Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I am writing today, not because I have an active readership in mind, more for those that might find my blog in the future. The time has come to make a shift in my focus.
First things first. I am not a new person, and I have not completely worked through my grief. And, my life is not suddenly a bed of roses.
Yes, I have been blessed with many new things in the past 2+ years. I live in a new city, and occupy a new home. I have a new relationship, and each of my children have continued to grow. I am about to become a grandfather, and look forward to the joy that only new life can bring. I have many tried, tested and true old friends and family. And most importantly, I have many new friends whose journeys bear a marked similarity to where I have been, where I am, and where I am going.
For those unfamiliar with my story, my journey here on this blog came out of a desperate need to share my thoughts and feelings as I attempted to deal with the death of my husband. I felt so alone, even with a household of children and a local circle of friends. It was those late night hours when I found myself alone that I needed to reach out and express myself. I was seeking understanding from those that had been there, and from those standing in the same place. What I found was a lifesaving community of people, also reaching out, who gathered formally and informally in order to help each other endure.
It is now time for me to move in a different direction. When I began writing in this forum I did so without a timeline in mind. I didn't anticipate that there would be a end, yet I find myself needed just that. I feel the need to end the documentation of this part of my journey, and to perhaps start anew in a different place. I know that I will always be writing about my experiences, yet for now, I need to be writing about other aspects of my life.
I have decided to maintain this blog for those that may come looking for someone like me in the future. When I started on this journey I was looking for other gay widowed, yet was not finding my reflection online. Since the beginning, I have found that the community I sought materialized in many surprising ways. I have in fact found other LGBT widowed people, and many of them have reached out to me. What I didn't expect is the larger community of widowed people to also embrace me. It has been an overwhelming experience of love and support, and has changed the way I view the world around me.
It's my hope that those who arrive here in the future, also looking for a similar experience, will know that they too are not alone. I will make attempts to update possible links to other services and communities as they develop. I may even respond to future comments, so please feel free to leave them, as I will continue to be notified of future comments left on the blog.
Please know that I continue to grow as an individual. I continue to work through the loss that I have experienced, the ongoing challenges that I face, and the prospects of increased joy in the future.
Much love to all of you, and thank you for being part of my journey.
Dan, in real time.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
I just returned from visiting with my parents and aunt. I take the two hour drive every other weekend, as I know that my folks, and their generation of family members, won't be around forever. Of course none of us will be around forever, will we? It's just that my parents are in their late 70's, and with many health problems. My aunt is in the final stage of her cancer, and I'm all too aware of how precious time becomes when you know someone is leaving sooner rather than later.
Each time I take this trip, my car is loaded with my kids, my daughter's boyfriend, and on a few occasions, Abel, my new boyfriend. Today's trip felt quite intense. We visited with my folks first, then had them join us for a visit with my aunt. While at the visit my cousins were sharing with me that my aunt has chosen to end her chemotherapy. She has decided that her last days will be healthier and happier days without the misery that chemo can bring. It was kind of a sobering occasion.
On the long drive home Abel and I had a long conversation about health, death and aging. We talked about the various diseases that have affected our family's of origin, and how illness and death have touched each of our lives. At one point there was a pause, and Abel turned to me to ask, have you had a physical lately?
Funny timing. I do have a physical scheduled for this Monday. My health is definitely not something I take for granted. Although my kids are now teenagers, and young adults, I know that they still need me. I know that I still have much more parenting to do, and want to be sure that I am around for a long time. Remember, I will become a grandfather in less than two months. Last time that I met with my doctor, he told me that he was concerned about my blood pressure. It has always been borderline high, but now it is looking problematic. He reviewed my medical chart, and asked how long I have been on my anti-depressant.
Like Janine, I have struggled with depression for many years. My depression has not been helped by the mental health problems that my two sons suffer from, nor has it been aided by the death of my husband. In the past two years I have tried twice to go off my medication, each time without much success. I usually do well for a couple months, then find myself sinking deeper and deeper.
I told my doctor that while I was not sure about going completely off the medication, I preferred to try going off the anti-depressant rather than adding another medication for high blood pressure. I'm worried, because I'm not sure I am making the right decision, but once again I feel that it is worth a try. I suppose that if there was an optimum time to try it would be when I am happily in a new relationship and looking forward to the arrival of new life. Is that enough? Is anything enough?
All I know is that I do feel a deep sense of responsibility to not die. Well, just not right now at least. One pill? Two pills? I will make that decision on Monday. Suddenly I have someone holding my hand, reminding me that he is quite invested in my being around for quite some time.
Monday, January 2, 2012
originally posted on Widow's Voice
No tears tonight. (It's New Year's Eve as I write.)
Tonight I celebrate what lies ahead of me. Tonight I take notice of what prior New Year's brought my way. I know that tonight a friend is celebrating a wedding anniversary without her husband. I know that tonight another friend is remembering this as the day she met the husband who is also no longer beside her. Yet knowing each of these women, I'm sure that even if tears are falling, there are beautiful smiles on their faces.
Looking ahead to the new year is our way of projecting hope into our future. For those of us who are widowed hope is not something we can always easily access. Yet for me, at this point in my life, I do have hope, and more of it than expected.
I know that years ago after learning that my husband was terminally ill, I thought I lost hope. Yet, in the days that followed his emergency surgery I found myself accessing hope that I couldn't recognize at first. It was that hope that spurred me on to seek out the right path for us as a couple, and it was that hope that allowed me to not get stuck so deep in my unexpected sorrow. It was also that hope that provided me with two more loving years with the man I gave my heart to.
After losing Michael I felt that once again I had lost all ties to hope. I was not able to see beyond the pain and sorrow, even as the days and months went by. I began to question if my future carried any real meaning. After surviving on scary night I decided to trust that hope was there, even if I didn't recognize it. I made a decision to set off in a new direction, and I trusted that there was something, not necessarily someone, out there for me.
Tonight I sit here in my home, with all the chaos that is included with a house full of kids and pets. I had hoped for a very quiet peaceful night, one like last year, yet it is clearly not what I am to have. The television is blaring, the dogs are running around, I have struggling with a miserable cold, and my new love is at work rather than sitting beside me.
Inside my head I keep hearing Mick Jagger singing these lyrics..."YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT." For those of us who find ourselves seeking out this blog, this is a bit of an understatement.
My point is this, no, I don't believe I got what I wanted. I got more. I got a lifetime of Michael's love. It wasn't my lifetime of love, but it was his. I know that he never stopped loving me, nor I him. I know that loving him gave me so much hope in my future. I know that loving him taught me that sometimes hope takes a different turn. Before meeting Michael I thought love had passed me by. I had somewhat lost hope. He renewed it. In learning that I was soon to lose Michael I thought I had lost hope. Once again, it was renewed. In losing Michael I was sure that I had lost hope. Yet, here I sit, being hopeful once again.
Let's all look forward to a hopeful year. Let's say our thanks for what we had, and let's be open to what the future holds.
Happy New Year.
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you might find
You get what you need