Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Daddy and Me"

One of the things I did while my kids were away at camp was
to create books for them on "Blurb" that showcased pictures of them with their dad. I went through all the old photo albums and found all the pictures that were taken of just them and their dad, and scanned them, then went through all the digital photos and copied those into a separate folder. Then I uploaded them into "Blurb" and created the books with years and commentary as to where and when the picture was taken and if there was a story behind it.

My boys are 14 and 16, far from being babies (in fact, "camp" for them was an 85-mile canoe trip in the wilderness of Canada). But despite their ages, when they were surprised by the completed books on their beds, they were thrilled. They've been home for 10 days already, and except for the five nights we were down the shore, I see them looking at the books every night before they go to bed.

I'm so happy that I made these books for them.

Monday, August 20, 2012

"I Understand"

I love hearing those words. I loved hearing them from Bobby when he would finally get what I was trying to say to him. (Not always a completely smooth road in that direction, but he typically got my point eventually.) I love hearing them from my boss when I try to explain something to him at work. They are great words to hear from someone no matter what your situation.

Most of all, I loved hearing them when I went to Camp Widow East in April. I was talking to a friend of mine over the weekend, and told her I was seriously considering attending Camp Widow East again in April. I said I liked being in a room full of (mostly) women who knew exactly what I was feeling and understood the conflicting emotions that come with it, without me having to try to explain myself. She said to me, "I understand that."

It took me a millisecond to understand what she meant, because she is not a widow, but I quickly realized that she did know what I meant about the big room of people who understand. One of her sons is autistic, and she found a lot of strength in connecting with other parents who also had children that were autistic.

We discussed it for moment. She doesn't know how it feels to be widowed, and I do not know how it feels to have a child who is autistic, but we were able to find common ground in the understanding of strength and comfort in numbers.

It was actually a pretty cool moment.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dismissal & Validation

Earlier this summer, I dropped the boys off at summer camp. They went to two different camps, one day apart, so one was dropped off on a Sunday, the other on a Monday. On the way home from dropping off the first one, I imagined Bobby joking to me in the car, "One down, one to go", because whenever the kids went to camp, we would have a lot of fun on our own. We would go out to dinner, stay up late, watch TV together, or drive just about anywhere.

It's all different now. As I've done for the past two summers since he is gone, I cried again on the way home. Between the two camps they attended, I had almost three weeks to myself, and although I did not sit home alone all day every day staring at the walls, it was sort of sad. Sad because this is what my life will be in a few years when I drop my youngest off at college. I'm going to drive home to an empty house, and I'm going to wonder, what the hell do I do now? There are only so many closets to clean.

I've voiced this to several friends and family members. I get the same answer over and over. "Oh, don't worry about what is going to happen in four years. You'll find things to do. You'll probably have a significant other by then anyway." And frankly, that doesn't help. In fact, it does the opposite.

People do not realize by saying this that they are dismissing my fears, and thus my feelings, which in turn makes me feel like I am not allowed to voice my opinion, unless it is a happy, sunny opinion that everyone is comfortable with. One thing that humans in general do not like is to have their feelings dismissed, especially women. I know I don't. People tell me to "live in the present". Well, I am living in the present. I presently feel that in four years when I drop my younger son off at college, I'll have no life. (Yes, I can be a wise-ass at times.)

I wish my friends and family would realize that this fear is a very real, one that I think about almost daily. I am rational enough to know that I have to let my kids go when they get older, and I know better than to hold them back for selfish reasons, but that fear of having them move out and leaving me alone the rest of my life really haunts me.

I hope someday that when and if I voice this fear to a friend or family member, I'll get the more appropriate response which would be for them to acknowledge my feelings instead of dismissing them. As all women know, not just widows, sometimes we just need our feelings to be validated. We aren't always looking for answers.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Love Actually

One of my favorite movies is "Love Actually" which came out in 2003. I woke up early this morning, and couldn't fall back to sleep, so I put the movie on, thinking I would fall back to sleep.

It didn't happen. But something else did. In watching the movie, it made me really really miss Bobby. Not that I don't miss him 24 hours a day, every day; but it really came to the forefront this morning when I was watching the scene with two of the characters dancing to a slow song. It made me remember all the times we danced, and how I just loved dancing with him.

I started to cry. I was suddenly aware of how alone I am. All I could think about is how I felt when we danced, and that led to thinking about sitting together on the couch watching TV, holding hands or just leaning against each other, or even lying in bed together talking, watching TV, or listening to him breathe as he slept.

It made me realize how sad this aspect of my life is....going to bed and waking up every day all by myself. I really miss just being next to him. I miss brushing up against him in bed or in the hall or in the bathroom or kitchen. I miss the random hugs I would get from him out of the blue. It's a very odd feeling, not having been hugged for by him for twenty-eight months now. It almost makes me feel as if I'd had to harden my heart and grow a thick skin in order to just get through the days, and watching the movie dissolved that hardness and thickness that I developed out of necessity. I never realized how much touch is essential to survival until after he was gone. And this all happened to me this morning because of that movie.

I don't think I'll be watching that movie again for a really long time, if ever.