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Posts tagged ‘widow’

7 & 8

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If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

~ William Penn

12.23.12

On December 23, 2005, he said I was the kindest person he knew.

A year and a half later I never had the chance to tell him that it was he that was the kindest. It was he that chose me for some odd reason and showed me what true kindness was. It was he that I prayed to god every night to keep alive over me. It was he whose life echoed and echos on through those I had no clue his kindness had touched.

Now, 7 years later, I woke up on the sofa. It was a hard night to try sleep in my bed. I awoke knowing that I could take this day that was the moment that solidified our eternal love, and for once, not make it a day that was harder than any other. This day was going to be the day I wanted to live up to the vows he wrote to me. Today was going to be a day that I echoed his life, even more, to strangers who would never know his name or sacrifice.

My best friends sent me flowers and survival kits full of tissues and chocolate, but I knew there was much more to be done.

I jumped in my car and headed to Wal-Mart. I purchased the needed items. Heavy duty sticky notes, “Hello, My Name Is” labels, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and 4 gift cards.

“$25 on each please.” I asked the cashier.

“And I need you to do something for me. Keep one and give the next 3 to the next 3 people to check out.”

“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yes.”

“Well, Merry Christmas!” she replied.

I walked out as I heard her tell and hand the first gift card to the next to check out.

I exited with a smile.

I got into my car and started preparing the notes and labels for their mission for the day.

-15

I drove off and stopped at the first ATM to leave one gift of kindness. Then off to a Redbox.
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Then off to Starbucks where I ordered a drink and 3 more gift cards.

The lady was going to grab a bag for all three when I stuck a label on each and asked her to give one to the next 3 customers. She couldn’t believe it, and even gave me a free drink coupon. I looked in my mirror at the young man in the truck that would get the first one and I drove off.

All of this had taken place in 15 minutes and my heart swelled…and so did the tears in my eyes….this was the feeling I had when Michael read his vows…I was living them out loud 7 years later…but had just begun…

I headed to the nearest shopping center for a continuation. I stopped at another ATM to leave a message of hope before heading to Marshall’s to leave a message on the bathroom mirror and on a couple of cars before departing.-14 -13I knew there was a nearby bus stop that would be my next location. I pulled over to see a single dad with his two kids, lovingly playing with them while sitting on the bench and smiling with pure love. I put together another bag of things to ensure their day and Christmas would be a better one, handed it to him as he looked at me in shock and uncertainty, and walked off to turn and see the kids smiling and waving to me. It was amazing.

As I drove off, I saw a group of world travelers, with a lack of means and two dogs, asking for any sort of help. I pulled over, gave them water, dog treats, and some funds to buy a couple more meals, shook their hands, shared some laughs and a photo and departed. Their spirit was amazing.
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I drove to the next town where I left a couple other messages and goodies in random spots before heading to McDonalds and grabbing a snack wrap and the tab of the stranger in the car behind me.
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Next was Half Price Bookstore, where I grabbed some 80s records, and while checking out, a gift card for the next person to check out. The kind-hearted cashier told me she would remember this for a very long time. I smiled and exited and left another note on a random car.

I then headed to pick up our favorite food we used eat together…sushi…where I tipped 50% and while walking back to my car saw a young couple and their young children,  and left one more note for the end of the day on their mini-van.

-18

These individuals weren’t any worse off, any less happy, and less loved than I. But they are individuals I feel forever grateful for. They were strangers that became saviors, friends, and  ones that I admired.

They let me give them what I have always felt in my heart I was given too much of. Even when I didn’t deserve it.

I don’t know what will happen. How may people I may have freaked out or may have made their day better. But for 24 hours, I have felt pretty damn good on a day that has always been hard to bear without the person that chose me 7 years ago to be his wife. A person that showed me a level of kindness that I can only try to live a quarter up to.

We danced on December 23, 2005 to Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”. One set of the lyrics stated:
“Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on..”

kisses

That kiss he gave me led and leads me to thrive, to live, to give, and to show kindness the way he did….or at least a fraction of the way he did. And for the first time in a long time (outside of my daily AWP mission), I felt it the way I did when kissing him, when knowing that all was possible, because I saw it in each person and stranger, and others that I don’t even know that were affected by the kindness he inspired me to show on the toughest, but most beautiful,  of days.

Happy Anniversary, baby. So in love with you. SO grateful for you. So eternally inspired by you in every way.

**Update**

 

12.23.13

Today marks 8.

8 years since the most remarkable man chose me to spend the rest of his life with….and he did…if only for a year and a half in flesh.

I prepped the night before…jotting down what great deeds I would do, not only in commemoration of this special day, but the people and universe that surround and house the spirit and love that we share.

I awoke, opened my eyes to the sun shining through the blinds and said aloud “Happy Anniversary, my love…let’s rock this!”

As I showered, Sam Cooke’s “What a Wonderful World” played and I my heart filled with the mission at hand.

The mission to share a fraction…an ounce..of the love…unconditional love…I had been shown during his time on earth.

This year was different, I wanted to spread kindness, but throw in bit of us…who we are…what we love.

I warmed up with a stop at Starbucks, buying giftcards for the two cars behind us and leaving a 300% tip to the warm smile that handed me the green tea latte.

I found joy in looking in the rear view mirror at the unsuspecting person that I hoped to share a bit of sunshine with.

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Next, I stopped to get flowers, hoping that our favorite (tulips) would be available. We used them in my wedding bouquet and Michael loved surprising me with them on occasion.

With my heart open to whatever was available, I smiled to find red and white ones waiting.

I then googled “cemetery”. It led me to a small back-country haven, in which I headed to the back corners.

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Once there, my heart led me to one headstone, cracked in half due to time’s grip. No longer bearing a name, all it shown was a poem that I have no doubt I was supposed to read:

This lovely bud so young and fair
Called hence by early doom
Just came to show how sweet a flower
In paradise could bloom.

I laid a bouquet of tulips, and offered it the attention I know a loved one past would have appreciated.

-3Next, I set forth to my favorite used bookstore.

At arrival, I headed to one of Micheal’s favorite book series “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King. I found the oldest edition of the first book of the series and inserted enough for its next reader to buy the whole set. As I placed its message, I remembered the moments in bed where Michael would read aloud to me. My heart swelled knowing that that memory may be passed on to another lucky soul who falls in love with a Stephen King reader.

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I headed out, also ensuring that the next two book lovers left with their books on us.

As I left, I bought a mildly inappropriate Christmas card (the best ones, in my opinion) and found a man who looked as if he deserved a laugh and kind deed.

I hope it made him smile.

-12

My next stop led me to a random car, where I placed another bouquet on the windshield.

As I was plotting my next route, I was honored enough to see the elderly couple return to their car, find the flowers, sit in their car seats and simply inhale the flower’s fragrance with a smile. It was one of the best moments.

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Next, being a lover of the sweets 🙂 I placed many a treats on many a cars:

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One of my last stops was at a place that embodied so much of what we love…FILMS!

My dear friends know just how many 12 hour film marathons I’ve attended, and Michael knows just how many sofas we imprinted while watching our favorite foreign films.

I wanted to make sure other people could enjoy such a blissful aspect of our intertwined passions, so I headed over to the Alamo Drafthouse to buy multiple gift cards for the next groups to arrive.

-13

The gentleman preparing the gift cards responded with ” I thought all of humanity was lost…thank you.”

I thanked him.

He was giving me much more than I was giving monetarily.

I entered my car, with my list of acts of kindness completed in hand, and smiled with the same joy I felt as if Michael was by my side.

-5

I ended the evening with a dear friend, at a favorite restaurant, sharing some of my favorite memories of my journey with Michael. She surprised me with dessert, and I was humbled to know the staff felt honored to share in the celebration, as well.

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I conclude this remarkable day with gratitude.

Gratitude for the messages sent. Love shared.

Gratitude for those that let me show and give them something they undoubtedly deserved.

Something that I believe to be the greatest resource our society has.

A resource the kindest being I knew shared with me to their last ounce.

Love.

Happy Anniversary, baby.

Thank you all.

Built

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“A song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment. Which is pretty amazing, when you actually think about it.”
-Sarah Dessen

This Monday will mark our 8 year wedding anniversary.

As I’ve said over the years, I’ve never defined Michael’s life by his death, so the anniversary of his death has never had the burn of the day that symbolizes him and our time together…

Our wedding day.

A day that symbolizes our love.

His love.

The unconditional love he showed myself and everyone else.

The pain and angst enveloped me at times, but one thing always takes me away from any sadness that wears on my soul:

Hearing our wedding song.

He let me choose it, and when the time came for our first dance, we swayed (mostly due to lack of dancing skills) back and forth, lost in the moment, tunnel vision only into each others eyes and the warm glow of our hearts melding even deeper into their eternal bond.

After his death, a year and a half later, the words of the song have guided me through dark moments. They’ve reminded me that everything that I’ve been able to do, survive and embrace, has been built upon his love…his kiss.

And I’ll keep on building.

Happy Anniversary, my love. SILWY

Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on

Ill-Equipped

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It’s a funny thing.

The breaking of the shell that once encased a broken heart.

A shell that unveils a stronger, more resilient heart….person…life.

No longer protected by the bitterness and loathing of what occurred, you find yourself open and vulnerable to the elements of a life you’re ready to live.

With that comes some of life’s irritants; insecurity, doubt and apprehension.

Today, while sharing in these struggles of living fully, a dear friend stated something so poignant, moving and true.

She mentioned how someone told her how ill-equipped she was to be doing what she was, yet she was beyond successful and living a life by her terms. She didn’t meet the “prerequisites” of what usually must be done to reach that state of life, yet she was doing so at a level beyond most.

She told me that to ensure me that what I was doing and how I was living was more than enough.

She made me realize that I am ill-equipped for the norm. For the anticipated. For the path taken by most.

But it made me realize that I was equipped for the extraordinary. The unexpected. The path least taken.

With that comment, and my realization, I smile.

Smile as I stand bright-eyed and bushy-tailed towards all the elements that are bound to cross a soul wide-open to life’s experiences. A life that was never equipped for the anticipated. A life that proudly takes in the unknown.

And hell, I look forward to every second of it!

Faith

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When he died, my faith died.

Faith in a god, life, living…

There was only one thing I wanted to believe, that he’d come back home.

When that didn’t come to fruition, it was believing that life would end shortly thereafter.

It didn’t.

Nothing changed.

It wouldn’t change until I started believing.

Believing that I could survive. That I should survive.

Believing that inhaling and exhaling, at some point, would be a natural process that I didn’t pay attention to, mostly because there were too many times I wished I would have stopped doing both.

Faith became a silly word I loathed using.

I’ve always thought that faith was a belief in something bigger than one’s self.

I forgot that for a while.

But when the turning moment came for me to believe that I could survive….thrive after losing him, so came the moment that I realized a truth.

That I still had faith in our love.

It was bigger than us both.

It still is.

And now, 6.5 years later, that faith has allowed me to know, believe and trust in those things.

With one of the most important being the angels that have guided my way.

Sometimes it was a child smiling at me in line after a night of crying. Other times I know it’s been Michael with the synchronicity that could not be explained. There are even moments when I realize I am one for myself.

Sometimes it just takes us believing.

And with the belief comes the faith.

And with the faith comes a world possibility, in one that once seemed impossible.

And with that, an unveiling of a world or people, things and moments that make once unfathomable seconds, now worth it.

Faith never died. It never will.

Believe me.

“Everyone has an Angel. A Guardian who watches over us. We can’t know what form they’ll take. One day, old man. Next day, little girl. But don’t let appearances fool you, they can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet they’re not here to fight our battles, but to whisper from our heart. Reminding that it’s us. Its everyone of us who holds power over the world we create. You can deny angels exist, Convince ourselves they can’t be real. But they show up anyway, at strange places and at strange times. They can speak through any character we can imagine. They’ll shout through demons if they have to. Daring us, challenging us to fight.”

Load

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It was one day after the one year mark of losing him.

I was on a plane to Spain.

One backpack in tow. Two sets of clothes. Euros. Some photos. My feet.

225 miles to hike on unknown terrain that had no map, but seashells in the ground as markers or random arrows painted on tree trunks.

But before that  flight and the pilgrimage, came the preparation.

Let’s just say that I was not a hiker.

Let’s just say that going to REI was like walking into a baby nursery…I had no clue what the heck I was doing.

I improvised.

Used the knowledge of those that knew a bit more about backpacks, hiking boots and the best underwear to wash in a sink.

When packing, I tried to keep it to the minimum of all needed. Heck, I even was smart enough to not pack a warm jacket (said no one EVER).

From what I had read from past pilgrims, you’d end up with a lighter load by the time you’d reach Santiago (the destination).

It was the journey of a lifetime. A journey that kept me from any distractions (which had a way of being an escape from my harsh reality), and put me smack dab in a room with my thoughts and emotions as I hiked in silence 12 hours a day.

I had no preconceived notions on what the journey would consist of or do for my soul, and that ended up being my most valuable tool to carrying the load on my back and in my heart.

I came across those on the camino that came into it with different expectations.

They wanted to be healed. Cured.

They wanted it so bad that each hope for it all to disappear. was like throwing a rock into one’s pack.

It weighed them down.

Broke them down.

Until arriving to a place of anger and resentment for the journey that they expected to take their load off of them.

Never realizing that it was our duty to adjust our pack as nature and heart told us it was time or where to go.

The camino changed my life.

It changed my perspective on how to live in the now.

To know that everything you need will come at the right moment for your heart (not when your mind tells you it needs it).

By the end of my 20 days in Spain, the other pilgrims were correct.

I had less in my backpack.

I had dumped the unnecessary to see the true essentials, and without even realizing it,  done the same for my soul.

We’ll all take many journeys in our time and it’s our duty to create a load that we have unwavering faith that we can carry…because we can…we will…we just need not  anticipate what that load will bring us.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”-Lena Horne

Go

 

I’m a pretty laid back cat.

Put me in a room with great music, a cold beer and I’m set.

But that’s all external. Those are creature comforts.

When it comes to the internal….

The decisions I make that will determine my life at that current moment.

I’ve learned that the one thing you can’t be is laid back.

You must be vigilant.

A gladiator for your heart and all that it truly needs.

 

When it comes to living the life you deserve you can’t go with the flow.

You must stand for what you need.

What you deserve.

Where you’re challenged.

Where you learn.

Where your uncomfortable.

Where you’re at home.

Stand for what is uniquely you.

 

When it comes to your life, don’t go with the flow.

Go where you grow.

 

End of story. Beginning of beautiful reality.