Who am I at 50 something? I am a graphic artist, web designer, and event planner. I am also the campus tech at my elementary school who occasionally subs and is the resident artist. I am an empty nester, a mother, and better yet, a grandmother.
I find joy in the words that describe me, but there is another word that describes me. A label given to me due to an event that inducted me into a club that I never thought I’d belong to – widow. People used to look at me with pity when they’d hear it, I hated it. Who knows, perhaps they still do, I just choose to see beyond that now.
My husband passed away suddenly from flu complications at 47. We were high school sweethearts, married for 27 years. He left behind a son, who was desperately trying to make it back in time from deployment to see his dad one last time (he didn’t). A daughter who was in her sophomore year of college, and another daughter who was a freshman in high school. He didn’t get to see his sailor get married the next year, or the birth of his granddaughter the year after. He didn’t get to see his oldest daughter graduate from Texas State in 2017 or his youngest graduate from high school and go on to college.
We all survived, life went on. There were times it felt like life dragged us through because we couldn’t go on, on or own.
For me, the turning point was when I felt I was in a black hole and life was passing me by, not waiting for me to finish grieving. Then I realized grieving might be a process, but there is no end to it. Life does not stop to wait. I was missing out on whatever time I had left and I refuse to miss a minute of truly living my life.
So I pulled myself out of that hole. I started accepting every invitation to anything and everything. I spent a lot of time talking with friends – at all hours of the day and night. Spent time at concerts feeling the energy of my favorite bands, found joy at musicals in the theater district with my girls, spent many days at the beach, mostly alone. There’s something about the sound of the waves, the feel of the breeze, and the smell of the salt air…it’s the ultimate therapy! I found physical labor therapeutic too. I painted, dug holes, planted plants, mended fences….and I walked, A LOT. I walked several miles a day. Everyday. Alone and with friends. I also spent many hours with a therapist. Don’t underestimate the power of being able to spill your guts to someone who will not, and cannot repeat what you tell them. That’s priceless, especially in a small town.
It has certainly been a long road, with many lessons. Now that OUR dreams and plans were gone, it was time to envision what I wanted for MY future and I needed to focus. I decided I had to start by making a vision board for myself. I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish that year, printed pictures, put them all on a board and hung it in my bedroom so I could see it every morning when I woke up, and every evening when I went to sleep.
Let me tell you, vision boards work! I may not have accomplished everything I posted, but I did accomplish most. The second year I decided to add a list of qualities I wanted in the man who would become my “chapter two”. My girls laughed at my list, said there was no one like that.
A year later, that person walked into my life. Not only was he everything I wanted, he also brought things into my life I had no idea I needed. Together we are creating a beautiful mosaic out of our broken pieces.
A life lived in CAPS!
I hope you find inspiration in our adventures and projects.
xoxo – Angie