What matters most

I haven’t written in a while, intentionally.  This blog originally was to log what I was doing as a new widow, reaching out to other widows, and it became very personal.  It became hard to share what was going on.  Because I didn’t want to hurt anyone.  The relationship, the love, and the life I shared with Todd was amazing.  Not one I want to duplicate.  But also hard to put into words.  

Lately life has been….well…difficult, challenging, wonderful, and amazing.  I’m writing tonight, after almost 1 year, because I’m compelled to.  Recent events in my life have allowed me to take a pause……recognize what’s important.  And truthfully, it’s family.  What it was, what it is, and what it may be.  

I am blessed.  I chose the photos in this post because they mean something.  The family and the love I had, the family and the love I have now, and who knows what tomorrow will bring….

But…one thing is for sure.  Love matters, breath matters, being thankful for today, and getting to enjoy it with the ones I love…matters.  All the rest is bullshit. 

I’m almost 2 years out.  They may sound harsh, but that’s how I think about it.  2 years from the day I lost my love, and really…my life, as I knew it.  Everything is different now.  Not just that Todd is gone.  Every single tiny little thing is different.  It would’ve been even if I didn’t leave MN.  It would’ve been had I just stayed and tried to start anew in a place that I built a wonderful life with a wonderful man, who made me a better person. 

But I didn’t. I left.  I moved.  I started a new and different life somewhere else, rocking my already rocky world.  And I found love.  Good, deep, important love. One I thought was impossible to have again.  And life goes on.  There are challenges, and there are celebrations.  At the end of the day, what I was reminded of today, is what’s important.  Love, life, laughter.  Being thankful for what’s in front of you vs. getting wrapped up in the day to day.  

Namaste

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12/31/15: Fly the Plane

I never really know how to start these, but it’s New Year’s Eve, the end of 2015.  My aunt and I were sitting outside the other night, in the “Cave, talking about resolutions.  At this time of year everyone asks what your resolutions are.  I truthfully have never really set resolutions, and what they mean to me are change.  Changing an old habit, starting a new one, regardless bringing something into one’s life that is different than what you did last year.

Well……2015….was an incredible year of change, as any of you who read this blog know.  I don’t need more change – ha!  So as Mary and I talked, I decided I just want to continue living in a way that is meaningful to me.  This ties back to yoga teacher training, and who I came out of that being.  I want to continue living openly, honestly, and true to myself.  Also living in the present.  There are so many things constantly going on in life.  It’s so easy to look back, look to the future, what are plans coming; for me, I find myself getting caught up in a lot of that, and the present passes me by.  Another resolution for me I guess, live in the present.  It’s a gift, that’s why it’s called the present – an awesome quote I heard somewhere.

Mary told me a story about flight training, and that they tell you to “Fly the Plane”.  In a sticky situation she experienced flying once, she was looking for manuals and whatnot to help correct the issues, and then thought “I just need to fly this plane”.  This I’m incorporating into living in the present, fly the plane.

The picture for this post is from Christmas Day.  Mary and I went to Boca Chica beach, as we did for Thanksgiving, and wrote in the sand.  Grateful.  I have thought, talked, and worked on being grateful all year.  It hasn’t been easy.  At the beginning of the journey of gratefulness, I wanted to be grateful but thought I shouldn’t be, that would mean I’m grateful because Todd died.  But that isn’t true.  I can be grateful for this life, one that he helped me to have.  It doesn’t mean I forget him, I still miss him everyday.  But it does mean I can be grateful and live life to the fullest.  He did that, teaching me so much along the way.

To reflect a bit….and satisfy my needs of the past and the future….Wow, what a year.  I’m so grateful for this past year and the people who have come into my life.  I certainly didn’t understand “before” what the meaning of a widow meant.  To lose not only someone who you love with all of your body, but also the change that it means in life.  Your entire world is completely turned upside down, everything that was is no longer.  Top that off with losing my job, life as I knew it was over.  As a widow I had a choice to make: crawl in bed and hide, or live.  I chose to live.  I learned about myself that I’m not able to lay in bed all day, well….maybe once in a while.  But I chose to live, most importantly (I think) chasing a passion of mine, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and learning who I am now.

2016….yikes!  to think about it stresses me out.  I know for sure that a lot of change will come.  Decisions about where to live, work, and settle roots.  This past year has been about explorations for me, now it’s time to get to “real life”.  Not back to, as that’s not possible, but embracing the future, I guess.  Figuring it out.

I have to close with thinking of a song, my wedding song, “I won’t give up”.  As I sat down and started writing this, it came on the music station that Pandora is playing.  Oh does that song ever mean a lot to me.  And here I am listening to it tonight as a new man in my life is making dinner for us for New Year’s.  It’s crazy to still be in love so much with one person, but allowing myself to open up to someone else.  I have to say it feels good, and also I feel lucky to have met him.  Good to be cared about and that feeling of safety with another person that I’ve always craved in my life.  

Happy New Year!

Namaste

12/18/15: Another anniversary

I was at work today and realized the date, another second first I guess.  I thought I was done with those.  But…..I guess I’m not.  It’s the anniversary today of when I came down here last year, or maybe it was yesterday….regardless here I am thinking about it.  The first month after Todd died is a blur, I’m not quite sure what happened or how I got through the days.  Definitely with a lot of support but the memories of those days are for sure muddy.

This date last year is when I started to live again.  I made a decision to get away and come to the Keys with family.  A place where there’s water, and warmth, and beaches.  Water has always been a healing place for me, usually it was on the river but I also got married on the water – in the Caribbean.  Maybe it’s because I’m a water sign, who knows, but whatever it is, being in or around water always has made me feel at peace.  So, last year…..My aunt and I spent our first 5 days together with just the 2 of us, and were hanging on to each other.  Both going through a very difficult time in life.  And we ultimately decided to live and move forward in life at that time. Not that we said it out loud, but looking back that’s what I see and remember.  We chose to live for the day, not the past or the future, but the day.  Not just getting through it, but working through it and talking about how we were feeling.  Getting all of those feelings out, and being able to talk about the same thing everyday helped me to start to be ok in this new life that I didn’t ask for.    It’s crazy to remember this date, where I was last year, and where I am now.  So much has changed.

I lost my job, went all over the world and the USA with the purpose of figuring out who I am now, on my own, as a widow.  It took me a long time to even take that word, ‘widow’, in and accept it.  I am so grateful to have had the time to do this because I’ve made new friends, explored a passion (multiple I suppose), and have had amazing support along the way.  I know I’m not done.  I’m still trying to figure out what to do and where to go with life.  Stay in Florida, go back to MN, go somewhere else?  And there’s the job thing of course.  I’d love to make my life about fitness and well being, we will see how it plays out.

I have to say, as uncertain as I am about the future, I’m happy.  Happy to be back in Key West, living here and working here.  And just overall am at peace and happy.  I miss Todd like crazy of course, I always will, but I am learning to live and be happy without him.  If someone would have told me 2 years ago I’d be in this place, happy, and Todd would be gone I would’ve told them they were bat shit crazy!  But here it is, and it’s true.  How did I get here?

Hmm….a lot of soul searching, taking chances, and living in the moment.  Loving those who are here and appreciating life, really appreciating it.  Knowing that anything can happen at any moment, and living in the present is much better than living in the past.  But I also don’t forget the past, the good and the bad.  It has made me who I am, I will never forget that but life moves forward, and I have chosen to move with it.

So what is life like for me now?   Wow, to wrap it all up in one word would be different, that’s for sure.  I am dedicated to living out a passion, and fully being me in every moment.  I think for the first time in my life I am finally comfortable 100% with who I am, the good and the bad. It feels good to be true to myself and honest, even if the message is difficult.  Days are busy, I’m working at 3 different places and working on building a clientele with teaching yoga.  That’s not easy, but I’m hoping it will come with time, and am trying more than anything to be patient with it.

And here it is, I’m going to share that I’m dating.  That may be hard for some to hear, but in the spirit of fully being me and true to this blog’s purpose of sharing my journey as a widow, there it is.  I wasn’t sure if this would happen and am going to keep this close to me for now, but I’m happy to have met someone that cares, makes me laugh, and that I can share this part of my life with.

I hope to keep sharing how life moves forward with me, so please follow the blog if you like!  My hope is that it can reach other widows and they can know that it’s possible to move forward when you lose your love.  I connected with a widow’s group in MN, which was definitely instrumental in healing and being ok with this new life, and I would love to continue connecting with widows and maybe holding my own monthly meeting at some point in the future.

Namaste.

 

12/4/15: a celebration

  
Yesterday would have been Todd’s 41st birthday.  Our family and closest friends all got together for a pizza party to celebrate and remember him.  Im so glad we did this. Todd lives on through all of us.  Through memories and stories, the things we learned from him, and the love I know we all still have for him.  It was nice to be together to celebrate his life, I hope we can do this every year!

It’s funny though because he would’ve hated it.  If he were here, he would’ve not shown up!  Haha!  We talked about it last night, Todd was not a guy who liked parties to be held in his honor.  He was a more fly under the radar guy vs enjoying being the center of attention.  What always baffled me about this is the fact that he was always so well loved in any social setting.  People would gravitate towards him. He could talk to anyone about anything, and was truly THE ‘fun guy’ in many situations.  But at his core, he was perfectly happy at home or by himself more so than having a party in his honor.  One of the qualities I really admired and loved about him.  

I can’t have this post with a little note about Rex as well, and how nice it is to spend a little time with him.  My first dog, our first dog.  I love him dearly!! 

 
Again now I have this feeling of now what?  Being home for the weekend is really nice but also very hard.  I had this incredible longing for Todd yesterday, missing him so much and wondering about the future and how life is going to unfold without him.  I am leaning it to it, taking chances and exploring new opportunities but am also so uncertain about the future.  I continue to search through yoga and looking within, I’ve been to class everyday while home, and am going again tomorrow before heading back to Florida on Sunday.  It truly centers me and keeps me out of spiraling into a funk.  It’s amazing what it does for my well being.  That may sound strange but it’s true.  

Also since I’ve been home I’ve received emails about additional teaching opportunities in Key West.  My Aunt is heading to Madison for 2 weeks when I get back, and I’m looking forward to meeting with new people and hopefully nailing down more classes to teach!  My hope is to teach everyday and continue exploring what yoga will mean for me in my future.  

To close this today I will end with a song, it’s been a few posts since I’ve done that.  At the end of the night last night my best friend and I had a drink and listened to music, as we usually do and ‘let it be’ came on.  I want to say it’s my favorite but I have many so it’s hard to just pick one.  

Anyway, there’s a good message there, in terms of how I interpret it.  Let it be.  There’s 2 situations where I apply this right now.  The first is I am at a time in life where I need to chase and explore my dreams and passions, but this song reminds me at times to let it be.  Let things happen, put myself out there and then let it be.  The second is when it comes to my grief.  Sometimes I have to sit with it, breathe, and let it be.  Let it happen.  As time goes on I will continue missing Todd but allowing myself time to sit with grief will allow me to continue working through it.  Good advice from a good friend who is also a widow.  

Namaste

11/26/15: Happy Thanksgiving!

  
Thanksgiving.  This holiday for me this year is all about gratitude.  Truly being thankful for what I’ve had in life, and what I have now.  

Today was a great day.  It started off with working at the studio, which was a great way to start it off.  Years ago I worked at SAMs Club and had to work on thanksgiving and it was awful, mainly because it took time away from my family. This year it was amazing.  Making connections with new people, following a passion, and living in the present, fully being me.  

I then had a great conversation with my mother in law.  She received a book yesterday from the people who did the fireworks for Todd.  They put a beautiful book together with photos of the day, as well as photos of the assembly of the fireworks.  We were so lucky to have found that group of people.  They were incredible from the get go, and did a tribute to Todd that I know he would’ve loved.  

Mary and I then went to the beach with Cruz.  To Boca Chica beach, which is just off a big naval base.  We walked around all over and had a great time.  Cruz had a blast exploring a new area, so much so that he is pooped tonight!!  He even got in the water on his own – making strides there!

   
   
Then we had our dinner!  Turkey cooked on the grill, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and Brussels sprouts.  And pisco sours, of course.  SO GOOD!

There are so many things to be thankful for this year.  The love that Todd and I shared is of course at the top of that list.  How lucky I am to have had him in my life, it just should’ve been longer.  But what we had I will carry with me forever.  Things weren’t always perfect, but we worked it out.  He made me a better person, and I think I did that for him as well.  It was such an honor to be with him, he truly was one of a kind. 

And the day can’t pass without acknowledging and being thankful for the friends and family who I wouldn’t have gotten through the last year without.  Not only friends I had before, but also after.  Some of the friendships I’ve made this past year have been so instrumental in my life moving forward.  And they wouldn’t have happened had I not made the decision to push myself and “lean in” to life. I have a lot of love in my heart these days for so many that I feel very privleged to know.  

This may be a bit of a repeat of my last post but I just couldn’t let the day go by without saying it again!

Wishing lots of love and light to all thisThanksgiving  night!

Namaste. 

11/24/15: week 53

 This is the morning spot at Patricia St.  Where Mary and I sit and have breakfast and coffee.  It’s a little piece of zen everyday.  

 I was feeling compelled to write this morning about happiness, and when I went to put the date in and think of a title, I realized it’s Tuesday, making it 53 weeks today.  I’m 1 year and 1 week out from losing my love.  

I have signed up for these daily readings from Christina Rasmussen, who wrote the book second firsts (still haven’t been able to get thru that one).  And today’s title was “True Living”.  The focus is not falling into work too much where you don’t take time for fun, for yourself.  At the end of it there’s homework, and it says to ask yourself: did i live today? Did I love today? Did I laugh today?   

I think that’s pretty powerful.  And rang true for me when I think about the last couple of days.  Sunday night we (well Mary really) made homemade marinara sauce with chicken sausage and a great salad.  We also made pisco sours, the drink of Peru.  As we were putting things together we had on the Amy Winehouse station on pandora.  The music was SO good, and we were singing along and dancing a little in the kitchen.  

I thought to myself, I’m happy.  Like really content happy and I didn’t know why.  Yesterday on my bike ride home from work it hit me.  It’s teaching, it is so fulfilling.  And not only that, but I’m living a dream I’ve had for a while.  Making it happen, LIVING, LOVING, and LAUGHING.  

I have to say that I felt that when teaching family and friends at home the past few months as well.  I couldn’t have done this without them.  Some never having some yoga but leaning in wth me, and doing something new.  Thank you so much!!!

It was so easy before to get stuck in the  everyday motions of going to work, come home, make dinner, watch tv, go to bed. And now I know, life is too short to not be fully you (and figure out who that is), and chase dreams – fit what you love into life.  

I hope I can take this sense of calm and fulfillment into my life when I get back home. I’m hoping it will grow stronger as the days go on and I will learn to carry that with me.  

Have a beautiful day,

Namaste

11/19/15: Day 366

  
Today is the second first day without Todd. Day 366.  If you asked me, I couldn’t begin to tell you what I did on this day last year.  I know I didn’t wake up at home because I stayed at Kathy’s (one of my mother in laws – I’m lucky enough to have 2 amazing women in my life who have that title), at some point i know I went home but I don’t know when.  I remember feeling numb and in disbelief.  

And now year 2 starts today.  There are no more second firsts, at least when it comes to dates on the calendar.  I know there’s many second firsts yet to come but now it’s about experiences vs time.   I don’t know what’s to come in this second year.  Some say it continues to get easier, and some say the 2nd year is the hardest.  Either way I will face it head on and take it as it comes.  

I rode to the store today, on a bike (my preferred mode of transportation in KW), and as I was coming down the street I saw the water.  This picture doesn’t begin to do it justice – the sky is cloudy, dark clouds, threatening rain, and then the water is this beautiful green color.  I had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for being here, and thought that was a great thing to think about today.  

I was going to stop at the pier to write this, by the water, and then the no-seeums came.  If you don’t know what those are, they’re these awful little bugs that you don’t notice and they bite!  A lot!  Actually that was my purpose of going on the bike ride, to the store, to get tea tree oil.  It seems to be the only thing that works for me in stopping the itch.  I swear to you they are worse than mosquito bites and I have a ton of them!   Thanks to my time and friends in Thailand, I learned the tea tree oil secret.  

Anyway, back to gratitude.  First off I’m NOT grateful for those bugs I must say, but am for the remedy, ha!  I am however SO incredibly grateful for so many people in my life.  I couldn’t have gotten through the last year without my friends, family (which includes my dogs), and coworkers who have sent flowers, been there for cocktails, a blanket made from Todd’s shirt, care packages, a surprise visit from an old boss who brought me utensils with smiles on them, dinners, dancing, yoga, many hugs, and just talking.  I’m so grateful for those moments of when many have listened to me say the same thing over and over again but we’re so incredibly supportive through each of those conversations.  

I am continuing to live in gratitude everyday, I really think about it a lot.  When the word first came into my life in the last year it was tough to imagine being grateful.  It felt like a betrayal to Todd.  How can I be grateful for this life without him in it, and wasn’t it a betrayal to the life we had?  I’m going to say it’s not, and it’s good to be grateful for the experiences and what I have now.  I’m glad to have made the jump into allowing myself to be grateful and not feel bad about it.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t miss our life together, or that I don’t still love Todd with all of my being.  It means that I am living, and I think he’d want me to live.  He may think I’ve gone a little weird with all of the yogi talk, but I also know he’d support me in it 100%.  He always did.  

And one last thing.  Below are links to the videos from Todd’s funeral and from our wedding.  One done by my sister in law and another done by Todd.  More to be grateful for.  

And finally, a beautiful sunshine photo for you (sorry northern friends, I know it’s snowing for you). 

Namaste.