My life...Davis, WIll and Sia

My life...Davis, WIll and Sia
Party Time!

We are all butterflies..

We are all butterflies..

Dels World

Widowed Solo Mom of three....remaking life-one brick at a time..

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Widow's Bucket List

I believe anytime in life one has a major transformation, whether that be divorce, jobs, death, health issues- we re-evaluate and take stock of our life and how we want to rebuild that life that is now very different than the one we once envisioned..When I became a widow at 36, a few months into my journey I created my own Widow Bucket List..things I wanted to get done and accomplished on my own. Some things I just wanted to experience and learn from... Most of my bucket listers I keep to myself, not something I want to share on a blog..However I had two very profound things make my bucket list this year.

The first was I had searched for years trying to make sense out of Ben's suicide..If someone would have asked me to walk that first year in the OutOfDarkness walk smoke probably would have come out of my ears. What I realized that the walk is about prevention and the disesase that my husband had and most importantly the awareness that it exists. To me, it's about the future...the next generations who survive after a suicide and giving them voice...Plans are underway for an AFSP chapter to be started this year in WV... it was well worth it.

My second bucket list was the getting the independence back that I could take my kiddos on a 10 hour vacation to the beach completely solo. I have traveled with friends and family. (or meeting family at destination to help out)--I knew my boys needed it just to be us..Loading, unloading, cooking, driving while caringfor two little kids is not for wimps. However, we had a great bonding time.... It's put in the bucket list, next beach trip will be with family and friends...I said I did it-so I did it.... Maybe skydiving is in the near future..

Monday, July 5, 2010

Grit to Grace sounds like just a dirty word in the literal sense. It's the survival mechanism that some people have that enables them to overcome adversity, poverty, bad situations etc. It's that sword and shield mentality where the blade is sharp to fight and the shield is padded to protect. I have known several people from generations before me that had the "grit" and survived and became better people as the result of their circumstances. It's that mole scraping to the top of the hole trying to get out, that never give up mentality-that I will not break and adrenaline rush that some get from taking on a bad situation and surviving it. Some people never show grit, even when they have to-- they look for others to fight the battle for them. I believe it's an internal defense mechanism and if you have it-keep it-even if you keep it at bay-- you may need it sometime in your life.

However, I have found the true miracle happens when one's Grit turns into Grace....Taking what one has learned through adversity and incorporating compassion, empathy, gratitude, harmony, beauty into ones life. The grit still exists, but is softened by a greater understanding and purpose with what one should do with their gifts, talents and livelihood. I have seen this miracle happen in those a generation ahead of me and was always mesmerized by their true grace. I think I have touched the tip of the iceberg of turning my grit into grace in my life. -That is the miracle of living...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I felt nothing...

Yesterday was Father's Day, the dreaded day for widows of all ages around the country. I never paid much notice to it until you actually don't have one.. (in my case it's my kids that don't which directly affects me)-It was something I took for granted, gave my class act Dad a card and went about my everyday affairs. However, sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone and it's constantly reminded to you in commercials, stores, facebook, church services, school activities etc. Just making a point here.

So I go to what the good Mommy should do and take my kids to the cemetery to see their Dad. They released balloons and we placed our butterflies for our memorials. I felt for them, especially my oldest who said a special prayer to his Dad before releasing his butterfly. But I went through the motions... basically I felt nothing. No anger, no rage, no sadness directly for me, no nothing really. There was a time that the raw emotion would just bring me to my knees with complicated grief. Today...I felt nothing....In some cases that really isn't a bad feeling... It's fading and I am ok....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I think in everything in life their is a difference between thinking you know and actually knowing. A difference between a superficial change and then a change on cellular level. What if you actually had to rearrange your "DNA" (Destiny, Nature and Aspirations) in order to find your own authenticity. To get a new life you had to purge a great deal away from the old way.

I wrote a blog on simplicity a while back and decided to dive a little further into the topic.. To find ones true authentic self.. Think about it, on paper simplicity/harmony/gratitutde/joy/order all sound good. But what would happen if we really transformed outselves using those qualities. To not just a superficial transformation of getting rid of "stuff" but an inward type of spiritual change. To become ones own authentic self.. This is what Einstein would have called the "refinement of everyday thinking"..When you passionately and persistently search for wholeness within ones self, not with things.. you'll know...And you will never look back...

Monday, June 7, 2010


As a solo parent, anytime Mother's Day or Father's Day rolls around, one is forced to be creative, use their own child-rearing, child psychology skills. In widdaworld we preface "solo" not "single"- This is different than being divorced... remember their isn't a Mom or Dad anywhere around for a young child. I continue to bite my tongue year after year as the public tax paying schools still insist on doing a Mothers/ Fathers day crafts...which just reminds children from non traditional, dysfunctional or solo families that their world is different from the norm.. That is for another time and another blog

So this year after suffering through a Father's Day project (which was done three weeks before the day), I decided to do something creative with my children for Father's Day. I stole an idea from a sixth grade class I was substituting about a Butterfly Memorial. The story and the poem resonated a powerful message with me, that I knew my deep thinking seven year old would get... The other two kids would enjoy coloring various butterflies for the next few weeks.

Such a yellow

Is carried lightly way up high

It went away I'm sure because it wished to

kiss the world


This poem was written by a child survivor of the holocaust.. He was looking at a butterfly he saw while he was in a concentration camp in Germany. He died shortly later and was telling the world how many of those in camps prayed daily to die. All they could see was dark, gray, black muted colors. They were exhausted, forced to stay up all night, not thinking clearly, starved, on the verge of psychosis-they just wanted it to end as soon as possible. I believe this is how those suffering from severe debilitating depression see the world. They don't see color, they don't see hope, everything is an effort, sleep is gone... the National Mental Health Organization have compared survivors of suicide to those who survived a concentration camp (this is common knowledge in our SOS circles)--the after effects and waves contiue to hit years later..

I explained to my children that these butterflies they colored with brightly vivid colors were for their father. That he couldn't see the world in bright vivid colors like we could and it would be a special gift they could give to him. I went on to explain his illness and what he can do to the mind and how imperative (we have a secret pact within the four of us) to reach out for help (again its between the four of us so this will never ever be repeated,, my greatest fear for my children as they grow older)Amazingly my young kids got it...they took such pride in coloring their butterflies and we are planning on putting them on their Dad's gravesite. (we always do cool painted rocks, or crafts- I mean fake flowers just are not our thing, nor were they his-)--So this year, our Fathers Day will be a butterfly memorial...if I can just keep my middle son from bringing his moth collection with him as well... Updates on our Butterfly Memorial will continue..but I thought it was a cool idea for grieving kids, they can color intereact and it can be used it many different "grief" type of situations... -

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Letter to my children...

I know you already remember very little about your father....I have to write this down tonight while it's still fresh in my memory..Each one of you were special and had a place in your father's heart......


Our first born., your Daddy loved playing basketball and golf with you.. He loved taking you to doctors office and to work with him and strolling you while walking our dog Marley. Your Daddy loved to read to you-I credit alot of your intellectual early stimulation to him. He would spend hours reading book after book to you. He knew you were a born leader, could see your humor and inquisitive nature. He was impressed with how well you golfed and how hard you tried to keep up in basketball. He loved taking you to Tball and helping with your games. He was so proud of you-he knew you were smart, almost to the point that he knew you could see through his weaknesses..even when you were only four years of age. He loved you Davis-up until the day he died you were in his mind at the moment of his death.. You already know this. Another favorite hobby was to look at the stars, planets, milky way together.. He often said to you that he always wanted to catch Saturn would be mesmerized with astronomy. You enjoyed the sciences as much as he did.. I think on some level, he knew I would be OK having you-you stepped up as a four year old child into a position that no child should have to encounter.. You loved being a little man, you still do-He would be so proud of you now--Never forget he loved you,,, you will live a long and happy life, but you had a Daddy that loved you until the very end..

Will- You were born 21 months after your brother and you had a special place in your Daddy's heart from the very start. He was 21 months younger than his brother and could understand your position being the second born. He relished in your easy going personality, free spiritness and natural athletic ability. You were too little to play sports, but he loved that you truly loved being a little boy. He would read and watch Cars and Thomas the Train with you.. They were your favorite videos and toys when you were 2 and 3. He loved looking and looking for the perfect little toy for you, because he was fascinated by how you would play for hours with one little thing. He thought you were the cutest most naturally gifted child, who was totally innocent with his abilities.. He usually had you and Davis both-because Davis insisted on it, but enjoyed spending quality time one on one with you. You looked at both Davis and your Daddy as role models due to your small age and to this day you still look up to Davis as a surrogate Daddy. The last thing your Daddy bought before he left the house the day he died was a Cars bike helmet and knee pads. You had just turned 3 and now are almost six and still where the helmet. He always wanted to buy something of high quality but something that would last for a long long time. He also bought you a Thomas train named Ben-- a little yellow train to add to your collection. He knew he was going to die- and wanted you to remember how much he loved you..

Sophia "Sia"--Oh little are truly a survivor...your Daddy had become very ill by the time you were born...I often think he held on to see you born. You came into a crazy world at home during that time., and being in typical Sia style chose to ignore it and sleep most of the time. I will tell you that you are our only baby who your Daddy wanted to sit in the nursery at the hospital and rock you. He was so proud of you and thought you were so beautiful. He would place you in the nursery and stand outside the window and watch people go by and commenet on how happy they would be seeing you. He said he knew you had a natural gift to make other people happy and smile. He was so right, to this day you bring joy to all of those who see you and come in contact with you. You were my "shield" the first year after your Daddy died,. I think on some level he knew that you would also make the family complete--The boys doted on you and it helped with their acute type of grief that first year. I love you and your brothers more than words can express... You just need to know that each of you were loved by your father, even in his last dieing breath. I would not write this if I didn't believe it... It's probably why my grief was complicated, postponed and tough--I see with clarity now things I could not see before.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

He always knew..

I believe Ben knew he would die young...he always knew. From the time I first met him, he said he doubted that he would live to be over 40. I think he wanted to live a long life, he just knew his mind didn't work like the majority of the world's. I often find that at times, I have to defend my late husband-I mean most think his act was cowardly..And I know their is a fine line between letting my kids know the truth and know all of the positive aspects about their Dad, and letting them know that his coping skills were very very very wrong. I will never paint what he did as a hero or anything, too many suicides often happen because young people want to emulate another person (case in point,,, Ben loved Kurt Cobain)--yet he wasn't this horrible human being that society would like to think he was. I think it makes it easier for "others" to understand, but not those of us who have survived it.

Ben never laid a hand on me nor my children, he was never abusive in anyway-except the occasional agrument over growing his own "garden" which I would not allow (just read between the lines on that comment)-He was a doting Dad for the first few years of the boyz lives...and they were only 3 and 4 when he died-so for the bulk of their life is was an excellent Dad.. We looked like the All-American couple. Never were the police called to our house, never did either one of us have any affairs or drama in our home..For the most part things were good, until his illness really starting taking away his mind..

The last year of Ben's life he had a suicide attempt on New Years Eve., and a couple ideations about running his car into a tree. I knew in his heart he did not want to ever hurt the kids, yet I knew the last few months I could not trust him around me or the kids.. But again, no harm ever happened..

The irony and complex nature of this man-who can still intrigue me even from the grave is that he financially prepared for his family. Our 401K's were both maxed out at 16%-You don't do that if you know you want to die, unless you are wanting to take care of someone else..His CD's were all in long 27 month plans. After we bought our first house, at his request, we refinanced for a 15 year Mortgage at a fixed lower rate... Our payment was higher, but now my house is within a few years paid off..The day he died he died on company time, in a company rented storage unit, in his suit and tie, with his company car completely packed parked in front of it. Consequently, his company was able to save face and gave us life insurance. (and paid our Cobra/Health Insurance the first 3 months)-His Social Security was high..almost the max amount, so the kids and I still have the same life style. We are on a fixed income and are far from rich-but can keep the house, food, etc..I am not bragging, I am just stating facts-was it a cowardly act..yes with a rational mind it was.. My husband was not in his rational mind the last few months of his life. I saw him try to fight for his sanity by self medicating and pacing,,, it didn't work for him. His upbringing was different than mine, he was taught to be perfect-and perfection was the only acceptable way to be..

Those who knew Ben know all of this to be true...he was a gentle, "make love not war" type of guy.. He would never raise a fist to anyone, but could cut a person down with his mouth (yet they would not know what hit them until an hour later, but this quality intrigued me as well)--Months after his death many people asked about the toxicology report..For they wanted to believe he was on Crack of Cocaine or some type of crazy drug to make him crazy... He wasn't....just weed--- but he was always on weed---It was his mind, not his soul that took him...

For some, this post will make absolutely no sense...It's just been on my mind this morning and I had to get the garble out of my head. Once it's out I can take the No Vacancy sign down and get back to my routine.. I don't like having an UnQuiet Mind,,, I prefer it to be peaceful...