Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, Sweetheart!

This has been a very difficult couple of days. The grief books don't mention how hard New Year's can be, especially the first New Year's Eve of the first full year without your soul mate. Today, this New Year's Eve, marks the end of the first full year without John. He and I did not share one second of this year together with him on this earth. Last year at least I could look back at some part of the year and know we had been together. But not this year. And not next year or the year after that or the year after that or....
The enormity of John's gone-ness is only just beginning to sink in and as it does, the grief deepens. It soaks into me, becomes a part of me. It doesn't define me. I am still me. But now I am me, grieving. I will always be me grieving. When I laugh, I will wish John could share it with me. When I cry, I will wish he were there to hold me. When I enjoy something I will wish John could enjoy it with me. I will never be able to do anything with him physically in this world again and the magnitude of that shatters me.
I look back on other New Year's Eves celebrated with John and I realize how foolish I was - maybe how foolish any of us are - to think we have more ahead of us. I know now only too well, that we are not promised even the next second. If there is a lesson there it is to enjoy every second, cherish every laugh, every hug, every smile. Take nothing for granted. Waste not one moment in anger or regret.
I guess, thanks to John, I have written my New Year's resolution.
Happy New Year, Sweetheart - and looking forward to the one we will celebrate together again some day.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Sweetheart!

Christmas has got to be the hardest holiday when your loved one has passed on. Everything is about love and family and gatherings and celebrating and happy - and here we who are grieving are, feeling none of that.
If John were here we would have gone to Church last evening. Then we would have had our special Christmas Eve meal in front of the tree while we opened presents and played with the "kids". And I always made a special Christmas ball with our names on it and the number of the Christmas that we were celebrating. This would have been our 34th Christmas together.
This year I purposely avoided doing anything similar to that. It helped ease the pain but it didn't make me miss John any less and I knew it wouldn't. That would be silly. Nothing will make me miss him less.
But on this Christmas morning I celebrate the love he gave me and the love I know he still gives me and I thank God for what we were able to share.
Merry Christmas, John! I love you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Notebook

My cousin Cynthia visited this past weekend and we watched “The Notebook” - probably my all time favorite movie - and cried. Noah reminds me so much of John and their love reminds me of us. Noah tells Ally that he will never leave her. And they agree that their love can do anything, can perform miracles. That’s how I feel about us.
A running theme through the movie was the song "I'll Be Seeing You". I never really listened intently to the words before this weekend. I always knew it was a love song but now with John no longer here physically, the song took on new meaning. It says it all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A poem

Don't grieve - for I am still with you

Don't grieve my loss, I have not gone.
My body is beyond your reach, but my soul is touching yours.
I am the one who enters your dreams,
Caresses your face
Hugs you. Misses you.
I have not left. My spirit is with yours.
I am all around you when you call.
I am the gentle breeze when there is no wind.
I am in the photo on the wall when you stare in disbelief.
I am the song that enters your head
For no reason, yet it reminds you of us.
If you wonder if it's me
Or if you shed a tear thinking it's not real,
Ask me, to tell you, something you don't know
Or something you've forgotten from long ago.
My first whisper is the truth.
Think about it. Find out about it
And I'll prove it's me.
Don't grieve that I am gone.
I am with you, beside you, in you.
I will be, as long as you need me.
                          - (c)2007 Phil G - Soul Matters

A special gift

I read in one of James van Praagh's book that grief is a gift left behind by our loved ones to us allowing us to become what we might not have had their loss never occurred.
I know I have become more spiritual, more tolerant, more patient. And I am trying to improve on that every day. I am trying not to sweat the small stuff because it's all small stuff.
I'm not saying it's easy. And I still would give anything to have been able to learn those lessons with John still here.
But I am determined not to waste this chance. John taught me so much with his life. He continues to teach me with his death.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John loved music

I found a song of Willie Nelson's playing in my head this morning and when I realized which one it was I wondered if John put it there. It was one of his favorites - "On the Road Again".
John loved music. He loved all kinds of music but probably favored Rock and Country. He always had the radio on while he worked in the garage or the yard. I think his favorites were Willie Nelson and The Eagles.
We saw many performers live together - The Everly Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Mathis, Willie Nelson, Anne Murray, Neil Diamond and some locals whose names I no longer remember.
Many people don't know that John sang professionally in his youth and actually won awards for his singing. He was also an accomplished guitar player.
So, Baby, this one's for you -

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More idiots "studying" grief

A grief-sister is blogging about an article in Time Magazine that tries to explain the current thinking on grief. While some - and I do mean just some - of the points made are valid, for the most part, the article falls far short of the mark.
The article drew much of its information from flawed studies - studies done on elderly couples who lost a mate. Based on this, they felt that they knew all there was to know about the grief associated with losing a life partner.
Based on one stupid flawed study, you now know what it is to lose your soul mate, your best friend, lover, companion, support, business partner, the one person who understood you, who loved you, who believed in you, no matter what?
Are you kidding me?
I especially disagree with the idea that grief ends and that those who grieve beyond 6 months - and heaven forbid! - into the second year suffer from “Prolonged Grief Disorder”!? How dare they? Just what this world needs – another label to pigeon-hole people into when others can’t relate to what those people are feeling.
John was all of those things I mentioned. He was my true soul mate. And even beyond that, we had a mystical connection. There is something called Twin Flames which takes the concept of soul mates one step further. Whatever there is beyond soul mates, John and I were/are it. He took part of me with him when he died and I yearn for the day when both of us are whole again with each other.
That study is so flawed I can’t even begin to dissect it.
John was only 67 when he passed and I was only 62. I’m 63 now and the years ahead without him seem an insurmountable obstacle. I also feel robbed. We had planned on growing old together, sharing that last step with each other. We would have taken such good care of each other and I miss not being able to do that.
The article also seemed to equate functioning with no longer grieving. What nonsense! I "functioned" from the very beginning. John died while we were on vacation in NY. I had to get myself – and him – back here to Arizona. I had to notify people. I had to plan a service and funeral. I had to take care of our animals and our home. Somehow I did it but that did not mean I grieved any less. Losing a spouse is hard. Losing a spouse who is a soul mate is harder. Losing a spouse who is a soul mate suddenly and unexpectedly is worse still. I had the trifecta. We had no idea this was going to happen. I woke up in the middle of the night away from home and John was gone. Can you imagine?
My grief is forever. Just because I am able to get up every morning and do the things I have to do does not mean I am not still grieving. Just yesterday I had a meltdown. The enormity of John not being here just hit me – again – and the tears and the sobs came. I expect it will always be so. It will never be all right that he is gone and I am still here. I miss him with every cell of my being.
Articles like that do so much damage.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thank you for loving me, John

Tonight is Sunday night, the worst night of the week. 81 weeks ago tonight my Love left this world.  John always said things were happening the way they were supposed to and I try to believe that but Sunday nights are hard. Sunday nights make me think that this is all so unfair. And I yearn for things to be different, to have John back again, for the world to be right again.
But I will never be sorry for what we had, for what we still have. John's love will always be with me.
And I am so grateful for that love.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


A woman I have come to know on the Internet through our shared experience of grief wrote an interesting post in her blog this week. It was about the habit that those of us who are grieving have of counting the time since our loved one passed.
I count too and I wondered if I was the only one. Hours, days, weeks, months, a year, a year and a half. Already I see two years on the horizon and can’t believe that amount of time has passed. It seems surreal and I think the counting helps to keep me based in the here and now. Helps me to see reality. Some days I think the grief will send me spinning off into some world from which there is no return and the counting is my tether.
It’s also a way to stay connected to my Love. This Sunday will be 81 weeks. 81 weeks since I last got to hold my John, talk with him, see his smile, hear his voice and his laugh, plan with him, look forward to the next day with him. I need to hold onto that part of us and me. It makes the horrible part of now more bearable.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Turning Point?

These last 18 months I have fallen backwards in a sense, being more dependent on others in my grief. Today I feel older, wiser, more independent, more of the old me. Sundays - particularly Sunday nights - are hard for me. It was a Sunday night when we went to bed anticipating the next day and the joy it would bring when the world changed forever.
Tonight marks 80 weeks.
But I think I feel a small change.
I feel some of the fight in me returning. The old spark. The determination to stick up for myself. The Joy that John loved and admired.
I think part of it is a returning sense of independence, a refusal to let others see my vulnerability and my grief to mean that I am to be told what to do,  to be considered less than an adult fully capable of making decisions.
When John was here, he was my buffer. Now I need to stand on my own. And I will. One of the gifts he gives to me.
Thank you, Sweetheart.

Parable of Immortality by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, "There she goes!"
Gone where?
Gone from my sight . . . that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says,"There she goes!" there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .
"Here she comes!"

I read this earlier this year at the Memorial honoring John on his one-year Anniversary on the day we dedicated his garden. It brings me comfort knowing he is with those who love him.