Permanently Exhausted

Whinge whinge whinge hehehe. Nah, not really.

Up until last weekend, I had been working seven days a week for over ten weeks. I know there are people who do this all of the time – hats off to them – I have struggled. By the last week, I was quick to temper and quick to spiral down. Just tiredness. And I knew that, so could keep tabs on it all quite easily.

I’ve had five days off. I don’t feel replenished. I have a couple more off after today’s work.

I have been reflecting this morning – has anyone else noticed that as daylight savings draws nearer, they wake up earlier – and I think that walking my path can be hard work at times.

I am okay about my grandmother passing. I am sad about the loss, but it’s purely sadness from her physical departure. I believe, quite strongly, that there is life after death. My experiences after Nat’s death have only strengthened my faith. I know that when we pass, our soul continues. Death no longer holds fear for me.

I also think the DeMartini work I’ve been doing with Mai Mai has shifted the way I perceive the things that happen. I’m more aware that there is always balance – sometimes it isn’t as obvious as at others, but that’s our mis/perception – and this makes the drama harder to access.

Death is a natural part of life. After all, it is our only certainty. I am endeavouring to live every day with intention and with purpose. I am being as I build. I am present and honestly acknowledge each moment. I love my work and I love where my work is leading me. I love the lessons because they enable me to establish my worth for myself.

But, today, and yesterday, I’m tired. I’m grateful for it – tiredness means I’ve been productive. But, it’s time to learn how to balance it all.

After self-worth, that’s my other ongoing lesson. I have faith I will get there – the self-worth is coming along very quickly. Truly escalated over the last ten weeks.

I wonder where I will be in another ten.

The Lessons In Death

A couple of years ago, you may remember, my grandfather died. He was not my grandfather by blood, but the grandfather that was provided because my parents’ parents were in Finland and Germany. I never met them. My parents worked hard to create a surrogate family of grandparents and aunts and uncles for us.

Yesterday, my grandfather’s wife, my grandmother, died.

I pause and stare out at the incredible landscape before me as tears surface. The chimes that had been sounding stop, as if time stands still, but the birds do not. I hear them chirping and chattering throughout the many valleys in front of me. Two small rabbits bounce through the grasses, avoiding the watchful eye of the territorial magpie. The breeze picks up and the chimes cascade and wash over me.

Sigh.

I am sad. For unexpected reasons.

She had been ready to go weeks ago. Medications kept her breathing and kept her heart beating. I will miss the knowledge of her existence in this realm, with me. In the hospital, we laughed and shared. I was blessed enough to be able to tell her exactly what she had meant to me in this life. I could tell her I loved her.

Another pause. Another sigh.

Looking out across the mountains and the valleys, I realise how blessed I am. The breadth of this landscape enables perspective. We are all born. We will all die. Our times here are fleeting; the trees and the mountains will easily outlast us all.

And, that is okay.

Life, as the old cliche goes, is short. We can resist change or we can embrace it. We can create chaos or we can create peace. It is our choice. We can focus on the negativity of life or we can bring life to balance. We can be inspired, or we can be cynical. All choices. We can stand still, we can become stuck or we can strive to move forward, carrying with us all that we gain along the way.

Healing truly is a process. It requires a hell of a lot of hard work. It requires rests along the way; time to reflect on how far you have come and time to just be to let it all integrate. My work has garnered strengths and peace. I mark Aunty Val’s passing in my soul, but I choose to celebrate her existence in my life rather than hold on to her passing.

I am grateful for a very developed belief system and faith that enables me to know she isn’t far away from me, and within reach whenever we may need each other.

Thank you, Aunty Val, and to Uncle Ian, for being my grandparents and shielding me from pain, as best you could, as I grew up. Thank you for the wonderful memories and laughter and sense of family, But, most of all, thank you for loving me and reminding me I was enough. Just as I was.

Time to Say Goodbye

This is the final weekend of eclipses and marks a new phase for all of us. The last eight months or so have been very unsettled and resolutions will now be seen to manifest. The past is the past, and our presents belong to clean slates.

Wow. I’m struggling even to write this. I’ve been absent from here. I have left teaching and have been establishing new routines and new ways of being. I am happy and significantly less stressed. And, I have started writing the book that my soul has been called to write for at least the last couple of years, if not longer, subconsciously.

Today, though, I needed to say goodbye to my grief about not becoming a birth mother during this incarnation. I will be eternally grateful that those people closest to me have not given up on me. I am still invited to the baby showers of my extended family. Difficult, but I am truly grateful.

I am also grateful that they all fell pregnant after most of my healing had been done, when there is some residual around Baby Showers, but nothing else.

Today, I had to resolve the last part. I didn’t know it before today, even though I had a feeling I wasn’t entirely good, but today I knew for sure.

I have been good with people falling pregnant, being pregnant, having babies. I haven’t been okay with Baby Showers and couldn’t understand why. I figured the actual baby would be more difficult to handle, but no. Not for me.

About three days ago, symptoms of anxiety started to surface. I wasn’t sure I would make it to the Baby Shower today. I kept breathing and talking sense to myself, and I knew in my heart that I needed to make sure I went. People can’t be sympathetic forever, and there comes a time when you stop being invited to events. There also comes a time when you need to move on within yourself.

I worked this morning (not that I necessarily call Sunday’s client, work at all). I came home for a shower, put the dress on I had been wanting to wear, felt overdone, and changed, resulting in feeling boganesque. I wasn’t going to win by changing outfits continually, so I stayed dressed this way, resisting the urge to wear yoga pants, cons and an oversized cardigan.

The anxiety became stronger. I started to experience heart palpitations and nausea. I questioned why I committed. At this point, I stopped, took some deep breaths, and acknowledged that I loved these people. That’s why I committed. Because I’m grateful I was invited and because I want to be part of these children’s lives because I want to be part of their parents’ lives.

These are my people, and I’ve been very absent for a very long time. IVF altered me and made me not me for a long time and I lost a lot. I didn’t know how to come back and I don’t want to lose these people.

I cried on the drive in. Thirty minutes of increasingly feeling worse. I willed myself to stop crying and to stop shaking. I tapped whilst I drove.

Even though I’m feeling exceptionally vulnerable, I completely love and accept myself.

Then, I forced myself to fake smile and visualised talking to people and feeling safe, confident, unimpacted. I debated calling ahead, asking to be met outside, asking to not go in and giving the gifts and apologies and running away. I debated turning around and going home. I debated pulling my head in and just going.

I arrived, took some deep breaths, grabbed the gifts, and walked to the door. I hugged the Mum to be and thanked her for the invitation. I spoke to my mum to be sister and burdened her for a while, then went outside to relieve her of my angsty self. I started to breathe evenly and calm myself. I spoke to people. I interacted. I think I did okay.

I left to see members of the birth family.

I drove home. I cried most of the way. I felt ridiculous. Then I spoke to myself and loved myself like I would others in this position, and I owned my grief.

It is okay to still feel this way. It is okay to hurt. There is no time limit. There is no pressure. This was the time. This was the place. This is the beginning of a new phase. I had to grieve and cry out this residual from my old phase.

It is okay. I am okay.

Whilst I had been in the shower, I had had an epiphany or realisation for why Baby Showers are such a struggle. I share this in case one day you, or a friend, or family member, go through something similar.

Baby Showers are a celebration of motherhood. And it is important to celebrate this journey.

As a middle aged woman who has failed in this society to bear children, for me, this celebration is hard. For me, it highlights my inability to conceive and carry, and it highlights that I don’t live a normal life, have never been normal, and probably won’t ever be normal.

As a middle aged woman without children, you don’t tend to fit so easily into this world. You can carve out your spot, but you don’t belong to the motherhood tribe. You can’t talk about your kids or share wisdom about raising children, with others. Often, the first question you are asked is if you have kids. Or you aren’t asked, and people assume. After all, you look old enough now to be a mother, so you must be.

I don’t think we realise how much the expectation of women is to mother. Until you can’t. And then it becomes very clear. And I think the expectation marginalises those of us that cannot fulfill the expectation. Especially those of us who try and fail.

I dunno. I’m writing about childhood trauma. If I hadn’t miscarried in 2013, my baby would be turning four next week. Maybe that’s why Baby Showers are hard. Maybe, but not likely. Meh.

Blake

Video today. Words are hard to find at times like this. And, I forgot to mention, probably because it’s too hard, his mum and brother. Watching their grief makes you appreciate the loved ones you do have. None of us should have to lose people we care about. Much love to Lisa and Rory, universe.

And the mask crumbles.

I wore my big girl pants all day today, until ten minutes ago when the tears came sobbing out as I drove closer to home. Too late to go and get a hug from someone, especially with a shit load of marking to do.

I have changed as a teacher. The compassionate, loving creature that this year’s Years 11 and 12 know, I don’t think the younger years have met. It’s sad. This me is a cool teacher. But, fuck, it’s hard.

When I have taught, prior to this year, I was all in. Heart. Mind. Soul. No wonder I have burnt out.

I remember this heart break and all the prior heart breaks, fresh. Belinda has said that this is our seventh student loss. I’ve been close to every single one. And, that’s not the hardest part.

No, the hardest part is watching the kids left behind, breaking in front of you, while you stand with them, powerless to fix their pain, to take the hurt away, to stem the flow of tears. We can only hold them, tell them we love them, and say, “Yep. This is fucked,” as we hold them tighter, scared we might lose them too. Scared that we won’t be enough. Scared … just plain scared. Whilst we break too.

No child should go before old age. But, they do. All of the time. It’s devastating.

I told a couple of the kids today that we honour Blake’s life by becoming our best selves, living our best lives. And, I believe this.

Death of loved ones changes us. It doesn’t matter who we are; death and grief are equalizers.

I am holding a lot of anger towards the senselessness of this, and the selfish arrogance of the ‘perpetrator’. I’ll work through it. He has people grieving him and praying for his recovery. I am sure if he had a chance to do over, he would change each decision that resulted in this devastation. Still …

It’s hard as a teacher. People don’t expect us to have these deep emotions for our kids. We do though. It’s hard not to. We see them every day. We see them at their best and at their worst. You get to know their souls, and you get to help them navigate their way through this sketchy thing called life.

I will never forget many things about Blake: white bloody shoes and a myriad of other ongoing uniform infringements, cheeky grin, stubborn spirit, his compassion and love for those he was closest to, and his honesty.

I had a conversation with him during 2016, before I left, that really highlighted his maturity and battler spirit. I will never forget it. It reminded me of how much some of our kids contend with to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Blake was a survivor.

I believe (ever so gratefully) that his spirit lives on. That his cheeky grin is a flicker away. And that his life will continue to impact those he knew positively through death. Some things just live on.

For now, my big girl pants are with my mask, away for the night, and as I tell the kids, I’m being real and doing what I need to do to self-care and to move through this, peacefully. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to vent. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to do whatever you need to do.

❤️🙏🏻💦

Dolores O’Riordan

I cried this morning when I heard that Dolores O’Riordan had died. You would have thought, had you seen me, that I had lost a close friend.

The Cranberries’ music is a part of my life’s soundtrack. I loved them. In many ways, Dolores being the same age as me, battling emotional demons, we shared a narrative. Simple as that.

My music idols and heroes are important to me. They provided refuge and companionship during some very lonely and difficult times as I came to terms with my past and who I was. We never get to tell them how important they are to us. I hope they know.

My dad introduced me to Zucchero. Dolores performed with him. I used to play it over and over, singing with her in kinship. My poor neighbours.

I know her soul will be at peace, and so I wish the same for her kids and loved ones here on Earth.

https://youtu.be/6rk8TsXdOeI

Them December Shivers

Summer Solstice today. Ascension, enlightenment, return to the divine. Also, not coincidentally I am sure, the anniversary of my friend, Natalie’s, passing from this physical world into another, five years ago.

Time moves quickly when you count it in years. Yet, some memories stay. On this day, five years ago, I did not care about Summer Solstice and whether it was today or yesterday or tomorrow. I was exhausted. Emotionally fatigued. I had visited Nat at the hospital, sat with her, chatted to her, apologised to her, said goodbye to her.

I had been carrying a lot of guilt for not having been around as much. I dropped out of contact after another failed pregnancy attempt. Within myself, I hadn’t been sure how to reconnect after grief and had hidden myself in a new friendship to try to find a way through, that also ultimately failed. Then, I was grieving that.

It is what it is. Life sometimes gets in the way and you just don’t expect your friends will die.

When I arrived home that afternoon, I just sat on my lounge, staring at the wall, absentmindedly patting my dog. I was waiting for the text from her husband or kids to let me know she had moved on. Waiting. Reflecting on how her passing would impact so many people, but more importantly, her husband, brother, parents and kids.

Abruptly, my dog jumped from the lounge and moved in front of the chair Nat had always sat in, tail wagging and barking. I felt her.

Then, shortly after, the message came.

Nat’s passing has taught me a lot. I always believed that there was more, that our soul lives did not end with our bodies. I had always believed that souls could still communicate with those on this earthly plane if we were open to it.

Nat and I have had many wonderful conversations since her passing. Sceptics might argue that it is the way I have processed my grief and my guilt, and not really real. But, I believe otherwise.

At first, obviously, I thought I was going crazy. It took me a while to realise that it wasn’t just me making stuff up, projecting my thoughts into an alternate reality. Her voice was real, her smile, her laugh, her being.

One of my friends during this time, a medium, contacted me one night with a message from Nat. It was undeniable that Nat was communicating because my friend had no way of knowing about the information she shared with me. In fact, only two people outside Nat and myself knew about it. It centred around a conversation Nat and I had had a couple of years earlier concerning her treatment.

The message that was delivered to me was so specific that it validated her reality beyond this earthly plane. It also validated my conversations with her. I felt like I had my friend back.

It is because of Nat that I gave IVF another go. She had always hoped I would conceive so that she could sneakily feed my child meat (spare your judgements here – not interested lol). We used to laugh, well, she did. Initially I was angry with Nat. I needed to blame something outside of myself and I patched into any tiny betrayal I perceived to emote outside of myself.

However, that miscarriage has fertilised a whole new way of life for me, albeit a childless one. My life is rich and blessed. I vowed when Nat passed that I would live fully. For the most part, I have succeeded in keeping this promise. It is funny what motivates us sometimes.

I still speak to Nat. She is still in my thoughts and part of my life. I know that she is around, checking in on all of us. We still chat and we sometimes argue. But, the love is constant.

We all learn how to keep moving forward after a loss, after a while, and it is important to assimilate the loss and move forward. It’s also okay that getting to this takes time, and can be a process of one step forward three hundred steps back. Grief is a funny (not so funny) thing. It can completely paralyse us, and it can stimulate and nurture rich new growth.

It really takes work, trust, patience and faith. Well, it has for me.

I still struggle. I like to keep today clear so that I don’t feel overwhelmed to be something I’m not feeling. It doesn’t always work. I try to navigate it and be kind to myself, trusting that if I make plans thinking I’ll be okay, and I’m not, I can cancel them.

You just never know. And, that is okay. We live for ourselves, not others, and we are not responsible for their perceptions.

Ahhhhh. It’s also okay to be enlightened and say, F this Shit.

Oh, and Nat was an amazing Mum. Knowing every day was precious, she mummed her way. She had faith that it worked for her and her boys were absolutely loved. She was not perfect (as she laughs and asks if I’m sure), but she gave it all she could. That’s all anyone can do.

It’s okay to make mistakes; come from a place of love, and all will be okay.

A Rollercoaster of Emotion

Well, it has been a while. Today, my brain won’t let me do anything else until I have blogged. Not sure I am quite ready to put down the emotional rollercoaster that is my brain every year at this time, but meh. What can you do. I must blog so that I can achieve other things lol.

I cried myself to sleep last night. Unexpectedly.

A friend of mine had commented on a Facebook post by Em Rusciano. Em was due to give birth yesterday, but miscarried earlier in her pregnancy. It was such a heartfelt post, something resonated, and I just released. No prize for guessing what the next thing will be to work on when I return to therapy in January. I will, under guidance and not by myself, Demartini the mother out of my miscarriage. This morning I awoke feeling emotionally hungover. I can feel the cogs turning in my mind, a lot of processing happening, I can’t access most of it yet.

I head back to my permanent teaching position in ten sleeps. Yes. I am counting down. Why do we do that to ourselves?!

I have had a phenomenal year. My goal was to heal from the investigation, and for the most part, I have. I do not think I carry any anger anymore, especially towards the people that I used as a symbol for all that went wrong last year (and not the people you would expect). I feel quite calm about returning to work from that perspective. However, this year has really solidified for me the people that regard me as a concept and those that value me. This is a good thing moving forward.

I carry concerns that I will fall into past patterns at work upon my return. I have no desire to be the person I was when I left, almost a year ago. I no longer desire to mentor any adults in the workplace; I no longer want to be the ‘go to’ person for all and sundry; I no longer want the long hours and excessive workload, watching those that I have supported drive through those gates to liberation before me.

My life has moved. I have moved. My values have changed. I am no longer the person that I was; I have liberated myself from the cage I had imprisoned myself in.

I think I felt a lot of shame and a lot of guilt. I had always wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t stop to think that teaching takes many forms and doesn’t necessarily just happen in a classroom. I was, and am, grateful for all of my years in formal education. I grew into myself, forged new paths, and inspired and empowered many. My legacy in education may not have reached award status, but my impact has been significant. So, I felt guilty thinking I may have outgrown it, shame that I wasn’t being grateful by needing to move away from it.

One of my clients had to watch a TED Talk to use as a related text for an assessment on “Discovery”. We were deconstructing it on Wednesday. It spoke to me on so many different levels.

Emilie Wapnick’s “Why Some Of Us Don’t Have One True Calling”

It sort of sums me up. I think I am a multipotentialite. I am a teacher, but I think my main calling, and this has been a recurring theme in how I teach, what I teach, and in who I am as a teacher, is that of healer. This year, even in my tutoring business, what I am really doing, ultimately doing, is healing the fragments within all of us that we carry with us every day. My multipotentials come in the myriad of activities I have engaged in through teaching and outside of teaching. I am always doing many things.

So, the shame and guilt I have felt have given way (or are in the process of giving way to) an acceptance that in our society, living and moving unexpectedly, requires courage. And, I am courageous.

When you are unhappy in life, and we all have moments – mine just became a long term series of moments, it is imperative that you do something to change it. It takes courage, even to mix it up a little, let alone to take leave to see what else is out there. I have always said that all change takes twenty seconds of courage. Thank you eternally, We Bought A Zoo.

We can all do twenty seconds.

It will take the same courage to go back, to be authentically me, to stand by the changes I have made this year, and to remember that I am worth putting me first. And, I can do it; I know I can.

This year has been successful beyond measure, a true legacy to my friend Natalie. It took me a while to make my promise to you real, but I will live with passion and energy. I will not waste my life, because I know how much you would have given to still be here breathing and living yours.

I firmly believe that our souls find peace when we are walking the path we are supposed to walk. My soul had been restless and scared for years. She liberated herself this year and she will not go backwards.

I do not know what the future holds for me. I know that I return to my school full time in a week (ten sleeps) and then five days a fortnight next year. I know that my tutoring business is going to be fine (most of my clients have already re-booked for next year – humbling and surprising to me – such is my naivete, and I have new clients booking). I know that the outline and focus for my book found its shape yesterday. I know that I have some ideas for an online business to source and build during January. I know that I am excited to start programming for my school students and to be back in my classroom next year.

I am moving forward. I am where I am meant to be. I am not stagnating again. I will continue to wholly love and breathe, embracing change and the moment with passion and wonder that I could be just this blessed.

I should stop there. It was inspiring and empowered and strong. However, this post is a true example of my brain, my rollercoaster. Be grateful you don’t live in it lol.

Much love …

The Beauty of Aging

I woke up this morning, after some yucky dreams, reflecting on aging and getting old. I have had the very real pleasure of spending almost two weeks with some people who are fifteen years and older than me, people of my parent’s generation. Collective wisdom in bucket loads. Completely inspiring.

Here, in Asia, generally, older family members are celebrated and nurtured. A very real understanding exists regarding the use and relevance of the wisdom of an aging generation. Something that I do not believe is valued in western culture. Definitely not to the extent that I believe it should be.

Val and I had lunch at a local restaurant here. It is across from the hotel (Sunrise Resort) here in Hoi An, and it is simply called Simple. It is owned by a young woman, just starting, who cooks beautiful food. We ate as a group there last night and rebooked for tonight.

Anyway, the young girl who manages or owns the spa next door and helps out the owner of the restaurant, was ducking off to check in on her father who is dying from cancer. She then came back to continue working. There was/is a nobility in her attitude that I don’t see as often in Australia.

Val and I then discussed death and nursing homes and retirement villages. My dad and I had discussed the importance of purpose and feeling useful before I left for Kampuchea. How easy it becomes to feel overlooked and uninspired when we feel we serve no purpose to anyone, and are just waiting to die. Val recently lost her husband, misses him, but feels the need to keep moving forward. Here, in Asia, we have been told repeatedly how the elderly teach the young their ways. Old wisdom and understanding works in partnership with youthful vigour, and society progresses.

In education, I don’t see this sort of reverence for older workers. As a result, older teachers become cynical about the system and vital corporate knowledge is sacrificed. Younger teachers are regarded as treasures and opportunities are piled onto them, suffocatingly, because they are not given the time to adequately hone the craft of teaching itself. They end up burnt out or not very accomplished where it counts, in the classroom.

Western culture reveres the ‘purity’ and ‘naïveté’ of youth above the wisdom of the old, to its detriment.

I have met many women who become infinitely more beautiful as they age. I am one of them.

There is magick in the lines in a wizened face; a majesty of experience, knowledge, pain and happiness, never seen in the young who have not had the time necessary to experience the rich tapestry of life.

There is truth in the words of the old; consideration, reflection, wisdom and understanding, never seen in the young. Again, because the young have not had the time to experience all that life can offer.

There is the real compassion that comes from surviving much pain, and the confidence to share stories to empower and inspire the young. To reach out a hand, to give a hug, to truly heart connect with others. The young have not survived enough yet to feel the conviction that survival brings.

There is the truth of life reflected in many different ways of choosing how to live, and honesty even in the shortness of impatience that we can all learn from.

Wisdom, real wisdom, comes from the many experiences that a long life has had access to. It comes from the time taken to experience and process life’s many realities and extremes.

Older people don’t care so much how others view them, even though they are often invisible, and with that comes freedom, a real freedom. Unseen, we can really embrace every second, uncensored. There is an honesty and rich authenticity in this. A freshness that youthful vigour does not, cannot, possess.

Aging is beautiful. It is rich. It is empowering. We need to learn from the older ones so that we do not lose their collective wisdom, and so that we can forge a better world in years and for generations to come.

My Next Charge

As a woman who has never birthed her own children, I have been truly blessed by the generosity of so many friends in their willingness to let me love their kids. Tonight I attended the birthday party of three of them.

These girls, and their sisters, have always just treated me like I was valuable to them. They are three of quite a few. So, whilst I have never been a birth mother, I have been blessed to be welcomed into their lives.

I have also been adopted and have adopted an incredible person who I have written about before. Honours me as her mother even though I never feel quite deserving enough; she loves me anyway.

Under the Tuscan Sun has a scene in it where the protagonist realised that everything she had desired for her life in the villa came to pass, but not always in the way that she had expected or hoped.

I think it is the same for me as a mother. I am a mother. Just not in a traditional way (shock horror) and that is more than okay. I am so proud of all of my surrogate kids, past and present, and am grateful that this has been and continues to be, my path.

Well, this post didn’t go quite where I wanted it to. My heading is so not what this is now about.

Tonight I also realised what my next emotionally charged issue to work through is. I had a close friend die a few years ago. I still think of her every day and talk to her often. I caught up with her husband tonight. I just wanted to cry.

I had disappeared from their lives leading up to her death. I do this. When my life overwhelms me, I tend to force myself into time out to process and assimilate whatever it is that is going on. At this particular time, I was in my IVF journey and just didn’t know how to communicate so didn’t.

You never expect that one of the people closest to you might not be there. It just doesn’t factor in to your thinking. I’m a great person and give a lot, but I’m not perfect. When I saw Nat again, she was in hospital, and we were waiting for her to pass.

I was blessed to have been included in this process and to have been given the opportunity to sit with her on my own to say goodbye. Definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And the tears pool, blurring the words on the screen, and fall. And one of the most beautiful opportunities I have ever received.

I sat with her and told her how important she was to me, and I apologised for disappearing, and I just held her hand. I promised her that I would not waste my life. In honour of her I would live my best life.

Several hours later, at home, I felt her passing before I received the text to tell me that she had passed. I sobbed quickly and then pulled myself together to contact the people I needed to contact. I think I stayed in that mode for days and weeks after. The funeral is there in my mind but only as impressions. I remember nothing of my delivery of my words for her, except seeing her husband and kids in front of me.

We do tend to forget or look over the faults in people that have passed; their lives take on an inflated status.

I lost my friend. Paradoxically, I gained my life.