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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.