Monthly Archives: August 2012

8/24/12: Another “sign”…

In an earlier post I talked about waking up one morning to find six-foot tall hollyhocks in full bloom (a deep red) in the flower bed outside our living room window. I talked about how the sight of them made me smile–and laugh out loud and about how I knew this was L sending me the signal he’d promised. Well, last week I got another signal…and like the hollyhocks it made me laugh as well.

L loved public radio especially shows like Car Talk, Prairie Home Companion, and Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me. I tended to prefer listening to a CD whenever we were in my car. But every time we got in the car (usually toward the end with me driving) L would switch from the CD to public radio. I would sigh heavily and roll my eyes and at the end of our trip turn back to my CD. Well, last Saturday I got in the car to run the usual weekend errands. I have not had the radio on all summer. I have occasionally had a CD playing but rarely. You also need to know that switching from CD player to radio is a defined move and does not happen automatically. I pressed the power button prepared to hear music and what comes on but Car Talk!! I had to pull to the side of the road until I could stop laughing!

Now I know there are at least a dozen explanations for how this might have happened that have nothing to do with messages and signals sent from the Great Beyond. But humor me, folks. Every day is its own struggle and if I want to believe that L is trying to make things a little easier in exactly the way he made life easier for everyone watching him die over the last several months, then so be it. I only hope that for those of you making  your own journey through widow(er)hood that there are occasional signals that bring you comfort and laughter!!!

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8/14/12: 1/4 WAY THROUGH YEAR ONE, BUT…

…others who are past that landmark tell me year two is worse. [Sigh.] Already three months feels like thirty years. How will I manage six months? Six years? I promised myself that I would not stalk anniversaries (1/4; 1/2; etc.) but hard to avoid when friends remind me. Oh, it’s all in the best sense of caring and concern but still it brings on some heavy-duty and often crushing loneliness. I have to wonder how people not as blessed as I am to be surrounded by a network of friends that goes back decades get through a single day much less weeks and months and years. My heart goes out to them.

Activities that keep me moving forward (and give me reason to get up in the mornings)…deadlines for my writing. I do find solace in the work, not to mention some escape. Moving furniture and rearranging my surroundings–yesterday I spent four hours switching the living room furniture with the furniture in the family room–has always been a way that I get through tough times. L used to tease me that he would never dare come home in the dark because he never knew if the sofa would be where the kitchen table used to be or vice versa. Watching the shows we enjoyed together–last night I settled in for the finale of THE CLOSER–L absolutely LOVED Brenda Leigh! I hope he was watching!! Amazingly the one thing I don’t do is eat. I used to salve any wound with food–especially sugary foods: ice cream, chocolate anything. Now, not so much. I guess that’s a good thing–on the other hand I just cleaned the fridge today and now there is hardly anything in there.

The hardest part of this journey is not having L to talk to–about serious or silly things, about things that would drive him nuts, about things that made him smile, about things that I really do not want to talk to anyone else about–no matter how dear a friend they might be. I guess in some ways I put that backwards because I do talk to him–aloud–all the time. The problem is he doesn’t answer. He was always a quiet man, a man of few words, but how I long to just hear his laugh, see him nod his head, see his frown of disapproval–I would take anything!!!

Okay beginning to whine and wallow so outside the window where I have moved my desk I see a spray of roses just asking to be cut and brought inside for my desk so thanks for stopping by and please check back later.

8/5/12: Almost three months now and the firsts just keep coming…

But perhaps tonight was the most startling first of all when I realized that tonight I cooked the first “real” meal that I have prepared since L died. It was just some scrambled eggs, veggies and cheese but it is the first time I have cooked anything for myself. Either I eat out or I fix myself a bowl of cereal or cut some cheese and fruit, but I have not cooked anything for three months now. My appetite has been weak although I have lost zero weight–a clear indication that in ‘grazing’ and grabbing whatever strikes me at the moment I am not doing myself any favors. The truth is I like to cook–for others. But maybe I need to cook for me or lose the ability to make good food. L would definitely be upset with the way I’ve been eating–he wouldn’t say anything but oh, the looks he could give me!!

In another first I went to State Fair–a tradition we never missed even last summer when he was really struggling. I went with his sister and her dtr. and we had a good time but it was so very different and there was so much that L and I liked to do that I didn’t see mostly because as always I was trying to do whatever they wanted. I did have our traditional chocolate “nog” and a sample of maple cotton candy and a glass of “Herb’s” cherry vanilla milk. And I did ride the sky glider so not all was lost. And the bonus was that I felt closer to my sister-in-law and niece.

Tomorrow I transfer the first of the multiple IRAs–should be interesting — not sure of the best way to handle but I will explore options as I did with the CDs and then decide. Hopefully L will be there with me so I don’t make some huge mistake!!! And maybe afterwards I’ll go to the grocery store and instead of perusing the salad bar and hot food/deli selections I’ll buy some “real” food and come home and make dinner–just like I used to do.

8/1/12: Random thoughts and observations…

…in no special order:

  • Every so often when someone asks how I am doing (and I actually try to briefly describe the pain and horror that is living without your soulmate), that person will nod sagely and murmur, “I know,” Not “I know it must be so very difficult.” Not “I know you must struggle every hour of every day.” Just “I know.” Well, the fact is that unless they have been there done that (as in lost a spouse/life partner/ best friend) they DON’T know. They can’t even begin to imagine.
  • Friends–I thought I was prepared for some to surprise and others to disappoint and I was. What I wasn’t prepared for was WHO would surprise and especially WHO would disappoint and the hurt I would feel on top of my grief that those friends were not there.
  • The little things can pack the biggest punch–like when I arrived in Anaheim recently for a conference and was given an upgrade to this huge room–that’s something I would have called L about immediately and we would have laughed about it. Or like when the trip home turned into a 14-hour saga and I wanted so much to hear his voice telling me to grin and bear it and sleep on the plane.
  • And with great guilt and embarrassment I have to admit that there are times (rare but still there) when I see the up side of being responsible for and to no one but myself–eat when and what I want, go to bed and get up when I want,  open the windows  and doors when I want (that was always a problem because air quality was such a huge issue for L’s breathing), arrange the house the way I want. (Not that I didn’t do that before–how many times we laughed over L coming home to find the sofa moved to the opposite side of the room!)
  • And that’s what I miss most–those moments when we laughed together and cried together and held each other. When I was in the Phoenix airport on my layover between flights home from Anaheim an elderly couple came walking by. He pushed her wheelchair and when they had found a place to sit to wait, he took her hand in his and in that moment I realized that closeness, that simple gesture that says “I am right here” is what I miss the most.