Monday, May 28, 2012

Grief doesn't go away just because time passes

A friend of mine who is also blogging about her grief wrote that it was a revelation to her that she still feels grief - at times intensely - after over two years' time. She knows she appears to be all right on the outside but she really is not on the inside.
Her post really resonates with me. I too seem “okay” on the outside but I am still a bowl of tears and grief on the inside. And it doesn’t take much for the tears to bubble up to the surface. It’s two years and 4 days for me. Yesterday I bawled and cried to the heavens. I clung to John’s bathrobe and just sobbed. It just came over me. I was just straightening up our bedroom and the feelings that he was no longer physically here, that I couldn’t hug him, couldn’t talk to him and hear his voice [except in my head], couldn’t see his smile, could just “be” with him just overcame me. And it was May 24, 2010 all over again.
I keep a journal that I write to John. I share things in there with him about my day, my thoughts, etc. And it helps a little but of course it’s not the same. I am planning things to do over the next few months and I look forward to those things. But underneath it all, with every step, with every activity – with every breath – is the overriding thought “John’s not here, John’s not here.” And like my friend, it’s the little everyday things that make the sorrow more intense – making a meal, playing with the furbabies, shopping at Costco. I can’t pass a men’s clothing counter in a department store without getting upset.
I feel like I am walking around with a huge hole in my chest that you can actually see through. John was “home” to me and now my home is gone. I am a homeless person. All I have are things. I would give them all up and live under a bridge in a refrigerator box if it would bring John back.
I don’t know if I will ever feel any differently from how I feel now. I’m not sure I want to. I don’t want to feel OK with John’s absence. And the thought of happiness is totally foreign now. There are occasions of okay-ness and if that’s all I get now, I can live with that. I don’t expect more and I really don’t want more. All I want is John and I know I won’t have that again until I leave this world.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Two Years

Two years since John left. But two years closer to when we will be together again.
I am going to focus on that part.
And I know John is still with me.
I can feel him here. And his love.
The love and comfort of friends and family has helped and makes me realize how blessed I am.
I am grateful.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Our last day

Tonight marks the anniversary of the last day we spent together.
It was a good day filled with happiness, laughter, family.
I am so glad we had that weekend together.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

104 Weeks

Yesterday marked 104 weeks. Two years worth of weeks. And I didn't mark it. How can that be? I think it is because I am so focused on the actual day which is this Thursday, the 24th. And yesterday was our Golden's birthday and I was having good memories thinking about how she came to be with us and how John actually picked her out for us.

But I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday and we did talk about "that day". So I did not forget. I never could. I never will.
John is in my heart always. And I am trying to dwell on the good times, the good memories. Our life was good. John's passing was only a small part of our life. For 32 years we had each other and our life was good.
We still have each other. It's just different now. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The worst Sunday

Sunday nights are always hard but tonight is the hardest. Tonight, two years ago, on a Sunday night, John and I hugged for the last time. Later that night I awoke up to find him gone - transitioned - passed away - whatever term you want to use. Life was changed forever.
Two years.
104 weeks.
And counting.
On this date, two years ago we were starting out on that weekend visiting family. Our last weekend together.
And that's the thing. I am still counting. Still marking the dates. I have to wonder what I am counting.
Counting from?
Counting toward?
Is it some way to understand?
I don't know. I don't have any answers. Only questions.
And sadness. There are no words.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

7 more days

The memory Quilt is taking shape already.
Yesterday the quilter emailed me some photos of the work done so far.
The center so far
Detail of one of the squares
In the next few weeks we will go shopping for material for the border, the back, and the binding.
As it turned out, most of the shirts that she chose from the ones I brought her are from the last weekend that John and I spent together. A poignant coincidence. I think John had a hand in that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

8 more days

A shadow of joy flickered; it is me.
I told you I wouldn't leave.
My memories, my thoughts are imbedded deep in your heart.
I still love you.
Do not for one moment think that you have been abandoned.
I am in the Light.
In the corner, in the hall, the car, the yard ~
these are the places I stay with you.
My spirit rises every time you pray for me,
but my energy comes closer to you.
Love does not diminish; it grows stronger.
I am the feather that finds you in the yard,
the dimmed light that grows brighter in your mind,
I place our memories for you to see.
We lived in our special way,
a way that now has its focus changed.
I still crave your understanding
and long for the many words of prayer
and good fortune for my soul.
I am in the Light.
As you struggle to adjust without me,
I watch silently.
Sometimes I summon up all the strength of my new world
to make you notice me.
Impressed by your grief,
I try to impress my love deeper into your consciousness.
As you should, I call out to the Heavens for help.
You should know that the fountain of youth does exist.
My soul is now healthy.
Your love sends me new found energy.
I am adjusting to this new world.
I am with you and I am in the Light.
Please don't feel bad that you can't see me.
I am with you wherever you go.
I protect you,
just as you protected me so many times.
Talk to me and somehow I will find a way to answer you.
Mother, Father, son or daughter, it makes no difference.
Brother, sister, lover, husband or wife, it makes no difference.
Whatever our connection ~ friend or even foe ~ I see you with my new eyes.
I am learning to help wherever you are, wherever I am needed.
This can be done because I am in the Light.
When you feel despair, reach out to me. I will come.
My love for you truly does transcend from Heaven to Earth.
Finish your life with the enthusiasm and zest that you had
when we were together in the physical sense.
You owe this to me, but more importantly,
you owe it to yourself.
Life continues for both of us.
I am with you because I love you
and I am in the Light.
-- Author Unknown

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

This is my second Mother's Day without John. The first when I will be doing nothing at all to mark it. Last year I went out to dinner with some friends. Today I have no plans except to go see John's Mom at her assisted living home after Church. I'll bring her a card and flowers and love from me and John.
John always made a fuss over me on Mother's Day. There were cards and flowers and a present from him [and the furkids] and he always took me out to dinner. He said he loved how I cared for him and our family. It was a joy for me to do so. I loved how he cared for me.
This Mother's Day was almost a disaster. I had an episode with one of the cats yesterday that luckily turned out all right but almost didn't.
I know I am over the top when it comes to our furbabies and I understand the panic I felt when I couldn't find Riley. I don't understand the extent of the panic and upset that I felt for hours after it was all over.
All I can think of is that it brought back flashbacks of losing John. The absolute terror and loss that I felt the night I found John was overwhelming. Losing Riley and feeling guilty that I had had let him down was akin to that. My immediate reaction when I found John was that I should have been there for him. I should have been able to do something to help him and prevent his death. In reality I know that is not true, that there was nothing I could have done. But feelings are not necessarily rational. And the feeling of loss at a time like that is so tremendous words can't do it justice.
Thank God, we found Riley and yesterday ended happily.
I wish that were the case with John. Nothing can fix what happened that day almost two years ago. Life is forever changed for us.
I miss him so much, today and every day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In two weeks

In two weeks it will be two years since John passed. Now I find myself giving the standard "I'm OK" whenever anyone asks. In reality I want to scream "Life sucks! I hate this. I want my old life back. I want my John back." But I don't. No one wants to hear that any more. I know everyone thinks I should be OK now. I should be fine with this. At least I should be able to "move on". I hate that phrase.
How do you move on? You don't. You move forward. One day moves into the next, and the next, and the next. And before you know you are facing the two year anniversary and you wonder how you got here. What happened to those two years?  And why does it still feel like it just happened? And why does the hole still feel raw? And why do these surges of grief just overtake you and make you scream like an animal?
I don't have any answers. I just know I never thought I would be here doing this and I wish with all my heart this wasn't so.
I look at these pictures I post of John and I remember his laugh, his smile, his love. I ache for that.  What I wouldn't give for one of his hugs. No matter what was wrong with life, a hug and kiss from John made it all better. Life with him was happy beyond words. I don't mean every day was a picnic. It wasn't. We had our troubles and ups and downs the same as any married couple. But we were together and so often we told each other how lucky we were. We truly liked each other. We knew we were lucky and blessed. Thank God we knew that.
But it makes it so much harder now.
I miss you so much, Sweetheart.

More pictures, more memories

San Diego 1994

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

John's memory quilt

Today I dropped off some of John's clothes at the home of a new friend. She is going to make a memory quilt for me, something I can snuggle up with that will help me feel John close to me.
I chose a log cabin pattern. It will be similar to this.

She showed me many samples and as soon as I saw this one I knew it was what I wanted. The red symbolizes the heart, the center of the home and I think that is perfect. We are going to use John's cranberry work scrub pants for that part. My quilt will be predominantly blue because that was primarily the color of the shirts that I chose and that is also perfect because blue was John's favorite color and I loved him in that color. It brought out his eyes and was great with his coloring and red hair.
Last year I marked the anniversary of John's passing with his Memory Garden and this year it is his quilt. I like being able to honor him this way.
Incidentally, I think I have mentioned how sparkles keep showing up all over the house, etc. just when I seemed to need them and I think they are "Hello's" from John. There was a sparkle on the driver's seat of my car today. As I placed the car in gear and looked down before pulling out into the street on my way to meeting the quilter, there was one lone sparkle on the seat next to my leg. I know it was John telling me this was a good thing to do and he was happy about it.
Thank you, Sweetheart. I love you, too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I've started wearing some of John's clothes

Not all of them, of course. I would look kind of silly in one of his suits. But his T-shirts and scrub tops are good to sleep in and I can even get away with wearing some of them in the daytime. And the best part is I get to put them in the wash again and some days I can pretend he's still here.
Maybe that's delusional but I don't care. I am counting down the days to two years since he left and it's almost unbearable.
I spent part of the morning scanning more pictures. What will I do when I run out of pictures? That will put a finiteness to our life together that I don't want to face.
These were from the summer of 1993.
John and Willie in John's MG - August 1993

September 1993

On a cruise to the Bahamas - August 1993