Life is hectic! Having worked solidly for the past 18 months I am finally looking forward to my first real break during May for a whole month. Working as a support worker in the disability sector my work is fulfilling but mentally exhausting. Then I come home to my kids and it's all happening there as well as they download about their ups and downs during the day. Following the death of my dad 18 months ago I am also on-call for my aging mother who lives on her own about 15 minutes from my home. I also have a mother in law from my first marriage who is a widow and I am on-call for her as well. I am in a committed relationship and he is also on-call for his aging parents so I help out with them when I can (did I mention he lives 2 hours away and we catch up at weekends?)
BUT I WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY!!!
For the longest time after my husbands' deaths (yes 2) I was in limbo, not really part of this life and not really wanting to be. I found this site and began chatting with some others who had similarly lost their partners around the same time and it became my lifeline. In finding my support team I was finally able to regain my own identity which had been foundering in my grief and despair. Don't get me wrong, humour plays am important role in my life but sometimes the grief is overwhelming when it hits. My support team are in America and I am in Australia so someone is always awake and up for a chat when sleep evades us. They became an important part of my journey and helped me understand how important it was to look forward to the future and not hold on too tightly to the past. Visiting it once in a while is fine but it's not where we want to live (it's where our former life existed but has no business stopping our life now). The chats and advise where invaluable. The silly conversations and jokes were a life-line, reminding me its ok to be silly even in grief (or especially in grief???). Re-discovering music that I had blocked out of my life as it held no allure...until I was ready. The ongoing friendship of this 'family' is an important part of who I have become and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for helping me to come back. And know there is a standing invitation to all, if you are ever in this neck of the woods you have somewhere to rest your weary head and have a cuppa or a wine or 2.
Today I am able to revisit my past and calmly view the impact my 2 husbands have had on me - grateful for the first (Glenn died in 2001 at the age of 39 after struggling with brain tumours for 16 months) for loving me in my youth and giving me 3 amazing children and some incredible experiences I will treasure forever. And strangely grateful for the second (Doug who died in this day 2012 at the age of 46 after struggling with his own demons for most of his life). Doug gave me some amazing adventures travelling around the globe so I have those amazing memories, but he also left me with innumerable life lessons (most of those where not good experiences but I can appreciate the life lessons he gave). It has been a solid struggle for so long, but I have never been one to totally give up on life (no matter what it throws at me - and yes, I realise I just hexed myself again).
And now being able to look toward the future with my partner, thankful for his patience, kindness and acceptance that my past has made me the woman I am today (grown kids and all on both sides). Yes, life is hectic and it is a blessing after some time-out to allow myself to come to terms with grief and allow it to find its own place in my life without ruling it. If I have learned one thing it is that grief has it's own timetable and won't be rushed. The journey is painful at times but it is also full of unexpected experiences and blessings. Give yourself time, and don't judge yourself too harshly, after all you haven't don't this before. My grief will always be part of who I am, and those who have impacted on my life deserve their place in my story. But it is not all of who I am...I'm a mum, a partner, a step-parent and step-grandparent, a co-worker, a friend, a sister, a daughter and ME. I laugh, I cry, I scream at the life when it gets me down...I get some things right, I get others wrong. I try, and sometimes I give up but not for long. Welcome back to life and all it has to offer.