Sunday, October 13, 2013

My time at the ocean

If I had written this post when I first arrived home last evening, it would have had a different theme.  I was on a super high after spending 4 days in Folly Beach, South Carolina at an ArtBeach Retreat. A beautiful beach house, butterflies, amazing art lessons, sunrises that take your breath away, wonderful women, daily dolphin visits, yoga on the beach, dragonflies, Hummer limo ride, laughter, connections, sharing. It was exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It filled my heart and touched my soul.

Even the flight delays yesterday didn't dampen my spirit. I was excited to return home, to get busy DOING the things I've been thinking, planning, preparing to do but could not actually get STARTED doing. I felt I had turned an important corner.

And then life hit me up side the head yet again. I don't want to share details, but think it's important for other widows - other people - to know that there is no escaping the ups and downs of life. They happen to all of us. What we must do is find a way to live through them. Somehow. Tears during the night when the issue first surfaced. Little sleep. More tears. Tears again this morning when my feelings were hurt by some silly Facebook stuff. Good Lord, I'm 62 years old.  But a hurt nonetheless ... and it caused my ugly feelings to surface ... I am friendless, invisible, unappreciated, unliked, unwanted.

Many may be surprised to learn I have these feelings ... often. They see my posts on Facebook and in Widowed Village. I'm the cheerleader, the volunteer, the positive one, the 'never say no' gal. I'm the one trying new things, stepping outside my comfort zone. But rest assured I carry these ugly feelings with me wherever I go; I just work extra hard to try to keep them below the surface. I believe it's important to not put a focus on the negative. When Vern was alive, I didn't have to work hard at that. His support and love helped me to be strong and confident. But now ... now it's just me. And it's hard work to do this stuff on my own. While I'm missing him.  But I must. There is no other choice.

During the cancer years and since Vern's death, I have bristled when people would say how STRONG I was. It felt like an excuse to not have to offer assistance or encouragement or anything at all ... because my strength during these hard times surely meant I didn't need anything from anyone. So I've resented the word STRONG.  But during the retreat we had an opportunity to get henna tattoos (they aren't permanent) ... and I chose to have the Japanese symbol for STRONG painted on my left wrist. Time for me to embrace it. I AM strong. Damn it. I have to be.

Oh - and then I decided to get another henna tattoo on my right forearm. Love this one. I'll surprise a few people at work tomorrow, I'm sure.

So what are my take-aways from all this?

  • I know that I must find a way to spend time at the ocean regularly. It has to become a priority. Don't know yet how that will happen, but I am going to put that on my vision board and keep those positive thoughts vibrating out into the universe. 
  • I know that I need to spend time doing something creative each day. Journaling, painting, doodling, stitching ... whatever speaks to me each day.
  • I know I need to spend less time on my laptop. I didn't take it with me on this trip and I got along just fine. Going to try setting a timer to limit myself.
  • I know that I am strong ... and that's ok.
  • And the big issue?  Well, I'll think about it tomorrow (as Scarlett O'Hara said).


MamaNeeds2Create said...

You got a friend in me, Dianne. Love you girlfriend. Cary

sandi rusch said...

you're not unseen, and i hear you, and in my own different way, i understand many of the feelings you are having.

and you're stuck with me as a friend. whether you like it or not. ;) oxoxoxoxoxoxox

Lisa wiener said...

You no or I hope you no how grateful I am for you. I once told you...stop and think of yourself and don't always try to help us..I told you on the beach in myrtle. You might not have heard me in all my crying as you held me. I can't tell you how each day I try to move forward and part of it is to make you proud of me. I made myself a promise to also go to the ocean a lot and I did this summer and going today. It's not too close about two hour drive but I do it for me. I will think again of u today while I am there

Kathi said...

You have many gifts Dianne. The one standing out right now is how you can express just how you feel and it touches many others (specifically ME) with its relevance and truth. I feel you are a friend and I don't even know you, but if I did I would invite you over for a cup of coffee or glass of wine and just talk and share.... Take care my friend. You aren't alone in your strength and vulnerability..... Both show the depth of love in your heart.

Susie Hemingway said...

I read your wise words with much connection. We have two faces but only one heart. The face that smiles outwardly that laughs along with the crowd but still inside the heart is crying. A family member who knows me well said that my photos of the past nearly three years look lovely and are me but look closely at my eyes and they are sad eyes and do not shine anymore - but still I continue to smile. I have just returned from a wonderful holiday with youngest son Jo to Marbella - it was fabulous from beginning to end but oh how I wanted to share all this with my best man - I miss him so - just as you miss your dear Vern. I don't suppose it will every change and why should it - we truly loved them so. Missing them is part of who we are now, being strong is just the outward sign that all is well but you and I know well that the heart hurts and aches and privately we must acknowledge that. I understand so very well lovely lady and you are always in my prayers - strong or otherwise xoxo

Gloira said...

I have no answers Dianne, only prayers that the night will come that only joy will fill you heart and not sadness. I don't even now if that is possible for those who have lost so much , but I pray it is.

GowitheFlo said...

I'm an encourager of others, too. Even after 8 years of widowhood I have difficulty supplying encouragement to myself, but it's my first order of business. Once upon a time we widows had emotional support an arm's length away. Friends are precious, but it's so hard to ask for encouragement in the middle of the night! One gift of widowhood for me has been the opportunity to strengthen my own muscles to provide my own emotional support. But this ability developed years after my loss. First order of business back then was survival support.

Yes! You are stronger. Strong enough to be there for yourself when you're feeling most weak. I see the grace of compassion in you.

Anonymous said...

Scarlett is a good friend of mine. I will do it tomorrow. The second year is harder then the first. But I'm doing it add you ate.