Sunday, November 26, 2017


I ran across a headline today that made me stop and think. It said, ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR YOUR MARRIAGE? While I didn't hesitate in thinking, "YES," I asked myself why. It was good to reflect and see how marriage has played in role in forming me as a woman.

I have heard people say that marriage is just a piece of paper and that it is unnecessary. I have never agreed with that. The right to that piece of paper has been the center of controversy, strife, and heartache for couples who were denied the right to marry. Without the struggles of those who fought against that injustice, my husband may not have existed since interracial couples were not always able to marry legally. In my opinion, that piece of paper is a declaration of a promise that you are a team through life. While anything can symbolize that kind of partnership, I learned that the act of marriage also holds security. That piece of paper allowed me to make decisions after Warren died that I would otherwise be unauthorized to make. It designated me as the person closest to him who would know what his last wishes might be; how he would want his estate managed; and as the beneficiary of his assets. This authority was earned in the countless hours spent supporting him in all he tried. It was more than being the person who cheered him on. We brainstormed together on ideas; I helped him scope talented hires; we networked together to make connections for his career and business; I was at his side shaking hands and smiling at events where he was the honoree, speaker and featured guest; I held down the household while he wheeled and dealed, and put up with the laptop as the third wheel in our marriage. In other words, we were a team in all things. His successes were possible because of me and mine were thanks to him. 

He earned the right to all I accomplished in our marriage. I didn't do it alone and would not have been able to get nearly as far without his steady supply of encouragement and hands-on guidance. Warren knew my goals and dreams so when he came across an opportunity to help make those happen, he attacked it as if it were his own. That level of support and energy at my side was a wonderful example of true partnership and allowed me to develop my passions, see the world and become the woman I am today. Being married taught me about teamwork. Our dreams were intertwined, dependent on the other. Once married we were no longer making choices for ourselves, it was for the well-being of what we were creating. The days of being the center of my own universe were behind me. I learned what it was like to have a teammate in my corner for the good and the bad. On the days things were good we both celebrated. When things weren't good we strategized together to see how to turn things around. There were times when I pushed harder because he expected no less of me. He did the same and strived to make me proud.

Every day we built our life together gave me a reason to be proud because it wasn't easy work. We had different ideas and temperaments. We expressed ourselves uniquely. We spoke different love languages we had to learn and adapt to. There were times when we clicked and times when we didn't. Like any other relationship, it had its highs and lows. When life threw curveballs we dodged them together and when we got lemons we squeezed them together to make lemonade. Living dually like that was like training for the ultimate Olympics with my coach and teammate rolled into one and always at my side.

In the end, my team lost an MVP. Am I thankful for that team? Hell yea. Even though it felt like I could never play that sport again, it didn't dampen my memories of the game or the camaraderie of being on a team. I am grateful that I learned those lessons and can carry them with me. I will forever be grateful that I learned to live an interknit life with someone else. The lesson was short so if I ever marry again I know I will have more to learn but I am grateful for the marriage that showed me I am capable of being an active member of such an important team.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


I looked back at last year's birthday post with hopes of big changes. This time last year, I was battling the paranoia that came from the election, as well as the normal feelings of wanting my life to count for something.  

This year came with a wave of unexpected sadness. I say 'unexpected' and immediately feel like I am lying to myself because it is always expected, just never welcomed. Since Warren died, all my joy is tinged with sadness. As often happens, I had a bout of tears that wouldn't stop popping up at inopportune times. At work: tears streamed down my face. Writing a scene: tears when the scene wasn't even sad. Driving: more tears. I was like WTF?!? Basta! Enough of this! There is so much to smile about and be grateful for! But, internally, the wound of loss was irritated. I wanted to talk to my friend about all there was to celebrate and that was not possible. I have other friends. I have a caring boyfriend who listens to my nonsense on a daily basis. My family is full of support and listening ears. Yet, here I was, almost six years later still yearning for the one thing I will never have. 

I've said it before and I'll say it until my last breath: GRIEF SUCKS. It hits you when you are least prepared and keeps pounding on you when you want peace. It gives you some moments of relief and you think you've gotten stronger, and then BAM it comes to show you who is really in charge. 

A thoughtful token of love
Something else I've said over and over again: I am a lucky woman. I am loved and grateful for those who love me. That love turned my mood and my day around. It started with my boyfriend downloading and playing my favorite song first thing in the morning. He surprised me with a beautiful and thoughtful gift that pays homage to my love of dragonflies, which has been a source of comfort since Warren died. The necklace is bright and delicate, two words that also reflect our relationship in lots of ways- yet another reason to be happy and thankful this year. He also gave me lots of hugs and well wishes that helped me get through the day.

I gave myself the gift of two hours to write before work. I am in the thick of a new manuscript and in that phase where it's super exciting to be in the story and watch my characters take shape. It's similar to being around your crush - there is never enough time and there are butterflies.

After work, family and friends came together to indulge my craving for sushi and Thai food. During dinner, I looked around the table full of smiling faces and thought about how much I am me because of them. Everyone at the table, plus those who couldn't make it are the reason I move forward. They inspire me, motivate me, love me and accept me on my good and bad days. They are my weapons against grief. They counter the sadness and bad feelings that try to dampen my soul. 

Grief is a part of who I am and will always be. It is intertwined with everything I do and every emotion that flows through my body. It will never leave me but I am armed with so much more. Even on the days when it is hard to see that, love is just as strong and it fights through the negative, countering it and bringing me through to the other side. The people in my life are my armor. It is for them and because of them that I can fight back and feel stronger so that I can be armor to someone else. Being surrounded by their love helped me push past the grief that tried to shadow the celebration. 

As I look forward to my thirty-eighth year of life, I see that the good and bad are what life is made of. As long as the good never leaves me, I will continue to feel that even with the grief, I live a good life filled with love. This is the mantra to remember when grief tries to tell me otherwise. 

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