I think I have stated numerous times that I am in a good place right now. I am. I have been for about six months – by far the longest stretch of happiness I have felt in a very long time. It is a great feeling after being unhappy for so long. I have realized that life can still be good and that is a wonderful realization.
This does not mean that I never have a bad day.
For a very long time after Howie died, I would wake up with this horrible panicky feeling. It’s hard to explain but it’s almost like a pit in your stomach, a feeling of dread. Ugh it is a terrible way to start your day. I am sure that those who have felt it will totally understand. But slowly over the last eight or nine months, that yucky morning feeling seemed to go away. Almost but not quite always – occassionally it still does happen.
Everyone has bad mornings and bad days – I am sure even those who have seemingly fabulous lives.
Of course I do not expect to wake up with a huge smile on my face every day but when that old panicky feeling comes back, it is horrible. Once it happens, it is hard to shake for the whole day.
This happened to me very recently. One morning this past weekend, I woke up and there it was – that awful feeling. I couldn’t believe it and did not understand where it came from. I had been out the night before and had a great time. I didn’t have anything major going on that I was worrying about. Nothing bad had happened, all had been fine. This completely threw me off.
So I wake up like this and what do I do? First I tried to figure out why.
A few things came to mind: maybe because summer is ending, maybe because I didn’t have a lot going on that weekend. Or maybe because Amanda is starting her senior year of high school and Lily her sophomore, and I’m realizing how fast time is going. Maybe it was a combination of all of these or maybe none of them. Sometimes I think my brain is just telling me that I am not allowed to be happy.
Next, my therapist’s voice came into my head saying “distract”. Her advice is always not to lay there and wallow in it.
Usually my girls are good for distraction but they both happened to not be home. I thought of asking a friend to take a walk. I reached out to a couple of people but no one seemed to be around. So I put my headphones in and went myself. Usually this works for me but as I was walking I started not to feel well. This of course reminded me of what happened to Howie which freaked me out a little, so I went home immediately. Mom, you don’t have to call me – I’m perfectly fine – just a stomachache!!
The walk didn’t work and I was still having a bad day.
Next, I took my kindle and sat outside with my dog (who always makes me smile) and read a book that I had started on vacation. This worked a little. I was getting into the book and it was distracting me. As I was reading, a friend that I hadn’t spoken to in a while called. We caught up and chatted for a while. This was also helpful.
The rest of the day was a little better but some of that feeling stayed with me all day, and even carried into the next day. I know that I’m feeling bad when the final episode of “Friends”, which I have seen at least a million times, makes me cry.
What I know now that I didn’t know a few years ago is that I will be ok. It will turn around and get better, even if takes a little while. It’s just a bad day. Knowing this makes going through it a little more bearable. And the fact that it happens so infrequently now is an amazing thing for me. I guess I’m still a work in progress.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.
Dear Stacy, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so happy to hear how you are pushing through each day and gaining strength through your daughters, friendships, family and your memories. You are a wonderful example of a life worth living even on the bad days. God bless.