I’ll Celebrate With You

People have such mixed reactions when they find out I’ve lost my husband. Some assume, I’m divorced because it’s hard for them to imagine I’d be a widow at my age. I guess the reaction for my thoughts today would be the same for people who are widowed or newly divorced.

It seems as if people try to filter what I’m exposed to in the way of relationship happiness. Let me explain. When people get engaged, celebrate anniversaries, get married, it’s as if sometimes people think I’ll feel really bad. Quite the opposite actually. Now I know this isn’t the same for everyone in my situation but for me, I LOVE it!

To celebrate being in love, finding that person who compliments your life and puts a smile on your face is the greatest gift ever. I had that, yes! I love seeing other people share in the same blessing. A blessing I hope to find again someday. I’ll admit when I first lost Mark it was hard. Then when I saw others celebrate their 15 year anniversary this past year I would tear up because it would’ve been our 15 year anniversary as well.

Even through any tears, though, there would be tears of happiness. Happy to see couples get to that point and still celebrate each other. Happy to see couples starting on their journey together with a life ahead of them. So I never want to be sheltered from those moments. The happiness people feel is contagious and we all need that.

When people give me that “look” of “oh no, we didn’t mean to talk about this in front of you,” I always just smile and says congratulations. Because I truly am so happy for them! Yes, celebrate each other, celebrate love, celebrate making it through those hard times together and coming out stronger for it. Just celebrate life and living, life is too short not to. If you ever need that reminder, well, you know who to talk to. So today, after you read this, if you are one of those people blessed to have a special person in your life, hug them a little tighter and a little longer. If you’re still searching for that someone, they’re out there and when you find them, I’ll celebrate with you.

Find Your Fierce

This has been a busy hurricane season and it’s not over yet. My prayers go out to everyone affected by the various storms around the world. Every time I see a storm tracker on television I think of the storms we all go through in a different sense. Storms of life have no season and are ongoing. My prayers are also with people going through their own storms right now.

Haruki Murakami said it best, “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” How each storm changes you is up to you. Will it strengthen you? Will it tear you down? Even if we fall, it’s up to us to find the will to get back up. We have it in each of us, we just have to have faith and believe. Find your fierce and live!

The Wind

A Walk to Remember, one of your favorite movies. “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.” You would always bring up that quote. I used to think it was because you had a huge crush on Mandy Moore. I never once thought it would describe us because you’d no longer be here.

As we approach the 15th, I find my mind wandering in so many different directions. I even went to a psychic, yes, a psychic. I never would’ve gone to one before but something about her called me there. She read our past like a book without me uttering a single word. She told me about my future, and of you. You’re happy and at peace, as I kept praying you would be. You’re guarding us and protecting my heart and the kids, like I’ve been feeling you all along. You’re wanting to see me happy and sending signs to help confirm I’m on the right path, your love truly knows no boundaries. Then she looked at me and said, “But you already know this. You need to trust your instincts.” I nodded.

Then she mentioned the wind. I stopped and stared because all I could think of was that quote. Of course! There are times when a certain breeze will catch me off guard and I feel you there so strongly. As if every inch of my skin can feel you in that breeze. In those moments, you’re there. You have been there in so many of those moments since September started. For this, I am grateful. Even as I write this a beautiful double rainbow started forming with a gentle breeze embracing me much like you used to.

My love, thank you. There are days I don’t how I get through it. Every day I get up, get out of bed and get through the day with a smile. Life moves forward. I know we’re going to be okay. I know the future you saw for us is not one that will ever happen, but I also know I am who I am because of you. You helped me get through a dark place to become a mother of three beautiful babies. Ironically I look back at moments from the past during pageants where you were always there in the background watching over me on stage, like that was foretelling of a future where you’d continue to watch over from afar. Yet, it is still journey I must learn and walk on my own.

You continue to help me find those rainbows now and guide me to my new future. It is a vision of a future of love and laughter and a brave soul who will take on the challenge of loving us like you do. A future of happiness with success in whatever endeavor I take on. I have faith over fear that it will come to fruition. I also have you to thank for your Love is truly like the wind, I don’t see it but I more than feel it, especially as September continues.

September

I can’t believe September is here already. It’s almost been one year. The 15th will mark the day that our life went from “normal” to forever changed. The 22nd the day that our whole world was torn apart. The 29th was the first of many moments that you wouldn’t be there. I remember wishing for a fast forward button as I left the emergency room without you. Wishing that time would speed up to get through the pain and sadness. I sometimes wish for amnesia to forget some of the moments of this past year but know they contribute to the process of moving on. At times it feels like you left only yesterday and at other times it feels like you’ve been gone for forever. In either case, here is September.

One of the biggest steps was finding your forever home. We know you are everywhere  but to have a place to go to seems important. You have been with us, but now seems like the right time to share you with the rest of the world. So, in true Beppu fashion, that day was pretty dramatic. Ironically it was a 22nd, exactly one month before your one year “heavenversary.” A literal hurricane was en route but the appointment at the cemetery was kept to look at niches. I totally thought I was strong enough to do it alone. I’ll admit I was wrong.

I walked through the rooms to look at glass front niches. We saw some but it didn’t feel right. The thing about glass front niches is you can totally see who is around you. So in some ways I felt like I had to find some great “roomies” or “neighbors”. Then I walked back into the main hall and saw one that I swear we didn’t see on the first pass. There it was, your forever home. A beautiful breeze and natural light. Great neighbors above and below you and even a cute girl a few niches down. Yup, thinking of you, you’re welcome.

We went back to office and did all the necessary paperwork and payments. Then I decided to go back and look at the niche. I walked into the room, took one look at the glass front, touched it with my left hand, and sank to the ground with a deluge of tears falling from my eyes. My right hand was pressed hard over my heart and the pain of the day we lost you came rushing back. I know I cried more in that moment than I did during your entire celebration of life. Your forever home was just that, forever.

You were there though. I know you held me to give me the strength to get back up, dry off those tears, and prep for a storm. Luckily the storm passed. Now we get ready to place you in your new home. I remember you always talked about location, location, location. Well love, you’re going to be in town, close to the kids’ schools and a job and people that you loved so much. People that still love you and feel the legacy you left and continue to leave.

Then an image came back to my mind. The picture our friends Sean and Judy took of us near China Walls. That picture is so foretelling of what we would encounter in a few years, but it is a picture that continues to give me strength. We are near each other but in two different worlds. We are looking in two different directions because our lives have taken different paths. Life has gone on and will continue to, as evidenced by another September.

The Door

There are times in our lives when decisions are made beyond our control. Life happens in the blink of an eye and our world will never be the same. We may never comprehend the “why” but life still moves on. We dry off our eyes and live life again. We figure out that even though there are circumstances we can’t control, we still hold the pen to write our own future. Never let anyone write it for you. You guard the key to your heart and your life, it is yours to unlock. So hold those memories close, take a deep breath, and exhale all those doubts that hold you back. Open that door and step through. Life is waiting.

A Crack in the Snow Globe

It’s happened, the snow globe officially has a crack! I have come to a point in life where I still feel hesitant at times but keep telling myself, “Faith over fear!” to get me through. There is a whole life to be lived beyond the snow globe and the only limitations are the ones I place on myself.  Life is entering a new phase of not just recovery, but growth. I had trouble following my heart at first. How do you follow your heart when it’s in a million pieces on the floor? You pick up the pieces and create the heart that beats with your new purpose. In that process you find that is its own journey. A very important one. That made me think about what example am I setting for my three children. I keep telling them to dream big, work hard, and don’t fear anything your heart truly tells you is right. Am I doing what I tell them to do? The best thing I can do for them is to lead by example.

So during this time I have taken risks to move past my comfort zone. I have taken on projects that even I’m not sure will work out. At times they haven’t but I don’t look at it as failures, they were lessons. I take whatever was learned and apply it to the next time and eventually succeed. The process of trying is what my children needed to see. If I only did what I’m sure would work it teaches them nothing. They have seen me fall this year but that’s not what they remember. They remember Mom getting back up and trying again. They remember the moments where tears turned into laughter and smiles of success because we never gave up. Yes, WE, it has and continues to be a journey for the four of us.

These three have been my biggest inspiration to make life work. It’s not easy but they are my everything. Every decision from work, to community involvement, to who I see, comes down to them. Are these moments or people that I want in their life? That is the only limitation I now have. If the answer is yes, I proceed. Those steps have become much more confident. Do I know where I’m going? Not really. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and following my heart to where it feels it needs to go. I’ve learned to trust a heart that’s been broken because if it can heal and keep beating, it’s one strong muscle. There is life after loss. There is life beyond my snow globe. It’s going to require me to fully step out of the familiarity of what had become my safe place.

I guess when I think about it, the snow globe was like my chrysalis. I had been in there while I was evolving into the woman and mom I needed to become for this next phase of life. Butterfly wings can never dry in a chrysalis and my wings will never dry as long as I stay in my snow globe though.  That crack in the snow globe is exactly what was needed to break free, dry off those wings, and learn to fly again. So my babies, this is for you. I tell you to dance like no one is watching, really LIVE life and LOVE without boundaries, work hard, and follow where your heart takes you. I may not always succeed but I promise to never give up and to always get back up. I know your eyes are watching me and we will always be here for each other. Thank you for being on this journey and living and loving with me.

Tears

There is a balance with everything in life. Just as yesterday I said that happiness was a choice, which I still believe it is, there are also tears that balance it out at times. Moments tend to sneak up on me where I’ll hear a song or a smell or even just breathe and a memory will roll down my cheek. Today was a long day and all three children were doing their best to irritate each other during dinner. I took a moment to walk away and go to my room and shut the door. Single parenting is seriously no joke.

I started my infuser with lavender oil and turned on my music file to shuffle mode. Shawn Mendes’ song “Never Be Alone” started playing. This song and another one called “Spaceship” by Rebel SoulJahz will always make me tear up. Both absolutely beautiful songs by very talented artists with lyrics that speak to my heart. As I sat on my bed I heard the lyrics, ” Hey, I know there are some things we need to talk about, And I can’t stay… I may be far but never gone…” Then it started.

This past week, I have felt him near. I know he is guiding me to what, I’m not sure. While we lived most of our life without regret there were things we never got to say, like goodbye. Goodbyes are never easy but the ones that are not expected and never explained are the worse. In this case, there is never going to be an explanation and it is something I will just have to accept. So yes, the tears do come at times.

I’ve never been one to say don’t cry. I feel cry all you want, it helps. My outlook on tears is that they are very necessary. Tears are a way our heart and soul release emotions that we just can’t say. I love Alex Tan’s idea that, “Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.” So with washed eyes, I get up, work out, get ready for bed, and start again tomorrow.