Friday, February 27, 2015

Embracing the Moment

Back when I was 22, I wrote this:

Life doesn't invite you to stop and think. It doesn't have time for that. Life continues at a rapid and steady pace without saying, "Hey - stop right here, right now...and reflect." So you're on your own. You have to remember to do this. It's vital...or you begin to take things for granted. You begin to get tired. You begin to feel ungrateful. You begin to worry. You leave no time for what you want or for the simple things in life. You leave no time for laughter or pondering or smiling for the mere sake of smiling. You forget to enjoy the truly great things that careen into your life and smack you in the face.

Life just is and it's up to you to wake yourself up for brief moments here and there. It's up to you to question things, to answer things, to dream, to be thankful, to breathe. Life is a film that never ends and you hold the remote; you can press the pause button. You can take a moment.

Life hardly ever comes in almost always comes in downpours. So stop the car, clear off your windshield, and take a look. 

That's one of the best things about being a writer who keeps writing for years on end: messages from yourself.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Promises + Guarantees

It's always best to begin any day or venture with promises to yourself.

promise (noun):
-a statement that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future
-an indication of future success or improvement
-a reason to expect that something will happen in the future

So I thought I'd write some down.


I will not stop writing. 
I will not stop living life to the fullest.
I will not stop feeling.
I will not compromise myself. 
I will be authentic.
I will keep learning.
I will take risks.
I will remember the lessons I've learned. 
I will always forgive myself.
I will surround myself with people who make me happy.
I will seek laughter.
I will spread joy.
I will do good work. 
I will have no regrets. 

The difference between a promise and a guarantee is subtle, but it's there. 

guarantee (noun):
-a formal promise or assurance that certain conditions will be fulfilled
-something that gives a certainty of outcome
-a formal pledge

And so, if I uphold the promises I have made to myself, I guarantee that I will be happy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Before Bed

A little bit of wine in the glass by my side,
A little bit of music serving as a guide,
A little bit of darkness soothing my pride…
I retire the desire
To run away and hide.

A lot of consternation coupled with fear,
A lot of rationality I can’t seem to hear,
A lot of night loneliness, but not one tear…
I sigh and I try
To feel the calm near.

A little bit of hope burning like a coal,
A little bit of circumstance out of my control,
A little bit of joy settling in my soul...
I smile all the while
And become more whole.

A lot of emotion that dips very deep,
A lot of intuition telling me to leap,
A lot of sweet thoughts I want to keep...
I grope for more hope
And I try to sleep.

© Arielle Lee Bair 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Back on November 8th, I wrote this on the blog:

ad·ven·ture (noun):

an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

I want to embark on unusual and exciting journeys. I want to have unusual and exciting experiences. I'm not sure how I feel about "typically hazardous," but if I put what life has in store for me into the same category of our day today, I understand how "typically hazardous" can be awesome. When something is "typically hazardous," it's a challenge. If you prevail, you gain self-satisfaction. You have excitement. You feel happiness in spite of the unusual adventure. 

Adventures are not necessarily inevitable. They won't happen unless you make them happen. You have to choose them. You have to start them. You have to take risks and make goals. You have to go for it, whatever it is. 

I don't want to have a life full of days. I want to have a life full of adventures.

Close to 4 months later, I smile reading my own words. I feel alive. I know that life throws me curveballs at times, but I also know it's nothing I can't handle. I can tell when something is worth it or not - and if it makes me feel alive, it's definitely worth it. There is no greater feeling than feeling alive.

Monday, February 23, 2015

All In

This blog has seen and heard it all. I think I've talked about every emotion in the book over the last 9 months - from joy to disappointment to hope to fear to excitement to loneliness to celebration to relief... and everything in between. I don't censor myself, because it's not my style.

I write the most personal of things. I lay it all out for people to see, to sift through, to pick apart. Some people even look for hidden messages or read between the lines. That's okay with me, because I'm telling you something. 

Actually, I'm telling you lots of things. And I'm saying them, because I want you to listen. Yes, you.

I don't want pity. Or curiosity. I don't want praise. Or encouragement. I just want you to know that I'm not afraid to feel. I'm not afraid to feel all of it, every last bit. In fact, we are here to go all in. So I am trying to say that I'm all in. 

This is important:

I'm on a mission to keep feeling alive... and you are welcome to join me. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Since becoming a widow, facts about me that are still true:

1) I am a hopeless romantic.
2) I look for the best in people, and that's why I find it.
3) One day I want to be a famous writer, so look for a cute photo of me on the backs of book jackets at Barnes & Noble in the future. 
4) Every day, I realize I am more and more like my mother...and I like it much more than I dislike it. 
5) My friends are extremely important to me. 
6) I am very affectionate. 
7) I am happy to wake up every morning.
8) I'm relentless.
9) I'm full of gratitude. 
10) I am extremely loyal - body, mind, and soul.

Since becoming a widow, NEW facts about me: 

1) I sometimes actually enjoy driving. 
2) I sleep with my phone in bed with me.
3) I think I've actually turned into a morning person - I seem to start my day earlier and earlier. 
4) I have realized some of the things I've been missing so far in life and I want to have them. 
5) I spend a lot of time deep in thought. 
6) I fantasize about the future, but live in the now. 
7) I surprise myself and I have less fear.
8) My life is less cluttered.
9) I have an ache that's just dying to be soothed with laughter, excitement, fun, and affection. 
10) Even though I have less fear, I am often afraid - no, terrified - to hope, because the pain of disappointment hurts so much more when you've been through the year I've been through. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

No Time for Resistance

I just read this quote and I was like, "Yes!"

It's snowing outside. I'm wrapped in a blanket, pondering the mysteries and surprises of life. I want to live the unlived life within me. I want to merge the life I live with the unlived life within me. Resistance has no place in my world. Life is too short.


This is the post I would have posted last night. 

Maybe I am waking up.

In the last 9 months of nightly blogging, I have only NOT blogged 4 times. The first time I skipped, I was celebrating my 30th birthday with my friends and returned home too tired and under the influence of alcohol to even consider being a coherent writer. My best friend put me to bed. The second time, I forgot to blog. It was not a conscious decision. I remembered the next day that I had been too busy picking up momentum. The third time, I did make the decision to skip a night. I wanted to see how that felt. And last night, I just plain didn't feel like it. I wanted to feel everything but keep it and not give it away. Still, I don't think skipping blog posts will be a "thing." Writing is sacred to me and this blog has spread like wildfire in a way I could never have imagined. 

I've blogged from other states. I've blogged from events. I've blogged early and I've blogged late. I've blogged from a car. I've blogged from outside. But if I want/need to write, I do. I am dedicated to this.

It's early Saturday morning and I'm about to start my weekend as Manager on Duty. I am not excited, given all the associations with the worst day of my life, but I'm ready. Because that's the thing about me - whatever life throws, whatever is in store, I was born ready. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Tonight, I'm doing something a bit different. I'm re-posting a post from a while back. I'm not linking to it or referring to it - I'm re-posting it in its entirety. 

8 months ago, when Rick had been gone just 1 month, I wrote this:

This morning, the attorney and I went to the Register of Wills at the county courthouse. We sat down across from a woman who files wills all day long. The attorney, who knew her well, slid Rick's death certificate across the desk, pointed to a box near the bottom of the paper, and gave her a knowing look. My eyesight is good and I can read upside down. He was pointing to the box checked Suicide. My mind imagined their silent conversation, punctuated by eyebrow movements and sad smiles. 

"Look at this poor kid. Her husband killed himself."
"She barely looks old enough to be married, let alone widowed."
"She's so overwhelmed."
"I've seen a lot of this kind of thing lately."

My thoughts were interrupted by the woman across the desk, who actually said, "I've seen a lot of this kind of thing lately." I blinked and was brought back to reality.

Behind me, a couple was at a different desk, applying for a marriage license. Between every question I was asked about Rick, I heard laughter and happy responses from the couple answering the questions I heard with Rick 6 years ago.

I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, filing my husband's will and having deja vu of the day we filed for marriage. I felt abnormal.

I got the document I need to sell Rick's car so I can pay the funeral bill. I watched the couple smile at each other. I felt abnormal. I needed to verify Rick's social security number, so I pulled his leather wallet from my purse and saw his driver's license staring back at me next to the social security card. As I looked away from my husband's face, I heard the female half of the couple say, "We're so excited!" I felt abnormal.

I slunk out of the courthouse with the attorney, feeling like the last month really had to be a bad dream, because it just wasn't my life. I felt abnormal.

When I got home tonight, I cleaned the house. There are still thank you notes to send and bills to pay, laundry to do, and garbage to take outside. When I opened the downstairs closet to retrieve the vacuum cleaner, I noticed for the first time since Rick died that he had a shirt on the closet shelf in the "Take to the Dry Cleaner's" pile. All of a sudden, I was ecstatic, grabbing for the dress shirt and pressing it to my face. It smelled just like him. Unlike the clean shirts in a neat row in his closet, this shirt had been sitting there, waiting, and I didn't know. I started crying immediately, but I was happy too. It doesn't even make sense. I felt abnormal. 

After my cry, I finished cleaning. I saw a small pile of scrap paper and receipts to throw away, so I picked it up. A yellow sheet of carbon copy paper caught my eye and I unfolded it. It was my copy of the Northampton Regional Emergency Medical Services patient advice form from the day Rick died. After finding his suicide note that day, I collapsed on the floor and called 911. Then I spent the next 2 hours in an ambulance parked in front of my house, crying hysterically, having difficulty breathing, rubbing the sore spot in my chest where my heart was, and begging someone to help me. They had me on oxygen, shielded from any unpleasant views of my house and the people inside and outside. I know all this, because I watched myself vividly as though I was in a movie. I was outside myself, unable to process the trauma, pain, and situation. My memory of that day is very good, because I feel as though I viewed it on a screen.

The carbon paper brought me right back there today. And the EMT's instructions at the bottom of the page brought my whole weird day to a close.

"If you feel abnormal in any way, call 911 or go to ER." Well, I do feel abnormal. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Of course I feel abnormal. Abnormal is my new normal right now. And unfortunately, no call to 911 or Emergency Room is going to change that.


Well, today - 8 months later - I finalized the "estate" with my attorney, which is a hilarious term for "nothing." And I did some other brave things today. And I cried. And I thought. And I felt.  ...And I felt normal. 

And I felt normal!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


2 months ago, I posted this short entry about fear: Every Risk.

I re-read it tonight and nodded along. I remember when I made that promise to myself. It's funny though, because when we make promises to ourselves, we aren't able to predict what will transpire along life's path. I continue to be taken by surprise.

Surprises are inevitable, I suppose. And I tell myself that I must try to remember that there is a plan for me and surprises may be a part of it. I will welcome them, I will welcome them.

Tomorrow, I meet with my attorney "to finalize the estate." There is no estate, so I'm not exactly sure what my appointment will entail. I was left with nothing. Just the money in my checking account, which was not much considering Rick was collecting unemployment when he died and we were living paycheck to paycheck. I sold his car to pay for the funeral. I know there's some money in his retirement account, but it's not much. And I haven't had access to it yet, even 9 months later. The business side of death is ridiculous.

I can't wait for this to all be over. I can't wait to break away from this heavy, disconnected paperwork that holds me back from feeling free.

There is more to life than money, more to life than assets, more to life than material things we collect over the years. I am happy with what I have. So many people have much less.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Only Human

Today I opened the last envelope from the anonymous widower.

Music has helped me immensely as well. I have clung to it for months, letting it fill me up. Many of my earlier blog posts talk about music. In fact, what's so strange is that one of the songs - 3 Things by Jason Mraz - listed in the card above is the very song I called my theme song back in July when I was only 2 months into grief. I wrote about it here and made a video slideshow (link is to the old post) of me through photos from my first 2 months of grief. That song was very special to me.

I just watched that old video again, remembering the girl who wore black... then kept her nails painted black... who went for countless runs outside to clear her head... who cried herself to sleep every night... who went to work every day and did her job without fail and with a smile... who pushed on tirelessly. I watched that video just now and remembered that girl so much my heart ached and even though my attitude was good back then, I'm so glad I've progressed further. I'm so glad I've made it this far without once losing my sense of self.

Tomorrow it is 9 months exactly since Rick took his own life. The 18th of every month is always a bit of a "thing" until I hit the 1 year mark. I am kind of counting months as I go, involuntarily marking how far out I am in this whole fabulous first year of grief. Oh how it feels like 9 years sometimes instead of 9 months...

I want to thank the anonymous stranger who sent me such an unexpected Valentine package. It was many things, but most of all, it was kind. Kindness is big in my book. I don't know what to say in response to such a kind gesture, so I will simply say "thank you" and figuratively nod my head in respect that it takes one to know one (widow/widower, that is).

And tonight, I need to say something else that's been on my mind. Grief alters us. And it's supposed to. All life experiences change us. Circumstances mold us. But grief aside, profound nightly blogging aside, positive attitude aside, I'm only human, everyone. I'm not extra-special and I'm definitely not perfect. I'm human. I feel crazy emotions. And I let myself feel them. I give in to things that make me feel good, because I want to feel good. I do stupid things. I make mistakes. I get carried away. I get caught up in life and the things it has to offer me. I have clouded judgment sometimes. I take risks. I get lonely. I want things. I say yes. I push back. I ask questions. I dare to wonder. I mess up. I act on instinct. I look for escape. I figure things out as I go. I get in trouble. I fall. I get back up. I fall again. I get back up.

I am no different than the rest of the world. I'm no better. I'm not above screwing up. I'm not above being selfish. I'm only human.

And I'd rather be a human with a sense of joy, fun, wonder, and boldness than a robot with a life that goes according to script. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


My next card from the anonymous widower today had a portrait of me with Juice and Tumbler!

The stranger wrote: "I'm sure there will be someone you can share your gift with in due time."

It reminded me of something. In Rick's suicide note to me, he wrote: "I know you will find happiness again with someone else." It's strange to have those parting words from your dead husband, but sort of comforting too.

And yeah, I want to share my gift of writing...and all my other gifts too. But until I have a worthy recipient, I'm going to write for all of you. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015


This morning, I opened the next envelope in my package from the anonymous widower.

It definitely brought a smile to my face, because Arielle + coffee = happiness. In fact, in a nutshell:

My mom said to me today, "Don't you want to know what's in all the envelopes? Why don't you just open all of them?" But I told her I was being respectful and following the rules. Besides, it gives me something to look forward to each day.

Speaking of being respectful, I have been thinking today about the fact that we teach people how to treat us. What we allow is what will continue. I have felt this way for a long time, but recently I fear I may have gotten caught up in other emotions and forgotten it. I can wish for as many things as I want, but if I allow some things to continue as they are, perhaps I am setting a poor standard without realizing it. Perhaps I am undermining my own self-worth.

6 months ago, back in August, I wrote:

I didn't see myself here. Not living this life. Not feeling this unsettling shift of all that I know. I didn't imagine I could feel this kind of sadness. I didn't foresee such a strange and uprooting transition in my future. I didn't ask for it. I didn't plan for it. I didn't want it. 

But now I wake in the morning, open my eyes, and say, "This is not the life I chose, but here is what I choose to do with it. Today I want to make 5 people smile. Today I want to laugh. If others don't make me laugh, I will do my best to make myself laugh. Today I want to do good. I want to make someone feel special. I want to look people in the eyes so they know my intentions are ever-genuine and my gratitude is always real. Today I want to create the life I desire."

I still feel that way... I still start my day with those intentions or similar ones. But lately I ask myself, "Am I really creating the life I desire? Or am I just settling for small slices of fun and peace instead of the bigger picture?"

Questions are neither good nor bad... they're just questions. I need a good night's sleep... the kind you have when you're tired and content, warm and loved. But instead, I make my way upstairs at night alone, and I lie in my cold bed and stare at the ceiling...dreaming of the life I desire.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Magnetic Field

This is one of those days when I feel like my head is spinning - with things I can share and things I can't.

I started my day by opening up the next adorable installment from the package I received yesterday. Again, I hope the anonymous widower won't mind that I am sharing. It's simply too good not to share. This is what was in the Valentine's Day envelope:

The backs of the little Valentines said this:

The gift that was with the card was a big bag of peppermint patties... which was both shocking and awesome, because THEY ARE MY FAVORITE CANDY. In fact, Rick used to buy them for me all the time. I don't remember ever mentioning this anywhere on the blog, so I find it most intriguing.

The stranger was right, too - I did read old letters from Rick early this morning. Instead of handwritten notes, this time I opted to go back through old emails from him:

By 8:00 am, I was already feeling very loved. But my day obviously continued from there... and instead of getting worse or remaining at the same level of actually got even better...

I felt quite spoiled with affection.

I'm admittedly somewhat shocked by how good the day turned out to be... nice things just seem to be careening into my life. I must be caught in a magnetic field...

I finished my evening with an impromptu and adventurous dinner date with my coworker friend Laura, including beer, laughter, snow, and front door service. As Rick once said to me in his email, he cares about my happiness in this life... so I'm guessing that today at least he'd be pretty pleased. And so ends my first Valentine's Day as a widow... And I think I can sum it up perfectly in 5 words: "Well, that was f*cking great." ;-)

Friday, February 13, 2015


The only word that comes to mind right now is: wow. I came home tonight to a package, delivered locally.  There was a cat drawing on the outside of the box that made me smile and upon opening it, I discovered it was from an anonymous stranger who identified himself as a young widower who wants no recognition or thanks, and gave me 4 cards/gift to open over the next 4 days, with a specific one for Valentine's Day! 

I don't know any widowers, so I don't know this person. Once again, my blog has brought kindness my way.

I stood in my house dumbfounded as I read the following card.

I know that he does not want recognition, praise, or a blog post on his behalf, but I simply can't not say THANK YOU for the lovely surprise and thought. Since he is anonymous, I do hope it's okay I've shared his letter. Even I don't know who he is, so I figure it's not a breech of confidentiality. And I hope he can understand that the meaningful words just can't go unrecognized here, as this is definitely blog-worthy!

What a true random act of kindness!

And furthermore, the remaining cards/item have cats drawn on them. CATS. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

You Get to Decide

I stumbled upon this tonight, purely by accident. But I have to say - I just love it!

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, if this isn't nice, I don't know what is."
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
"Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile."

Life is a ride. A pretty cool ride actually. Every single day - no, every single moment - is a crossroads of some sort. You can take so many different paths - left, right, back, can even stand still. You get to decide. Even though there are so many curveballs, so many circumstances, so many risks, so many questions, so many positives and negatives, we get to decide what direction we take. And that in itself is empowering.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Sometimes I feel like I'm losing my mind. Sometimes I feel like I'm having fun. 

trouble (verb):
1. to disturb the mental calm and contentment of; worry; distress; agitate
2. to put to inconvenience, exertion, pains, or the like
3. to disturb, agitate, or stir up 

trouble (noun):
1. unfortunate or distressing position, circumstance, or occurrence; misfortune
2. civil disorder, disturbance, or conflict
3. mental or emotional disturbance or distress; worry

I smile and smirk and daydream my way through a day, embracing risk and fun, but when it comes down to it, I don't want trouble... I don't want to be in trouble... and I don't want to be trouble. 

There are times I want to scream, "Please someone, help me get my crazy widow head on straight!"

There are other times I want to yell, "Let me do what I want! I'm an adult!"

To use a phrase from one of the definitions above, I feel stirred up. 

God, the problem is, I like that feeling. I like feeling stirred up... because I like to feel. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When In Doubt, Be Grateful

Who knew that at the almost 9 month mark I'd be slipping into loneliness all over again? I was doing so well. I have about a million friends, I'm social and busy and enjoy myself in general, but I'm really missing the tenderness and substance I used to have in life. I'd like to think I never took it for granted. I always tried to show my appreciation and love, day in and day out. But maybe even for the most grateful of us, the old saying, "you never truly know what you have until it's gone" still rings true.

In a drawer in my house, I have hundreds - yes, hundreds - of notes like this one. This is not a note that my husband wrote to me when we were dating. It's not a note he wrote to me in our first year of marriage. It's a note he wrote to me after several years of marriage. He wasn't still in awe, blinded by my good qualities or deep in the honeymoon phase. He was just a genuine guy who always loved me, even on a random Tuesday when nothing special happened.

Excuse my language, but how the fuck is anyone ever going to love me like this again? Is it possible? Am I doomed to remember this feeling of being loved and appreciated but never see it at work in my life again? Can I really be as special to anyone else as I was to Rick?

Maybe I have a lot to learn. Who knows. I'm young and have a thousand opportunities for life to surprise me. Patience is not my strong suit. 

I was super cranky at work today. Normally, I have a smile for anyone and everyone. That's not to say that I didn't smile today...but I felt like nothing was going right. I wasn't my usual positive self. I felt full of heavy sighs. Frustration. A little at odds with both the world and myself. 

But I'm letting it go. The day is over. A new day starts tomorrow. And a bunch of little things darkening my day aren't going to steal my zest for life or my eternally positive attitude. If there's one thing I've learned from having a positive attitude, it's that people really notice and miss it if it's gone. It's sort of become imbedded in my character, part of my genetic makeup at this point. 

Rick once wrote me this:

I am grateful too. Grateful for everything I had. Everything I have. And everything I will have. There is no other way to be.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Personal Ad Revised...Again

Is this what 30 year old widows do? Spend their Monday nights eating macaroni and cheese, drinking  too much red wine, and pondering the meaning of life?

Back in October, I wrote a personal ad as a blog entry (in poem form) and it turned out *like this.*

A month ago, I wrote *this one* - a revised version of the original. 

Well, I'm revising it again tonight for the third time, because the world keeps changing, I'm bored and lonely, and I feel like it.

30 years young with playful blue eyes;
Single and hard-working;
Will take you by surprise.
Embracing the natural, hair's usually in curls;
Pretty much an open book;
Not like other girls.
Looking for adventure; looking to live -
Never into wasting time;
Always likes to give.
Needs to have coffee, needs touch and affection;
Friends are so important;
Needs laughter and connection.
Writer at heart, with an old soul;
Pretty damn relentless;
Happy with a goal.
One day at a time, will not be outdone;
30 years young with playful blue eyes
Seeking a life of fun.

(c) ALB 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Welcome to My Space

Sometimes I think I live in a fantasy world. Maybe it's part of being a writer. Maybe it's something to do with reading too many books, or watching too many movies, or being a hopeless romantic in general. Looking for escape becomes a way of life.

I have a good head on my shoulders, my feet are planted firmly on the ground, and I like to think that in general I make good decisions. Maybe those three things are reasons why there are times I let my imagination run wild. Sometimes what you think about in your head is more exciting than real life. Sometimes it's more fun.

I suppose when the circumstances are right, it's easy to get lost in the excitement.

I've had an interesting week...complete with confusion, laughter, worry, loneliness, tears, and excitement. Emotions are such funny things - they demand to be felt. As I wrote in a post back in November:

Emotions fuel reactions.
Emotions fuel actions.
Emotions determine mood.
Emotions guide decisions.

Emotions, it turns out, are incredibly important.

But sometimes they feel larger than we are. Sometimes we don’t want to believe them. Sometimes we pretend they don’t exist. Sometimes we embrace them in order to escape other, scarier ones. There are as many scenarios as there are emotions.

I'm re-learning this yet again. It's so interesting how everything comes back around at some point or another. In September, I wrote:

Emotions help us survive. When we feel sadness, we automatically seek out the things that will make us happier, because we want to feel better than we do when we are unhappy, in pain, or distressed. My emotions of sadness, despair, and worry push me to move onward and upward... cause me to surround myself with positive people and experiences... fuel me to create my own brighter days. 

My emotions allow other people to understand me. They provide insight into my life. They help me evaluate what is important and what is not. 

I was thinking about this today. So suffice it to say - if you're in my life in any respect, you are a positive thing... because I only allow positive things to enter my space.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Uncharted Territory

After a drive to and from Delaware for a friend's bridal shower, I'm back home and in for the night. The energy and bustle of a friendly and fun gathering is a stark contrast to the emptiness of my house. Talking on the phone is great...texting is fine too...and the internet holds no shortage of ways to connect with the outside world...but I long for kind of conversation you have with someone in the same room, close enough to touch and feel.

I enjoy my alone time...I really do...I like to be independent and busy, or to relax and think. I've never been someone who can't stand being alone in the sense that I like to be by myself because I'm okay with myself. But the fact of the matter is, you can't be by yourself all the time... and the night time is when I wish for the comfort and companionship I feel I am lacking.

There are so many things I could say. Sometimes I think I could write a 10 page blog post, babbling on and on about all of the emotions and thoughts I have every day. And still, there are also things that are so hard to put into words. Some people can understand those emotions and thoughts without a conversation. Some people don't understand even when paragraphs of words are cascading down a computer screen.

I told someone recently that I was complex. An arrangement of parts, all working for and against each other. Intricate. A compilation of pieces and ideas and characteristics. I suppose it's what makes me interesting... and I have to say, I've gotten to know myself pretty well over the years, but it must be difficult for others to peel back all my layers and really grasp the inner workings of my heart and soul. So few have been there. Uncharted territory.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Knowing Yourself

My work day ended in a hectic frenzy of racing the clock for a problem that had to be resolved before  5:00pm. As I dashed out of the nursing home and into my car, I had the usual thoughts... what to eat for dinner, what time I should wake up in the morning to start my day... and as I let the music in the car slip into my subconscious as I drove, I realized I was crying.

I drove from Allentown to Northampton to pick something up at the vet before they closed for the evening, wiping my tears in the parking lot and going on with life. Then I backtracked from Northampton to Allentown, intending to pick up wrapping paper at Target for a gift. I think I really just needed more time in my car before going home, because before long, I found myself crying again. 

I should mention that this hasn't happened for quite a long while.

I got an important phone call en route, pulled over in a parking lot to take the call and concentrate, and then as I tried to imagine what I might like to have for dinner, I noticed my mom called while I was on the other line. I called her back and she and my dad invited me to meet them for a quick dinner. 

I found my way home for the day around 7:45pm, poured myself a glass of wine and looked through my mail. 

Tax documents reminding me that I spent part of 2014 married and part of 2014 widowed got tossed to the side when I saw a familiar envelope in the pile. It was an annual letter from the Sparhawk Resort in Ogunquit, Maine, the last place I went on vacation with Rick. In the envelope was a brochure to book a new vacation in the shore town. It was of course addressed to Rick & Arielle Bair. 

Rick & Arielle Bair don't exist anymore. Haven't for over 8 months. Only Arielle is left, trying her best to figure out this crazy thing called life.

I think today is the first day in a really, really long time that I've been angry. I didn't want to be alone. I didn't want to pay for a funeral and leftover medical bills. I didn't want to have to sell my house. I didn't want to sleep by myself at night. I didn't want this.

I wanted love notes on my kitchen table...and kisses good morning...and kisses good night...and laughter...and photos...and relaxing vacations. I wanted all that stuff I used to have to continue. 

I just feel stuck.

Somewhere inside of me, I hope so much that all of that stuff isn't just going to fade like some long lost dream of an existence I thought I deserved... that maybe instead I'll have it all again one day. 

For now, I know I have to make my own happiness. I know that happiness is an inside job. My self-awareness is both a saving grace and a painful exploration. I can already tell that I'll be awake a long time tonight. I wish I had someone to talk to.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


This morning, an awesome individual and fellow widow sent me this quote:

She couldn't know how much I needed to read it today! I think I'll let that be my mantra for now as I go with my gut and just have fun. The one day at a time approach, winging it, and going with the flow is terrifying for someone who likes control over her life, but it's also kind of liberating.

My focus is off this week...and I'm trying to be kind to myself as I process through all the stuff running through my head.

I don't know what I'm doing...I don't know what I'm doing at all...but at least I'm having fun.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


I have always played by the rules.

I never got grounded.
I never lied.
My dad's punishment for me for a minor offense like arguing with him or not finishing my dinner would be to put whatever book I was currently reading on top of the refrigerator so I couldn't reach it or have it back and had to wait to read the ending.

I never snuck out.

I have always played by the rules.

I got straight As. I never did drugs. I never smoked a cigarette.

I didn't even go out drinking in college until I was 21.

I went to Sunday school.

I never cheated on tests.

I have always played by the rules.

I worked hard. I worked harder.

I never got a speeding ticket. Or stopped by a cop.

My husband used to laugh and laugh at me, saying, "We've led very different lives, you and I..."

I have always played by the rules.

I got married. I bought a house. Got a master's degree.

And here I am today...wondering if playing by the rules is really the best way to do every single thing in life. Being a perfectionist certainly didn't give me a perfect outcome.

Maybe I've missed all the fun? I mean, I like to think that I am a fun girl... not boring or reserved or uptight... but maybe I've been missing out all these years, so intent on keeping myself in line.

There's a difference between being reckless and holding yourself back...

You can be careful, but open. You can be safe, but take risks. You can be true to yourself, but relax.

I'm 30. I don't want to waste any more time missing out on what life has to offer.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Quest

My Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You book is getting quite filled up. Tonight, I opened it to this page, so I'm just going to take it as a sign and give my brain a rest.

It's a good thing I'm not above laughing at myself. My best friend knows it too - she was just on the phone laughing with me at my life.

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head at yourself and smile anyway. I read a quote today that resonated. "Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure."

I guess I'm on a quest to look for the "real"...

Monday, February 2, 2015


Well, it's only 8:30pm, but I'm going to bed, because it's the only thing I can think of to do that won't have me running laps in my own head. I'm just having one of those nights where I'm so incredibly lonely I could cry.

Why does loneliness have to hit you like a ton of bricks? Why does it go from a dull ache all over to a horrible blinding pain in one second flat?

I'm a happy person. A fun person. A fun-loving person. A positive person. I enjoy getting up every day and living life. But tonight I'm just seething with insatiable loneliness.

I have to pet a cat if I want to touch something alive. I have to wrap a blanket around myself in bed like I'm giving myself a hug just to feel like I exist, like I'm really flesh and blood, like my beating heart is not just part of this inanimate house. I feel like everything I have to give, like everything I have to offer, is just wasting away. And I hate it. And I hate the self-pitying tone of this post even more.

Still, it's so hard - even for Miss Positivity - to have a smile inside her heart when she's sitting alone on a cold, icy night remembering all the times when she felt loved. And how far away all those times seem.

I look at the empty spaces in my house. I look at myself in the mirror. I smile so I can see what someone else might see when they look at me. I want to feel like I matter, but tonight all I feel is loneliness.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Club

Today I met another young woman who lost her significant other to suicide. My blog connects me to so many people, near and far. Today, I got to talk with someone who is near, living right in my town.

We met for lunch, not knowing each other at all, but greeted each other with a hug. 

Though we talked about some pretty heavy stuff, including specific details of those worst days of our young lives, we didn't cry or become overly emotional. Instead, we nodded a lot and talked about a slew of positive experiences.

We talked about how no one understands. Even the well-meaning people. 

We talked about staying busy as a means of survival.

We talked about not being able to save everyone.

We talked about dating again. 

We talked about transition. About moving forward. About acts of kindness. 

We belong to the same sad little club, even though neither of us signed up for membership.