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Reflecting on 2013….

December 31, 2013 Leave a comment

PeanutsYawnThe year 2013 started out just like the last five or six years did. It could have been summed up as “Ho hum… Yawn”. Nothing was different and nothing looked to be changing. Same issues. Same frustrations. Same shit; just a different day.

Then on January 17th, Mark died. No warnings were involved. There was nothing that indicated that he was going to have a massive heart attack in our living room that would take his life. It is a very surreal moment when you realize that your spouse has passed away. Initially acute numbness set in, but as the days passed, the pain, sorrow, tears and grief became overwhelming.

As the old saying goes, time heals all wounds. Sure, some of the scars have remained, but the healing happened. I realized that life is extremely fragile and to waste it is truly tragic. I realized that I wanted to live my life. I wanted to share my life with someone. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to move forward and find the good things that were still out there. I wanted to be among the living.

I received a lot of flack for beginning to date when I did. In the beginning I felt the need to defend myself to the “haters” who thought I was being disrespectful to Mark. However, it didn’t take me long to get disgusted with that, and I began dissociating myself with those who did not support me and the choices that I made. I stopped talking to people who had negative things to say. I “unfriended” a lot of people on Facebook.  I’m fine with it. I only want to be around people who accept me for who I am.

‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all. ‘ ~ Thumper

ThumperThis year brought about a lot of changes. I had to move from the home that I shared with Mark into a smaller condo that was affordable for me. I downsized many things in my life. Did I really need EVERY conceivable cable channel that existed? Did I need to keep a house so stocked with food and provisions that friends joked about coming to live with me when the Zombie Apocalypse hit? Did I really need an entire closet filled with winter coats? (think 13 coats — one for every winter that Mark and I were together). I donated so much stuff that was never used or worn. I donated things that were duplicates and triplicates!

I’ve sorted through the muck and mud of what used to be my life, and I organized it in the best way that I could. I attempted to prepare for my own future, but at the same time, I refused to be financially stifled the way that I was the past few years. I’m trying to learn the fine balance between spending and saving, clean and looking “lived in”, being generous and “being a bank”, and stocking up and hoarding. It’s all a learning experience for me!

With only a couple of hours of 2013 left, I’m sitting next to the man who I love. I’ve realized that, for the first time in a long time, I’m REALLY and TRULY happy. Our life is not perfect. I’d be delusional to think that it would be! No one has the perfect life. But this is MY life and I would not trade it for anyone else’s life.

Having said that, I’ve really begun to reflect on where my life has taken me this year. I can honestly say that I am stronger (emotionally and mentally) than I ever thought I could (or would) be. I’ve found love again. Some people never find love more than once, but I’ve been lucky. I found George, and it’s been a slice of heaven for the past seven months. It has not always been easy, especially after the Jet Ski accident, but it has been rewarding in ways I have never known.

Without putting my relationship on show for the world to see, I will simply say that he has so many of the qualities that I’ve wanted in a man. Like me, neither of us are perfect, but we are perfect together. When you have love, respect, communication, dedication, trust, and all those really important factors, a relationship can become a wonderful thing between two people.

I’ve met almost all of George’s extended family, and I am happy to say that they are all very nice and quite accepting and welcoming to me. I couldn’t ask for a nicer family! After several family get-togethers, it is great so see that there is no drama… no guilt trips… no fights and pettiness… I can’t say that I have ever had that in any of the relationships that I have had. My previous holidays, even though they were memorable, were filled with family drama and arguments. Who wants to deal with that sort of thing at every family get together? I didn’t but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

It’s been a tough year for a lot of people. Many of my close friends and family have had their own personal strife. There has been a lot of financial struggles, death, injury, and personal issues. I have had my share of all of these things. Yet I’ve learned that you have to push through the pain, walk down the road (sometimes you must do it alone), and struggle to put it all back in place so that you can find happiness. If you try hard enough, you CAN do anything you set your mind to do.

I am fortunate because I have had the support and love of family and friends. I always knew that I had special people in my life, but it was when life was really, really tough that I found out the magnitude of the bond that we shared.

ThankYouPostItI want to specifically thank my wonderful brother Jeff. I could NOT have done it without him. He’s always been there for me when I needed him!  I love him and am eternally grateful for him!! Also a big thank you to his wife for always putting up with me throughout the years!!

I’d also like to thank JS and GS (and their girls) for being wonderful and supportive friends, and, more importantly, for reconnecting after a long hiatus. True friendships NEVER die, they just grow stronger. I love you guys with all my heart!!

I’d like to thank JC and JF for being there during one of the worst nights of my life. You guys went above and beyond “the call of duty”.

I’d like to thank JF again for her love, friendship, and help. Again,you helped me out during one of the worst times in my life, and I will NEVER forget what you did for me and for the trust you instilled in me. Your dad would be so proud of you!

Thank you to SS for coming to NJ, helping me and sharing a wonderful day with me.

Also big thank you’s go out to DMK and her hubby PK, my wonderful friends/co-workers, my understanding bosses and supervisors, and for every one who lent a hand, cooked a meal, shared time with me, made me smile and touched my heart.

A super huge thank you to my boyfriend George who gave me one of the BEST summers I ever had and made me fall in love again. And thank you to his parents who are truly wonderful people, and his extended family for being real and genuine!!

I’m grateful. I’m happy. I’m lucky. I AM BLESSED!

HappyNewYearz13Wishing a Happy New Year to all my friends, family, co-workers, and to all those people who have, in some way, touched my heart. May 2014 bring you all good health, happiness and love. And love is the greatest gift of all!!

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Categories: Life as a Widow