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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.