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nine years.  i have tried to leave ohio for nine years.

this weekend it becomes a reality.  no longer an ohio resident.
it breaks my heart a little, this split in my life.  what i had vs what will be.  for a long time i thought i would have both.  jim and i had talked multiple times about leaving, it just never worked out.  doors always shut that needed to be opened.  same for me when i was single.  i spent the first six months of my senior year of college applying exclusively to out of state jobs.

there is this tendency, i think, in widowhood, to feel guilty.  every time we make a change, especially one that would not be possible if still married, we second guess.  wait? did i want this to happen- did my subconscious somehow confirm what i wanted.

the reality is all your choices change after widowhood.  who i was with jim is gone forever.  one never walks through fire unchanged.  it is odd to see myself change so much in such a short amount of time.  of course i am in the biggest identity crisis of my life, who i was as a mom has changed, who i was as a daughter has changed.  i am changing and evolving and all of my relationships have changed and evolved as well.  some of the most difficult ones to navigate are the ones that only knew jim and i as a couple.

when you are with your soulmate they light up so many different facets of you.  but they don't light up every facet- it's not possible.  you are two different people with different personalities.  now that my energy is no longer diverted into the facets that were lit up by jim - i am struck with a very real sense of coming back into my own.  this is not a good thing or a bad thing, it's just a reality within a marriage and within the ending of a marriage.  you are a different person in a marriage and a different person outside of it.  to continue on as i was would be dishonest to myself and cheapen what jim and i had, as if i could have been that person without him.

it would be a dishonor to continue on in who i was, a slap in the face of who jim made me, what he brought out in me.  those parts of me are lost forever, lost in the deep of what we built together.

so now the new girl starts out.  for a couple more days i have one foot in, one foot out.  unable to fully embrace until i fully say goodbye.  boxes, boxes, boxes.  some stuff comes with, some stuff stays.

who i was is no longer, but she will always be a part of me.  jim and elly- i can't wait to take you both with me.

to my kiddos here with me,  the complete opposites of and fiercest protectors of each other.  i hope i do you proud.  i promise the first boxes unpacked will be your toys.



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i get it.  i used to be like you too.  here are the most common views of suicide i either heard or personally held growing up:

that person is selfish
that person is crazy
that person is a coward
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they were depressed for a long time and finally went through with it
there are always warning signs, so people know it's coming
that it's preventable

there is this social stigma around depression, suicide, etc.  i can't tell you what it is like to not be able to talk openly about my husband's death.  to see people either openly or privately distance themselves from my pain, search for reasons that he did it beyond the fact that he was ill and we didn't catch it in time, connect dots that aren't connected.  all so they can convince themselves that they will never know the pain, and i honestly hope they don't- but it's possible they will.  i know people whose lives…

dating in 2016, also huge LOL at even posting this.

Half of me can’t even believe I am writing this post.  Dating is gruesome, isn’t it?  Like most of life, I suppose.
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i watched a video that my iPhone made, a video of 2016.  and it had just all of these beautiful and painful moments just wrapped into this four minute video.

the depth of my pain this year has been, at times, unbearable to the point where i wished for death.

but i saw so much smiling in those videos.  so many sweet moments and so many memories that happened when i was in a fog that felt all encompassing.

this year i felt the church's love in a way i have never before felt
this year i was able to take my kids on a disney cruise because of my co-workers at carters and the fundraiser they did for me
this year i was able to move because people came and packed and loaded me and helped with the cost of moving
this year my kids had a play set built for them while they were in another state
this year we imposed on people over and over again with our loud, yelling and crying little family of three
this year my daughter made beautiful friendships because people weren't afraid to reach …