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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I'm Not Fragile, or How To Talk To Me While I'm Grieving

There are a lot of articles and blog posts out there about what to say/not say to someone who's grieving.  Here's a good one from One Fit Widow, and here's another good one that Kimmy shared from Diply.  I'm going to give you my version now, keep in mind it may not apply to every grieving person you know.  We are all unique.

Disclaimer: This is not directed at everyone in my life, so please don't over-analyze anything you've said to me.  I have received wonderful support from many friends who let me be real and make me feel normal, at least for a little while.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I don't know what I would do without you.  #FBG


I'm Not Fragile

Sometimes I almost want to laugh at people who apologize after they either say or do something that brings up a memory, or even just say something about dying in general.  You don't have to handle me with care.  I'm already broken - shattered really - so you can't break me any more.  I get it, sort of.  If I'm functioning okay for the moment and something changes and my emotions show, maybe you think you did/said something wrong and should apologize.  But it's always there even when I'm hiding it, and if I get overwhelmed and let it out sometimes that's not actually a bad thing.  So don't apologize.  You didn't hurt me and you aren't making it worse.  Just let me be real for a moment.


I'm Not Okay And That's Okay

Seriously.  I've posted this before.  I'm not going to be okay for a long time.  I'm not supposed to be okay.  Life feels broken and strange to me now.  Eventually this will become my new normal, but that's a couple of years away.  I'm not the kind of person who can sit around doing nothing and waiting until I feel better, so yes you see me out and doing things I enjoy, but that doesn't mean I'm not still struggling. You can ask me if I'm doing okay if you want to, but don't look so disappointed when I say no.  If you don't want my real answer, then just say hi and keep moving.


I Like To Talk About Kevin

Don't be afraid to say his name.  If you knew him, tell me a story about him, especially if it's something I might not already know.  If you didn't know him, ask me about him.  A few weeks ago I was at an event with some new friends, and one asked me how Kevin & I met.  Just like you would ask any wife about her husband.  That made me feel so good, and I loved telling her.


No, Everything Doesn't Happen For A Reason

Oh, this might be my biggest irritation.  If you say this to me you might get a long rant back, or I might just say okay and walk away.  Just depends on how much energy I have at the moment.  I know you probably mean this to be comforting, but it's not.  My life is not some Hollywood movie where Kevin as the Hero sacrificed himself to save everyone else.  We live in a fallen world full of sin, disease, and sadness; a world where bad things just happen.  I am working on accepting this.  If you tell me Kevin died for a reason when I see plenty of other people surviving heart attacks, plenty of other overweight smokers still walking around holding hands with their wives, I am either going to get really angry or I'm going to ignore you.


But God Will Use This To Bring About Good

This is what I think you actually mean when you say things happen for a reason.  Kevin didn't die for some grand cause.  But God knew Kevin was going to die and so God will use that to bring about good things for those who love Him.  Do you see the difference?  I have a friend who is also a runner, and we used to talk about how we worried about our husbands' health and we wanted to find ways to encourage them to be active with us.  After Kevin died, my friend's husband started eating better and running with her.  He's lost almost 60 pounds and now runs faster than she does.  Kevin didn't die so that my friend's husband would live a healthier life.  To say that would imply that God values one man over the other, or that God is just capricious and mean.  I reject both of those ideas.  Kevin died because bad things happen.  But God knew it would happen and so he placed my friend in my life so that He could use what happened to bring about something good.


Let Me Know If....

Yeah, you're not going to hear from me.  When I think of the friends who's support has meant the most to me over the past months, it's the ones who call/text/message and say "Let's do this thing on this date" and I say yes and we plan it.  Or the ones who just show up at my door at just the right time.  It's truly an effort just to get out of bed many days.  I lie there still half-asleep trying to not wake up because I know once I do it's going to hurt.  If I can't even get out of bed on time, do you really think I'm going to take the initiative to plan a get-together?


You Don't Have To Do, Just Be

You can't fix it.  It's not fixable.  Kevin's going to stay dead and there is no way to avoid the pain of that.  I just have to move through it.  God will bind up my wounds in time, and He still has a plan and purpose for me, but all that takes time.  You can't make me feel better, but I don't expect you to.  That isn't your job.  Just be present, be there with me sometimes.
He [God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3
Don't worry if you think you have done or said something I mentioned in this post.  I know it's all from a place of caring, so it's all good.  I just wanted to get this out there so you'll know.

And whether you know Kevin or not, I hope you will enjoy this video his friend Darrell made.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Relay Style; Don't Care Bears; + TWD Season Premiere

Lots to cover today.  Lots of stuff coming up too, so that's why I combined this all into one blog post.

Back On My Feet Marathon Relay

On 10/3 I did the Back On My Feet Marathon Relay with some ladies from work, calling ourselves the Pace Cadets.  We had a couple of runners, a couple of run/walkers, and a couple of walkers on our team.  We also had a lot of heart and determination.  I led off with the first 3 laps (6.6 miles).  It was cold and windy, but still dry when I ran.  I did my laps in 1:17 and was very happy with my time.  The course is along the White River Parkway, so it's very pretty with a beautiful view of the city.  That wind though.  Brr!  As with any other lap races I've run, the faster runners who were passing me were always so encouraging.  I love that about runners!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Shopping For One

I went to Dick's Sporting Goods on Monday.  It was my first time in there since Kevin passed away.  I didn't really want to go yet, but I really wanted yellow knee socks for my Halloween costume and I knew Dick's would have them.  So it seemed like it would be better to go there and get my socks quickly instead of driving around searching other stores trying to find some.

I did okay, actually.  I didn't cry.  I got in got my socks and got out in only five minutes.  I talked out loud to Kevin while I was walking through the store, but I do that a lot anyway.  I probably wouldn't have been okay if I had to spend more than five minutes shopping, though.  Dick's was one of Kevin's favorite stores and we spent a lot of time in there.  Golf stuff for him, running & yoga stuff for me, soccer stuff for the kids, new Colts jerseys for all....  Good memories.  We always had fun shopping together, even if we were just browsing and not buying.

I have yet to make it out of the grocery store without crying yet, though.  Wal-Mart is the hardest, since if we were grocery shopping together that was Kevin's preferred store.  But any of them get to me.  I've even tried shopping on the other side of town in a store I've never been to before. But there's always this feeling that I can't be done shopping yet because I didn't get any snacks for Kevin; or I didn't get him any Mountain Dew.  And after I find myself reaching for the Little Debbies for the third time, the tears will start.

I end up apologizing to Kevin, as if he still cares about having Chex Mix to snack on, or something chocolate for when he wakes up hungry in the middle of the night.  It makes no sense to me, but it's how I feel in that moment.  It's just kind of how we were, too.  If one of us was in the store, any store, without the other; we always got some little treat or surprise for the other.  Just a way to say "I was thinking about you while I was out."  So leaving the store without something just for Kevin feels wrong to me, and I apologize, and I cry.

I actually still have in our room one can of Mountain Dew and one Twix bar.  I let the boys have all the rest of his Mountain Dew and snacks months ago, but I kept these two things.  It was always important to me to make sure Kevin had the things he liked to have so he'd feel comfortable and happy at home.  So I don't want to get rid of them just yet, but I know they won't keep forever.  At the moment I think I might have them on our anniversary, but that could change when that day actually gets here.

So the things I used to keep for Kevin are now for me.  They make me feel more comfortable, make it look like he was just here, or he'll be right back.  And right now I need that, so I think that's okay.  Right now is my time to weep and to mourn.
"There is a time for everything; and a season for every activity under the heavens... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4