Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last Year's Birthday Card

To My Wife

We have the kind of love that stops off at the grocery store, brings in the mail, and finds time for snuggling up on the sofa ...

The kind of love that smooths out a bumpy day with gentle laughter, quiet conversation, and tender, playful kisses ...

We have the kind of love that makes being together right here, right now, the best thing in the world ...

I wake up every morning grateful to be in our kind of love with you.

Happy Birthday

Love Always Bill :)
 To a great new year and thank you for being you, for me.

PS - He really nailed it on this card ... for those who knew us best, would think that he had this card written for us.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is there anyone out there?

My screen stares back at me ... what do you write when your words have fallen silent?  When there does not seem to be a single word that can express what is in your heart?

Life without Bill is simply that - life without.  When you have known how it is to be loved so profoundly that life feels like it is without love.

I apologize for the lack of eloquence, for time is .... in motion.  I've been going through the existence of life.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Every morning has a sunrise, every lunchtime a "need" to eat and every evening another sunset that promises a night of unrest.

You wake up every morning hoping and praying that there will be life in a moment at some point of your day.  Every morning you wake up with a promise to yourself to listen and watch for that one moment that says, "You will be okay".

You have all been so quiet.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Memory Lane ...

A blessing.  Yesterday, my sister shared with me an experience she had and how my openness with my grief had given her the tools to deal with a difficult situation.  A blessing!  Like the phoenix who rises out of the ashes, my grief helped someone be there for another's loss.  Kudos to my sister for her insight, and her active listening skills.  She was quick to recognize that loss is not always found in death; it is part of life.

This by far does not make me an expert on grief.  You would think that after Bill's death, I would be a go-to-gal with all of the answers.  However, I am quickly realising that the more I know, the less I know.  As previously stated, it is all about the relationship you have with the loss; be it death, the loss of employment, the loss of a precious time in one's life.  This much I do know, less words is more powerful that too many.  There is no need to belong to some secret society to know that much - and if you thought you did, welcome to the world of grievers for at some point in your life, you joined this club through one loss or another. *extending my secret handshake* Welcome!

There is one thing though, that I would like to share.  The power of remembering with the griever.  I can't remember the last time I was asked the simple question, "How did you and Bill meet?"  Now there is healing!  Most times, when I am in a larger group - gathering - everyone avoids the question or even commenting on how  Bill made them laugh at one time or another.  I give you permission to ask!  It is not by asking the question that you are saving me from grief; indeed, it is by not asking the questions or making the comment that you are adding to my grief.

Bill is real to me.  Even in death, he remains alive in my memories.  Every time we meet and you don't ask these questions, I wonder, why he is so quickly forgotten? I have a few Earth Angels who still introduce themselves as friends of Bill and Ginette.  Be still my heart.  I love it!  He may be gone physically - but he is still very much alive in who I have become.  Thank you my Earth Angels - you are helping me heal!  For those of you who have "dared" ask the questions - thank you for your patience in listening for a second, third or fourth time to the answer.  A widow's mind is on playback mode!

Today's blog is an important one - for those who support .  Please forward this link to all those who are in a supportive mode.  It is important to go down "Memory Lane" with those who have suffered a loss.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Twitching moustache ... forever more!

Late last week, I blogged about my experience of finding last year's birthday card and how I reacted when I saw it.  It is rather timely in the fact that, next week is my birthday.  Bill reaching down?  Preparing me? Breathe!

As I mentioned before, getting older has never really been my issue.  I think it is largely because I have always felt that women in their mid to late sixties always seemed so beautiful to me.  There is wisdom in every wrinkle from all the laughter they have shared, wisdom in each gray hair from all of life's experiences and worries and wisdom in the fact that their sagging came from baring children and all the half-eaten or stolen meals because they were too busy taking care of their family.  I guess you can say, that as I see my wrinkles, gray hair (and I have quite a few) and my rolls as badges of honour.
Bill and I were not of the same opinion.  He so hated the "1's" ... ie. 31, 41, 51!  He always said the "10's" only meant that you were still part of the previous decade.  So here's the deal.  He will not see 61!  Indeed, he will never see the end of this decade - the 50's!  He used to joke around saying that every year is a bonus because some psychic had once told him that he would die before the age of 33 ~ still I know that 41 and 51 were difficult birthdays for Bill.  *Grin*  Being the kind and understanding wife that I was - I loved to play up these birthdays.

I so wish that I could say that for me, losing my husband has only strengthened my appreciation for older-younger women.  Actually, as I quickly look in the mirror in the morning (cause I have to) I keep wondering, "When did this happen?"  I guess Bill's twitching moustache when he saw me coming down the stairs in the morning, or when I happen to dress up for a special occasion, had a way of keeping me young in my mind.  I was seeing myself through his eyes.

How fragile life can be.

This past week, I have been struggling with my emotions.  I kept looking at the calendar and noticing that the "monthly anniversary" was coming up but my grief routine didn't usually kick in this early.  So what's up with that?

Then today I clued in; my birthday next week.  It's not like we made a big fuss about each other's birthdays - actually he was better at that then me for there was always an envelope waiting for me on my pillow.  Sometimes, we would do something different but never big.   I know I have a few years to live before I get to his age of 56 when life ended for him but as I near my birthday, I can't help but think of how young he was.  I still have this image of him making me a sandwich before our game, how we came off the surface smiling and happy to have won a game, kissing him and saying see you at home and life ended for him shortly after getting home ~ and mine kept moving on.
How fragile life can be.

In a previous blog, I spoke about the "milestones" and how it is harder to anticipate these then to actually live them.  Well, I believe I am in a period of anticipation.  So please do not pop the corks and pat me on the back.  I wish to live this one birthday quietly as it was.  Until then, I will endeavour to not have too many public meltdowns, not to take it out on unsuspecting strangers, friends and family.  I know that I will be thinking a lot about Bill (as is my usual) and how I will miss that little envelope on my pillow.

I can only ask that when I meet him again, he will be 56 and I will be 51 forevermore!  ~ Twitching moustache and all. ~

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Neverending Story ...

What will I tell our grandchildren when they ask if I loved you?

I will tell them that I have loved you with all that is me and to the best of all that is me.

What will I tell our grandchildren when they ask if you loved me?

I will tell them that you loved me with all that was you and to the best of all that you were.

I will tell them to look over and appreciate how their father loves their mother, for all three sons carry a part of you.

What will I tell our grandchildren when they ask if it was worth loving so hard only to lose?

Yes, yes and yes!  Indeed, accepting to love and to be loved so deeply is accepting the potential for pain, the pain of betrayal, indifference and the ultimate, loss.  It is worth it, for the other side of this is happiness, caring and a life made richer for having loved and been loved so deeply!

What will I tell our grandchildren when they ask about love?

I will tell them that you were love and continue to share this love through our lives made richer for being with us. 

Love never ends.  Never!

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends." ~ I Corinthians 13:7-8

Monday, March 21, 2011

Good Grief Charlie Brown ...

The okay times seem to be more frequent now but the sad times have now been made that much deeper.  Always knew that nothing is free in life - need to pay the piper at some point!  I have been on the seesaw of grief for the past little while and I am just beginning to realize that indeed, it is part of healing.

There is a beautiful passage, I would like to share ...

"Perhaps we can learn to accept these mood swings, recognizing the reality of each, knowing light gives way to darkness and darkness to light." ~ Martha  Whitmore Hickman

I remember stating to a friend, "I don't recognize this grief; it is new and a stranger to me."  This was a little while back, when I had first gone back to work.  In the beginning, there was only sadness so the mood was pretty even.  Then with the beginning of work, there were conversations outside my grief and planning for more than the next moment.  It felt good.  What I had not bargained for, was the change in the depth of my sadness when it did come around.  As if I didn't have enough with the mood swings that come from my change of life ... I now have this added dimension?  Good Grief Charlie Brown!

So, in the spirit of walking with my grief, and preventing my throwing a frying pan across the room out of frustration and pain, I spend many hours in my room.  I spend time knitting, reading, chatting with other bereaved widows(ers) and talking to you through my blog.  Seems safer here when the days are darker.

P.S.  I would like to comment on one passage that I struggle with ... "which is what your loved one would want (or not want) for you."  I am so not there and just don't get it!  Did someone hold a séance and sang Kum Ba Ya without me?  The Bill I know would understand my needs even if sometimes it means locking myself up in my room.  This will certainly not be part of my repertoire when speaking with a bereaved person; as I hope it will not be part of yours.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A promise ...

Every now and then, I reminded that although I feel like I've been at this for a very, very long time, it is still so very fresh.  Truly, I am but at the dawn of my grief.

Yesterday was an ordinary enough day, coffee with my sister, couple of errands that really needed my attention and then off to hide my roots!  What a great job my hairdresser does - you not only look good but you feel like you've just got all caught up with an old friend!  At least mine does. 

Then to the business of getting caught up at home.  I was searching through a drawer, looking for a piece off my tripod and found instead, a simple card.  This simple card had the strength of a bulldozer.  I was sent into a roaring cry of pain, it scorched my finger tips and the tears came gushing down.  It was last year's birthday card from Bill.  I was physically shaken and blinded by his simple handwriting that wished me all the best in the coming year and thanked me for being me.

I am but at the dawn of my grief!  Just when I thought ... I am reminded that it has only begun.

But what is different, is the length of time I now spend at this pity party I host for myself, every time I come across these treasures.  I had a great cry, my heart still stings but is not emptied by the reminder; actually, I am trying to remember this time last year - foggy.  What is still clear and very vivid, is my beautiful man, running his fingers through various cards, opening each one and reading what treasure was inside.  He would either place it back on the rack because it was not quite what he wanted to say or his moustache would twitch because he had finally found the right one.  It is not the big moments  that come to mind, but the tender times I watched him.  Those are my treasured memories.

They say that grief is like a cocoon - you are in it until such time as your grief has finally transformed you and you will once again fly.   I think for now, I am looking forward to seeing this year's first butterflies.  I believe that they will bring a simple reminder of what awaits me - to finally dance with the gentle whispers of a summer's breeze.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our family chain ...

I came across this last night.

"We Little Knew”
We little knew that morning,
God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone.
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.

You left us beautiful memories,
Your love is still our guide.
And though we cannot see you,
You are always by our sides.

Our family chain is broken,
And nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.

 Author Unknown

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's in the stars ...

"When it is the darkest, you can see the stars." ~ Charles Beard

I am often surprised by my reaction lately.  It is almost as if Bill's death has clarified the importance of placing appropriate value on what needs attention or not.

I was sharing with a young woman who has lost her mother recently, and she was just coming to the same conclusion.  There was an event that would have, only a few short months ago, sent her in a flurry of discussions and action; in the end,  she would have probably carried the load.   Fast forward a few months and she came to the conclusion that in the bigger picture it was not worth the frenzy for it would not change the circumstances.  I think this is where the expression, "There are more important things in life ..." came from.

I think back on how I used to get all worked up about "stuff" and events, good and bad, over which I had no control.  Poor Bill!  And I used to tease him about his "soap box" ranting!  I think back now and realize that he may have been standing on a "Tide" box but I was right up there with him on my "Sunlight" box.  We simply did not go on about the same things.

These are definitely my darkest days.  Life without Bill quite simply put, "sucks".   Given that grieving takes so much energy, I am now constantly weighing the importance of things as they come up.  There really isn't much out there that would have me lose sight of my stars ~ God, Family and Friends!  Without these relationships, these days would have no light.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Something wonderful this way comes ...

*Sigh* ....  After Bill's death, I was assailed with many helping hands.  It almost felt like a full-time job to keep these available hands busy!  Mind you, in those days just getting up in the morning was a huge undertaking!  *Sigh ... don't miss those days*  Getting back to my story - I did not have to think of how I was going to get it done but more so who will I assign this to?  There was no lack of offers to help and in most cases, things got done rather quickly after I asked; to coin my brother-in-law's favourite saying, "It's just a phone call away!" 

Seven and a half months later, things have changed where although there are people still around to help, it is often on someone else's schedule - and rightfully so.  Keeping to my agenda to not become "The Needy Widow", I have managed to "make do" until someone is available - like taking the bus to get to work last week, buying extra clothes racks because the dryer wasn't working and putting an "out of order" sign on the downstairs bathroom! 

But something strange and wonderful happened last night.  I was in the garage (yup - contemplating life!) when I thought to myself ... "The dryer is heating, it is turning but it seems like the air is not circulating."  I opened the back door leading to the outside vent, inched over the door sill, shuffled up to the side of the house and slowly peeked into the little square box with the flaps.  I slowly lifted the first flap and the corners of my mouth slowly curled upwards in a smile.  There it was!  One big fat ball of lint!!!! Ah ha - gotcha!  I reached in and wrestled it out of its hiding place.  I lifted the second flap and caught the next fluff ball by its tail!  By the time I was done, I had a lint ball the size of a grapefruit.  Not to be outdone, I rolled up my sleeve and reached in as far as I could to make sure that there wasn't any more hiding in there. 

Now I know that for many of you, this is probably not the biggest adventure story ever written but for me, it was monumental in that given a moment of my stepping out of despair, I was able to think it through logically and then take it one step further and dare attempting to fix it.  Who knows, maybe next time I will take the screwdriver out on my next adventure and actually remove the cover to gain better access to the pipe!

I did manage to do an extra load of socks last night and dry them in the dryer.  I was quite pleased with myself and was reminded of what Bill often said, "I always knew I married you for more than just your good looks!"  As I stood in the cool winter night, holding up a handful of lint like it was trophy, I could almost see him peeking down, thinking just that.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Who will listen ...

Widowhood is exhausting.  I spent the day yesterday, licking my wound and by late afternoon dragged myself to bed.  It doesn't help when things continue to break down around me and I am feeling a little overwhelmed with juggling what needs my attention first.  I knew this day would come - the one that says, "What are you going to do now?"

Under normal circumstances, I would have looked forward to sitting with Bill, for  a good long while, and talk.  We would sometimes talk into the wee hours of the morning; talk until we came to some understanding and agreement on how to move forward.  I so miss his clearness of spirit and mind, the sound of his beautiful voice, the feeling of sharing.

I have a great support system in wonderful people who care to listen and offer their point of view, but it is just not the same.  That person who is the other half of my sons and was for so long the other half of what we built together, is gone.  Certainly, this is the biggest event I have ever had to share with him, his dying!

On Friday, I had an excellent day!  I woke up knowing that I was dropping off the car for an oil change (and other possible costly repairs) but as it turns out, Bill in his infinite wisdom, had purchased an extended warranty - I'm good until September!  Checkmark on the "Happy" side.  Then at work, I began riffling through some overdue work and got all of this done; checkmark on the "Happy" side!  At the end of the work day, there was a beautiful dancing line of checkmarks under the "Happy" category.  It was great getting home - old habits - until I realized that it was Friday and Bill is not home.  There would be no bursting through the door to tell him all about the great day I had.

But being the "silver lining" kind of gal, I relished in the fact that I could sit with my knitting needles, watch my Dr. Quinn box set and enjoy the stillness of creating something beautiful. 

Did I mention that I had just enough energy left to put a load of towels in the washer only to find out that the dryer is indeed still not working?  *Groan, groan, groan and double groan!*  Guess I will have to pay the piper and get Fred the repair guy in after all!  The boys are getting low in socks and underwear.

As a little girl, I remember coming home and Mom would listen to me ramble about my day and how Madame So-and-So was the best teacher ever; later it was my girl friends as we gabbed and giggled about Mary-Sue and Johnny being caught under the bleachers and for the past 27 years it has been Bill.  Bill has heard about every moment of my days - who laughed with me over one story and became upset with me when I felt wronged and showed pride when I shared my successes.

Today, I can always tell you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another "L" Word ...

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." ~ Victor Hugo

To have known Bill is to have laughed with him.  As much as he loved light he loved laughter above all.  This was also his tool to release life's pressure cooker and to move conversations forward.

I was reminded of this yesterday as I faced the fixed dryer, soon to be fixed toilet and when I heard to lovely purr of the car starting.  One of my Earth Angels came to see what he could do about my dead car; once he turned the engine over with a firm, persistent turn of the key *groan ~ two days without the car* we got to talking about old times in high school.  On the subject of high school reunions, he happen to mention the one we both attended some 20+ years ago.  I shared the story of Bill and I walking around looking at all of the different people collected at the reunion in the hopes of finding a piece of their youth!  There were tall ones, short ones, plump ones and oh yes, you guessed it some older ones with "much" younger arm candy next to them.  Being the people watchers we were, we spent the evening exchanging our version of each one's possible story.  We had quite a few chuckles as we thought of this one being the CEO of some obscure firm with a harem of mistresses (sorry but some of these people were just asking for it), another being a nuclear physicist planning on taking over the world and another once dancer now owner of a large chain of strip clubs.  With a twinkle in his eye, Bill leaned into me and quietly asked me to point out the school "harlot".  Without missing a beat and with an even bigger twinkle in my eye I responded, "You are with her!"  I still see the look of pride in Bill's eyes, as it always was, when I was able to throw back the humour and dare I say - one up him!  As I stood laughing in the driveway last evening with this old school friend, I felt the pressure of the last couple of weeks wash away. 

I am blessed with many Earth Angels who love to laugh and know how to make me laugh.  When I first heard the sound of my laughter, I was taken aback by the ease with which it came, but now I thirst for it.  I so enjoy the spring rain effect it has on my grieving heart.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mirror, Mirror ....

Life only demands from you the strength you possess.  Only one feat is possible - not to have run away. ~ Dag Hammarskjold

In an earlier blog, I spoke of my overachieving personality and how I was questioning why I was no further along in my grieving.  Yesterday's journal entry spoke of this once again with a different twist.  I wrote, "I feel like I am here only by a sense of duty and that I act only out of a sense of being the model of calm acceptance and inner serenity.  I speak the words I think people want to hear rather than the words that scream out that I so very simply want to not be here."  This had me sifting through my thoughts; not so hard when you have a grieving  brain, it really is a sieve. 

So why do I feel such a sense of duty to make others feel okay around me?  Am I not by my actions cheating those closest to me, the opportunity to truly support me and by doing so help prepare them for when their time comes?  At the core of this, is my feeling of not wanting to become "The Widow".  You know the one everyone groans as they watch her come and has them running to draw the blinds or let go to voice mail. 

Right now, there is a friend's father looking at my dryer, checking out the toilet and will attempt boosting my car.  All this from a simple trusting phone call from my son.  I guess I will need to be more like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz and let go of my belief that my fear makes me inadequate and trust that I am courageous enough to be myself in my full grieving beauty!  I'm here!  After all, it is rather taxing this business of trying to fit some image of a "model griever."

I will let my grief flow freely through me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back to the business of grieving Bill ...

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ~ Matthew 5:4

This morning, I bid my sister-in-law a safe trip home and as the door closed, I was left alone with my thoughts.  Many emotions came flooding back this past week; one in particular, anger.  Although very much at peace with the fact that my mother-in-law was now with God, her husband, her son and her parents, I couldn't help but feel the empty seat beside me.  As I sat with my extended family, I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder expecting to see Bill.  The silence was yet again deafening.  I missed the gentle sound of his beautiful voice and his laughter.  I could not shake the feeling that he should have been here to share with his brother and sisters - and with his sons and I.  Dare I say that I was even angry with Bill?  Of course I can!  I've never been more angry with the man in the whole of our 27 years together as in these last seven months apart! 

So this morning, as I was finally still with my emotions and with my grief, I reconnected with my desire to overcome, to survive, to cope and find a way out of this darkness.  As the door closed, I felt my grief tapping me on my shoulder, sulking, demanding that I pay attention as if to say, "I have been patient and gentle with you, but we need to get back to walking together."   

For now, I am being gentle with myself.  I recognize that I am tired, I remind myself to breathe and maybe a little later I will allow myself to let my mind wander and to listen to my thoughts to "get back on track" once more.

I will continue to mourn, trusting that with each dawn I will be blessed with new hope and a smile with the return of each new memory of the past and dare to dream of the making new ones.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Holding on to Bill

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge, myth is more potent than history, dreams are more powerful than facts, hope always triumphs over experience, laughter is the cure for grief and love is stronger than death." ~ Robert Fulghum

The events of the past week has brought me back to holding on tight to my grief instead of holding it lightly in my heart so that it can slowly lift away from me.  I realize now that what I had not come to terms with, is that part of my connectedness with Bill was his mother.  She was after all, still here physically.  She now is also "physically" gone.  I dread to seeing my extended family leaving tomorrow because there is another "physical" connection leaving.  Who knows what would cause them to ever return to this town and I am not much of a traveller.  So I am back at holding on tightly to my grief because it somehow justifies what I am feeling - the lack of "physical" connection to Bill.

Tomorrow is a new day and a continued resolve to relinquish the "intense" grief and enter into a new relationship with Bill.  One that will allow for the memories to bring me laughter because he did love to laugh, that will make space for hope and dreams and that will continue the legacy of our love for each other.

For today, there is only the "moment".  The moment that does have his family with me.  In this, I am okay.

PS - 15 years ago today, my father was called to Heaven.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Great Time With Family to Celebrate

I feel like that kid at camp, flash light under the covers ... reading (or giggling about) whatever.

The family is all here to celebrate June's life!  So that would have my house filled with my very much loved extended family!  We are all snug as a bug in a rug ... waiting for Saturday when we get to celebrate my mother-in-law's life!

So I am in my "tent" *my room* with my youngest son sleeping on the floor - and I am blogging!

This is what solid family times are all about!

Love you Mom for making this extended family a reality!  Miss you Bill for not sharing of this "earthly" celebration!  I love you more than yesterday and surely less than tomorrow!  Thank you dear Bill!  Your sisters and brother are now mine!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dancing in Heaven

Quite the day yesterday and today the family will start to gather here to begin planning the celebration of her (mother-in-law) life.

Something new developed in my grief.  I started thinking of how this death seemed somehow more "natural" as in "she lived a good life", "she is at peace with the people she loved and had gone before her", etc., how is this gathering made different from Bill's where it was "unnatural" as in "he was so young", and "he still had so much life to live"?

I have no pearls of wisdom to share on the differences; both bring you to peace.  Peace in Heaven where age, illness and natural order of things no longer factor into happiness.

Dying is part of living.  We gather and celebrate the birth of a child and so too should we gather and celebrate the death of a person, recognizing that they have been all they can be, in sickness and in health, here on Earth.  As we gather together to celebrate one's life, we are all recognizing that dying is part of living.

In the case of the elderly who have been "tucked away" until their death, there is greater need to recognize and celebrate their life.  I have roamed the halls of the Manor for quite a few years now and watched as the elderly thirst for something as simple as eye contact, or a simple, "Hello, how are you."   For these "forgotten" people, the least we can do is celebrate that they have been delivered from this "abandonment"; to recognize that although they were defined by their illness for so long , they mattered.

To the staff and nurses of these Manors, we celebrate and thank you for your dedication and more for your caring hearts.  These elderly people really do become yours.  Many staff yesterday morning shared in my tears, pouring their own in recognition of her life.  You are truly our elderly's angels on earth.

So dearest mother, go "cut a rug" in heaven!  You have been delivered of your illness and are happy with your husband, son and parents!  Until we meet again where Widowhood will no longer be.

In the moment ...

Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control:  now! ~ Denis Waitley

Right now, in this moment, I am kind to myself.  It is a beautiful night, the house is finally quiet and I am in my room enjoying the moment.  It is neither harsh, nor is it happy, it is simply gentle. 

My mind wants to wander to the future without Bill but I am being kind to myself by guiding it back to the moment.  I hear my breath and I can remember with a smile, the days of when sleep was interrupted by the loud crackling snores!  Again, I guide myself back to this moment where there is peace! Breathe!

This quote has long inspired me and although it continues to ground me, there are parts that I cannot allow myself to do - not at this time.  I have learned from my past that love can be given and received unconditionally and this is a safe and healthy place; one day, I will have an open heart to give to and receive from my Earth Angels.  When my mind wonders to the future there is only one question, "How will I ever live all those years without Bill?" This is certainly not what I need.  This leaves me with the "moment" where right now it is kind, it is gentle.  These moments are coming more frequently and in this I take comfort that my heart is starting to heal. 

PS - Update on a previous blog "Messy Bed" ... "Neat and Tidy".

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another Angel in Heaven

My mother in law took Bill and Leslie's hand this morning to claim her place in Heaven.  After many years of living with Alzheimer, she finally let go.  She is at peace and we will miss her.

There are no shortcuts ...

As I receive inspiring comments to this blog, I often catch myself going back to the blog and re-reading my entries.  I then look at my words with a fresh perspective and find the courage to say "Wow, I said that?"  This has become very therapeutic for me when I am thinking that I can't go on.

There was one such occasion recently, when my grief had me travel through a very dark corridor and I re-read my blog on being an "overachiever".  Again, having a great old time at hosting yet another self-pity party in the garage, I was revisiting, "Why am I still going through this primal grief?"  Have I not made all the right choices?  Have I not claimed having befriended my grief?  Have I not allowed enough "time" for what I was feeling?  Why then am I still here grieving like it was the first day?  This obsessive question period had me always coming back to comparing the length of time Bill and I were together and the length of time we have now been apart.  The scales are a little off, don't you think?   This is quite the "ah ha" moment; one I'm sure I will be back to revisit one day until it is no longer only in my head but also in my heart.

It took a long time to find each other, more time before we were actually sure enough to say "I love you" and more time to have three sons, build a house and see each other through many happy times and many losses.  Sometimes I think if I could do this faster, I will then feel better sooner.  I am coming to the inevitable conclusion (as I did with my father's death ~ you'd think I would have learned my lesson) that there are no shortcuts to this journey.   Somewhere along the way, there are very important messages and rites of passage and if you don't pay attention, you will find yourself lost.  Bill always said I could not navigate myself out of a shoe box and that I should get a GPS!

For now, I return to my new friend "grief" and trust that it will navigate me to where I will one day be okay.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Clarity ...

"What is essential does not die but clarifies." - Thornton Wilder

I will grieve you in the light.  Yesterday morning, I came downstairs and wondered who had left the light on (*groan* at the cost of electricity! Double *groan*)  But then it occurred to me - it is the sun breaking through!  How Bill loved it when the days started to get longer!  A smile came to my lips for I felt that familiar stir inside me; this is good!  Spring brought great happiness to my husband who suffered with SADS.    My mind quickly processed this and for a brief moment I started to think of another season starting without Bill.  Attitude change - another season starting, filled with warm sun, melting snow and the rebirth of my gardens.  (Fake it until you make it!)  As I sat in my garage with my journal and my cup of java the words came to me slowly. 

I wrote about missing the simple things like looking forward to Spring, about how I saw him in so many places in my mind; the tilt of his head, the movement of his hands on the steering wheel, his long legs coming down the stairs in the morning.  These memories come at random through the day and often times will cause a tear to fall or a whimper to escape as they are painful.  But this morning, the smile on my lips as I remembered how this was a "good thing", was refreshing.  I did not break down. 

I allowed myself to remember his leaning over the gardens with me and taking pride in the outcome of our hard work - and I did not break down.  These images of him mowing the lawn, handling the shovel and finally walking around the yard in the evening pleased with what we accomplished are becoming less painful to remember.  It is as if the more I allow myself the time to rewind them in my mind, the edges become softer and they become more beautiful, for I have had the pleasure to live them with Bill.  These memories are becoming clearer.

It is no secret that I have chosen to walk through this journey and to befriend my grief.  I trust in the promise that this journey will bring healing so that one day I will be okay.