Wednesday, January 26, 2005

If you don't like the weather in Oklahoma....

...just wait a minute!

This is Wednesday
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 71

This is Friday
Weather: Blizzarding
Temp: 30!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Thoughts about blending a new family

It is infuriating, interesting, and sometimes even comical the way some people think. There are some that behave like a teacher at one of my schools. She was the most thoughtful person in the world! She truly understood my grief, my need to tell the same stories over and over, and was there like a rock for me.

Until... I started seeing Arthur. Then she treated me like I was committing adultery!!

There are others who believe that since Arthur and I are married we have gone back to being a nice, neat little nuclear family. So of course we are healed and never feel sadness about our late spouses. And our kids have a new parent!! Oh how wonderful for them, right??? No more grieving for the lost parent!

"The Brady Bunch, the Brady Bunch! That's the way we became the......."


I thought people were uncomfortable about me talking about Andy BEFORE! Now some are too happy to remind me that "that is all in the past now."

Here is a glimpse of what the older kids feel. My new stepson Matt advised in an email to his dad about being a step parent to my 9 and 13 year old kids:

"Dad, if you really want to make this work try not to be their dad for a while but a friend to them. Don't make them call you 'Dad' or say that you are their new dad. Even if you say that Stephanie is going to be our new mom it sounds stupid, not that we hate her but no one could be our mom again. Try to let them know that their relationship with Stephanie will always be more important than yours and theirs."

A pretty wise 21 year old, if you ask me.

I don't think people are intentionally insensitive, they just want us to be happy again. So now that things outwardly appear to be 'back to normal,' they feel appeased. They have a hard time understanding that happiness must return for us on our OWN terms and within us, not just in the outward picture. Even though much joy has returned, there will always be moments of grief and reflection on the past.

In short, Arthur and I love each other, but we will always have that loss in our history and hearts. So will our children. A new marriage does not make it all better any more than a new car, a new dress, or a vacation to Tahiti would. It is something that we must learn to live with as we keep inching toward that elusive 'new normal.' We must keep on counting all of our blessings, both old AND new.

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Rings and Things

Some musings about all my rings...

My right hand proudly wears Andy's wedding band on the index finger, my wedding and anniversary bands on the ring finger, and a Valentines gift ring from him on my pinkie.

I moved my wedding band and anniversary ring from my left hand to my right on the second wedding anniversary after his death. I did that in a slightly melodramatic but satisfying self ceremony at his gravesite.

I still feel good that I kept Andy's wedding band and replaced it with a silver one prior to his burial. We had agreed many years before that neither of us would bury the other with an expensive piece of jewelry. I hated to think of him forever ringless, though... It still surprises me that my widow-brain was able to come up with that idea at the time.

Now, even with new wedding rings on the left representing the present, I take comfort in having the right hand honor my past, and the memories that go with it.

After all, who I am today is made up of the total sum of my life... past and present.