Friday, December 31, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
The tears come, because I am mad at myself. I am angry with myself for wishing it were a heart attack that I am having. I miss Dan every day, but these past few days I've missed him so much that it's hard to think about anything else. I constantly think of the past. I think of the future we never got to share. I also think of our happy reunion in the after life. "Memories of Us" by Keith Urban was playing on my way home tonight. He says, "I want to make you this promise, If there's life after this, I'm gonna be there to meet you with a warm wet kiss, yes I am." Really WPOC? You want a tragically sad widow who's doing 80 on the beltway to be crying too?? Not safe, my friends, not safe. I don't like thinking that Dan is up there just waiting for me. If I know him, though, I'm sure he's entertaining everyone and flashing that beautiful smile. I wish I could be there to laugh with the angels. I know I will one day when the good Lord wants me, but I could really use an angel myself right now.
Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Missing my Dan have consumed me. I can't remember what I'm saying when I talk. I can't fake a smile. I only want to be alone. Yes, I am lonelier than any human you've ever known, but, I am only lonely for my husband, my best and most treasured friend.
I believe I've mentioned before, that the days after Dan passed, I HATED the sun. Every morning that it rose I would curse the day and any light it brought with it. Darkness was what covered my heart, and how dare the sun shine like it was just another day? I feel like that now. I drove to work this morning and the sun hit my face. As I progressed in my healing, I would cherish these moments and take a minute to be grateful for my blessings when I felt the warmth. Today, I got angry. I hit the steering wheel and cursed everyone who drove by me with wedding rings on. Why do you get to go home to your wife today, or your husband, and I have to continue down this road alone? WHY????
Why have I regressed to this place of despair? This feeling that I am completely empty inside? I knew that the holidays would be hard, and the cool weather. But, sprinkle in some other elements and I'm just not Tiffin anymore. I'm not the strong widow who has made leaps and bounds in her new life. I am a girl, just a girl who wants to find a cave and stay there until I don't have to fake smiles, I don't have to wear a coat, I don't have to see the sun, and until my chest stops hurting.
You wouldn't think after rereading this post, that I've made any progress in my healing what-so-ever. I guess this is one of those "dips" on the roller coaster ride.
I'm going to sleep on the couch tonight with my boys and their "slumber party" guest, Joie (A beautiful puggle who has a crush on Gunner). I will watch the sun come up tomorrow and hope that I don't get angry because of it. I will think about one of my favorite writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his encouraging words; "What a new face courage puts on everything." I pray that I have this new face tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
If I had a black heart, I would make public dark, dark secrets that would burn to the core.
If my tongue were forked, and horns crowned my head, I would retaliate evil with evil.
If I were corrupt, my most devious resourses would be deployed.
If my soul were full of hate, venomous slander would accompany my every move.
If I were malicious, revenge would consume my days and keep my eyes from closing at night.
If I were spiteful, no respect would be shown to those who did not respect me.
If life were perfect, evilness would not exist. Death would not have seperated me from my husband, and we would all be living our fairy tales. The world is far from perfect, and fairy tales do not exist. However, I do believe in Heaven and the perfection of the promised land. I believe in grace and forgiveness, even though I have to work at both of them. I also believe:
If I hadn't known such deep love, I wouldn't be the person I am today.
If I didn't have such an amazing support system, I might not be so far along on my journey of hope and healing.
If you receive jewels in your crown when you reach the Promise Land, my family and friends' crowns will be too heavy to wear.
If there is only one set of footprints in the sand right now, it is because I am being carried.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Sitting outside at the beautiful park, the sun was warming every one's face, and the smiles of the happy couple were warming every one's heart.
It was the first wedding I have attended since losing the man I pledged to spend my life with. I was apprehensive about the emotions I knew would slink upon me, but so far was doing well. The officiant spoke eloquently and beautifully a speech about love, respect, and bearing all things that life brings together, as a union.
"Together as a union": bearing all sorrow and tragedy and anything life lays upon them. Here is where my tears start. What happens when the tragedy is that life itself is taken away and that union of two now becomes one? I know what happens, but I don't want to know anymore. I paid my dues, I've made great strides in my healing, but now, right now...I want my husband back.
Doug wore his "Dan Bracelet" through the ceremony. More tears. The officiant spoke of remembering the friends who were no longer with us. Audible gasp, harder tears.
My thoughts: Tiffin, Remember why you are here, this is not about you. This is a ceremony of utter happiness. Get it together. Stop imagining Dan by your side. Stop remembering how he kissed the corners of your eyes when you cried. Picture him saying, "lock it up T, lock it up." Get a tissue, take a breath, focus.
The wind picks up. He is here. He wrapped his arms around me I heard him tell me to let go of the sorrow and give up my pain to the wind that was him. Let it sail away, T, just be free.
The entire wedding from start to finish was perfectly magnificent. The bride and groom glowed. There were moments where I couldn't stop my tears, but my rejoicing for the happy couple superseded all. Doug and Eileen will have a life of prosperity and euphoria, this I know.
Today I wanted to sit at Dan's grave, dig up the hard dirt, and cover myself with it. I want to feel the peace he feels. I want to just be still. Again, I hear him: T, stop. Your turmoil is wreaking havoc on your spirit. Others need your spirit to be strong, you need your spirit to be strong. Don't beat yourself up for moving forward in your life, I am so proud of you. There is nothing that you can do now that will make me love you any less. Our love reaches across both of these worlds. Just live, my honeyah, please live on.
I knew I would have these days, where I stood on my new life's foundation and angrily kicked it down. I also know that I am able to rebuild, especially with the love I have from my friends and family. Tomorrow I will work hard, stand tall, live on. But tonight, I will let myself cry.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
It's nights like tonight, when I close my eyes to pray, I find it hard to thank the Lord for my blessings. Don't get me wrong, I know I have been blessed in many ways and in many facets of my life. That being said, I also have moments, like now, when I feel punished. I find myself asking God, begging rather, not to take anything else from me. It's not, "Thank you for this and thank you for that or please help someone else and lift so and so up". It should be, but it's not. God was the only thing I clung to weeks and months after Dan's death. Then, all of sudden, I can't pray unselfishly anymore. I find myself asking:
"Lord- Please let Marlo and Gunner live forever. I know Gunner ate 2 pair of underwear today, don't let it hurt him. I know Marlo ate the entire cantaloupe, let him pass it. Keep my sister, Buggy, Ry, and folks safe and happy. Please don't take any of my friends or family. I can't go any lower than this, Father, I wouldn't be able to go on."
I have these thoughts that Dan was taken from me to bring me down a notch, to teach me something. I start to panic when I think what might happen if I haven't learned the lesson I am supposed to learn yet. I refuse to live in fear. I hate thoughts like this. I need this to pass.
I need to believe that my God knows the sadness of this place, that he is holding me and understands my anger. He forgives me of my faults, instead of punishing me for them.
For those of you out there who bend The Almighty's ear, think of me. I am again, being selfish in my request, however, when I get back to a praying place, I promise to return the favor.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
- I am in an extreme hurry and am in the exact position at the light where I get to sit through it twice.
- I pull by the only pump available at the gas station, and the credit machine is broken. I go inside and hear, "We very very sorry, ATM not working to today."
- I give someone the tampon out of my purse and the next day Aunt Flo comes. I haven't replaced it yet.
- I stand and am teaching all day, being animated, exciting, and effective, and the moment I sit down for a minute, the principal wonders in. I swear they should wear bells!
- I choose to shop in the only store around without a bathroom after I just ate cream sauce. You don't want me to elaborate.
- I drank my first beer and am headed to the bar when I slip of my cute wedge. I have now been labeled the girl who should be cut off and the nights only just begun.
- Someone that is close talking me has a booger or horrifically bad halitosis.
- I am running through the trails and drop trow to pee. I squat over the only poison ivy bush in the forest.
- I send a semi-insulting text message about someone TO the person it was about. That is Karma slapping me in my smug face! (Sidebar: This happened on more than one occasion with Dan. We would be arguing and I would be texting Allyson or Jaime about what a jerk he was being. A few seconds later, I would hear Dan call up from downstairs, "I love you too, jackass." Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! And yes, that did happen on more than one occasion. I don't learn lessons very well.)
- Marlo or Gunner decide to dump-out only when the streets are teaming with people or cars. I have since started taking them out after dark!
- I am in a meeting and my stomach makes a fart noise.
- I introduce people and use the wrong name.
- I tell an inappropriate joke to the wrong audience.
- The coupon, promotional code, discount credit, or other VIP, MVP card is EXPIRED!!!
There are also without fail moments, more recently, that I never take for granted. I look forward to these moments, because they are signs from above. They are not moments that I move on from quickly, some because I want to linger in the moment, and some because of the pain. Either way, I cherish them.
- When I go to a restaurant or bar, Dan's favorite songs come on right when I need to know he's with me.
- When I am driving, songs that we considered "our" songs come on to keep me company through the drive.
- When I am toiling in the yard, the blue jay watches me and lets me get so close. He wasn't scared off the day I broke down in the yard.
- When I visit his grave site, I am the only person there. It's just the two of us again.
- When I smell lemon or lime I am flooded with memories of our wedding day.
However, my favorite without fail moments have come on my runs ever since the passing of Dan.
Without fail, when I run, I get goosebumps whether it's 75 degrees or 110. I know he runs with me every time. Those goosebumps encourage me to finish this race called life. Finish it for my Dan.
And I will.....without fail.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I broke downand had to abandon the mower in the yard and go inside . I cried, screamed, pounded my palms and heals into the carpet. The more I cried, the angrier I became because no matter how loud or hard these tears and sounds came, it wasn't bringing him home. When there were no more tears streaming from my eyes, and my my head felt like it had been hit with a 9 lb hammer, I needed a release. I started to write. The pain shifted from my heart to my head, to my fingers as my thoughts and words raced each other on a page. I wanted to be in the page. I wanted to wrap myself up in these words like a blanket while dancing in each and every memory as they happened. I wanted this whole thing to be a movie and I could now write my alternate ending. Turning this horror film into a romantic comedy....or at the least a comedy. I now share with you my alternate ending, my happily ever after, my sweet sweet dream.
December 31, 2009: Dan comes home from the gym. We go have steaks, as planned, with the Merediths at Flemmings in Baltimore. We drink way too much, and laugh until our sides hurt. We come home and crash lovingly into one another's arms. The next day we sit around on the couch watching football and eating food that is terrible for us. We joke with each other saying, "I can hear you getting fatter." Several weeks later we find out I am pregnant, our "New Year's Eve Baby". We still go to Italy where I can't indulge in the wine as planned, but the baby and I put on 25 pounds of pasta. In May Dan graduates with his MBA from Loyola. I start a new school year in August. Allyson, Sharon, and I are talking day care plans instead of setting up our classrooms. In October I give birth to the first of the 3 boys we wanted. Marlo won't stop licking the baby, and Gunner is too jealous to pay him any mind. Dan never stops smiling. He smiles until 60 some years later when his wife of 62 years (me) is called Home. I go first because that's what we talked about. I HAVE to go first, because I wouldn't be able to handle it. I wait for Dan in Heaven as he lives out the rest of the beautiful life he earned and deserves. The End.
I spent a lot of time mourning the "what could have been" yesterday. Sometimes I just need to let those thoughts out, and free them into the world, so I have. I thank you for allowing me the freedom to share without judgement.
Acknowledging that Dan is gone, and deciding to still live has proven my hardest challenge yet. I felt defeated yesterday, but just as one of my favorite quotes proclaims, "Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow." I did. I woke up this morning and tried again. I conquered today, and that's all I need to worry about; one day at a time.
Monday, August 16, 2010
With another school year comes another twist in my road. Who am I? The ty-dye sign outside of my classroom says, "Mrs. Shriner", but am I still Mrs. Shriner? I still have my wedding rings on, I dusted off our wedding photo that sits on my desk, I still feel married, but the truth is, I'm not. God, it hurts to say that. I deleted and rewrote that statement 10 times. I didn't ask to NOT be married anymore, this wasn't a choice.
Most of the students coming into 3rd grade know my situation. They will not ask why I go by Mrs. Shriner, but don't have a husband. What do I tell the other ones? Call me Ms. Shriner? Widow Shriner? (That just sounds scary) Maybe I should go retro like Prince and become a symbol. People will refer to me as, "The Teacher Formally Known As...." No matter what anyone calls me, it's going to hurt.
Mrs. Shriner is just a reminder of the husband I no longer have. Ms. Shriner makes me feel like I was never married, and I refuse to go back to my maiden name. As much as I loved being Tiffin Lilly, I was so proud to take Dan's name.
I am going to continue to wear Dan's name proudly, no matter how much it hurts. We promised to be Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Shriner forever, however, for us, forever was entirely too short.
Friday, August 13, 2010
- It's Friday night at 10:28pm. The extent of my Friday night "action" now comes from a wet slobbery kiss from Marlo and if I'm lucky, Gunner will let me be the outside spoon. I miss Dan's lips, I miss his arms.
- The only movies on TV are romances. Gross. I would rather stab myself in the eye than see another "happily ever after." Thank you "Last of the Mohicans", for ruining my night, and possibly the whole weekend.
- The ice maker makes me jump, and any noise outside is absolutely that serial killer they never caught from the shows on Investigation Discovery that I watch all the time. (I know, I should stop watching them, but I just can't.) I think I need a better weapon than the 10lb flashlight next to my bed.
- I could go out with my friends, but this pity party is hard to leave.
Should I just keep going? It feels pretty good. Never thought I'd do an "I hate" but I feel it coming:
I hate that True Blood only comes on once a week, I could totally use a V-fix right now, I hate that Eric from True Blood doesn't know he is in love with me yet, I hate that I am currently out of Jujyfruits, I actually hate the fact that I have this candy addiction, I hate that the Royal Farms by my house is so scary or I would go buy myself some candy right now, I hate that when I go to bed my upstairs is 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house, I hate that I'm going to bed at 10:30 on a Friday night, but my number 1 I HATE is.....Jessi, you're gonna love this......white sunglasses. Random right? I do though, there is just something about white sunglasses that drives me nuts. Please forgive me if you own a pair....but burn them immediately.
Thank you for being a part of this very pitiful (and at times random and weird) party. I actually feel better and am semi-smiling. Love how therapeutic this whole blog thing is! Hey....I just said I love!! Things are looking up.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
We were driving and she asked me to name the most important thing I gained from the weekend at Camp. I knew right away, but I thought carefully about my answer. I am conditioned to say what I think people want to hear, what isn't going to scare them, or something that will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. Conditioned to say something that when the listener thinks about the conversation and they lay their head down at night, they silently smile saying, "Tiffin's going to be okay." I came up with something generic, smiled, and changed the subject.
Later that night at dinner, Jessi and I were laughing and sharing, again. I have always felt that I could open up to Jessi about anything. She doesn't get overly concerned, she isn't a crier, she ponders responses before speaking, and best of all is blatantly honest. I decided she deserved the same.
I told Jessi that The One Thing that I had taken away from this trip to San Diego, and my stay at Camp Widow was this: I want to live. Sounds simple, right? We all want to live. Well, for me it hasn't been that simple. The past 7 months, I haven't gone out seeking death or even had a "death wish" but I have silently told God that if he needed me sooner rather than later, that would be more than OK. I don't feel that way anymore. I WANT to live. It just feels good saying it, writing it, living it.
There are many things left for me to do in this life. I still have grieving to do, and tears to cry, but I also have laughing to do and joy to feel. I will allow myself to live. I will allow myself to love. I will allow myself to mourn the family that Dan and I never had, but I will also not shut out the fact that I am still young, and could possibly still have children some day. I will do all of these things knowing that Dan is my cheering section in the clouds.
I keep thinking about the movie Gladiator, one that I've seen hundreds of times. Russel Crow sees his deceased family and so shook and plagued with grief, he can't even make noise with his tears, he drools, and collapses to the ground. I know this pain. I've lived that moment. I then think of his fight (literally and figuratively) to live. He makes a friend who gives him the will and want to survive even through the pain of his loss. When Russel Crow does eventually die, his friend looks to the sky and makes a promise, "I will see you again, but not yet...not yet."
I am taking that quote with me everyday, everywhere. I will see Dan again, but not yet.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
When I first saw you jogging in your Adidas sweat suit, with your two tiny dogs fluffy tails wagging, my gaydar started beeping. Then the first words came out of you mouth, and I was sure. However, the sentences you formed confused me, because the words you spoke were giving anyone who doesn't have Garmin Gaydar the illusion that you were straight. Here are a few things that made our chance meeting that day at the beautiful waterfront so unforgettable:
1. When you told my friend and I how "it sucks" that our husbands were dead.
2. That you actually asked me twice how my husband died because you were too focused on the next round of bull shit that came out of your mouth to listen to me the first time.
3. When you told us that you were about to become a "widow too" because your girlfriend had been missing for a few days, and she is a raging alcoholic. (Good thing you're jogging with your palmoranians and hitting on people trying to enjoy their lunch instead of looking for her, AND the fact that men aren't widows, especially when they aren't even married, but I digress.)
4. I enjoyed how you looked us up and down and then told us how your girlfriend (when she wasn't in the hospital recovering from liver failure) was so beautiful that we would LOVE and actually GIVE ANYTHING to be in her shoes.
5. I truly appreciate, because this is a talent, how many times you were able to mention ATM, bank, international wire transfers, real estate property, allowance, and money in one short conversation. Kudos!
If I didn't think Dan purposefully placed you in that moment, just to see my facial expressions, and hear sarcastic comments, you would have gotten a round house kick to the face.
The girl who would actually rather be a widow than anywhere CLOSE to your girlfriends shoes!
Dear Mr. I think I am the most important person in the room,
You are a widower at Camp WIDOW! I am SO sorry for your loss and would never down-play it, however, that being said: STOP interrupting the speaker to share intimate details about your wife's suicide, your children, your dating experiences, and ESPECIALLY your new girlfriend Jasmine!!! I am here to learn coping mechanisms.
P.S. Your jokes aren't funny.
The disgruntled widow who feels like taking some anger out on you.
Dear Mean Tiffin,
You should be a little ashamed of yourself at all the judging you did today. You are far from perfect, and most of the time, your jokes aren't funny either. You should not chuckle at the fact that when grace and "the opposite of grace" were defined, you fit 5 out of 10 for the opposite! You are also going to hell for the fact that right after you cried your eyes out, used about 20 tissues, and shared deep, raw emotional feelings about your loss of Dan, you looked out the window and wondered if that one guy that had his shirt off earlier was still at the pool. Please take careful consideration of why you are here this weekend.