woman who has lost so much. Life has not been easy. Instead of letting it make her hard and cruel, she’s chosen to be soft and loving. She’s a woman who never stops hoping. She never stops trying. She never gives up even when she desperately wants to.

I see a woman who is aging. A woman who has learned many hard lessons. But she’s wise and kind and funny and intelligent and sexy and alive. A woman who is choosing to love herself despite her mistakes and her shortcomings and her “flaws”.

When I look in the mirror, I love the woman I see because I nearly died to become her. I love her because we went to hell together and came back. I love her because she deserves it.

Sure, she’s getting older. Her tummy isn’t flat and she’s got stretch marks and there are wrinkles around her eyes. But she’s beautiful. Inside and out. I see a woman I love.

Tell Me Who You Are…

Grief, who are you?

I am your constant companion. Even in your happiest moments, I am here. I have wound myself around your heart and sunk my teeth into your bones. I changed your very cells. You and I are entwined in a permanent embrace.

I am the invisible hand around your throat when the pain of his death steals your breath. I am the scream that escapes your lips instead of the words that you try to speak. I am the searing pain in your soul when you remember he is never coming home.

I am the new level of compassion you feel for yourself and others. I am the gratefulness you feel for the love you still have in your life. I am the self love you have found. I am the reason you get out of bed.

I don’t look like you expected. I am more than just pain and sadness and anger. I am also beautiful. I am not always the darkness in your soul. I am also the new light by which you see the world. I am also the wife open heart and vulnerability that you now face the world with.

I know you hated me when I first showed up. I don’t blame you. I had some very, very hard lessons to teach you. But you have come to see that I am also your closest confidant. I am your most intimate friend. The people who love me will have to become intimate with me, too. I am your partner, forever.

I’m glad you’ve learned not to hate me, not to fight me. I am part of you now. If you’re going to truly love yourself , you will have to also love me.

I Will Not Shield You

I will not shield you from my reality. I will not protect you from the horror of it. This is life. People die. Grief is messy and devastating. Death is a certainty. Pain and grief as much as part of life as joy and happiness.

I will not shield you by pretending I’m okay. I will not put a mask on to make you comfortable. I will not be quiet so you don’t have to see reality. It’s time for us to talk about truth. It’s time for society to stop turning away from reality.

My husband died. He put a rope around his neck and took his own life in my garage. He left behind so many people who loved him. He was amazing and kind and gentle and beautiful…

And he is dead. He made the choice to end his life. It very nearly killed me. So many people have been forever changed because he died. We will never be the same. This is our reality. Why should we hide it for you?

It is my every day reality. I have nothing to protect me from it. It is just the way things are now. I do not have the energy or desire to pretend for anyone. I will not shield you from my truth. If you cannot handle reality then you probably don’t have a seat at my table.

I am unapologetic about my honesty since my husband died. I believe he died because he felt he had to be quiet, to pretend. He was afraid of what people would think. He was afraid to upset anyone. I will not dishonor his loss by doing the same. I will speak my truth. I will honor my grief. I will not hide.

Hiding any of this would imply Im ashamed. I’m not ashamed of loving him. I’m not ashamed that he died. I’m not ashamed of my grief. I am not ashamed of my pain. I’m not ashamed that I’m messy. Why should I hide?

I will not shield you. Maybe you can learn something from my experience….before you have one of your own.

I Dont Need To Be Saved

I don’t need to be saved from my grief. I don’t need people to protect me from my pain. As if anyone could. I don’t need you to tell me it will get better. I don’t need to be told everything happens for a reason. I don’t need to be saved from my life.

I don’t want to be saved from it. This is my life, as ugly as it has been at times. I have earned the right to grieve. I have been irreparably broken. To many, being saved from it sounds like the most wonderful option. Not to me. I don’t want to be saved. This grief and pain is part of my story. I would not be who I am without it.

I don’t need to be saved. I am strong enough to live this. I want to remember the love and the devastation. I want to remember the joy and the loss. I want to honor him and grieve him. I don’t want to be saved from that.

This is my story now. I am the keeper of his legacy. This is my life. The grief and pain are important parts of this story and this life. I am strong enough. They validate what I’ve been through. They made me who I am now.

I don’t need to be saved. I need to be loved. I need to be accepted for the pretty parts and the not so pretty ones. I need people to embrace my joy and my grief. I am never going to move on. This is who I am now. I am grief. I am joy. I am sadness. I am a widow.

I don’t need to be saved. I already saved myself. I only need to be loved.

The Ever Present Absence

The rest of the world moves on. They don’t feel the void that is left. He is gone. For them, it was a moment. For me, it is forever.

There is not a single moment that isn’t impacted by the absence of him. It’s insidious, winding it’s tentacles around every joyful moment. The ache deep in my soul leaves a stain, like ink, on every new memory. There is a film, like soot, all over every corner of life. It doesn’t wash off.

Sometimes no one notices. They don’t notice the love I lost. They don’t notice the future I will never have. They don’t feel it when he doesn’t come home every night. They don’t feel it when something happens and I want to talk to him about it but I can’t. They can’t feel the emptiness of needing to hug him and only having a headstone.

His absence is so loud at every holiday. Every new memory takes me further from him, making his absence deafening. No one else notices. Even when I’m happy, I feel it. Even when I am content and around people I love, I miss him.

It’s pervasive. It’s painful. It’s empty. There is a piece of me that will always be missing. He will always be missing. There will never be anything to fill that space. I will never replace him. I will never move on. His absence will be my forever companion. The ache will never end.

Habits

Every day, he would send me a text that he was on his way home from work.

“On my way!!” Followed by kissy face and heart emojis.

I would smile as I worked on cooking dinner. It made me happy for him to come home to a clean house and the delicious smells of dinner cooking. He never took it for granted.

It took him about 20 minutes to get home. My body had the time memorized. I would turn to the dog and say “Hey Ollie, daddy’s coming home!” He would jump and bark and dance around. It was his favorite time of the day, too.

My conditioning would tell me when it was time to step onto the porch. I would open the door and Ollie would dash out into the yard and look for Bob. I always knew when he saw his car because he would wag his whole body. I would hold Ollies collar and laugh. If I didn’t hold him, he would get too excited and run in front of the car as it was pulling in the driveway.

As soon as the car was in park, I let ollie run. He would dash to the drivers side and bark until Bob opened the door. He always said, “Hi Monkeyface!! Did you miss your daddy?!” Bob would pet him for a second and then come to where I was standing. He would sit on the porch step and let ollie give him tons of kisses all over his face. They would both laugh and it always made my heart full.

When they were done with their hellos, Bob would stand up to hug me. I would stand a step above him and my face was still on his chest. He would say, “Oh, I missed you sweet baby. Let me smoosh you.” Every day. Then he would hug me tight, take a deep breath and sigh. I could feel him relax. He would tell me that everything was right on the world again. Then we would all go inside.

Every day. Every single day. Even if we were mad. Every day that was our life. I miss it every day. Little things are not so little.