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Friday, December 25, 2009

christmas day

it is so hard getting used to being alone. its been 10 months-soon a year and yet the shock to my system remains. How did this happen to me? I do not want to be so alone-but also do not want to be with people. There is no comfort anywhere-no place for me to be and feel secure. If the world ended tomorrow-it would be ok with me.

I keep on feeling that I did not really appreciate what I had when I had it. Perhaps that isn't true, but it sure does feel that way. And so now I wonder whether I am so blinded by my grief that I am not appreciating my children, my friends, the life around me. Is that always the way it is-that we are so caught up with what we do not have that we are unable to see what is there?

So what do I want for this new year? I guess I want to be able to focus on the life that I have and find something in it to sustain me and make me want to get up in the morning.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

what is it about the holidays

I have been thinking about the holidays and why I am always so despondent during this time. Granted this year it is worse than ever. I watch the holiday movies that Bruce so loved-last night it was a very predictable movie that Bruce and I watched last year. He typically would turn to me at the end which was usually very sappy and tearfully say-"how sweet". I would smile at him indulgently. No tears for me. This year the movie made me well up. My favorite hallmark characters Hoops and Yoyo narrated during this years encore and I wanted so to turn to Bruce and laugh about that.
I am having such a hard time doing anything holiday this year. Usually I use this time to thank people for all of their help and that prompts the gift giving. This year I find myself lost in the stores, wondering why I am there. I feel so apathetic. And I am so acutely aware of the celebratory spirit-Bruce was so into that. The incessant holiday music around-mostly his doing in the house and car over the years. People getting together with family and friends for Christmas, New Years, parties at work, with friends. Even when it was just the two of us, whether we stayed home or traveled to Hawaii or Palm Springs, it was ok because we were together. It is so hard to be alone at this time of year, being alone is so highlighted.
I want to dive under the bed and close my eyes until January 2.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

holiday blues

Long time between posts. When I last blogged I think I was lamenting the holidays starting and worrying about Thanksgiving, which was fine. Sunday night after Thanksgiving unveiled my grief and I have been really sad since. On Monday I had a "tear-storm". Everything reminds me of the way that Bruce loved the holidays. The music, the holiday movies and the cheery demeanor of all those around me. I miss him and his utter delight at everything Christmas.

So I am trying to get through this difficult time if only to anticipate the next difficult time. I feel like I am bracing for the monsoons-first Thanksgiving, next Christmas, then New Years. Plus I have a gigantic pile of papers to grade, bills to pay, gifts to give and I am not up to doing much of anything.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

why?

why do bad things happen to good people? I look around and we are all so challenged by life. A father with cancer, a husband with seizures, a child who seeks risk at every turn. And me, my sweet man dead suddenly one morning.

How can we cope with all of this-how do we weather each blow? I watch those I love try and take each day and deal with each challenge. I see me, getting up each morning, thinking that I could very easily find some solace in alcohol or drugs but then I know I can't. There is no solace, I know that burying myself won't help at all. He will still be gone when I turn to face that side of the bed the morning after.

Today is Thanksgiving-usually a joyous time in this house. I remember how Bruce used to tell me that I wasn't nervous, I was excited - when I was overcome with anxiety, thinking of the many mouths I was feeding. I remember that he always picked the chestnuts and scored them for me. I remember how in the last few years-he wanted to experiment with Turdunken, with an organic turkey-and even though he was always disappointed with the result, he still enjoyed the idea of an innovation at Thanksgiving. I remember too-how at midday-he took the kids and they all went to the movies so that I could move through my list of things to do-unhampered.
So-I am sad today.
Is it wrong then to be thankful? I guess the better question to ask is - Do I have something to be thankful for? I can resent the fact that he is gone, that I was dealt too hard a blow. But I am also so grateful that I have some wonderful people in my life-some who will be sitting around my table tonight and when I think of Bruce, I can mentally, I hope put him at the table.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

so many things

Bruce had so many things. He loved collecting. He had a collection of Hawaiian shirts, coins, stamps, pens, watches, CD's ..... The list goes on. So now everything carries a memory for me. I can't get rid of anything since the thing itself triggers my recollections of life with him. I don't know how to choose what to hold on to. When I think about my other big losses, my dad, my grandmother, my uncle-I have no things left from them. I have pictures to look back on but even that is sparse.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thankful?

I miss my best friend. I come home from work and have no one to talk to about my day. I talk to Bebe, but she won't make jokes, like Bruce did.
It is such a struggle to grieve. I try to push myself to remember, although it brings pain. If I do not work on the memories, I go through each day quickly, numb, in a fog, and it is almost as if he never existed.
Next week is Thanksgiving and last year we were so busy-but we still got it together to make a family dinner in our new "castle". So, here we are-here I am. Alone, and planning the usual gigantic family event. I wouldn't want to give it up but am overwhelmed never the less. I have help but still feel overwhelmed and I am sure most of this is due to the emotional toll and the memories of what was. Can I be thankful when life has delivered such a blow? I am trying so hard to be thankful for what I have, even though what I have lost is beyond my recovery.

I need to be patient with myself and to try and take each little bit slowly. I do feel isolated in my grief, and probably was isolated before he died. We were not terribly social and now I feel this acutely. I am not sure what I want. I long for companionship but am so busy that I couldn't find the time for social outlets. My dilemma is that I was so comfortable just having him in my life. I guess I really do not want anyone else-but the price that I pay for this is being alone and sometimes being lonely. I am not sure that I can reconcile this.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

dreams

When he first died, every dream of him was colored by his death. He was either dying or dead-and my dreams (when I did dream of him which was rare) were painful. Sunday night he was in my dreams and we were packing to go somewhere. It wasn't an extraordinary dream, we weren't happy in it. We were just going about business as usual. But I woke up, cheered by the visit. This was a gift from him to me and I was grateful.
It is a no brainer that life has taken on new meaning in light of the tragedy of his death. But the full impact of this is an everyday education. I have been taught the hard lesson of how precious the people you love are and I brace myself for the losses that I will yet endure. I realized yesterday that my cat is 10 and I thought this morning that that loss will come at some point in the future. After losing Bruce, the losses are so much harder to bear.
The days go by, and sometimes I force myself to think of him, even though it is painful. There is almost respite in letting myself be distracted by other thoughts. But all of this contributes to the loss, and I so understand the ambivalence-the wanting to dwell on the memories, look at the photos and feel the pain, and the need to disengage from the grief and put one foot in front of the other and not think at all of the loss.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

understanding loss


As I travel down this street, I am beginning to realize that I am dealing with many losses. Yes, I have lost my one true love, my best friend, my historian, my caretaker, my handyman..... But I have also lost the man with the memories of the man which are fading. People say that the shock of the sudden death is so painful that memories are hard to retrieve. But when I look back on my past, memories are always hard to retrieve, and they are not easily brought to the surface. It doesn't matter whether the memories are painful or joyful, they are still very ethereal. I cannot relive the moments of my past, and so the loss of the man and the loss of the memories of the man are 2 very major losses. Something I was not prepared for.

I work hard to put myself back in those moments. I try to will myself to walk the streets of London the way we did the summer before he died, in June of 2008. I can almost grasp the memory, the rain, the surprising chill in the air, his delight at Scotland Yard, his hand in my hand. And yet, I cannot be in that past, cannot really feel his presence beside me. It is fleeting, it is just a wisp, and it does not satisfy the need for him.

I am not sure that my experience, the way I am experiencing my loss is typical and it does not really matter, I know. But I think I was so shook by the loss that I want to know what the road ahead is like for others, so that I can try and prepare for my journey through this. I am beginning to realize though, that grief is such a unique and individual experience. So those who comforted me and told me that the memories would come back, because for them they did, were wrong. Is it that my ability to remember is so faulty? I have a hard time remembering other people from my past-I can remember them but not ME with them, And for my husband, that is the memory that I would want to have. I would love to go to sleep and dream of him and I, and have some life with him, if only in my dreams.

I am like a child understanding the finality of death for the first time. It dawned on me the other day that I would never see him again. I was not prepared for that-never thought of that, how final it all is and what the pain of that would be like. It seems silly to write this and I feel somewhat lacking in intelligence or common sense that it did not really sink in. It is strange the way that we are protected from fully understanding loss and that the layers are exposed bit by bit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

hiatus

i was on hiatus, feeling grateful that the week of his birthday passed and i emerged from the black hole. The week after was better-i was able to focus and get thru some deadlines. Then the sadness engulfed me again and i just went thru the motions. I move in and out of sadness. Sometimes i forget, i look at his picture and almost believe that i will be coming home to him. Then i remember. it is still a shock-maybe that won't ever end.

i was on a trip this weekend, to a family wedding and i was in and out-sometimes ok, then something would strike me and i would be tearful. The kids were with me and at some point we were all tearful, each apart yet together. Traveling is still surreal, i almost think to call him and tell him that i arrived safely.

one foot in front of another.

Monday, October 12, 2009

hope

Yesterday was a bit lighter. I am not sure whether it was that the week was so awful and I could not bear the gloom, or the pep talk that I gave myself and shared with a group of nurturing widows. I also was able to get up early and make a dent in an overwhelming amount of work piling up. Whatever it was, it was better. I try and tell myself that as much as I could not have predicted that I would have awakened on February 20th, and said goodbye forever to my soul mate, I cannot predict that tomorrow, something good may happen. While I admit that it does not seem in the realm of possibilities, given how challenged I have been by misfortune, it may happen. I guess this is hope. Hope is in the land of resilience. It is food to the hungry, comfort to despair.

I have learned so much these past months. It will be 8 months on the 20th. I have also been stunned by the nature of grief itself. I feel like the rug on the floor has literally been pulled out beneath me. It is almost like ice skating and I keep hitting that really slippery bit of ice and fall on my butt. And it is hard to anticipate the slippery spots, sometimes I see them coming, sometimes not. But in general, it is hard to keep upright and I have never been much good at balancing. I literally have always had difficulty with balance, sometimes falling, just because I am unsteady on my feet. Ironic then, that this metaphor seems to follow me now.

And so it goes. Every day is a challenge and I now know that some days I will be up for it and some days not. But I can try and revive hope every now and again. We do not know what is ahead. And it is just as likely that whatever is ahead can be good as well as bad.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

time

time does not seem to be healing this wound. Is it possible that I miss him more now than I did a month ago, or 2 months ago? I still look for him in the crowd, still expect him to open the door and greet me after a long day. How is it possible that I am not getting past this? I know others have and I also know that I have been able to move past problems in my past. I guess the difference is that I had him to help me through whatever troubles came my way. Now it is just me. I don't feel strong enough or care enough to persevere.

Yesterday, I went on a San Diego Zoo walk with the kids. It was a quick trip there and back. I was so sad thinking of how much he would have loved the zoo in the early morning. It was heartbreaking to remember our past trips and how much he loved spending time watching the animals.
What will help me through this? I alternate between searching for solace and then giving up on doing anything.

Monday, October 5, 2009

vulnerablility

I am so fragile, so vulnerable these days. Yesterday my rear windshield was smashed by a golf ball and I haven't stopped crying since. This small crisis brought my situation into focus. I am alone, without resources, and feel as if I cannot weather any more unpredictable, and difficult events. I am pathetic, the lonely inconsolable, unloved widow lady. I want to be pitied and taken care of.

I want too to be strong and capable and invincible. How can I reconcile these two stances?

So I want to cry and complain and be rescued. But I hate that image of myself-I have never let anything stand in my way and I do not want this to be my defining moment. I need to rise above these mini catastrophes, but I feel worn out. How can I repair and when will these feelings pass?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

who am i now?

I think that at various points in my life I have suffered some identity crises. Certainly with my career aspirations-and I continue to wonder what is ahead. And I would ask myself-ok, so who am I. Am I a critical care nurse, a teacher, a researcher?

But there were also questions that I had about my personality construct. What was I like as a child? How am I different as an adult, what was I like as a mother? What was I like as a young wife and how did I change as I got older?

This is a different identity crisis now. I saw myself reflected in his eyes. There was something stable about being his wife, although, saying this, I do not think that I thought of myself as a wife. I was just me, and very much his. His friend, his lover, his person and whatever else in my life changed-that was constant. My identity, at least part of it was rooted in his presence. So I ask myself, who am i now?

So much changes as we get older. So much loss, much of it intangible. You spend years adding, you add a husband, children, pets, and then at a certain point you start losing. Yes, I am still a mother, but the loss of the full bloom of the role is gone. And if your memory does not permit you to recreate, or relive the years before.....then there is so much lost.

I remember though in bits and pieces, the early years of my marriage. Some were turbulent times, difficulty with money, struggles with school and work. And I used to sleep clutching his nightshirt, our bodies intertwined as we slept. We took a shower together almost every day for 34 years. I used to joke that we were being environmentally responsible and saving water.

How will I find me, now that there is no one to show me who I am? No one to help me remember all the details, to share what I have lost?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

hard week ahead

On October 7th, he would have been 55. I always tried to make the birthdays special but have trouble remembering what we did last year. Two years ago, we did a cruise, which I hated, but now I would do it in a minute just to share another day with him. Every year was a blessing and certain birthdays were hard for him. When he was in his 30's, he looked back on the age that his Dad died and held his breath as he survived the year (34, 35, 36? I do not remember). When he turned 45, he looked back on the death of his Mom. The next big year was 62, the year his grandfather died.

I am still in shock, although the numbness has worn off. I cry more easily now-but only for a few moments. I hold on to the strangest things-his toothbrush still in the holder as he left it on the 20th of February. I cannot seem to erase the shows that we TIVO'ed before he died. His robe hangs on the hook outside the shower. Am I waiting for him to come back, do these things offer me comfort? Maybe I still believe that the presence of these things mean that he isn't gone for good. And if I discard his toothbrush and robe and erase the TV shows-that will mean he did not exist.

I feel very alone. My special person, the person that was for me, and made me feel loved and included and important is no longer here. So I feel that I do not belong anywhere, there is no one that I exist for uniquely. At the end of the day, there is no one to share the trivia with. It is not that anything that I say was so important, in fact, there were times when he did not want to engage in a conversation about all the details of my day. But he was there, and I could sit down and complain and joke and babble. And he would listen and comment, and share his own stuff. We existed in our own world and it was the world that I needed to be in and I felt like there was a place where I belonged and was wanted and needed. I do not just want to fill the space with someone. I only want him.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

this is my story


We were married 33 years, 11 months and 6 days when he died. They were not all wonderful years; we had some difficult times. After we got thru the bypass surgery in November 1999, and he finally fully recovered in January 2000, things on the whole were good. The last few years were perfect. We had found a rhythm, and I enjoyed everything we did together - even the little errands, watching some awful science fiction movie, supermarket shopping. He had definitely come into himself, and was happier than I had ever seen him. The happiness was contagious, and he was so comforting when I was stressed. Ironic that the one guy who could make me calm down has left the planet.

We met in 1974, in a mall in Brooklyn. I had come home for the summer and was working at a gourmet food store. My main task was to call people over and try and sell them huge hunks of cheese that they didn't necessarily want or need. He used to watch me from the upper level of the mall where he sold shoes. One day he came in to the store and begin to flirt with me. I thought he was Spanish, he was so dark. He asked me out and although I was going back to school in Buffalo in a few weeks, I said yes.

It had been a particularly hard year for me. My first year away from home at college. I had gained the freshman 15, had a series of unhappy relationships with unfortunate guys and spent most of the summer being quite down in the dumps. I was excited about being asked out and thought it would be a diversion. I wasn't prepared to be wooed and wedded before the year was over.

So that was the start of my life-the beginning of my adulthood, my relationship with love, and marriage and motherhood. I did not know it when I met him but he would color my world for the next 33 years.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

small acts of kindness

Little things bring me to tears. I do not really cry-although I would like to scream or sob or something-instead I just well up and then am done with the tears. There is no real catharsis. But I find that sometimes a kind word will make me become tearful. Today, I was at the Pet Store, a small neighborhood store, and was trying to buy a new collar for Bebe. The woman helping me noticed my wedding rings that I wear around my neck and when I mentioned that my husband used to buy things for the dog, she asked if he had died. She mentioned that her mother also used to wear her wedding rings on a chain around her neck. She then expressed her sympathy so kindly and asked if it was a recent loss. I told her February, not that recent. She said that it was recent enough and again expressed her condolences. She was so attentive to me, I was grateful and surprised by this. It means so much when people go out of their way to be kind.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

celebrating (?) the holidays

Hard to believe that a year ago, we were preparing to move into the castle-stressed but excited about how well life was treating us. What good fortune we were experiencing, a brand new house, walking distance to work, a vacation ahead, all was finally falling into place. We had worked so hard for so long and now we were going to reap the benefits of all the hard work. And then in November things started happening, my car accident, my daughter's loss of a job, my flu and finally his death. Is there a lesson in all of this? I will not go there-try hard to believe that there is no real purpose in this and that it is simply random events. Unfortunate random events.

So I sat in the synagogue, trying hard to feel his presence, remembering how we used to sway and enjoy the music. We held hands, surrounded by our family and enjoyed the start of the holiday. I cried yesterday thinking about how much I miss him, how still unreal it seems at times. Other times it seems too real, too fresh, too much to bear. How will I feel next year? I have been told that it doesn't get easier but you get used to the pain. I really am beginning to understand the pain that accompanies this level of loss. And in some odd way, the pain easing will be welcome but oddly disconcerting. Already I struggle to feel his presence, maybe with the pain ebbing, I won't be able to recollect anything from my past with him.

Monday, September 14, 2009

losses

Every time that I write it seems that I say it has been a hard week, day, etc. When B was alive and I would make some claim about how the week was so hard, or how something was the worst that I could remember, he would say that I always say that. So maybe I have no ability to judge how hard things are and they seem harder each day than they did the day before. I honestly don't know.
This weekend, we lost another family member, our beloved cat Fido. Fido was 17 years old and a spunky guy to the end. He was riddled with cancer and couldn't eat but still managed to try even though most of the food went in one side of his mouth and then out the other. He was in pain and we made the decision to help him exit gracefully. Somehow the loss accentuated the loss of my husband and I have been tearful since Saturday.
How does one survive all of these losses? As I get older they occur with more frequency and I feel less resilient and able to get past it. So much emotional pain.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

resignation

I guess what happens over time is that I am becoming more resigned to the fact that I am alone. Such a difficult adjustment after being so entangled in his life. He hated being alone and so I accompanied him everywhere. He made even the boring excursion to the grocery fun. Kind of ironic that I was the one who cherished alone time and now I am all alone most of the time and am not loving it.
When I look back my past life with him seems like it has happened to someone else. I spend too much time thinking about my capacity to remember and whether it is normal to feel life is surreal right now. I see myself as a young girl and an old woman. I am so vulnerable and lack confidence because I am alone. I tell myself that I will persevere and that my life is not predictable at this point. I need to be patient and wait this out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

some days are just hard

Today was a hard day. Not sure why. Every now and then I just get really tired of being without him. Sometimes the days pass and I can move through them-trying not to think about the turn of events. But today I felt weighted down by the loss of him. I try and tell myself about being alone and how it can be ok to be by myself. I look around me though and see the way I have constructed my life around his presence. The dog, the cats, the house, was not designed for me alone and so the burden of keeping things going that he put in place makes the situation so much harder-or so I think. I am not sure that anything could make this easier or more bearable.

When he first died, I struggled to think about what meaning my life had without him. I could not find any. And then I looked at the two wonderful people that he and I had nurtured and found meaning in being present for them. I am more selfish now then I have ever been because sometimes it is not enough for me. Sometimes the loneliness for him is intolerable. I know that others have done it so I can do it too. It is just that sometimes I do not want to.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

fall 2008

This photo was taken in Hilton Head in September, 2008. My beautiful husband was so happy with himself, and the universe. He was ready for anything-we were in the middle of a move, and life was so hectic. But he smiled and enjoyed everything-especially this trip with his family to a place where we had shared so many memories.
I am struggling to keep him alive in my memories and to try and feel his presence, at least as I close my eyes and when I try to sleep.

reaching out

I have been thinking about how I reach out to others, or don't reach out, which is more the case. I am not sure why I have trouble connecting, I am like a wind up doll that has run out of steam. I am only capable of hour long interactions and then I am spent. I was even like this with B, even though he would often talk at me all evening long, sometimes demanding me to engage in conversation. And now that I am alone, there is the danger of always being alone, if I do not reach out. What will happen, I used to wonder if he were to die-would I shrivel up and become invisible? I had imagined I would be totally isolated from the outside world, and now I know that there are people around me who will not let it happen. And maybe I know that I won't let that happen either. But there is always that possibility, I just have to work hard to connect at intervals to the people that I feel comfortable with.
I also have to give everyone a break and be open, be forgiving. I need to do this but hope that this message will be heard by those I love. Be forgiving, be tolerant. We all have our flaws and our gifts. Sometimes it is hard to see the good in people, we can get too focused on the things that are irritating and especially now, I am easily irritated. I need to focus on the gifts that people bring to the relationship.
Well, I am tired and dealing with a sick cat, annoying dog and an ant infestation. So more later.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Family

It was 6 months yesterday. I noted the day and have been thinking about the passage of time since then. Am I different-of course. I am deep down sad, pangs of despondency and resignation. I think I am still getting used to him not being there. We spent so much time together, so many years and so many memories. I could not possibly retrieve them all since they have been incorporated into who I am.
And not all of those memories were wonderful but I guess I am lucky because so many were. It was almost that as we were together longer we got better at fitting together-seamlessly and easy. We had so much fun the last few years.

And now-I am lucky I have my family. My family is there for me in ways I could not have predicted. I do not feel so alone.
When I first had children, I remember loving the reality of the four of us-a ready made group that I belonged to, that made me feel a part of something. I was sad when the kids grew up and were busy with their lives and I did not have the group membership as much anymore. So he and I would travel and do things on our own and we became so close, so isolated just the two of us. I still longed for the kids and my favorite times were when we were all together. It was a chore to do this-our schedules so different, our priorities not the same. Like the Harry Chapin song, when they were little kids and wanted us-we were busy, when they were adults and we wanted them-they were busy.
But since he died they have enveloped me and I feel loved and comforted so by their presence. I also feel a bit too dependent, but I am willing to suspend my apprehension at that and hope that in time I will feel more confident by myself. It is almost that I am hidden beneath this grief and only with them am I still me. The me that they know-that he knew. The me that was made up of the wife, the mother, the combination of me and him.
How can I express how grateful I am to them? I am so grateful, so thankful, so comforted. And so at 6 months, I miss him so, and am so lucky that they have been there for me. They are there for me for any life event, for vacations, for company when I am lonely. I cannot thank them enough for this. I hope that they know.

Monday, August 17, 2009

beautiful island

I am here, on this beautiful island. A place that we came before and I never imagined how much I would miss him. It is not just that at the resort, they ask if Mr. B will be joining us, or is staying with us, or that the room is in his name. It is as if I can feel his hand in mine, envision us as a couple at this restaurant, or traveling down this road that we traveled so many times before. So hard to relive the time here, and yet I had longed for these memories to come easily. I got my wish. But it hurts to remember. It is not as if I will remember and then make some new ones. The memories are all I have and they are grossly inadequate. They hurt and yet are strangely comforting.
I am working hard to feel his presence when I remember. I can picture us after the wedding when we first came here. We stayed at this perfectly adequate resort across the street from the beach. The resort was a step down from our usual decadent choice and I was disappointed. The routine that we developed though was fun and we explored the island eagerly since it was the first time that we had come here. We got so good at being on vacation unlike our early days when we were so stressed we could not be away without feuding over some silly issue. I miss our rhythm that we created when we went away.
I even savor the ice cream that is so good here and that you can't get anywhere else. I can picture us eating it. I always got the cone and he always got 2 scoops in a cup. We would giggle as we were eating the ice cream, like little children having something forbidden. He enjoyed things so much when we were away.
Actually it was strange that he could get so negative sometimes and complain non-stop. But I think at the end of his life, he was more appreciative of things and really had fun. Some of the critic in him faded and the little boy emerged. Sometimes he seemed to find wonder in the most common things.
And he so loved Hawaii. When we were here 2 winters ago and I told him I could live here, he was delighted-almost ready to move. I told him that I must have been delusional to say this but he was already planning the business that he would open here and got others to work on this.
So hard to be here without him, knowing that I will never be here with him again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

observations on grief

I have been fascinated by others reactions to my grief. When I share that my husband died suddenly - some people seem to respond as if whatever he had was contagious. There are also people who will not even mention it like the neighbor who was told by my kids and expressed sympathy but upon seeing me-said absolutely nothing. Death definitely makes some uncomfortable. I have colleagues that have not acknowledged me at all. I am preoccupied with this a bit. It seems so rude-so hard to comprehend-so uncaring. It is almost as if I have "cooties".
When I sit and think about it I realize it is not about my situation-it is something about the person who cannot accept and extend themselves when faced with death. It has nothing to do with me-even though it hurts that people cannot get past their fear to reach out to me. And it is so unexpected, because in some cases, these people are health professionals.
Long day and I am tired. Haven't had a good nights sleep since he died.

Monday, August 10, 2009

filling out forms


I have become so unglued by little things. Today I filled out a form that asked me to comment on my marital status. I was hesitant, I feel married even though he has been gone almost 6 months. But I am not married anymore-now I am single. It totally unnerves me-because I cannot conceive of any universe where I am not married to Bruce.
In our bereavement group we discussed the term widow. Most thought the term awful-arguing that no other category of loss labels the survivor. But I think the term is not awful-and I think we should all have labels so that we acknowledge the impact of the loss. It is so devastating, there should be some designation.

Life is still so surreal-I am in quicksand, moving in slow motion, hoping I am not swallowed up.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

memories

I have been thinking a lot about our ability to remember and how we remember things from our past. I see clips of the past as if in photos. I am unable to put myself back in a moment from my past and am totally disconnected. So, I can remember events, but it is almost as if it happened to someone else-since I am unable to relive the feelings, thoughts and experiences that I had when I lived in that moment.
All of this leads up to my present loss. I have lost my best friend and feel so disconnected from him that I cannot even relive experiences and be comforted. Is this normal? This has always been true for me. I remember snapshots of raising my children but see them as totally separate from who they were as my children. I wonder if this is some flaw in me.

And of course, what a loss. So I have lost him but also my connection from the past as well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Time passes

It will be 6 months soon and part of me cannot remember what it was like to be married. How can that be? I was married for 34 years and yet it is very hard work for me to be able to retrieve any memories. I guess I am still numb-still feel so disconnected from the me that was the wife, the lover, the friend, the caretaker. Only the pain feels real, the rest is surreal. When will this pass? Once it does-what will replace it? I think about other people who are alone, is it lonely for them and do they get used to the loneliness? I guess I am lucky that I had love for so long. I guess I am lucky that I really loved my husband. And our love only got stronger and better with time. But this also makes it harder and the loss greater.

Looked at pictures tonight and tried to fit back in to the photo. I would love to be delusional and be comforted by the presence of him. But I am so acutely aware of the loss.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Life on Grief Street

My life changed dramatically on February 20th, 2009 when the love of my life died suddenly. How can I possibly move on? So I begin this blog-hoping to communicate something something to the wide virtual world that is out there. B always ended his e-mails with the phrase-See you in Cyberspace. So maybe this goes out to him if he is indeed in Cyberspace right now.