Monday, March 26, 2012

They are not just things to me

At someone's suggestion, I have decided to make a memory quilt from some of John's clothes. Today with the help of a dear friend, we chose some clothes - some of John's favorite shirts, some of his scrub [work] pants. Tomorrow I will call the quilter and we will make arrangements to start.
I still can't bring myself to get rid of the rest of John's clothes. It's a step I am not ready to make. I know John doesn't need the clothes any more. But I need them. I need to look at them and feel them. I need to have the reassurance that he was here, that we were here, that we lived and loved and our life together was real. And good.
I don't have John here with me any more. All I have are things - things that he touched, things that he wore, things that he used. But they are his things. And now they are mine. And while it may seem silly or morbid to some that I hold on to these things so desperately, they are all I have left of him physically. And as long as I have them, I have a part of John, too.

The nature of grief

Losing a soul mate to death is a different loss from a mother or sister, etc. I read somewhere that when two people in love live together for a long period of time their bodies actually become in sync with each other. The heart puts out an electrical field which is measurable and it intertwines with the electrical field of the other loved one and when that is gone, the body knows it and feels the loss. So it is a true amputation. Whether sudden or slow, the loss is real both emotionally and physically. Before I felt whole. Now I feel like a hole.
And yet none of that gives me any consolation. All it does is tell me what I am feeling is real and not something I am making up or because I am weak in some way.
I find myself counting down to John’s second anniversary. Our date is May 24th and it is OUR date in every sense - we lost each other physically. I am trying to fill my life with worthwhile endeavors but none of it really ignites my soul. I wonder if anything ever will. Even the mundane was good before because I was sharing it with my best friend and lover. Now everything is just “eh”.
The other day I woke up from a dream about John and immediately thought “I need to ask him…” and then I realized again that he was gone and the pain was horrible.
This weekend has not been good – 22 months, 96 weeks and no end in sight. That’s the worst thing – there is no prize for grieving. No reward. I do not get my Love back if I do this right.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday night

Sunday night again. The weekly reminder of the last hug, the last kiss, the last snuggle, the last smile, the last words - the last  time I looked forward to the next day.
Sunday night is bleak and cold no matter what time of year. It is a reminder that John is no longer here, what we will never have again, what we have lost. I try to remember the good times that we had and I do. But Sunday night is a reminder of our loss and what will never be. It will always be a reminder of all that to me.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

I would marry you all over again, John

Our Church Wedding

On March 19, 1988 John and I had our marriage blessed in the Church.
It was a great day and the party afterwards was something we thoroughly enjoyed. It was one of the happiest days of our life together.
Sadly this year the anniversary of that blessed day falls on the anniversary of John's passing - 95 weeks today.
But I am so grateful I have these pictures and I can look at them and know how happy and wonderful our life together was.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Sweetheart!

Today, 34 years ago, John and I became a couple. Green beer, an Irish bar, painted shamrocks with sparkles on our cheeks - we were immediately and forever bound to each other from that day forward.
I have no pictures from that day. The earliest picture I have of John is this one, taken a few weeks later at my new apartment.

This is a special week for us - 3 anniversaries very close together. Even though I always feel John close to me, I was feeling sadness at John not being physically here on Wednesday of this week while having breakfast in one of the cafe's here in town.
Yet, somehow, John found a way to reach out to me and say "Hello" and "I love you". I had ordered  a cappuccino with breakfast and this is what arrived:

The waitress told me the chef just felt inspired.
Then today a friend gave me this as a belated present.
If you look closely, the tag says the angel is making the sign for "I love you". To get this today on our special day meant so much to me.
I know John is still with me.
Thank you, John. I love you, too.
Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bunkie Day

I always told John this was how I felt when I met him. It was as if my soul had been searching and then just all of a sudden recognized John when he showed up. And if I believe truly that John and I were meant to be together from before either of us came here this time - and I do believe that - this all makes sense.
From the first, I knew. John was "home" to me. My heart knew it would be safe and loved with him. When we were apart, it was an eternity until we could be together again.
Today is Bunkie Day. John named it that when he moved in March 15, 1980 - 32 years ago today. I still can see him standing in my doorway, belongings in hand. Scared. Apprehensive. Happy. The beginning of a wonderful happy life together.
John made dinner for us that night to celebrate.

Happy Bunkie Day, Sweetheart.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What does grief feel like?

It feels like I am walking around with a hole in my chest. Not a little hole where my heart used to be - a big gaping hole that you can see straight through.
It feels like the roof has been blown of the top of my house and I am still expected to carry on as though life were still normal.
I could go on with the metaphors but I think you get the picture.
Life is not right any more. I used to go about my daily routine and have this feeling of safety, normalcy, home-ness that surrounded me that I took for granted. Something would catch my eye, or I'd hear something and my first instinct would be to tell myself to remember to share it with John later that day.
If I had to leave to go somewhere, as I pulled my car out of the driveway, I'd look back and John would be at his make-shift worktable in the garage working on a car part he was refurbishing and he'd smile and wave at me as I pulled away and I'd wave and smile back, knowing he would be there when I returned and we'd share the rest of our day together.
In the evening we'd eat dinner and watch TV while we ate and we'd talk or play with the kids.
We'd snuggle at night and if I woke during the night John would be there and I could listen to him breathe and feel his weight on his side of the bed.
Every day, all day, I went about my life knowing that John was part of the fabric that made up my life.
And now he's gone. And my life is frayed. And there are big holes where he used to be.
And I am smacked in the face with that every day, every night.
All. The. Time.
And there is no end in sight.
There is no prize for doing grief right. No one comes and says "Okay, you've accomplished that. Now you get to do something else. Your grief is over."
Grief doesn't become over. It might evolve. But it's never over.
And sometimes, in the wee hours of the night, I dream about John and we are together again, and we're talking and laughing about something and I wake up and for one sweet second, everything feels right. The world shifts back into place and I feel that whole-ness again.
And then I remember.
And John's gone-ness hits me again.
And grief is back.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

94 Weeks

Have I mentioned how much I hate Sunday nights? Tonight marks 94 weeks, not a very momentous milestone but every week takes me farther and farther from the last day and night we had together. The flashbacks are still with me. I don't know what to do about them. I suppose I should do something. Some times they are worse than at other times but all of the time they are very hard to go through. I can distract myself  sometimes. Leave the house. Go for a walk or a drive. But when they hit during the night there is no place to go. And that makes it harder to deal with.
I find myself getting irritable with the kids. I'm sure they are picking up on my mood.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

People with foot in mouth disease

A woman I know who also lost her soul mate recently found herself defending her grief with a total stranger who claimed that grief that lasts "too long" [and what is the definition of too long?] was really suffering from co-dependency and not grief.
Spare me the armchair psychiatrists! What hogwash. Obviously that person never had a deep interdependent love with a soul mate. John and I allowed each other our own space. We did things together and we did things apart. He had his interests and I had mine and we had interests together. But just because the best part of my day – and life – was time spent with him and I still grieve the loss of him in my life now doesn’t make me codependent. John was my best friend, my counsel, my helpmate, my buddy, the person who knew me better than anyone ever did or will. The person who could just say my name and my heart would be so happy. The person I enjoyed doing things for because it made me feel so good to see him smile and know I did that for him. Is that co-dependence? No, that is love, pure, unadulterated love. A love worth grieving for the rest of my life.
Wonder what this person would think if he knew I feel I am still connected to John in Spirit?
Today I was driving home and thinking about John and missing him and a truck passed me and there on the back bumper was the word “Collins”. I like to think that was John saying Hello. And on top of the truck was written “Home of the Eagles” which made me think of the music he liked. That had to be him saying Hi to me. It was too much of a coincidence and we know there are no coincidences.
Love reaches out across the physical if we but look for it. Spirit doesn't die and true love doesn't either.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

There's No Me Without You

The sun doesn't have to shine
  It doesn't matter what I do  
There's no me …without you  
We never have to be afraid 
Heaven is a place for two  
There's no me…without you
We shall be forever two 
There's no me…without you
Once upon a lonely day  
God came thru 
He Blessed me…with you  
I'm never gonna fade away  
Your love won't allow me to  
Can't you see? I love you
We shall be forever two  
There's no me…without you

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bunkie

Today is my birthday. I'm 64, the birthday made immortal by the Beatles. When John turned 64, I played their song as he blew out his candles and before we sang Happy Birthday to him.
Now it's my turn. If John were here, he would wake up and with that beautiful sleepy smile he would look at me with love and say "Happy Birthday, Bunkie." And he would make the day special. We'd be together and laugh and enjoy the day and tonight he would take me out to dinner. He might buy me flowers and there would be cards and a present.
But even though he's not here physically, I still feel his presence. I hear his voice wishing me a "Happy Birthday, Bunkie" and I can see that smile. Yesterday I had the urge to buy myself flowers and I felt that urge came from him. I even thought I knew which ones John wanted me to have. They will arrive today. And tonight some friends are taking me out to dinner.
It's not the same. It will never be the same. But I know John loves me and I know he is smiling that wonderful smile and I am going to enjoy this day for him and for me.
Thank you, Baby. I love you.