What can I say? I survived another tough weekend. However this one felt different than the past waves. I had a sense of gaining a little more acceptance of the grief and a little less willing to fight it but instead to go with it. It has been a year since Candice left our home and honestly, I have made only minor changes. However, I think it is time for me to start this process.
All the people who told me this past year to be patient and gentle with myself; well it finally resonated a little bit. I had my typical anxiety, insomnia and flashbacks when I hit a milestone. And Yes- my friends never disappoint with their ability to support me. I read the book “The Prophet” by Kahill Gibran (courtesy of Tina Cincotti). One of the poems in the book was one that I had selected for Candice and my wedding to be read. I had never read the whole book but I did this past weekend and I have found myself reading some of it over and over again because I felt so connected with these feeling and beliefs this year. “ Your joy is your sorrow unmasked….the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain…when you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. They are inseparable. Together they come and when one sits alone with you on your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed” Kahill Gibran
After this weekend, I realized that I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself and that I need to step back and take some time “offline”. I have been so fearful that if I wasn’t blogging or posting on facebook or fundraising in Candice’s memory that she would somehow disappear. I couldn’t handle that thought. The truth is, I feel her most in my silence and solitude and I have never generally been able to capture into words all that we shared and I don’t think I should try. So I am going to take some time to slow down. I am going to focus on my running and completing the marathon. I am going to take some time to just be.
I am blessed by so many friends and you know who you are and you know how much your love and support has meant to me, but I can’t keep up with all the thank you’s that I feel like I want to make daily and I know that you all don’t give to me in expectation of public gratitude. I am just a little compulsive - but I am learning that I need to take it down a notch to reduce my anxiety.
I want to write in this blog because it makes me happy and not because I am afraid that Candice is being forgotten. How could that ever happen? She was too memorable! I started this blog to heal and it has provided a great deal of that for me, but I once read a quote by CS Lewis that essentially stated something along the lines that when you let go of the mourning, she will be best remembered. I need to remember Candice again in a way that makes me smile and I need to do that privately.
I also need to give myself permission to start anew and this is the hardest step. I know this will be a place that I will continue to utilize but I need some space from the “interwebs”. I just didn’t want anyone who follows this, to think I am deserting this site since my compulsive nature requires that I explain myself. Something that I am also working on! Anyway--- I heart Candice. Come to my event on March 8th and help me raise money in Candice’s memory, have some fun and laughs. And thank you one and all who donate time, love, food, kindness and laughs to my life!
I have been finding myself reading articles about happiness a lot lately. Overall - they all sum up the same basic concepts. Eat right, exercise, meditate, find your passion, get outside, practice gratitude, surround yourself with support, journal, try new things, practice forgiveness and so on.
These practices all make perfect sense, right? However even after incorporating as many of these as I possible can - it doesn't mean that I still don't fall apart. Yes- these things can definitely provide a better overall view of the world and without them, I would not have been able to survive this year. However I can't always be happy. A daily reminder of a list of things that help facilitate happiness is a good exercise for me right now but it doesn't hold permanency. Grief generates high peaks of anxiety for me and unbelievable moments of despair. However it has been the flip side perspective that I wasn't prepared for. I have also had moments of enormous joy and hysterical laughter. Does that generate feelings of guilt? At times-very very much so. How can I be happy when Candice isn't here to share this with me. However I snap out of that frame of mind because ultimately I know that Candice is with me and she guides me and wanted so much for our happiness.She wants me to be happy - this I know!
Since Candice's passing, I have had a lot of time in my head and I have thought often about life and what it means and how to maximize moments particularly as I witnessed Candice do this after her terminal diagnosis. There are no guarantees and each day is a gift. I am forever changed by Candice in my life and also her absence. I have had to take my future orientated brain and I have had to attempt to have it focus on the "present". When my brain starts to look out to far- I crash hard. What is my life without Candice? It is not a question that I ask because I was co-dependent; it is a question I ask because I didn't see a future without her in it. My brain was in a fully furnished cozy condo thinking upgrades. When I think about the future now, it feels like someone came in and robbed every possession and smashed down the walls while they were at it. I need to rebuild. This has started, but rebuilding is not easy when you weren't prepared. I have had to learn a lot of skills this year and in turn I have moved away from fears that once limited me.
So I found myself thinking about an article that I read yesterday. In my quest for the "happy factor", it mentioned something about how people who are happiest are able to say the three hardest things openly. What are those things, you ask???
Interestingly enough, in this year-I have felt freer in my ability to articulate these three concepts and they have made all the difference. It still isn't easy by any means and it can certainly leave you feeling vulnerable. When I have expressed these things, have they been fully reciprocated? Not always. When they are not, does it hurt? No-strangely enough! I ask myself why this is the case and I think the reason is - when you state any of the three things above - you open yourself up and yes you are vulnerable BUT that has a very powerful intrinsic truth and freedom. We can not walk this journey alone during our darkest hours, nor can we always walk perfectly and sometime others have a skill set that we can use.
I think about Candice and my relationship. These three "hard" things came very easy to us as a couple. It isn't always easy to extend this too far but I glad that I have been able to be more open because there are so many amazing people out there!
I'm sorry, but I love you all - now please help me raise money in Candice's memory for the BIDMC Cancer Center!