Sunday, August 28, 2016

Surviving Year Two: Week 3

Lost & Found

This is Week 3 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

When he died, it felt like something broke inside me — like I was a wind-up toy with my clockworks torn out. I could limp along and function at the bare minimum, but nothing worked correctly, and I needed a lot of help.

I still catch myself waiting for something. I catch myself looking for something that is lost. Then I realize it is him I am waiting for. It is him who is lost, and I will never find him again because he is gone.  I am no one's special person anymore. No one wonders if I made it home safely. No one cares if I made dinner for myself or not.

I am slowly gathering up new pieces to replace my missing parts. In this place of losing everything, I am slowly finding old parts of me that I did not realize had been lost. There is immense power in being suddenly alone. I no longer have to answer to anyone else. I no longer have to bend and accommodate to another person's needs. Every single choice I make now, is for me and me alone.

Both Sides Now

And because I am suddenly alone, I had to get a full-time job, which severely cut down on my creative making time. But I am finding a way to prioritize that time, so that the weekends are full of new creations. I enjoy my job, but I have to have space to be strange and weird and make new images and videos and radio.

While I am loving and enjoying this time of creating, my heart is breaking because I cannot share my creations with my husband. He was my biggest cheerleader and helper in all my creative endeavors. I'm experimenting with new video ideas and new collaborations with wild, creative friends. I hope my husband is watching. I hope he is delighting in seeing me creatively blossom, in the midst of my broken-heartedness. I wish I could hear him laugh again, as he delighted in whatever weird thing I had recently made. I can hear him in my mind, saying what he often said to me in life: "You're amazing, baby. I love your beautiful mind."

Thank you for witnessing me. See you next week.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Grief Projects

Grief Projects

When my husband suddenly passed away in his sleep, I was thrown into a living a nightmare I thought I would never wake up from. Sometimes it still feels like that, but art, writing and other forms of creating saves my life every day, as I process my grief.

6 months after he passed away, I created the 6 Months of Grief Project, in which I made an image and wrote a post every single day for six months. That project ended on the one year anniversary of his death. When I finished that project, I fell into a deep depression and realized that I needed to keep creating around my grief, so I started Surviving Year Two, in which I check in and share my art and writing once a week.

We shall see what the future holds. Thanks for being a witness.


Grief Resources

These are an eclectic selection of grief resources I have collected for myself as I move through my grief. I hope they can be helpful to you too. When I find a new resource, I will return here to add it to the list. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:

Living with Grief Resources:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Surviving Year Two - Week 1 & 2

Lone Wolf

When I finished my #6MonthsOfGrief Project, I slipped into a dark depression. It got so dark that I had some serious suicidal thoughts that scared me. The one-year anniversary of my husband's death was part of it, but I also realized that my Grief Project was helping me process my grief in bigger ways than I could comprehend and when I finished it, there was nowhere for that energy to go and it started to tear my soul apart. 

During my #6MonthsOfGrief Project, every day the Grief Monster would wake up next to me and say, "Let's play! What are we going to make today?" and when I stopped playing with him, he got very, very angry and started breaking furniture and knocking me around and scratching me with his long claws. It hurt in a way I was unprepared for. I have to make time for him. I have to make time for my grief. So I have to keep creating around my grief, and while I cannot do an image a day, I would like to commit to putting something together once a week, that gathers up all the images and thoughts and threads I have been gathering around where my grief is, and weaving something together to share with all of you. 

My canine friend Friskie has passed on and images of her now sit on the altar with other dearly departed.

I have begun Year Two of being a Widow, and so far it is a million times harder than Year One. In that first year, I was in shock. I had a lot of help. I focused on mundane, bureaucratic tasks. I lived in the cocoon of grief. Now I am living my "life," now — even though it still doesn't feel like my own. I have a new job. I take care of myself (badly, but I do). He is really gone and I am really living that truth and it makes me want to stop living. But I know I must keep going and figure this out. He would want me to find joy again. He would want me to love again. He is rooting for me. He believes in me.

I need to keep being playful friends with the Grief Monster, or he will surely kill me. So I'm giving this a try. The artist in me doesn't like how similar this is to my last Grief Project, but I don't know what else to do and I have to do something. Perhaps it will grow and change and transform, as I do.

Thanks for being a witness. See you next week.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The End of my 6 Months of Grief Project

The End
This is the last day of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.

I did it. 183 posts. One post a day for 6 months. When I started, he was 6 months gone. Today he has been dead an entire year. Last night, friends came over and we had a bonfire. We burned spices in the fire and told stories about him. It was good way to spend this hard time.

I am amazed by this project. I will miss it and I'm also relieved that it is over. What comes next? We shall see how it all unfolds. I don't have many words right now. I just feel loved and hopeful.

Thank you to all of you for following along. One of the most important parts of this project is to be witnessed and I am so grateful to you all.

See you next time.

Friday, August 5, 2016

6 Months of Grief Project: Day 182

Out at Sea
This is Day 182 of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.

It is the eve of the first anniversary of my husband's death. I feel out at sea. But all day I have been getting calls and messages of love and support. In this morning's meditation at work, my colleagues chanted his name. Yesterday, I received a beautiful surprise bouquet. Tonight, I have a good friend making me dinner and tucking me in. Tomorrow, friends start showing up at my home to celebrate his life and death with a memorial bonfire. I feel held. I feel loved. I feel cared for. I am grateful. I am humbled. I am hopeful that healing will continue to come and wash me out to sea and back to shore again. I ride the tides.

Today's image is actually a screenshot from a short video I made on my lunch break, down by the Bel Marin Keys. You can see it on my Instagram feed.


I am very aware that this project can bring up a lot around yours or other's grief and loss, I will always follow every post with some online grief support resources that have helped me. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:

Living with Grief Resources:

And remember, I am sharing this project on a variety of platforms, including my InstagramTwitter, & Facebook feeds, as well as my Pinterest page on Grief. I use the hashtag #6MonthsOfGrief, so it can easily be found on any platform. Please share this project with anyone you think might need it.

Thank you, and see you tomorrow.