Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Juggling The Past With The Present

Aren't these things supposed to become easier? That is what people keep telling me, " Oh, honey. It gets easier." Ok, that's nice... I'm still waiting.

Here's the thing. Sure, living with grief is becoming easier in most areas of my life. It's a numbness, I think. Grief is a part of my daily life. It's kind of like having to look in the mirror every morning and see big hips and wrinkles. I hate it, but I get over it and go on with my life. It's there, it will always be there, I've learned to accept that. 

Here is the problem...

I'VE accepted my grief. I've accepted I'm weird. That doesn't mean everyone else has - and that is where the problem lies, which brings up a few questions (for me, anyway). 

Is it time now for me to start working on being a little more normal? Are these new found flaws given by circumstance things that I need to "work on" or things I should "accept"? Is it healthy to embrace grief and the fact that I miss my husband, and live my life in a way that honors those things, or should I be trying to fix myself so that I can get as close to "how I was" as I possibly can and leave these things behind? 

If people don't like who I am now, is it my fault for being selfish in being comfortable in my grief and being attached to my husband forever, or is it theirs for not understanding where I'm coming from and not accepting who I've chosen to be - a widow who lives in honor of her husband? 

....I honestly see both sides. The way I live my life now could be viewed selfish to those who are alive. I do get that.

Thing is, as much as I wanted the word "widow" to get away from me in the beginning of this mess, and as much as I wanted to pretend Cleve did not die, I am now FINALLY embracing these things and it is liberating in a way that I'm not sure I can describe. Yea, it hurts to accept, but it is also freeing because now - now that I've accepted who I am and where I came from - I can use that to better myself and help others. The more I'm realizing this, the more happiness I am feeling and the more I want to embrace it and run with it.

Now that I'm "here", it seems that it makes people other than widows (POTW - I am officially making this a widow term) uncomfortable. It makes me more difficult to be around because the things I am openly able to talk about, like switching a screwed up headstone, makes people feel uneasy. 

Does this make me selfish? 

If so, I'm just becoming more and more selfish with each day. And what if I said I think I'm okay with it? I don't know what else to say, because... I don't want to change. If I die honoring my husband and making sure every person I can possibly find knows his sacrifice, I'll die content. If I die knowing that I gave back to the community I love so dearly - the Military community, specifically those wounded - I will die in what I define as success. 

So, where does this leave me? Possibly on a deserted island with a bunch of other Military widows like me, because I'm finding that they may be the only ones who will accept me. 

It's true, I would love to blend in with the rest of the world. I would love to re-marry and have children and prance off into the sunset through my white picket fenced yard, but the reality is that that isn't me anymore. I gave those desires to someone else and he is now gone. Now I am someone who wants nothing more than to live for him as long as possible. If that makes other people uncomfortable - even if those other people are everyone else on the freaking planet - then I guess I'll be alone with his memory. 

I am aware that times changes a lot. It changes me regularly. And maybe all of this will blow over. Maybe one day I'll decide that putting all of this in the past is what is best. Personally, I hope that I'll just find a way to juggle my past and my present a little more fluidly. The thought of my past being too far away scares me and I have no desire for it. 

I am now one of those people - like the Uncle on Napoleon Dynamite who is always reminiscing about his high school football days. 

Just call me Uncle friggin' Rico...!

Take it or leave it, man. I don't have the energy to fight who I've become. 

So, I dunno. I've been feeling content in many ways and lost in others. I love the people who are alive around me, and I also love someone who is gone. I've found a place that makes me happy, but some people are having a hard time handling my out-in-the-open widow-ness. For now, I'm sticking to what feels right. 

I am deeply sorry to anyone that feels they are negatively effected by that. 

18 words of wisdom:

Sarah and Stewart said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think if you have found a place that makes you happy, then that's all that matters.

Teri Anne Stanley said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

These are great questions...and only you can figure out what the answers are, but I can make a few observations:
Life happens, and it changes us. You will never be the "Before Karie" again. Nor should you be. You are older, wiser, sadder, but more able to appreciate the good things, hopefully!

People usually pass out platitudes when they mean well but don't know what else to say. Those of us who aren't widows (or wounded, or whatever other life experience is shaping you) don't know what to we say something cliched? Do we say nothing? Just remember that we usually mean well...and if we fuck it up, please let us know (in as kindly a fashion as possible).
You are rocking through your life, and I admire the hell out of you.

Vanessa Fuentes said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You do not ever have to hide your emotions or pretend to be someone you are not! All you have to do is live your life the way that makes you happy. It's awesome that you want to live your life honoring and remembering your husband! He is and always will be a big part of you past, present and future. He would be honored to know that you will forever live your live with him being part of yours!! That's the way I would love my husband to remeber me and to do for me when I am gone. I lost my son who was 20 months old 10 years ago and I love and miss him dearly. I could never go on without him being prt of my everyday life. You learn to cope with the lost but never ever forget!! I live in the "what if" state of mind always! What if he was still here what would he look like? It makes me stronger and happy to always have that memory! Live your life to the fullest and always be the proud and honorable widow!!! Have a great day and smile!!!

Charcoal Renderings said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm pretty sure everyone handles grief differently. And I'm also pretty sure that it's not okay for other people to look down upon the way you face your grief. You aren't running around hurting other people. You aren't destroying yourself. You are LIVING. And trying to mesh what came before the grief with the present. No one has the power to fault you for that, even if they are uncomfortable.

I wouldn't call you selfish. I certainly wouldn't say you have to change to assimilate back into some weird notion of society where death and pain don't exist. You've experienced one of the worst things people can experience--so you're living on the other side of that. The people who haven't been there may not even be bothered by you so much as the present truth that you've been through something they can't understand. You just keep taking care of yourself. That's what matters, not other people's opinions. And I can promise that you have plenty of people who think you are just fine where you are.

Warrior Wife said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't know who I am anymore, either. I don't know what it took from me to survive the beginning of our stay here. I know you understand that. So I certainly can sympathize, from far away, that you're in some strange place and right now you're okay with that. Grief is a process, not a destination. We all have to learn to live with something very few people understand and however we manage that has to be okay. It just has to be. If not, then there's no where for us to go. Or everyone else can just effing shove their opinions, because until they've worn your shoes that is all they are.

Sarah V. said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

One day at a time, girl. No one should dictate how fast you move through you grief. You move at your pace, one day at a time.

Nika M. said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I know that our situations are completely different, but I'm in that spot too. People don't like how open and comfortable I am when it comes to talking about my babies, and I've lost a lot of friends because of it.

Do what makes you happy because in the end, you are the only one that really has to live with it.

Alishia said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I lost my daughter 9 years ago and when I talk about her, it makes others uncomfortable. The thing is, I don't care. It is my way to honor her and to make sure that she is not forgotten. It is often hard for people to accept things that they don't understand. My advice to to be who you want to be. Be who you feel you are. Those who mind it don't matter and those who matter won't mind! Love is a special thing and it is obvious (at least to me) that you love your husband and always will. You may find room one day in your heart for someone else too forever (just as I did with my second daughter) but you will always have that spot for your husband. I believe that is the way that true love is supposed to be!

Chelsea Hickey said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You're way more normal than Uncle Rico, lol!

I am a POTW and if I knew you IRL, you would not make me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it's because I'm a Marine Wife and I know the love for the Corps (generalization) but I honor you and your candor.

Sharing your story and Cleve's sacrifice is empowering and I am sure that it helps others cope with their loss.

I forget where you live, but if you can make it to Jumping for a Purpose, it would be awesome to meet you.

Semper Fi,

Chelsea (motowife)

____j said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't think you should feel the need to change the way you are to please others. They should be able to accept you, the way you are grieving, & the way you are living. Sometimes we have to be a little selfish in order to stay true to ourselves.

Dana Graves said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

never selfish. Some people go their entire lives never getting to the acceptance stage. You dear are looking through the windshield and not the rearview mirror. You should feel proud of yourself. :)

Katie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't think that sounds selfish at all. While I don't know you in real life, I have to say that since I've started reading your blog, I've come to admire your strength and love so much.

You were widowed in your mid-twenties, something that no one should ever have to go through, and it sounds like you are dealing with it as healthily as you can be. Please don't feel guilty- be proud of yourself and how you're living your life.

Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I cna relate. My dad died serving when I was ten months old. Some people say I'm stuck in the grief process. I think there are days of happy reflection and days of missing them. What keeps them alive is keeping their memory alive. My mom remarried but she also always loves my dad. My stepfather has been in my life since 3. He was military as well. Life will show you your path and it does not mean that your husband has to be in the past. He will be beside you still, always.

chambanachik said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think it makes you a brave person- to be okay with where you are, even if others don't understand. I think that's admirable.

Peppermint Patty said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Why is it selfish to be geniune? Honestly, Karie, you should NOT be worried about anyone else and what they think and feel about how YOU should act.

Personally, it wouldn't be uncomfortable to me to hear you talk about Cleve. I think it is utterly disrespectful for others to dictate what you can/cannot talk about.

It's YOUR life. Live it, sister! :)

Morhia said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I get that and understand that. Grief is a very difficult thing and I have not so much as lost the other half to me but I have lost my mom and people thought I should have grieved and got on with my life. It took me five years to learn to function again. Take YOUR time and go at YOUR speed. That is the right speed! Many blessing be with you on this journey!

Shannon said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This post kinda reminded me of a widow who was on one of Oprah's Lifeclass: The Tour episodes. In it, Iyanla Vanzant helped a widow realize she was more than just the word...WIDOW. All of the Lifeclasses have been amazing for me. Here's the clip I was referring to, but if you get a should totally watch the whole thing


Teresa Hill said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Was happy to read that you're thinking of getting back to the book. I'm here, if you need me.

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