Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Grieving Sister

A fellow grieving woman who lost her life mate two months before me posted an open letter on her blog. This was my response.
Dear Grieving Sister,
This note seems to be written to me - or are all grieving women just in a sad sisterhood whereby we all recognize the same feelings in ourselves and others? I wish I could leave this sisterhood. This is one time when knowing that someone is going through the same thing does not make it easier.
To answer your thoughts - no, I don't think our loved ones grieve as we do. After all, they have an advantage. They can still check in with us. They know how we are. They have an access to us that we don't have to them. I think they miss their life with us but I don't believe it's the same. And I don't think our separation is forever. Your love came into your life when he was supposed to and you will be with him again. Knowing I will be with John again is all that keeps me going some days. On some level, we agreed to this. He had to leave ahead of me. He completed his work this time around. I haven't. Now my job is to figure that out, get it done, and go home, too.
But this grief will always be a part of me and shapes who I am now. It's supposed to. That is its purpose. Fun? I don't know what that is? Passion? I miss it. And I feel I have already disappeared. I look in the mirror and don't recognize who I see. I need to learn who I am again and for now I don't know how I will do that or what I will turn into. I liked who I was when I was with John. I don't like who I am now. Maybe that is the key. Learning to like me. Period. No matter what.
Your sister in this sorrow journey,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I am grateful for our life

I was out on the deck with the dogs this morning and I thought of John, of us [I always do] and of camping. I'm glad we had those times. I enjoyed them so much.
And as much as I whined in later years about camping, looking back I enjoyed it and I am grateful we did it. Those were happy times. And the places we went, for the most part, were very beautiful. The quiet, the woods, the animals, the closeness we shared. It was all good and I cherish the memories. John gave me experiences I never had before, that I would never have had were it not for him. I'm very lucky. We had a good life. Thank you, John. We made a good life. We were a good team.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

16 Months

Today marks 16 months since John - left, passed away - there is no easy way to say it.
On top of that it's a Saturday - a day that always brought me pleasure. When John and I were dating it was often the first day of a weekend together - camping, hanging around the house, enjoying each other's company. No work, no worries. Then when we were married, it was often a day to run errands. But again, it was fun. We did them together and just enjoyed being together.
Now it's an empty day and my heart aches and my gut is in rumbles.
I am going to the airport this afternoon. The son of a dear friend is coming home after a long absence. It's going to be a joyous occasion. It will be good to see him again.
But it is bittersweet for me. I would give anything if I were going to the airport to pick up John. I watched my friend be sad and upset while she waited for her son to return. Yet, her sadness was finite. It ended. Today it will be in the past.
Mine never will be.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another loss

I just found out a dear friend back east has died. John and I were both friends with her, although I knew her before I even met John. I worked with her while I was married before and then later on, both John and I worked with her. Lois and I knew each other for 35 years. She was with me when I found out my first husband had passed away. I adopted a kitten from a cat of hers. I was her boss the last few years we worked together. She was the night nurse on the psych unit I ran. She would give me report when I came on in the morning. I started my day sharing coffee and laughs with Lois. But she was older than me and recently had been ill and lived in an assisted living center for the last few years. Yet, she and I kept in touch [although sporadically] over the years. I had been avoiding calling her for the last 15 months because I knew I would have to tell her about John and I didn't want to upset her. I often thought about her and she was on my mind these last few weeks. A lot. In fact, last week I looked up the information I had for her and promised myself I would call her soon. The lady sitting next to me in Church on Sunday reminded me so much of her that I vowed I would call her this week.
She died this past Monday. I just found out a few minutes ago.
I am sad for losing Lois. I am sad because at a time like this I would turn to John and we would mourn together and be sad together and help each other.
And he's not here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More pictures, more happy memories

I need to focus on the good times. Some days I feel I will just lose my mind if I don't.
May 1985

John's Graduation from nursing school June 1985
John's Graduation party June 1985

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why grief is so hard

Remember all the platitudes we were taught as children?
Eat your spinach so you'll grow big and strong.
Get good grades so you'll get into a good college.
Graduate with honors and you'll get a good job.
Do a good job and you'll get a promotion.
Be a nice person and you'll attract a nice mate.
Be holy and you'll go to Heaven.
What happens when you grieve well? What's the payoff then? Do all the right things and then what? John is still gone. He isn't coming back. No matter what I do I can't change that.
Grief is a big cheater. There is no prize at the end. Just more of the same.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thank you, John

"You Raise Me Up"

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up... To more than I can be.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I miss John so much - and I miss me, too

I miss the me I used to be, the person who had passion for things, who got excited about things, who looked forward.
I don't like the me I am now. But I am stumped how I can change it. I am praying about it and asking John to help me, too. If I have to be here, it would be so great if I found my purpose since I truly believe that is why I am still here and not with John now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

John is always with me

I spent most of last week in Sedona, a beautiful place that John and I always loved to visit. It helped my soul and I felt very close to John while I was there.
I visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross on Sunday while I was there and shopped in their gift shop. I wanted to buy a remembrance especially on that day because it was our 30th Wedding Anniversary. I was drawn to a special dish and also a card with a little pin called a Memorial Tear on it.
When I brought the dish home, a previous heart I had been drawn to buy fit perfectly on it. Then this morning Chaz tore up some paper in my office and I found him playing with one special little piece. It looked like a heart and so I saved it too. I think it was a gift from John.

I also bought a little Teddy Bear in town after I got back to be  an Anniversary present for John. I wanted to mark the occasion with something and teddy bears were always special to us. The bear sits on my dresser proudly wearing the Memorial Tear I bought.