I have been thinking a lot lately about the possibility of starting to date again. It is completely terrifying. The last time I “dated” someone I was 20 years old! Times have certainly changed since then and so have I. I know I don’t want to be alone forever. Some days I feel totally ready, other days I’m not so sure. I think the only way I will know is to just put myself out there and try it. On top of not even knowing “how” to do this, I am so scared to let someone in again. Dating as a widow is totally different. A friend asked if there are any widow dating sites. Yes, there are, and most of the members are age 60+. Being a 36 year old widow is a VERY small demographic. I like the idea of someone knowing and understanding where I am coming from. Mark will always be in my heart; When our relationship ended I didn’t stop loving him (as is typical in most divorces). I follow a blog where the writer is a widow and is now married to her “chapter 2” as she calls it. She talks a lot about how her current husband is very understanding and sensitive to her feelings for her late husband. It will take a special person to be able to accept that I will always love Mark. Even without factoring in the fact that HELLO! I have 3 kids, it’s a totally overwhelming prospect. And hearing my single friends talk about dating is not encouraging at all. I have always believed that things will happen when they are supposed to happen, so I am trusting that the path my life should take will be the one that is right for me. But in the meantime I wouldn’t mind going out to dinner with a fun person every once in a while 😉 Each day is an adventure, and while I am scared at the unknown future, I’m also excited at the possibilities. I actually said to my counselor that I felt happy… like, for real! A year ago, I would not have believed it was possible. Now that’s progress!
I am still recovering from what has to be one of the best weekends I’ve had in a LONG time. Started out with a fun girls’ game night at my house on Friday night. It was a somewhat random mix of people but it turned out to be just what I needed: some drinks and LOTS of laughs. Since kids stayed with Grandpa, I got to sleep in on Saturday morning. Although we had a busy day Saturday (picking out baseball uniforms for B’s team, E’s gymnastics show) I surprisingly wasn’t that tired. Babysitter showed up at 7 and I was off to the city with a friend to celebrate our friend’s birthday. I caught up with many friends I haven’t seen in WAY too long. And it reminded me that I still have LOTS of living to do. For the past year I have really only identified myself as “mom” and while that will always be my number 1 priority, I am ready to start working on friendships that honestly have been neglected this past year. Not because I didn’t WANT them to be important, but because I just didn’t have it in me. I feel like I am finally ready to start living again. Being “Jodie” and not just “mom.” Looking forward to what fun adventures are in store for me in 2015…
I had two events happen this past week that just reinforce that writing this blog is the right thing to do. I know it helps me (I go back and I can see how I have progressed over the past year in my healing) but I am always so surprised at how it has helped others. I have had MANY people tell me how much they appreciate reading my blog. How either they have been in “that place” or know someone who has and how my blog… MY blog has helped. This is quite an overwhelming thought.
This past week however, I could really see the impact my willingness to be open and honest about my experiences and suicide is having on others. First, I got a reply to one of my posts from someone explaining that my blog had helped her to see the survivor side and that, along with her medication, is helping her come out of the fog and not take steps to end her life. My hope is that she will also see that she has value, and that people care, not only those people in her life (husband, kids, etc) but SO many others. I care. I so wish that Mark had been able to reach out to someone because there is no doubt he would have gotten an overwhelming response of love and support.
The second event that happened was a friend texted me to tell me her family had recently been impacted by a suicide and could I help. In a way, I am becoming more comfortable in my role as a suicide survivor, and it is getting easier to talk about it and share it in a way in which hopefully can help others get through it. Let me tell you, the worst part of this whole experience was the first 6 months, and what helped get me through (besides my family of course) was hearing those who had been on the other side and survived. Because then I knew I could too.
So to all you readers out there, thank you. For sharing this blog with people who you think might need it. It is sad that I had to experience this tragedy, but I am encouraged that I can give a sense hope to others who are going through this loss and understanding to those who are contemplating suicide. Crazy to think that just a little blog on a free website can have such an impact. I think if Mark had seen something like this, or researched suicide prevention. I know the first step is talking about it, so here I am… talking about it.
Christmas has come and gone… our second without Mark. I have a feeling a lot of these milestone will always be referred to in terms of Mark’s death. It’s sad that is how we measure time now… before and after. This year was so much better than I anticipated. We had a nice Christmas Eve with my family. Then I started a new Christmas tradition of taking the kids downtown on Christmas day. Nothing was open, but the kids were happy to order room service (our first time!) and swim in the hotel pool followed by a movie in bed 🙂 All in all, I would say it was a successful Winter Break. That being said, after 2 weeks of a broken schedule, too many sleepovers and too few rules, I was about at my limit today. It’s not the kids, they are fine. I just was done with break… ready to get back to our routine and my (mostly) well-behaved children. It is days like today when I REALLY wish Mark was here so I could “tag him in” and have an hour of peace to myself. Some days it just feels like the responsibility of these kids, this house, this life is overwhelming. But I take a few deep breathes, take a moment RIGHT NOW to listen to the quiet house, pick out which oils I will diffuse in my room tonight to help me chill out, when I realize how LUCKY I am. I am here. For all of it. Every little bit (even the annoying stuff) that Mark is missing, I am not. These 3 kids are amazing. Not because of me (okay, maybe a little 😉 ) but because they can appreciate things in a way no kid should ever have to. I can honestly say I am looking forward to what 2015 has in store. Because I am going in with an open mind and an open heart. I am thankful and I am blessed with all that I have and I will continue to choose to remember Mark and love him with a huge part of my heart, but allow myself to move forward into this new life and all the possibilities it holds for me and the kids. And most of all, I will continue to chose to focus on the positive and work on being happy, for my sake and the sake of my kids. We deserve happiness, but nobody can give it to us except ourselves. Happy New Year… may it be full of happiness, health and lots of love.