Archive for April, 2013

Small Steps

Small steps

I took this photo on Friday evening.
After sundown.
On the beach.
Just as the moon rose over the island.
Out of my comfort zone …  and yet feeling perfectly at home.

On Saturday, I did an actual photoshoot for a friend’s family.
Like professional photographers do.
Feeling nervous that these people trusted me to capture the essence of their family on film.  Hoping I didn’t stuff it up completely.
Out of my comfort zone again.

I am challenging myself to do things out of my comfort zone.  …. in very small steps.

I know I have a long way to go.

But it feels good to be trying new things…. getting a bit of the old me back.

The old me that Greg fell in love with…..

Maybe, just maybe, I can glean a little confidence from knowing that he would be proud of me….




 I've got my SASSY pants on
and I'm NOT afraid to 
use them!

I had it Before.
But now?
Now it is really hard to find without my one-man cheer squad.

I know I am clever.  Really very clever. I mean, I have it certified on multiple pieces of paper fergoodnesssakes.

I graduated top of my university class for my education qualification; second top of my class for my science qualification.  I was given scholarships to do my PhD.  Which I was granted on the first submission.  My final GPA was 6.7 (out of 7).

….and yet I doubt myself all the time.

Before, I had Greg to talk my ideas through with and in so doing, strengthen my confidence that I did actually have the smarts required for anything.

But Greg boosted my confidence in other ways as well…..

Knowing that he thought I was beautiful and sexy did wonders for my confidence.

When I was a blimp on legs, pregnant with our big almost-10-pound baby boy, he constantly let me know that I was not the whale I thought I was, but a beautiful, pregnant mama.

When I was given the worst hair-cut of my life (the silly hairdresser put LAYERS in my naturally-curly hair and gave me a mop) he laughed at my high-humidity-frizz-induced tantrum and said “with boobs like yours, nobody is looking at your hair”.  (….and nobody but him would get away with saying that).

When I was timidly starting out with my new camera, he complimented my “eye” for a shot.

He’d hear me sing in the shower and applaud.

When I tried a new recipe, he’d clean the plate.

When I tried any new thing, he’d tell me I could Do it.

My one-man cheer-squad.

….and now I find my confidence slipping in all things.  I doubt my decisions on almost everything.  I have no confidence in my looks or sex-appeal so I don’t even bother trying to find anyone new.  I frequently bore myself and wonder that I don’t bore my friends to death.  I cook the same meals, over and over.  I rarely sing in the shower (songs have been replaced with tears).  I look at my photography and suspect that the other photographers I know just say kind things about my photos because they feel sorry for me.

I don’t feel this way all the time (I do not suffer from depression), and I never feel insecure about ALL of  things at once … but sometimes,  more than one of the above affects the way I think about myself.

…..and I wish my personal cheerleader was here to remind me that I am OK.




So my new bed arrived on Saturday (and I LOVE it).

….and being a wanna-be photographer, I dutifully  took some photos and shared them on my 365Project.
…and being a little bit clueless, I also shared my WV post (text, not link) about buying a new bed with the photo (changed somewhat to reflect the emotional aspect of buying a new bed, mostly to distract all my facebook friends from immediately saying “ooohahhh, lucky you, I wish *I* could afford a new bed” (and I’d then have to refrain from pointing out that if they didn’t need the overseas holiday every year and the new car, they too probably could have a new bed to).
I forgot how many of my friends and family lurk there to see my photos…..

Anyhooo…… it was a good lesson to me as to why I don’t share my writing here with my non-widowed friends and family……

I can’t tell you the number of concerned messages I have had by well-meaning friends and family worried about the state of my mental health because I actually expressed  the things I freely express here on this blog.
Basically, my emotional response in seeing my old bed taken away was a bit too scary for some of my dear friends to cope with: they worried about me.

I tried to reassure them that they don’t need to worry about me.  I miss Greg All The Time and this was just another thing that was part of letting go.
I was repeatedly e-mailed a variation on the theme that “Greg is around me and a piece of furniture doesn’t matter”.
Well obviously I know that he was so much more than a bed, but I just can’t seem to explain to them that its not the bed…. its the closeness…. the memories of being in that bed that nobody else knows about and it was sad to see it go.  It still went though …. I knew I couldn’t keep it, just as I know it is just a bed.

I know my friends and family are just showing their concern for me, but it does tend to feel like I am a child being placated.  The concern is real, and I know they don’t know what to say, but I find that they really don’t understand.
It confirms my decision not to share my WV posts with my non-widowed friends: they just don’t know how to react to my feelings.  Much as I know its what they all want for me, I am not “all better now”, nor will I ever be.  …and explaining that I will never be “over” my husband’s death is tiring. …and its sad to tell them that while I appreciate everything they do for me, they can’t fix me, nor do I expect them to.

So thank you all for the opportunity you give me each week to pour out my thoughts and feelings freely, without worry that my emotions are too much, or that I need to be fixed, or reminded that Greg still loves me.
I thank you for the cheap therapy you provide me in being able to share my pain with you without fear of scaring you with the enormity of it all.
Most of all, I thank you for just understanding.
….and for reminding me that I am not alone.

Inner Circle

Inner Circle….


I came across this article today: How Not to Say the Wrong Thing.   The premise is that when someone is at the centre of a life-altering crisis, they are the inner circle and each concentric cirlce around them is a step down from the crisis…. they provided this diagram which explains it better than I can:

The rules of kvetching

While it is based on instances where someone is dying from terminal illness, I think it still works for those of us dealing with the after-effects of death.

Interestingly, the comments on the article (you have to click through to read them) that take issue with the order of rings seems to come from those who are technically in rings 3 or 4.

I’ve been in those rings before and really did feel aggrieved that information wasn’t being shared with me… but thank goodness I was able to pour comfort inwards rather than the fear and desperation I was feeling.  …..Both my inlaws died from cancer just before Greg died (Greg’s mother a year to the day before him).  I was gutted when we discovered she had breast cancer and I think I prayed to every deity I could to spare her and allow the doctors to brilliantly halt her cancer.  After all, we’d just lost Greg’s dad 2 years previously to an aggressive cancer.  I remember being desperate for information and frozen with fear.  I hated not hearing updates as soon as they were available from the doctors.  I just thank whatever deity it was that I prayed to that I was able to keep my feelings in check and just *be there* for Greg as he lost his mother.

But now that I am firmly in ring 1, I look out at those in the outer circles and thing “yes – I really don‘t need you to dump your feelings on me, for whatever you are feeling, it is exponentially larger for me.  You may not see it in me because I am so good at putting on this “coping face”, but trust me when I say it is worse for those of us in the inner circle“.
I never realised this until AFTER I became a widow ….

But now… now I know how surreal it can be when I find myself comforting others because my husband’s death is too hard for them to accept.
They tell me I am strong because I don’t dissolve into tears every time I think of himbecause they do every time his name is mentionedThey never see the oceans of tears I cry at home away from those “looky-loos”. ….and I don’t just remember him when his name is mentioned …. I remember him with every part of me all the time.  All. The. Time.

So yes, I really do think it is those of us who are faced with the empty chair at the dinner table, the ache that can only be relieved by arms that would hold us just so, the secret smile that has disappeared, the scent, the sound of his voice, the taste of his lips, the personal sounding-board and one man cheer-squad …… and the empty side of the bed,  Every Single Day who are in the inner circle.   ….and I for one, don’t need extra angst coming from the outer circles…..

Comfort inwards: Angst outwards.  

I like this idea.

….(but I also like the idea that those in the inner circles can do BOTH comfort and angst to those in the centre of other circles).