Saturday, March 23, 2019

We are all mourning

A dear friend lost a member of her family recently and their family is grieving.
She posted this article this morning and it's definitely share-worthy.
It's an article by John Pavlovitz called "Everyone Around You is Grieving. Go Easy."
I had read this article before but read it again and immediately knew I had to share it too. The point the author makes is so very true.
We have to SEE each other, even if it's uncomfortable sometimes. I think people are afraid to reach out. If they only knew how welcome that outstretched hand would be. 
I remember flying home to AZ after John had died while we were vacationing in NY. It had happened only hours before but, after making all the arrangements I could while in NY, I HAD to be home. 
I needed to be home to hug my dogs and just be in our house. 
So there I was, flying alone. John's body was in a morgue in NY and I was taking his suitcase home with me. I could not believe what had happened to us.
My cousin had alerted the flight attendants before I boarded and asked them to keep an eye on me but no one approached me during the flight. I sat in my seat for 5 hours - upset, distraught, numb, worn out, sad. 
Tears quietly streaming down my cheeks for most of the flight. 
Not one person said a word to me the entire time. 
Maybe that was better. I'll never know. 
Would it have been worse if an attendant had asked me how I was? 
Could the gentleman sitting next to me have asked if I was all right? 
How could he not have seen my tears?
All I know is I lived inside my head for that flight and to this day, I do not know how I did it.
But we need to see each other. 
I think some people are afraid to "catch" whatever they are avoiding - death, loss, etc. But as Ram Dass said "We are all just walking each other Home." 
I know now I try to reach out to others more, acknowledge them, compliment them. At the very least we should try to make their day better, not worse. You just never know what is going on in their life at that moment.
You could be that one thing they need that day to go on.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A beautiful wedding day

John and I eloped in 1981.
A few years later, on March 19 1988, we had our marriage blessed in the Catholic Church and we had the big wedding we didn't get to have the first time.
It was a wonderful happy day.
Happy anniversary, John. I love you.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

41 years!
41 years ago today we had our first date.
Green shamrocks, gold sparkles, and green beer - and two lives found each other and knew they were meant to be together forever.

Happy Anniversary, my Baby!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Today will always be Bunkie Day for me

Many years ago, on March 15, 1980 - 39 years ago! - John moved in with me and we started our life together in earnest.
He named the day Bunkie Day and we celebrated it every year.
That first day he made us lasagna to celebrate, complete with champagne and a rose.
Happy Bunkie Day, Sweetheart!
I miss you.

Friday, March 8, 2019

A beautiful birthday with friends - with a secret birthday wish from John

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday with two special friends. We refer to each other as sisters of our heart - and we are. We have been through a lot with each other, sharing happiness and sadness and everything in between.
Every birthday, the person of honor gets to choose where to celebrate.
I love afternoon tea so I chose a place here in town that is lovely Crowning Glory Tea Room. It did not disappoint.
My birthday was actually last Friday but that's part of the excitement - celebrating all week.
Over the years since he's passed, John has managed to send me roses for my birthday via various means and friends. The form doesn't matter - they could be real roses or even pictures of roses. But he has come through for me. A few years I even asked for specific roses - pink - and he has done that too.
This year, I again asked for roses. And I threw in the request for pink ones again so I would know they were from him. And again, I said they could be in any form.
No pictures of pink roses arrived that day.
My friend who took me out to dinner that night did give me roses but they were yellow.
It was okay.
I told myself I was being greedy. I know John still loves me. Asking for a specific sign like that was probably going too far.
So fast forward to yesterday and afternoon tea with my ♥ sisters.
After we had some tea and delicious sandwiches we took a break and it was time for opening presents. And they were lovely and very thoughtful.
I am truly blessed.
I bought a new car last month and some of the presents were themed for that - an emergency blanket, an Alexa for the car [I'm a gadget nut], and a beautiful new license plate holder, among other great gifts.
The afternoon was perfect. I felt the love of my friends and I felt John with me too and I was happy.
But it wasn't until I was lying in bed last night that the absolute perfection of the day hit me.
John DID send me pink roses for my birthday.
Here is the license plate holder I received yesterday.
Thank you, Sweetheart.
I love you.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

John still teaches me

I used to feel I was in John's shadow.
Not because he put me there.
In fact, he treated me in the exact opposite way - always bragging about me to others, telling me how proud he was of my accomplishments, and that he admired me.
Every day I knew I was loved and so lucky and blessed.
No, any feelings of inferiority were purely in my head, possibly a result of how I had been treated as a child. I worked at overcoming that and with John's help, both when he was here physically and even since he has passed, I am slowly learning to appreciate myself - finally.
Slowly, I feel I am coming into my own - even at the ripe old age of 71.
And one of the things I am learning is to slow down.
I often describe myself as a AAA type personality - type A on steroids. Never able to relax and enjoy anything. Always looking forward, often worrying.
John was the polar opposite. Secure. Patient. Happy with life as it was.
I wished so much to be like him.
His death stopped me in my tracks and forced me to recalibrate.
It's still a struggle for me. Every day I have to practice unclenching my jaw and breathing.
But I am definitely working on it.
I meditate now. That helps a lot.

And I have taken up photography.
And seeing the world through a camera lens really helps me to focus on life around me in a way I never expected.
I took a walk around my neighborhood yesterday, camera in hand. My goal was to take pictures of desert flowers. The Arizona desert is just starting to come into bloom and it never disappoints.
By the end of my walk I had several pictures I knew I would keep and add to my portfolio but I had something else too.
I had a sense of peace. I was able to see my world one second at a time and appreciate it instead of going full tilt and seeing it all as a blur.
Life is precious. Death teaches us that in ways we never wanted to learn.
But it's a valuable lesson.
I am looking forward to life beyond this one when I will be reunited with John.
But, in the meantime, this life is to be enjoyed and treasured too.
There is beauty here.