Update

Hello …. helloo…??

It’s been a while.

….a long while.

I’m not even sure if anyone is even here anymore…..

That’s OK though, because I’m barely here anymore.

….and by that I mean that the kids and I have been off trying to live a big, juicy life.

Both kids are relatively healthy and happy (as far as 13 and 11 year olds can be). Both are doing well at school and have nice friends and are growing into decent, clever, loving, funny and kind humans.

I’m working full time: as of a couple of years ago, I’ve been a permanent employee of the education department.
I love my job and it makes me so very tired….

Our family has been joined by a gorgeous pup who should’ve come to live with us much sooner than he did as he soothes jangled nerves instantly.

…..and

and….

I’ve met a lovely guy.
We’ve been together for a year now.
He’s the man who came After.
….and we were meant to be.

We still miss Greg.

Every day.

But my story didn’t end when he died.
I wanted it to end for a long time after he died.
But I’m still writing it as best I can…..

….and I’m loving my story again….

 

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It is NOT the same

word cloud widow

OK – I have got my ranty pants on here because I am So Tired of hearing the following statement:

“You are lucky – my husband is such an arsehole – I wish He was dead”.

Usually uttered by my divorced friends who keep on telling me How Much Tougher they have it due to custody battles and financial settlements.

And I understand that at this point in time, they truly hate the person they once loved.  That they are hurting and feel betrayed by love.  That legal battles are not fun. Disputes over children are fraught with emotion and righteous indignation.   Financial hardship is hurting their lifestyle.
And I feel the hate for their husband emanating from their mouths in steams of vitriolic rage.

But.

Being widowed and being divorced are NOT the same.

I listen to all these reasons quietly, repeating in my head that the do not know what they are saying because they have not walked in my shoes.

I deeply love my husband.  Still.

I  cry myself to sleep every night.  Still.

In my darkest moments, I fine tune my exit strategy.  Still.

I look upon the compensation payout as blood money.
I am sick of the ongoing legal battle for the insurance company to pay out the full amount of compensation.
I am still trying to live day-to-day on a single wage and the entirety of ALL expenses fall on my shoulders.
I am worried about what will happen to my-husbands-now-MY-share of the farm that is jointly owned with his brother who can’t see that I need the money from the sale of said farm more than I need to retain ties with a farm that I am convinced caused the premature deaths of both his parents.
I tire of being the only adult making major life decisions that affect our children.
I would dearly love to find a great bloke and fall in love again …. but   Greg set the benchmark so high that I doubt I will ever meet another soul who is so perfectly imperfect for me.  Even if I was ready.

But I don’t say anything in response to these friends who tell me that death is easier than divorce because their Dad died and they had to put up with their batty mother who went  insane and life was still so much better than being divorced ….  I don’t comment that losing a father is not the same as losing a husband and I don’t say that almost every widow I know has thought of suicide at one time or another and I don’t point out that her mother’s insanity was probably deep grief mixed with depression and terror.

But perhaps I should.

Perhaps I should say the one thing I know to be true:

Death and Divorce are NOT the same and until you have walked in both sets of shoes and reflected on each experience through the distance of time, please do NOT tell me how much harder you’ve got it.

Anxiety

I have always been highly strung.

I give the impression of being laid back, but I’m like the proveribial swan, paddling furiously under the surface.

 

When I first studied at university, I made sure I got first class honours and a scholarship to finish my PhD.

When I went back to do my Diploma of Education the year before Greg died, I went a step further, getting straight 7s (highest score) and graduating with high distinction at the very top of my class, winning the prize for my year (which turned out to be a fancy dinner and a certificate).

It wasn’t that I was driven to succeed, it was that I was anxious that anything less than my best would spell failure.

 

….and that was what I was like when Greg was ALIVE and using his calming, grounding influence to keep me from shooting through the roof at every little thing that even mildly rocked my plan for world domination world.

 

Now, I find myself unable to calm down when things become a little stressful.

There is no voice of reason there to remind me that nobody is going to spontaneously combust unless I run around like a chook with its head cut off to hose out the myriad of little and big fires in my life.

 

I am currently stressed …. my job is under threat.  It’s a long story that involves a new government cutting jobs which will result in those eager young beavers on contracts (like me) being pushed aside as the old guard who have been working in policy for the past few years, dust off their rusty skills to return to the classroom, pushing us out in their wake.

 

I’ve been quite anxious about how I will support us next year (when my contract ends).

 

I’ve been quite shouty and didn’t I sleep for two nights:  I get more shouty when I am tired.

 

To put it mildly, I’ve been barrels of fun to be around….

 

I am trying very hard to keep some perspective…… but it’s been hard without my human security blanket here to calm me down.

 

Today, instead of flying into a rage or crying or rocking in the corner, I’ve tried to remind myself that possibly the worst thing to ever happen to me has already happened (Note to Universe – this is not a challenge to see if you can up the ante).

 

I have other options for work: we will not starve to death.

 

…and I’ve been spending as much time as I can outside: in the garden; walking through the bushland across the road from my house; strolling along the waterfront.

 

Trying to channel Greg’s calming influence…..

Trying to hear his voice through the whir of my mind.

 

…and so far, I’m succeeding ….. it’s …… OK.

 

…and maybe that’s all I can ask for just now.

 

This is a repost of my post on Widow’s Voice

 

 

Things I don’t miss about Christmas

I feel short-changed.

For years, we would debate about whose family home we would spend Christmas in.
…. my parent’s home with their clean, relatively modern furniture, good food, great company and pleasant atmosphere
… or with his large, loud, argumentative family at the farm.

Now I loved my dearly departed parents-in-law, but they lived in one of the filthiest homes I have ever entered.

And I say that with love.

They lived on a cattle farm in Queensland. Hot, humid Queensland. The house was packed to the rafters with “stuff” (think Hoarders but organised into piles of stuff and without actual rubbish).
There were no fly screens on the windows, so the heat-and-humidity-loving flies, dung beetles, spiders, large moths, frogs, mice and *snakes* also enjoyed sharing their home with them. Dust and fly-spots covered everything. And the very first time I ate a meal there, I was sitting under the fluoro light at the tiny kitchen table and a dung beetle fell onto my plate.

One Christmas, when I mentioned that a pervasive odour was making me feel ill, they lovingly and laughingly blamed this on the fact that I was pregnant and feeling morning sickness.
Until they found the dead cat under the water tank.

This on top of the looong trip to get there in the summer heat. The trip would normally take 3 hours … but at Christmas, it was often more like 4 or 5 hours due to the traffic on the single highway heading north from the city. …this was done with babies and small children who needed regular feeding and changing. Or the memorable trip home one night that included no less than 5 stops by the side of a busy highway so my toilet-training daughter could pee.

…and then of course, there were his siblings who like nothing better than a good, loud argument at each and every gathering.

So you may get why I spent the lead up to Christmas every year trying to persuade my ever-loving husband that, as we were a family now, Christmas should be spent at OUR house and the travelling north could wait until New Years. After all, they were on farm time and never really cared what day it was anyway so celebrating a week later was not a ridiculous concept.

…and I finally won that one in 2009.

We got exactly one single Christmas as a family in our home. One single Christmas where the kids weren’t given something like a trampoline from Santa, then told that we were leaving an hour later so they wouldn’t get to use it for a few days.

One single cool, peaceful, quiet, clean, comfortable family Christmas at our home with our kids.

…and this year, I’d like nothing more than to pack up my darling husband, kids, a week’s worth of food, clean towels, bedding and presents and spend 6 hours on the highway in order to have a corned meat sandwich in 40 degree heat in a dusty, fly-ridden, snake-infested house with a bunch of crazy, argumentative in-laws.

Just so long as we ALL got to be there….
Another repost from my posting at Widow’s Voice

My Dragonfly

my dragonfly on 365 Project
Yesterday should have been our 14th wedding anniversary. …. but late yesterday afternoon, this dragonfly brushed against my arm and settled on the garden wall next to me.
…and instantly, I was reminded of the story of the dragonfly and felt like Greg was there with me.

The dragonfly story (from here):

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top. When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

Nine years ago today ….

…. I became a mother.

I had finally achieved my life’s ambition – to be a wife and mother and have my very own perfect family.

Seriously.

That’s always what I wanted to be, despite my prizes and academic awards and the push from every direction to focus on my career and climb that fickle beast known as “the ladder”.

…and I achieved a lot before I became a mother.  …. before I became a wife.

I got myself a science degree and backed it up with first class honours the following year and a PhD shortly thereafter…. courtesy of a cushy scholarship which some bigwigs saw fit to give me .

I travelled the world and spent a few months living and working in Africa.

I ran a research station and worked as a scientist managing huge budgets, staff and still trying to do actual science in the middle somewhere….

But all I ever really wanted was to be a wife and mother.

…and on this day nine years ago, my beautiful girl was born and Greg and I were so proud of ourselves we thought we wold burst with happiness.

I had Done It.  My own nirvana, right there in the form of a tiny baby girl and my husband’s loving embrace.

I never had post-natal depression … I had post-natal elation.

…and we were lucky enough to repeat the performance two years later when I gave birth to our son.

My wonderful husband AND my pigeon pair: my perfect family.  Nirvana.

…but I only got to have it all for seven and a half years.

Not long enough.  not long enough at all.

On this day last year, all I could think about was what I’d lost.

But this year, I am choosing to remember what I have … two very wonderful children and to have known the love of a husband and father who was perfectly imperfect.

So Happy 9th birthday, darling K.  I am so lucky to be your Mum.

XXXX

My Nana

This gallery contains 1 photo.

My Nana was the kind of Nana that everybody else wanted. She baked every kind of confection you could name and she baked them beautifully. She gardened.  A lot.  Her garden was like a mini botanical garden and where I first fell in love with plants. She bought me dresses. She insisted I wear “good” […]