“My anxiety has anxiety”,  my friend joked as we talked about our constant stream of worries.

We’re both 32 years old. We both are single moms to small kids. We are both widows but for very different reasons.

My husband died of cancer after a 3 year on and off battle.

Her husband was murdered.

Brutal life realities we’ve seen.  Too much life and loss squeezed in our short time as wives and moms. When we talk about our grief, our fears and just missing our husbands, we are speaking the exact same language only few can understand.

Our lives can feel like they’re spinning around and yet, we’re standing in the exact same place.

Year two without my husband seems to be hitting harder than I was ready for.

Everyone told me to get through year one, get through the first holidays and paperwork and arrangements.

I was so focused on that ending place, when everything would get better and hurt less.

One year. “I did it!”

Day 366, SHIT, this was all a fat lie. I’ve done nothing.

This is real now. My husband is really not ever coming back. The numbness and shock has worn off and now I feel like I’m under the knife with no anesthesia.

How did this happen??? I ask myself over as my back slides down the wall and I curl my knees up to my face.

I’ll think i’m doing okay, I’ll even have a quick moment where I think I feel something that resembles what I used to know as joy.  A waive of an almost happy feeling when my heart begins to try and flutter but is reminded it is anchored to the pit of my stomach, a three point harness holding any chance of happiness from flying too high.

My “widow friend” and I go back and forth on advice and horror stories and scold ourselves for letting our worries and fear run our minds. If anyone should know how precious life is, it’s us.

Yet, the real world, the balancing act, the constant guilt and pressure we put on ourselves seems to speak louder.

I took a quick toddler-less trip to the bank and rolled through the drive thru. Signing the back of my check with one hand and turning up the volume to hear my mom on my phone with the other.

Bouncing ideas off of her as I send my bank card up the shoot and drive away.

I got home a few hours later to realize I had no idea where my card was, my license, my cash withdrawal.

“Shit, no!” I thought, “There’s no way I could have done that right?” 

I had zero recollection of grabbing my money back from the bank shoot and suddenly felt sick realizing I’d left it there. Drove away with no ID, and no money. The bank was closed now so I’d have to wait until tomorrow.

My tomorrow started with me in the line at Starbucks earl.  I could almost taste the sweet soy latte on my lips when I was reminded of my stupidity and that I had no money! I drove to the bank and waited behind the world’s slowest woman for 15 minutes and finally was able to tell my embarrassing story to the teller.

“Hi, I did something so silly yesterday and I left my bank card and cash in the drive-thru shoot. Do you have it?”

She headed to the back office and checked some drawers only to tell me they didn’t have it. I could feel the tears filling my eyes. She told me she’d call the person who was behind me in line and see if they accidentally took it and would call me. I wrote my cell number on a sticky note while trying to keep from a full blown meltdown.

I walked to my car and sunk in my seat. How could I be so stupid? My mind was already to Plan C and dreading a visit to the the DMV and thoughts racing to the wait for a new bank card when I looked at my passenger seat and see….

the bank envelope.

I’d had it the whole time. Right there beside me as I drove all over town, irritated and most importantly Starbucks-less.

Slow down I thought! Slow down and maybe you can even remember what you were just doing!

Somewhere in the midst of sleep deprived mom and grieving woman I find it harder and harder to slow down at all. Even when I’m sleeping I swear I’m worrying about what needs to be done the next morning.

I took my two year old to the park tonight as the sun started to set and my patience was wearing down as the hours of the day caught up to me.  I snipped at her to please stop dragging her feet on her bike and reminded her we couldn’t stay long because we still needed to do bath time.

We arrived and she slid her little body in the swing and asked to go higher and higher. She pointed to the other little girls daddy at the park and like I always do I asked her where her daddy is, in hopes of instilling in her that she is not without a father.

“In the sky!” she answers and smiles her little gapped tooth grin to the clouds, “hi daddy in the sky! I at the park! I swing high! I love you daddy in the sky!”

I took in her tiny voice and thought, Slow down. 

We took the long way home and I let her play in a neighbors lawn sprinklers in hopes that moment of peace could be stretched out as far as I was able.

I watched her put her pudgy hands in the water and raise her arms to feel the wind. 

What I could learn from this little human who’s just learning about the world all around her.

Slow down, I’ll continue to tell myself, slow down and embrace this beautiful and brutal life.