About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Promises

Ever since I held my daughter in my arms, I have lived for a higher purpose.  All my selfish tendencies of single life fell away as I looked at the little life who depended on me.  I made a promise to that baby girl that I would take care of her, that I would make sure she had everything she ever needed and that we would be a happy family.  Promises were kept.  Promises were broken. That's how life goes...keeping promises and breaking others.  Now my little girl is starting her freshman year of high school...not a baby anymore. 

We've been through a lot, my daughter, my son and me. We witnessed Sean's suicide and held hands at his funeral.  We had a lot of money, had very little money and then stumbled back on our feet again.  Together.  We have traveled to other countries, swam in several oceans, explored US cities, hiked mountains, skied in bitter cold wind, and snuggled on the sofa for movie marathons. Together. 

As we walk through yet another life transition, new promises are made because the others no longer fit.  My kids are growing up.  Their independence shines through with a brilliance that is sometimes blinding.  I admire them as people with their own opinions, hopes and dreams.  In four years, Briahna will graduate high school.  Ben graduates in six.  It's time for me to make new promises, but this time I am making them to myself.  I say things like, "I promise to get a life of my own again, above and beyond being a mom", "I promise to carve more time for myself into the daily routine", "I promise to let the kids be who they are meant to be and not who I dream them to be."  

It's not easy being a parent, let alone being a widowed mother.  The children have been my entire world for fourteen years now, even more so after Sean's death.  Parenting isn't all lolly pops and rainbows, though, and there have been moments when I had no idea how I would survive one more day doing this all alone.  But I have done it all alone and now see how temporary even the most difficult moments have been.

In a few years, the kids will be in college or off doing whatever it is they choose to do with their lives.  Time to ask myself the old interview question, "where do you see yourself in ten years?"

I know the answer to the question.  I really do, but don't feel like telling anyone because I am absolutely sick of the naysayers, doubters and fools in the world.  I know myself well. Trust me when I say it's gonna be fun. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Connected

A friend from Italy sent me a music video tonight.  Despite not knowing the language of the song, I understood the emotion of the story.  Love, betrayal, sadness, love again...only the Italians could do it so artistically.  As I watched, I thought again how basic life really is.  All any of us really want at the end of the day is human connection.

During the past few months, I have been meeting one-on-one with fellow widows whose husbands committed suicide.  Their wounds are more recent than mine so I am unwittingly cast into the role as 'grief expert'.  As I listen to their stories, I am astounded time and again how common we all are.  Our fears are not unique.  Our desires are not unique.  We all want the same things: someone to love and understand us.

A woman I will call Monica is only a few months into this process.  She talks of desperately reaching out to anyone who will listen because she is lonely and scared as her life unravels.  As a result, she is getting burned because she allows untrustworthy people close to her during her time of need.

Grief blurs boundaries and distorts perceptions.  We don't see it at the time because all we want is human connection amidst chaos.  I understand this.  I did the same thing.  Who am I kidding?  I still do it.  Even though I no longer feel that I'm in the active grieving stage and feel confident about where I am in life, I occasionally let the wrong person close in an effort to connect with someone. And I get hurt.  Again. 

Widows are a misunderstood group.  I have heard the following things in the past five years:  Your vulnerability scares me.  You should lie about how Sean died because people would care more if they thought he died in an accident instead of suicide. It's not like you lost a child; a husband can be replaced.  (I swear these are all true.)

People misunderstand the magnitude of grief over a spouse.  Not only did someone we love die; but the person who co-parented, who helped pay the bills, who held us at night, who kissed us, who shared our dreams, who we shared pillow-talk with died.  Died, as in no longer on this planet in human form. Permanent. No second chances.  Gone. 

And we who once called ourselves wives and lovers are left feeling desperate for human contact as the world as we had known it crumbles.  We freak out.  We do things that seem strange or inappropriate.  We make mistakes.  Some overspend, overeat or overindulge.  And that's okay.  It really is.  Each mistake is part of the messy process of healing.  I listen to these other women and understand everything they are experiencing.  I wish I didn't understand. I wish their stories of loneliness, betrayal and abandonment were unique, but they are really quite common.

What is so difficult to understand about people needing one another?  Why is that scary?  All of us, not just those who grieve, but every single one of us on this planet needs love, understanding and connection.  Perhaps we all need to reach out more to that elderly neighbor who walks his dog every night, the goofy guy at work who just doesn't seem to fit or the widow down the street who looks like she has it all together.  Why not?  Love transcends language, age, economics, race, religion and politics. Unfortunately, so does loneliness.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Noise

Screech. Bam. Beep.  Blonk.  Noise rattles through my brain with all the naysayers and troublemakers who enjoy being the speed bump in my otherwise good mood.  To them I say...thank you.  Thank you for thickening my skin, solidifying my resolve and emboldening my already bold attitude. 


Adversity does teach a lesson.  All of the challenges and disappointments I have faced during the past years have taught me the value of advocating for myself.  This should be a no-brainer, you might think, but the fact is that I forgot this lesson somewhere along the way.  Somewhere along the way I started doubting my opinions, my purpose, and my innate value.  In the aftermath of my husband's suicide, I felt scarred and abandoned.  But all of that has changed. Thanks to the challenges and the tragedy I have overcome, I now know what I am capable of handling and am confident being my own advocate. 


To the critics and naysayers who have continuously told me all of the things I cannot do and should not do as a widowed mom of two, thank you for being wrong on so many occasions.  Your continued non-support and misguided opinions have validated my gut instincts.  Intuition and confidence were once my innate nature, but I lost that for awhile.  Thank you for helping me find it again. 


Like a river smashing against boulders, I am carving my own path through the canyon.  My river may be twisting and turning more than anticipated, but it's a beautiful albeit unexpected path.  I love the rush I get from walking in my own power.  Doubts are cast aside as I shut out the noise and do what I need to do.  Those boulders, those speed bumps, those challenges and disappointments are not enough to stop my momentum.


I see my 14 year old daughter advocating for herself, too.  She has learned hard life lessons at a young age, but they are serving her well.  I have no doubt she will conquer the challenges in her life because of the obstacles she has already overcome.  She is more powerful than I ever was at her age.  The path she carves will be magnificent. 


Yes, the past five years have been incredibly difficult.  I have cried more than I ever thought I would cry.  I have struggled to stand when all I wanted to do was curl up on the floor and lose myself in darkness.  I have cursed my fate.  My children have suffered the loss of their father and the trauma of seeing his suicide.  They have screamed with anger.  They have clung to me in sorrow.  Together we have gotten to the other side of grief's chasm of despair.  We have gotten here despite the critics who told us we never would. 


In the famous words of Frank Sinatra, "I did it my way."  So thank you, speed bumps, for thickening my skin, strengthening my resolve and emboldening my already bold attitude.