Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bill would not want ...

There is a twist on "Bill would not want you to be unhappy."

How many times did I hear this?  Family, friends and even strangers whispered this in my ear as they hugged me.  Today, they no longer whisper it, they state it for the whole world to hear.

In the early days and months, I was somewhat insulted by these words.  How can they know what Bill would or would not want for me.  Heck even I did not know.  To be happy when Bill is no longer with us in the "living" world.  To be happy, does that not show the world that our love no longer lives in my being?  I remember thinking this.

There was one individual, who did say it with a different twist.  He said to me, "When you are ready, when your heart can accept, you will know that Bill would not want you to be unhappy forever."  I remember looking into this person's eyes and thinking that is different, but I don't think my heart will ever be ready.

A year later, I can find the wisdom in these words.  Walking freely and openly with my grief,  my heart is letting go of my preconceived notions dwelling in my mind and in my heart;  I am alive, leaving myself open to moments of pure and unplanned happiness.

My sister's comment yesterday struck a chord.  She had called her husband at the end of her work day to ask if he wanted a coffee.  I was with him when he received the call and had cracked a joke and followed it with laughter.  When she got home, she commented on how good it felt to hear me laugh.  I did ... didn't I!  Did this mean I love Bill less?  Did this mean she thought I missed him less?  No.  It was simply laughter, a good moment in time, life.

Laughter, to be happy is a testament to our love.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fuzzy memories ...

My internal hard drive blew last night - along with it a special memory of Bill.  Many nights, before seeking sleep, I would often take refuge in this very special moment we shared.  Like a soothing lullaby, this memory often erased the heaviness of grieving with the promise of a good night's sleep.

Yesterday was such a day, where I really did need the release by reliving this memory.  Living this special moment offers not only the visual of his handsome face but also the soothing sound of his cultured voice.  Much like the young woman who once relished in the anticipation of going out on a date with Bill, I propped up my pillows just right, having removed all of my technology from our bed, and I lay there willing this memory back.  It was there but the edges were fuzzy.  I moved the pillow at my side to cuddle in closer  hoping to gain better perspective and laid there waiting for the edges to become clearer.  Nothing.  All that came was the essence of this special moment; no details, no sound.  I groaned and tried again, repositioning myself for a better vantage point.  Nothing.  So I did what I do best these days, I sat up and had a conversation with Bill.  "You can't be serious!"  Still no response.

So I punched at my pillows, fashioning them for a bed made for one and did what I never did all of our married life ... I went to sleep angry with him. 

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face.  First good night's sleep in a couple of days and a realization that Bill is far too practical to have me living in the past. 

As I am sharing this, I realize that many will think that I have finally jumped off the edge; indeed, I have taken another leap of faith.  Be still my loving hearts for I have not gone mad.  I am simply coming to terms that in order to truly be in the present, I cannot rely on the past to sustain me.  I trust that this memory will return when I am ready to receive it as a gift and not a fix.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Always mine ...

I remember you tapping your chest and extending your arms.
An invitation for me to rest in our place, safe and warm.
I remembered this simple gesture with tears and would pine.

I remember this simple gesture with a smile, 
knowing this is always mine.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stiletto heals ...

Bill was and will always be a spiritual teacher in my life.  I think back in the early days of our relationship, I carried with me a large suitcase of hurts.  Being a believer of we are the sum of our experiences, my suitcase felt heavy with the recent events of my life at the time, I felt hurt all the time.  When we met, he did not take this suitcase from me but helped carry it, placing his hand of the handle next to mine.  What wisdom, what patience.

For a while, we held this suitcase together.  As our relationship grew and I now trusted him with its contents, we opened the case and viewed what was inside.  There was no need to remove any items just yet, but we simply and comfortably looked at them.  All the while, he let me borrow some of his clothes, some of his experiences and gave me laughter to wear.  What a beautiful garment, what a beautiful gift - laughter!

Our relationship came to a point of unpacking.  It was a difficult time, for my low self-esteem would have me wondering what he would think of me in this drab black suit.  His moustache twitched and he pointed out how that suit made me look like a teacher and then shared his story of the French teacher who always caught his teenage male attention!  Laughter and acceptance.  I learned to accessories this suit well, adding stiletto heals to stand taller, a lovely row of wisdom pearls and oh, let's not forget a very comfortable crisp white blouse, accentuating my assets.
Slowly but surely, my various suits and new accessories started to fill his closets and I had graduated to having my very own set of drawers.  Looking into the closet and the drawers was so much easier for in there I not only found acceptance but also those things we had chosen together.  Our closet.

There came a point in our relationship, when I thought it was time to store away my suitcase, feeling I had taken out all of its contents.  Bill looked in and started to take more out.  You forgot to hang this, or that.  There was no storing or throwing any of the contents, he loved the sum of my experiences.  The most memorable moment was when he took out my survival suit.  I love this one, he says.  It clings to you in all the right places.  It leaves very little to the imagination; it is tailor-made.  It shows off your strength and resilience and I know that you can stand on your own two feet; I like that in a person.  He often said that he knew he married me for more than just my looks, that I was the complete package - brains and looks.

As I stand (in my flat shoes) before my suitcase today, I am reminded of his patience, loving kindness, and laughter.  Gifts not left behind, but given throughout our relationship and my suitcase is full. 

I no longer wish to wear this suit of sadness for it truly is a dishonour to our relationship.

We continue to unpack together.  What new accessories will I wear when we meet again?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crossroads ...

Journal of Hope entry:  August 20th, 2011

Grieving is exhausting.  Unlike the first few months, when I seemed to be "wired", these past few weeks, my body and soul seem to shut down at the most inopportune times.  I will be still in the moment with an open heart so that I can recall in gratitude your legacy.  There always seem to be brighter moments waiting after these exhausting times.

---------------------- (end)

Just when I believe I am rising from the bottom of my broken heart, "bottom" is redefined.  I linger there for a bit, thinking that I must be suffering from grief burn-out for I ache not only emotionally, but also physically.  These are the times when I return to basics, breathe, swallow and blink.  I am still with myself; from this vantage point I can relinquish and stop trying to control my sorrow.  These downtimes are my crossroads that bring about choices.  Choices that would have me "letting go" a little more of my grief so that I can be more effective at looking after the other parts of my life.  Conscious and deliberate choices that have me "letting go" of Bill in grief.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My first article has been posted at:

I invite you to follow the link. Please take a moment to rate it and I look forward to reading your comment on that site.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Time ... the great healer ...

As I face my return to work, I can't help but reflect on the past few weeks.  Am I any further ahead?  Have I paid my grief enough attention to claim that "time heals"?   Time heals ... hogwash!

I am coming to the conclusion that time itself does not heal, it is what I do with this time that makes a difference.  I can have the worst day, arguing with my grief then go out and play a game of ball hockey and come away happier.  I can have capitulated to my tears then have a great chat with a friend about their life and come away feeling like I belong.  I can have a fretful night, my loneliness hogging the bed then go out for a long walk and come away feeling refreshed, ready to face the day.

As I move through this journey, I acknowledge that there are experiences that I must go through in order to move myself from being in pain to living with more integrity and being happier.  I have been consumed by my grief for the past year and in doing so have developed certain habits that keep me walking with my grief.  These habits need to be changed, are being changed.

Indeed, time does not heal it simply passes.  I have made a place in my life for Bill's death and all this entails; it is time to put this event in its place.  Bill is with me forever, his death cannot, will not be the sum of our relationship.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Re-authorizing my life story ...

There are days, such as yesterday, when my words are simply not to be shared.  My grief journal now holds the story of when I can only be intimate with Bill. 

On most days now, my emotions can be revealed.  I am transforming. Through my blog and journals - the telling of my story, I honour what I am experiencing, what I have lost.  I am marking time, giving points of reference for future reflections on this transitional time. 

There have been many occasions over the past few months, when I feel the most vulnerable, when I feel I have not progressed through this journey, I return to past postings and journal entries to re-read where I have been.  There is much richness to be found in the lived experiences; there is reassurance that I am moving forward.

My journals and blog honours and commemorates Bill.  It is my way of letting go of his physical presence only to connect in a new way to our relationship. 

I was challenged yesterday on my acknowledgement vs. acceptance position as it pertains to the 5 stages of grief.  I love to be challenged; it is an opportunity to clarify.  I acknowledge Bill's death as a means to accept our new relationship.  It is a way of managing in my mind, my loss and my new life.

The challenge now is moving this from my mind to my heart for I still very much miss Bill's physical presence.  I miss the simple things like placing my hand on his thigh when he is driving, feeling his breath on the top of my head as I lay my head on his chest and how that made me feel safe, being able to rest my eyes on him as we sit across the table sharing a simple meal, resting in his big old bear hugs ... and the list goes on.  I wish I had another hour with him here physically.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The parts of my life ...

Well my first trip to the ER since Bill's death.  No worries, all is well that ends well, my son is fine.  Thanks to my sister, my other son, niece and of course Bill, this could have been more painful.  My sister's guidance, my son's and niece's light heartedness and shared concern for their brother/cousin, helped share the load.

On my drive to the hospital all I could say was, "Please Bill, I can't be alone ... this is all such a maze!"  As I stepped through the doors, a familiar upset churned in the pit of my stomach.  Avoiding looking at the room where Bill once laid, I looked at the white board only to see the Walton name scribbled under "Family Room".  This can't be!

As I walked towards the room, I could see that my son was okay.  Relief began to settle in and when I was finally able to touch him and feel his warm hand I felt a rush of gratefulness.  I slumped down and finally let my eyes roam, taking in the room.  It seemed so small.  I could have sworn that on that night, it felt deeper - longer.  The patch work of gypsum and crack filling told the stories of others who had received "the" news.  My son highlighted the filled hole where he had wanted to kick further on that night.  Some of the memories started flooding in.

After a five hour visit, we stepped out in the sun.  The children feeling quite hungry and I, feeling relieved and grateful that we were all heading home.  However, I was left with a need for a large slurp of Pepto Bismal and a very long nap. 

As I drove to the supermarket to pick up some much needed groceries, I seem to return to the feeling of randomly moving around.  That same feeling that leaves you feeling out of touch with the overall picture.  How precious and fragile life is.  I was shaken by how fragile I seem to be.

As I work through this confusion that I know will pass, I try to keep my eye on the other parts of my life for it offers perspective, grounds me.  One day I will be able to give these parts my full attention and believe with my heart that the parts of my story will not disappear.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The sounds of grief ...

"How important is it to you to not disturb another with your grief?" asks a friend.  Judging from my actions of late, a great deal. 

I see myself driving home, using my breathing techniques to stay in the moment so that I do not disturb other drivers with my distorted and red crying face.  I frantically run up the stairs to hide in my room so that there are no witnesses as I let go of the pent up emotions as I am once again reminded that Bill is not physically here to share in the responsibilities of daily life.  I hide in my garage to unleash my grief when I think it is better for me and less worrying to others.  I smile, then gulp back my initial response when people ask, "How are you?"  Fine.


Journal Entry:  July 13, 2011

There are many more genuine okay moments in my life today, but there are still many grieving moments to deal with. 

Why am I so afraid Bill? 

What am I so afraid of ... disturbing others? ... embarrassing myself? ... or both?

Have the events of the past three months rendered me untrusting?  Or am I just projecting my own expectations of myself into how I think others would respond to an open display?

I continue to receive understanding from a shrinking group of supports for my long periods of silence, for my random outbursts of anger and for the absence of heart.  I am thankful for this.  It simply is no longer apparent from everyone ... we are all so conditioned to think that the first year is over and all that means.

Why do I feel such a responsibility to another's need to know that I am okay?

------------------------------------------ (end)

Why am I so afraid of the public display of this most important human sound?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Again and again ...

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak
Whispers the oe'r fraught heart and bids it break.
~ William Shakespeare

And for this reason, I blog.

Bill, always my #1 fan, inspires me always.  He would often chuckle at the words I wrote in a card or in the many letters to him.  I remember being at a wedding about a month or so before his death, where the couple circulated a book requesting that we include a message or piece of advice for them.  Without hesitation, I grabbed the pen and filled our page ... the other couple seated at our table took the book and read what I had just included.  The wife looked up and said, "How do I top this one?  This is beautiful."  Bill said with a twinkle in his eye and a great deal of pride in his voice, "She's good with words ... and a bit of a show-off!"

My first days of grief were made easier - or more precisely saner, because I was able to release the mounting pressure of my unspoken grief through the written word.  In these early times, I also had many friends who would listen to The Story - the story of the day Bill died.  They were wise and knew that I needed to tell the tale again and again.  By doing so, I felt grounded in the real world.  That this really did happen and that is why I was feeling the way I did.  I was beginning to believe that it really did happen.

As time went on, I often felt that I was shutting down - or many were now becoming uneasy with the recounting over and over again - not sure which is which.  The pressure was building and I often felt that I would soon go mad.  There was less reason to tell The Story and more reason to share my journey with grief.  My journals were without an audience, and as should be, life for others was moving on.  The birth of my blog, a place to share, a space to release the pressure.

I often offer to those who are supporting a grieving friend, ways to support.  Listen.  You may have heard The Story over and over again, or something of their "emotional" temperature for the day over and over again ... simply listen again and again.  One day, when you are actively listening, you will hear a whisper of hope.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Silent Sunday ...

Photo by:  G. Walton - 2011

Acceptance? Really?

As I sat soaking in my new tub late last night - or should I say early this morning - I was soaking in more than the obvious delicious warm water.  I was soaking in the words I had read earlier in the day.  The five stages of grief ... Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance (DABDA). 

I have poked fun at myself, as expressed in the Widow Card or Scarlet W, measured my journey by these markers and always had a difficult time with Acceptance.  The word acceptance ... acceptance?  I always felt like I needed to climb up on my "Sunlight Soapbox" to shout ... Acceptance?  Really?  But being such a dedicated good little griever, I "accepted" this from many professional sources.

There was justification last night as I reflected on my reading ...

"The classic term psychologists use for this step is acceptance and pain.  I do not refer to this step as acceptance because of Ann.  She joined our grief support group after her husband choked to death in his sleep.  I was talking about accepting our losses one day when Ann broke in to say, "Bob, the word acceptance carries with it some sense of approval and there is no way I will ever approve of my husband's death.  I'm ready to acknowledge that he is dead and he isn't coming back, but I refuse to accept or approve it!"  Every person in every group I have talked with since agrees with Ann."  ~ Life After Loss by Bob Deits

Thank you Ann!  There is much richness in the "lived" experiences.

Denial - this isn't happening to me!
Anger - why is this happening to me?
Bargaining - I promise I'll be ...
Depression - I don't care anymore.
Acknowledge - I know ... so now what?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cleaning therapy ...

You are cordially invited to dine at Chez Walton tonight ... a text left my cell phone yesterday afternoon requesting an r.s.v.p. from my two sons and my niece who has spent the last year living in this crazy household.  I was being creative in soliciting their response on whether or not they would be making it home for a meal.  It seemed to work for we all sat at the table and enjoyed a late meal topped off with coffee and cake.

The three left to take a shower at a friend's apartment; bathroom reno still not complete, but almost there!  As I worked my magic in the kitchen with Marc AndrĂ© Fortin serenading me from the surround sound in the living room, I thought how nice it was to be "really" together.  It felt good to put some order back into the kitchen, back into my life.  There was some therapeutic value to pushing the vacuum and the Wet Jet over the floor.  Will we ever get back to a routine?  Will I ever get back to a routine?

The three returned to find the kitchen and entrance looking and smelling good.  Happy chatter!  My niece was pleased and thanked me for looking after the dishes; her eyes were sparkling.  I suspect that my sons were just as pleased that they did not have to face a mountain of dishes at the end of the day.  My niece is pretty good at getting them involved when there is cleaning to be done.

As I laid me down to sleep, I prayed the Lord to keep me on this path.  I thanked Him for my beautiful sons and my wonderful niece.  My house is only sometimes silent.  For this I am truly thankful.  I could not imagine this last year without their presence.  I also prayed for my fellow widow/ers whose home is silent.

Today I tackle my abandoned bedroom, putting order to my messy bed.  There is a possibility that I may have access to my bathtub tonight and what a treat it would be to soak in my new tub and slip in between clean sheets.

There is much to be thankful for!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Along for the ride ...

In a recent conversation with a dear person who knows my pain, I was asked to describe the perfect "Bill and Ginette" vacation.  Without hesitation, I described the vacation Bill and I had planned for the celebration of our 25 year anniversary.  It was simple.  We were to go to Montreal to take in a ballet and a football game.  For some, this would almost seem like a compromise for both of us ... he the ballet and I the football game.  However, there was no compromising for we both love the arts such as the Canadian Tenors, Sarah Brightman, and the Cirque du Soleil.  We had seen the Canadian Tenors in concert twice, hosted our own private DVD concerts with Sarah on many Friday nights and had hoped to see her and the Cirque du Soleil on a real stage some day.  Bill was open to experiencing something new - the ballet. 

The CFL is a way of life at the Walton's.  I have been a fan of the Alouette's since 1977 and he a fan of the Argonauts since about the same time.  For four months of the year, Friday night football came with pizza and beer and Sunday afternoon we were in shutdown mode watching another game while eating peanuts and washing them down with another cold beer.  The season culminated with a small Grey Cup party of sorts with my sister and brother-in-law and a couple of years with my parents in attendance.  We watched while holding a hot bowl of chilli, cheering our favourite team on.  I often saw my Alouette's in action - Bill not so much for his Argonauts, much like his beloved Maple Leafs, did not make it to the playoffs often!  *snicker*

After describing a weekend in Montreal, attending the ballet, taking in a game where the Alouette's and the Argonauts were scheduled to play against each other and roaming my favourite sites of Montreal, this person asked - in five years from now, what would Bill and I remember of this vacation.  I hesitated; not sure of where this was going.  I assumed and said that we would speak of the time spent "together" as a couple.  Time away from home, away from thinking of our responsibilities as parents, away from the bills, away from everything; it was a time to reconnect as Bill and Ginette.  Ah ... these are things we share and continue to share.  He is with me and I with him in all that we share.  We continue to be one.  There is no torn picture.

As I sit with my journal this morning, I flip through the pages and realize that I have been sharing with Bill all along.  Our conversations are recorded on each page.


I dedicated this song to Bill at our first concert.  We held hands and I leaned into him ... pure love!  Bill was touched by the words this song offers and that I thought of him in this way.

The volume always went up with this as did the hair on the back of our neck ... pure.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Seasons of grief ...

I wonder about my passionate nature.  Everything I do, everything I say is with passion.  I wonder if my journey has been made easier or harder because of my passion.  I seem to move through the many moods of grief, always taking my emotional temperature.  

These past few days, I have returned to a state of numbness, a despair so deep and enveloping that nothing seems able to ripple its surface.  My experience so far suggests that this a prelude to deepening grief filled with  moments of heightened awareness of my loss, of the shattered dreams, a time of anguished tears.

I also know that this too shall pass.   On the other side, there is another experience waiting for me.  It may be easier or harder to bear; however, all of it is measureable, all of it will pass.  There is comfort in knowing this.

Just as there are random cool nights during a warm summer, there are unpredictable seasons to my grief;  all holding a secret, an inner logic.  The best I can do is live in the moment, accepting what the day has to offer.  Tomorrow?  Who knows.

I tell you hopeless grief is passionless.  ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

It is a constant choice not to bind myself to hopelessness.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Missing you ...

Evidence of another fall is drawing near,
The garden centres closing, birds flocking and nights cooling down.
Another season ending, another starting with tears,
Facing another year, the second year, my lonely heart feels like it will drown.

My heart is weary today.  I miss you Bill.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Time for Bill and me ...

Even as a kid, I never liked Sunday.  It always meant that the fun days were over and it was time to think of responsibilities ... getting back to classes or later in life, getting back to work.  When the boys were young, Sundays took on a new meaning.  We would have a great meal with my mother-in-law joining us for a great number of years, then she would go home and the boys were bathed then tucked into bed.  Time for Bill and me.  That often meant a movie, shrimp ring and wine.  We were in our jammies and the house was clean and still smelling of a great meal; time to kick back and enjoy each other's company.  If it wasn't a movie, it was in our room watching the Outer Limits or X-Files with a night cap.  The sound of the ice as it clinked against the glass still plays in my mind and the warmth of his arm around me as we sat content with each other, with our life as a family are cherished memories that sustain me.

As the boys got older, staying up later and my mother-in-law's dementia worsening, no longer wanting to come over for a meal, Sundays became family night of sorts.  On those Sundays when there were no last minute assignments to finish, Sundays became about a movie, pop and popcorn.  The house was now a little more cluttered with bigger toys, the smell of the meal was often of something slapped together quickly but we were together as a family.  There was happy chatter.  I often looked around the room, soaking in each and every one.  I knew even then, that this was not forever.

Time passed and the boys got a little older and were becoming more interested with their friends.  Sundays started to feel again like Sundays of old, the last day before returning to the routine of a work week, the day dragging along.  Bill and I returned to watching a movie, trying to listen over the chatter of the boys.  We all went to bed at the same time - the Walton household became silent with the last glow of light fading into the night.  Contentment.

In the last years, Sundays were truly back to being blah days.  Really no time as a family and everything seem to revolve around our sons' social or work life, pick up or dropping off and most times both.  The evening was rushed with all the responsibilities of the household of an older family.  Little Bill and Ginette time.  Although we did this together, our routine was about the boys.  We did so willingly and lovingly for we knew that this too shall pass and we were intent on making memories even if it is about how we were there to support their work and their social life.

Since Bill's death, there is no routine to speak of, children working at different times or out with friends - the light emanating from my window is often the first to be silenced.  I lay there waiting to hear the first to come home, then the second.  I lay there trying to hear the happy chatter of old; nothing, not even the whisper of a snore.  I am thankful that I can lay there in anticipation and not in silence.

Today is Sunday.  I now have my routine.  Coffee, journal, blog and the quiet of my home.  Boys often sleeping in from the previous night's outing.  Some last minute tidying up and then a plan for an evening with my knitting needles, or a long phone call with family or friend, or a drive with my camera in tow to capture the day.  Today, I have a late ball hockey game scheduled.  It is now my routine. 

Living in the moment as I have for the last year, tomorrow is another day not to be borrowed against.  What a valuable lesson.

Sundays, in the moment, time for Bill and me.

Silent Sunday

Photo by: G. Walton - 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Finding Balance ...

After spending another day working at my sister's place painting, I was feeling pretty good.  Quite the accomplishment, painting a whole house reno from primer to last contrast colour in only three days.  I was not only feeling, but also smelling pretty good for I took my first bath in a month.  No worries, I did have a few showers in between;  bathroom renos still not complete - getting there. 

The evening was finally cooling down and the sky was magnificent made possible with a setting sun.  A tear rolled down my cheek and all I could think was, "Oh no!  Not again!"  Just like poor Wile Coyote, grief fell on my head like a ton of bricks!  Guess I had not been paying attention to the constant tapping on my shoulder all day - grief not only came crashing down but had to push me off the cliff I had been standing at all day.  Help Bill!  Not wanting to frighten anyone driving by with my crumpled up red face, I kept my tears at bay, asking only to have the meltdown in the sanctuary of my own home *control freak, I know*.

Once home, I quickly started up the stairs to my bedroom, the grit of dry mortar cutting into my feet,  hurdling the clutter in the hallway, only to find the passage to my bedroom blocked with the clutter of tools, tiles and garbage.  Like the kid who hurried home to relieve her need to pee only to find the bathroom unavailable, I stood in the hall and peed my pants!  The tears were now flowing.  I did what any sane person would do, I made a quick bolt down the stairs and out to my garage.  I was now without an audience, able to unleash my grief.

I guess that this is all normal, the return of tears after so many days without; after all, I have been emotionally invested for 27 years.

Therèse Rando ~ How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies

"The most crucial task in grief is this change in relationship with the person who died.  It is the untying of the ties that bind you to your lost loved one.  Again, it must be stressed that this does not mean that the deceased is forgotten or not loved.  Rather, it means that the emotional energy that you had invested in the deceased is readjusted to allow you to direct it towards others who can reciprocate it in an ongoing fashion for your emotional satisfaction."

This book deals largely about managing to emotionally "let go".  My life has been made so much easier for having shifted from needing to exclude Bill to including him in my day-to-day.  This passage has a broader meaning to me, it is about finding balance - "change in relationship with the person who died."

Last night, as I started to draw back my camera zoom, I no longer focused on what I had lost, but noticed all that I have and that includes Bill.

Until the next time!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Taking a break ...

Reflecting back over the past year, more specifically on the eighth, ninth, and tenth months after Bill's death, I marvel at how I survived.  So consumed with the task of grieving, there was no balance.  A good little griever I would be!  In the first months, it was all consuming and I dedicated myself to feeling all I needed to feel, to avoid the repercussions of not grieving.  I had experienced these repercussions when I avoided grieving after my father died; I would not live through that again. 

The latter part of the first year was made difficult by the guilt I felt when I heard myself "laughing" or "enjoying" time away from my grief.  These occasions were not planned, but simply happened.  Life happened.  In spite of, or because of my dedication to grieving, life was returning.  In those months, there were many very dark moments, but there were lighter moments.  I was no longer simply going through the motions as I did in the first few months.  The lighter moments seemed to make the darker moments so much darker - I was now on a roller coaster.  For some, a roller coaster ride is thrilling, for me, being a bit of a "control freak", it is terror!

Driving back from playing my ball hockey game last night, I laughed at my penalty, I absorbed my team mate's compliments for a game well played and I found balance in the simple truth of giving myself permission to take a break from grieving.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Clarity from the heart ...

I read somewhere yesterday, we live until we die.  At first I thought this to be rather dark and cynical.  It stuck with me all day and then the light bulb came on!  I have one opportunity at this and although I have no choice on how and when I die, I do have a choice on how I live. 

As I stood in my unfinished bathroom *double groan*, sander in hand, I began to cry.  At first I thought my tears were because in the here and now, I stink, I am frustrated with the unfinished reno and I am very tired.  However, as the tears lifted the fog, I realized that I had come to the appreciate these words ... we Live until we die. I have a right to live - to laugh and to play.  In that moment, I truly gave myself permission to Live! 

One experience builds on another.  Yesterday I wrote about becoming aware that living life to the fullest does not diminish who Bill is in my life.  Last night, this awareness left my head and settled in my heart.

How profound ... we Live until we die.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Important information ...

I was hoping to be able to upload this logo as part of my information links.  However, I can't seem to access the permission to do so.

I encourage you to visit.  You will find valuable information and I am pleased to be a featured writer.

A testament to love ...

Recently, a dear person who has nothing but sincere concern for my well-being, said that I needed to take down the mammoth picture of Bill found in my garage.  This suggested to me that in his mind, I needed to forget in order to move on - out of sight, out of mind.  I knowingly smiled and said that it will most likely come down some day, when my heart is ready; however, it will not be because I have suddenly decided to "forget".  Au contraire, life has been made easier by choosing to have Bill present in my life.  How can I forget?

I suppose that one day, as time passes, I will begin to forget the smaller details but never what Bill means to me in my life.  For now, I remember the smallest details like his twitching moustache, the amazing strength in his willing hands and how he was and continues to be the hero in my heart.

For you my tender hearts, be still in the present.  We must be deliberately aware of life in the here and now.  This requires a little energy some days and a great deal of energy on other days.  By being in the present, we are not stuck in the past where we seem to live in the memories, nor can we afford to borrow on what we assume life will be tomorrow.   Leave tomorrow's victories unplanned.

I treasure my memories; they are precious and bring me joy and comfort.  However, if I allow myself to pine away in the past, I would inevitably miss what today promises.

I am becoming very aware that to live my life fully does not diminish my memories.  It is a testament to our love.