I was going to share this on my current, personal blog, however, I thought I would start here. Amongst friends who may share an understanding. Please note that I use foul language and I will be talking about the spiritual - not the religious. I also want to make a note that I am completely and utterly grateful that it has been possible for me to travel this week and to do this for myself.
It has been 1 year and almost 4 months since my husband died, tragically and suddenly. A kiss on the forehead of both my son and I was the last moment we had together. I, like all of you, in this first year, have had my ups and downs...and spiraling downs...and existing. At the one year mark, I felt as if I had been supporting everyone else except for me. I was 'dealing' because my friends found it hard to deal with the 'new me'. I put on the happy face. I dealt with my husband's family being so far removed from reality but putting on the face of the supporting family when people were around. I dealt with a mother-in-law, who is also a widow, that pushed tranquilizers on me when I was visiting her on my husband's birthday. "No, go ahead, take one. I'll watch the baby." HA! Right. I neither took the tranquilizers nor have let her watch my son. Everything I dealt with was other people's stuff. Sure, I had those days when the grief gripped my chest and my heart and I could barely move. I had days where showers were had with baby wipes and I was lucky if I remembered to get the toothpaste on my toothbrush. I tried my best to make sure that my son was fed, bathed and enjoying life. Even if every second was painful for me. I allowed myself only a few brief moments of sobbing uncontrollably or being angry. At the same time, I moved quite quickly after his death because our family and friends were back 'home'. I bought a house. I had our things packed and moved. I started renovating the house and got the outside done. I started a foundation in my husband's memory which is one of my full time jobs. I managed to get out and about a little bit. My son is actually going to daycare for a few days a week so I am forced to take a shower and brush my teeth (with toothpaste) at least 4 days a week. Many things are happening in my life. Opportunities are abundant.
But I have felt completely disconnected.
So, tonight, I find myself at the end of day 5 of what I'd like to call a vacation. Although, my idea of a vacation involves drinks with umbrellas and a cabana boy. I have neither here. What I do have is a place where I can not only take a spinning class, or run a trail but I can receive energy work, soul coaching and therapy followed by a manicure and pedicure. Doing this was sort of spur-of-the-moment. I was tired of the cold weather and wanted to just get away, go to somewhere warm. My mom said she would take care of my son. And thus my journey here began.
I came into this week thinking that I just needed to make sure that I was ready to field questions from people about the foundation. I am attending an Expo in March and following that up with a fundraiser in April and I just needed to 'get things together'. Oh boy. Intentions...oh how I didn't want to verbalize or look at my reality, my grief.
My first day consisted of meeting with a therapist. The first thing she said to me - rather asked me - was 'who am I and why am I here?' Through tears and a sudden realization of not knowing who I was other than a widow, I told her that my husband died a little over a year ago. I talked a lot that session. What she recapped at the end - what she heard occurring - was that I felt a complete disconnect with who I was, a disconnect with myself as a whole and have never faced the anger I have felt nor been okay with waking up every day and saying 'this sucks' - and understanding that that is okay to say - every day. She asked me if I did anything that I found fun and interesting. If I did anything for myself. HA! As if I have the time - was my first reaction. She asked me if I felt present within myself. That is a definite no. She said that my job was to get in touch with my anger over the reality that I am in as well as becoming present in my body. Completely present. From what I eat, to how I feel to how I smell. Apparently the baby wipes aren't doing their job.
I walked out of that session understanding that my intentions led me to this place but it was a deeper intention that would lead me onto the path I am on now.
I headed for a walk after speaking with her, to clear my head, to grasp the things she brought up and to realize that this was my time to do exactly what I said I wanted to do when I hit that one year mark. To focus on myself this year. I ended up at a labyrinth and decided that I would walk it. I wasn't sure what to expect and didn't think much of it when I entered. However, I released most thought and allowed myself to start connecting with the present. As I entered the labyrinth I quickly became nervous. I wasn't quite sure why. I was unsteady on my feat, afraid that I would fall over, that the path was too narrow or that I would accidentally kick one of the rocks that formed the path. As I got further in, this nervousness turned to anxiety. I had turned several bends but became shaky and afraid that I had already walked this path, wondering if I had accidentally stepped over the rocks and was going the wrong way. I looked around. I saw the center rock and I tried following the path ahead in order to assure myself that I was on the right path. Right when I thought I saw it laid out in front of me, I lost it. I told myself to keep walking. One foot in front of the other. My steps were shuffled. My breathing shallow. I turned one bend and another and found myself at the center. My focus opened up to what was there in the center. Before, amongst my anxiety, I just saw a big rock - an end. Now, standing right in front of it, I saw that it was not just a rock but had cairns, notes folded and tucked in between the rocks, beads, small stones. Holy shit - people had come before me!
I didn't stay long in that center and as I started walking and winding my way out, I didn't feel relief as I had hoped I would. However, I felt a glimmer of understanding. I saw that this path that I am on is not a straight line nor a curvy one. It is a labyrinth. You enter and the moment you enter you are ensconced and forced to walk forward, always able to see the center, turning bends, wondering if you had been there before, seeing similarities but never the same thing, switching directions. And the moment that you do reach the center, some kind of realization will occur and that in order to move beyond, you must walk the bends and curves again. Walking out of that labyrinth I saw all of this and more importantly felt it. I broke down in tears wanting to end this journey on this labyrinth. Wanting to just walk a straight line across the rocks, across the paths. I didn't want to turn another bend. I didn't want to see something that looked familiar but wasn't.
I kept walking though. I kept walking the path the labyrinth had laid out before me. As I reached the end of this labyrinth, I realized that I was stepping into my own. And because I had just walked this one and had seen the sacred pieces of those that had come before me, I knew I could walk my own labyrinth. As I reached the end of this labyrinth I suddenly became aware of those that had come before me and more importantly the energy and the spirits that stood beside me. The rocks became guides and support and pure love. And I knew that I would have the same energy and spirits beside me in my labyrinth. They would become my guides, my support, my pure love.
It was because of this simple walk, that I realized the next few days were going to be exhausting...
One of the reasons for coming here, especially right now in my life, was because I felt completely disconnected from everything I knew, loved, the person I had been before marriage, the person I was in marriage - absolutely everything. The question of 'who am I?' was only answered one way - a widow. A fucking 35 (now 36) year old widow. This is what I had become but it still gave me absolutely no clue as to what I should be doing or who I really was - I knew I was, or had been much more...but where was that person.
Over the past few days I have realized that there are things that I can call upon now that were a part of who I was before. At the same time, I realized that there are so many things that I will just never be again. And that is okay. I also realized that first and foremost, I need to ground myself again, to be present in my body, to be aware of my body in every facet. The physical, emotional, spiritual.
That is where my journey began this week.
Being on day 5, with one more day to go, has not brought enlightenment as to who I am. It has, however, opened me up to the possibility of one day being able to answer that question. It has opened me up to the fact that I am being redefined and this is okay. I am okay with walking this labyrinth, feeling the anxiety, the fear, the sadness, the anger and also the abundance, the possibilities, the hope, the joy and the pure love.
I'm happy that I've entered my labyrinth as I know that walking it will help not only me in great ways, but it will help my son.
So this was day 1 here...more to come.