Five.

Today, it’s been five years.

5

Five years since that awful knock on the door. Five years since our world changed so drastically. Five years of aching obvious absence.

But…it’s also been five years of love pouring from every seam and every crack of life, love pouring out of every crevice for The Hubs and for our family.

So today, instead of being sad, I am going to celebrate.

Celebrate a life of passion, a life of fun, a life of a hero. Celebrate an amazing man who changed my life forever. A life we are still living, so we must celebrate the way that he would.

I encourage you to do the same.

Wherever you are, whatever your poison, will you toast tonight in honor of this amazing man?

Please go here —> https://www.facebook.com/events/852694658083668 and share your photos: wine or beer or coffee or water – whatever your poison, raise a glass to him, to LIFE. Our family thanks you!

<3 <3

Blast from the Past – “Foreshadowing at It’s Best”

Remember my hopes of writing the memoir?

I’ve decided it’s time to get off my ass, stop wishing and TALKING so dang much, and start DOING.

Thankfully I intend to include a lot of the writing from the blog in the memoir, so this process will mostly entail compiling, editing, layout, etc. (I say thankfully now…)

However, there is still a significant amount of writing to do to start, finish, and tie things together…and the majority of the new writing will be memories and stories of our early days, the things I haven’t wanted to drudge up and thus have used as an excuse to stall the process.

So, in the hopes of progress, I’m going to start recording a few memories here. Stories, snippets, flashes of early memories that come to me from time to time. I think it might be easier to just record them here as they naturally flow, rather than try to force them later. And now is the perfect timing, as the anniversary approaches and my mind wanders into the sentimental…

I’ll file these in with the earlier “Blast from the Past” posts; even though they originate from different places, it just makes sense. I’d love your feedback on which memories you’d like to see included in the memoir.

So, without further adieu…

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Stop Being So Mean.

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I’ve been thinking about something the past few days.

I’m so hard on myself. Why is that?

After my last rambling post, I woke up the next morning with a pit in my stomach. I felt exposed, raw, and weird. Almost like an awkward walk-of-shame, tiptoeing about the morning with sinking feeling of regret and vulnerability.

It took everything I had in me not to pull down that post.

I mentioned that to my sweet boyfriend, who said some things that got me thinking.

What was I ashamed of? Honesty? Openness? Admitting weakness and showing faults and releasing the facade of perfection?

Isn’t that what I want? Authenticity?

Genuineness isn’t always pretty. And it shouldn’t be. So what if I don’t have it all together sometimes? No one does. I wouldn’t fault my best friend, or my sister, or my boyfriend, or even the stranger on the street, if they had an off day and possessed feelings and said things that contradicted the way they normally feel or strive to be. So why can’t I extend myself the same grace and acceptance?

This topic has came up multiple times in therapy. My extreme levels of self-criticism. My lack of self-acceptance. My overreaching quest for a perfect presentation, to always be the right thing and do the right thing.

And honestly, I’m light years from where I used to be. I can genuinely say I like myself now. I like this person, I trust her, and I believe in her. But I am still so critical of her sometimes.

When she is taking steps forward, progressing, motivated and headstrong, it’s easy to like her. But when she slumps, when she has doubts and falls back into old habits, I just slam her. I don’t see her for what she is — utterly human, experiencing inevitable and necessary human emotions that will never be completely steady. I immediately ‘doomsday’ and call her a failure. And then feel regret and shame, not only for having tripped and stumbled down a few steps on the climb, but for getting embarrassed about it instead of shaking it off.

This is the gray area I’ve been working on for the past year or so. Breaking the pattern of black-and-white thinking, of good-and-bad, perfect-and-failure. There is an entire spectrum between the extremes, and it is okay to fall anywhere in between at any given time. No, in fact, not just okay — expected. And accepted. Desired, even.

So why, when I have recognized and know these things so logically, do I still give myself such a hard time sometimes? Not only with grief, but everywhere. Self-image, career, goals, fitness, relationships, even writing. What’s with the need for perfection?

Like The Beau said, “stop being so mean to my girlfriend!” (He’s so cute.)

One of the most outstanding pieces of advice I was ever given on this journey of widowhood was this — there are no should’s. Be gentle with yourself.

So many people, widows and parents and children and siblings and friends and all sorts of people suffering from grief, have found me through my writing and this wonderful amazing ride of life. And I don’t hesitate for a second to suggest this to them, to extend them that grace.

It’s more than time to do it for myself.

And not just when it’s easy to do, not just in those moments when I’m doing well and it’s easy to like myself.

But in those moments when I’m experiencing the morning-after-vulnerablities. When I’ve fallen down and embarrassed myself. When I have snapped at someone or failed to complete a task or don’t have the right answer or any answer. When I’m not on point.

Especially then.

That’s when I need to stop being so mean.

Tuesday Tunes | Believe

Yellowcard – Believe

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Tuesday Tunes. This week, I didn’t really choose to…it chose me.

Last night as I was writing this embarrassing but necessary stream-of-consciousness, my head snapped right up from the keyboard.

This song was playing on Pandora.

Hello. I hear you. I’m listening. You are happy I’m purging, that I’m recognizing and writing to get it OUT of my head, not falling into my old trap of holding it in like I’ve started to do the past few weeks. I get it, I hear you, you are here. Keep talking. I’ll keep writing.

So, here’s your Tuesday Tunes. I’m even including the lyrics this time.

 

Yellowcard – Believe

Think about the love inside the strength of heart
Think about the heroes saving life in the dark
Climbing higher through the fire, time was running out
Never knowing you weren’t going to be coming down alive
But you still came back for me
You were strong and you believed

Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Be strong. Believe.
Be strong. Believe.

Think about the chance I never had to say
Thank you for giving up your life that day
Never fearing, only hearing voices calling out
Let it all go, the life that you know, just to bring it down alive
And you still came back for me
You were strong and you believed

Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Be strong. Believe.

(Again today, we take into our hearts and minds those who perished on this site one year ago, and also those who came to toil in the rubble to bring order out of chaos, to help us make sense of our despair)

Wanna hold my wife when I get home
Wanna tell the kids they’ll never know how much I love to see them smile
Wanna make a change or two right now
Wanna live a life like you somehow
Wanna make your sacrifice worthwhile

Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Be strong. Believe.

Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Be strong. Believe.

Think about the love inside the strength of heart
Think about the heroes saving life in the dark
Think about the chance I never had to say
Thank you for giving up your life that day

(The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here)

 

Each week I share a currently meaningful or relevant song from my playlist. You can check out past Tuesday Tunes here. Join up and link your post about your favorite tunes below!

Stream of Consciousness

So I am experiencing that familiar bottled-up, tense, need to purge. I can’t really pinpoint what it is, and I feel like it is a multitude of things, so while I am in the mood and have the backup fortitude of my ‘old days’ Pandora channel and our old favorite drink, I’m going to fall back on my old friend stream-of-consciousness. Nothing quite helps like a good longwinded unedited writing session.

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Iris

I always feel like people come to you because you’re genuine, not because you have it all together. You put things into words that make sense, even to someone who hasn’t been through it. I know easier said than done but don’t be so hard on yourself. You are a perfect human being with everything that a human being comes with. Much love to you and I hope writing has helped you feel some relief. ♡

Liz

Approaching one year anniversary and feeling so much of the same. Thank you for sharing

[…] night as I was writing this embarrassing but necessary stream-of-consciousness, my head snapped right up from the […]

[…] my last rambling post, I woke up the next morning with a pit in my stomach. I felt exposed, raw, and weird. Almost like […]

Amelia

*whoosh* went the air from my lungs. The the biggest hurdle for me to share anything about my pregnancy losses? Other people’s feelings. Look. I’m completely overwhelmed by MY feelings, I CAN NOT comfort you about shit gone awry in my life. No way nuh uh. If you want to discuss any of this with me? You keep your shit together. No tears, no poor you face. Stoic, straightforward questions and answers.

Tristan

Hi Erin

It’s been a while.
I came across your post tonight, read it and really appreciate the way you write and tell your stories when they go to the core of things.
For what concerns your fears and concerns about what to do with your life or not being in control, I really believe that it is something that many people live with, all over the world.
To be honest with you, I think that in your different posts you gave all the answers to your problems. First, as everyone on this earth, we don’t have it all together, we will never be in total control and that is maybe what makes life beautiful and sometimes so hard to bear. Second, even if some people know what they want to do right from the start or are passionate about something, most of them don’t even ask themselves the question. They just go from A to Z like robots…and that’s ok. But for the ones, like you, like me, like many, who doubt, think, wonder, interrogate, the best is, after a while, to make a choice and to go for it, with no more hesitation. To go and give it all.
Thinking to long drives to frustrations, remorse and bitterness…
To your post, I would say: you are young,intelligent and healthy. Yes you are a widow and yes your loss is part of you and your destiny. From there you can choose to put actions to the words you so beautifully write, or you can wait and hope that something, somehow will come to you….
Hope that everyone over there is fine.
All the best
Tristan