It's a struggle sorting through the things you want to forget and those you don't. The mind is powerful, but grief, now that's something else. At times I feel as though I'm still in shock, not fully comprehending that you are not coming back. It's especially difficult in the moments between sleep and wakefulness, early morning and the dark hours of the night.
It scares me when I have those momentary lapses. There are so many things I want to hang on to and when I forget you're gone, I'm afraid I'll forget all those things about you that are so very precious to me.
I want to forget 'that day', but not what happened before. Those memories are special, the peace I felt that morning, sitting across from you at the table. Our quiet conversation, the color of the sky, the singing birds. I never want to let that go, never. I wish the rest of the day would disappear. I want to forget watching the light fade from your eyes, the screaming, crying and pure panic we all felt. The sight of the girls in the hall with their arms wrapped so tightly around each other. I want to forget the paramedics, the word, 'clear' over and over as they shocked you.
I want to forget the look on your face, so empty, so placid. I know it was better than fear, oh God yes, I'm grateful for that. But seeing you so still, so without fight, me so without hope, yes that can go.
I want to forget the hospital. The sight of you when they called brought me in, the tubes, the blood, the nurse saying over and over, 'no pulse' as they pushed on your chest. I want to forget that you were in the same room as Dad when he had the massive stroke that took his life.
I very much want to forget telling them to stop. I know I was the only one who could make that decision, but still, I wish I could un-hear so many things and that is one of them. "Not enough to sustain life" is another one.
So here's my problem, honey, what I worry about. I try to hard to bury those memories, push them so deep inside I never have to think about them again, I worry about them taking the good things with them.
I never, never want to forget your deep voice, or the twinkle in your blue eyes. I never want to forget your hands, the strength and tenderness in them. I never want to forget the way it felt when you wrapped those massive arms around me, or kissed my hair, or patted my ass. Or how you always, always made me tea while I was in the shower and touched me whenever I was in grabbing distance. I don't want to forget how you smell, the feel of your hair, or your soft beard. I want to remember all of that, you making me laugh even during the toughest times, like the time we went to the school for one of the kids and you never said a word, not one word. I was so mad. When she left the room, I said the principal probably thought you were deaf and mute. Okay, you said. When she comes back I don't want you to say one word. I'll do all the talking and she'll really think we're strange and let the kid off easy. I did it, but it was all I could do not to laugh. God, you were such a genius at messing with people and damn you sucked me in so many times and I ruined your jokes. You'd just give me that look that said 'Really? I almost had them." I don't want to forget that, or how happy you made me. You made life fun.
I'd very much like to forget the first time I went into your room after they took your leg. You don't remember it and I'm so glad about that, but even though I knew you were going into surgery with two legs and coming out with one, I was still not prepared for seeing you in that bed. My heart was breaking. I could almost hear it. To see you laid so low was devastating, but I picked my chin up and carried on as we always did.
I was so proud of you, so amazed when they said you had so much strength you didn't have to go to rehab. I could take you home. Remember they sent the lift, but you never used it. My tough guy refused to depend on anything but himself with a little help from me and the kids. I guess it was a good thing we didn't know then what was ahead.
So I guess I have to figure this out, how to keep the good and 86 the bad. I pray about it, but when I start listing the things I want to keep I always cry. You know how that works out. My chest starts hurting and then I can't breathe, well you've held me through enough of those you know how messy it can be. I don't like falling asleep like that, even though I know that sometimes in the morning I sense we've been talking in my dreams. It's almost as though I can hear you laughing, but then I wake up and remember you're not really here.
You know, not for nothing, it's probably a good thing you did go first, because I'm not sure you would survive this if the shoe were on the other foot. Not that I'd ever underestimate your strength, but really this is beyond endurance at times and we both know I was the really tough one. Sorry, just kidding. We both know the truth, you were my rock, the mountain behind me as I bulldozed my way though life. I don't have that strength anymore. I miss you like crazy.
Stay close honey, I need to feel you around me.
So far, it's been a rough week. I've purposely tried to keep to myself, in fact I haven't left the house. With Valentine's Day yesterday and my birthday coming up on Friday, I just needed some space, to grieve, to reflect, to be alone.
I've been writing like crazy, using that to try and keep my mind off what was, and what should have been. It's very hard.
Today was another morning I woke up crying. I know I must be dreaming of Bill, but I can never remember the dream.
Most of the time I just get up. Staying in bed is pointless.
It was still dark out when I made my tea. I woke Aislinn to get ready for school and sat at the table waiting for the dawn, thankful that Valentine's Day was behind me.
I was going to go with my daughter, Cathy, this afternoon, but we've been having trouble with the furnace and Papa Chuck and JoJo were coming over so he could look at it.
All day I had trouble with my phone. Every time I picked it up there was a big white musical note on the screen. I know I have music on my iPhone, but I never listen to it, in fact I don't listen to any music right now, so I couldn't understand why I couldn't get rid of the note and only have my home screen.
I did everything I could think of. I closed all my apps, more than once. I shut the phone down, well just everything to get rid of it, but it wouldn't budge.
Great, I thought, another thing that isn't working properly.
My granddaughter came out and I handed it to her. Please get rid of this, I asked. She has an iPhone also and knows them inside and out.
Caitie did everything she could think of and nothing worked. I guess you'll just have to listen to it, she said handing it back to me. This is what played.
I wasn't familiar with this song and looked it up. It was recorded the year I was born, 1955.
Needless to say I cried my eyes out. If anyone could say they love you after death, it was Bill.
When Cathy got home she showed me a picture she took at the end of the road. There floating in the cold air right in front of her car was a shiny, red, heart-shaped balloon. We live in an extremely rural area. The odds of seeing something like that are a million to one.
Thanks for reminding me how much you love me, baby. I needed this so badly. I was blessed to have you in my life, and you continue to touch my heart. It means so much to know you're still around. Just like my ring says, 'Until we meet again', you are forever in my heart.
My new year didn't start on January 1st, 2017. My new year started on September 7, 2016, the day after Bill died. Since then it's been one first after another. Everything in my mind is associated with that date. Each important day that comes after is an unknown, a chance to climb the hill, or wallow in the pit of despair. Sometimes, I climb.
At first I thought that each milestone would bring a sense of satisfaction. I survived! I am a survivor!
That didn't happen. You have no choice but to survive. It's not a conscious effort. The day will come and go whether you want it to or not. You will continue to breath whether you want to or not. You have done nothing note worthy, nothing to pat yourself on the back for. At the end of the day, as you lay in your lonely bed, you acknowledge that the day has passed, and you are still here.
There have been many firsts for me in 'my' year. Our anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, the birthdays of three of our children, have all passed, quietly tip-toeing by with little fanfare.
Watching White Christmas and Meet Me In St. Louis, two of my favorite holiday movie without him, a painful first.
Other firsts include, buying my first new car, buying tires for that same damn car, buying new doors for the house, new bedroom furniture, and a lot of other stuff I would have discussed with Bill or he would have handled. Did I need all those things? Who the hell knows.
Going through the entire NFL season without watching even one game was a first. Not having a huge Superbowl party was a first. Instead I went to the pub with my sisters-in-law, another first. I haven't been in a bar in probably 20 years and never walked in alone. Well, one time I did when I wanted to make Bill mad, but I was about 18, so it really doesn't count.
Today was the first birthday party of 2017 for one of our grandchildren. She's 11 now and so beautiful, but there will be many more birthday's to follow in 2017. Never have I gone alone before, another first.
This week is Valentine's Day and then my birthday. He won't be here to wait up until 12:01, so he can be the first person to wish me Happy Valentine's or Happy Birthday. I'm fairly certain this week will be a 'wallow' week.
I'm angry and bitter, something that I didn't believe would happen, but apparently these grief people know what they are talking about. I also find the my bullshit tolerance is 0%. At times I feel quite mean, so I stay in my room or office and try not to subject others to my moods.
I finally heard him, another first. I have been praying to hear him, or feel him around me for months. This may sound a little crazy, but I have spoken to spirits before. My father yelled at me for days after his death! I thought he'd never shut up, but Bill maintained his silence.
It's funny, but on the way to the pub that night I expected to hear Bill's deep voice booming, "Oh hell no! You are not going into that bar", but there was dead silence in the car. I don't turn on the radio. I'm afraid a song will come on that will make me sad, so not a single peep out of him. Later that night when I went to bed he spoke to me, and no I wasn't drunk. Two Bud Lights and a Pepsi.
I was planning to fly to South Carolina at the end of the month to spend a few days with his sisters.
He said, 'I don't want you to go. This is where you belong, where you feel safe. It's too soon.'
I was very near sleep and I remember whispering okay. Then a feeling of peace swept through me and I must have immediately fallen asleep.
The next morning, I was trying to get it straight in my head. Did that really happen? Did I dream it? It didn't feel like a dream, it felt like he was lying beside me. Should I go or not?
Then it occurred to me that for months I'd been praying to hear from him, and the first time I did, I wasn't sure I liked what he said, lol. Sort of like the old, "Does this look okay? Does it make my ass look fat?"
"It looks fine and no it doesn't."
"I think I'll change."
You want to hear, but you want it be something you want to hear. I canceled my trip.
So, for the next week or so I'm going to be keeping a very low profile. I might even be prostrate with grief, but that's okay too. I don't want to be on Facebook seeing all the romance jazz, the hearts and flowers, the sexy pics, I just want to be alone and not ruin anyone's enjoyment of the holiday.
As far as my birthday, it won't bother me to skip it, in fact I think I'll just stay the same age for another year or two. I've already received a couple of lovely gifts from my sister and my niece, a tiny God necklace with six Tanzanite stones to represent my troubles and a lock of Bill's hair that she clipped sometime during the funeral and wrapped in a braided cord. I love them both and the hair is amazing, or it was until I rubbed it so long between my fingers it started to pull apart. I put it back in the beautiful heart shaped trinket box.
Another niece sent me a card and this was the quote she wrote inside:
"She made broken look beautiful, and strong look invincible.
She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."
Isn't that just the most beautiful thing she could have said? It so touched my heart and made me cry. I don't feel beautiful or invincible. In fact, it shocks me when people say they admire my strength. I don't see it, I really don't. I feel weak and shaken, heartbroken and lonely in a way that is impossible to describe. I hope someday I will be that person they admire so.
This page is now my blog/journal about Widowhood. I'm not qualified to give advice. I'm new at this. I don't want to be qualified. I don't want to be a widow, but no one asked me. These are my thoughts, fears and feelings. Please don't equate them as anything but that.