The Grief Summit

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. I could say I’ve been busy but really it is because I didn’t feel inspired to write. Writing for me is very specific. I have to feel I need to write to portray an aspect of my life that might help another. I don’t want to just write anything to have something written. There is an emptiness to that method. There was another reason hanging in the shadows and distracting me from being in the moment. I was gearing up for a professional conference that I was going to present at. Was it the presentation? No and yes. The last time I saw all of these people was 2 years ago when Tin was texting me he thought he had the flu. I wish he had gone to the doctor right than but he waited for me to get home. There is unnecessary guilt here, regardless if it is warranted, it is here. Had I only been home, had I only picked a career that didn’t take away valuable time from him. Had I only solved it sooner than he would be here and I wouldn’t be headed to a grief summit.

 

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Money Woes

I'm really broke.

Again.

I'm really tired of being broke.

I'm really tired of talking about being broke.

I'm really tired of typing and writing about being broke.

Even when my husband Don was alive, we struggled financially. Everyday. But he worked and I worked, and we helped each other out. He started helping me out way before he moved in with me. He used to send me checks from Florida to New Jersey, telling me that he knew how much of a struggle it was for me out there and he wanted to help me pay my bills. He saved up enough money to move in with me, when he finally did make that move, so that he could get through a few months without a job, in case it took him that long to find work in EMS where I lived. He found work quickly. He made okay money, better than what I made, but his money stretched way further down in Florida. NYC life ate up his money fast. So we were broke. Often. But he always made sure we had enough to go out on a nice date, take me to dinner, see a movie, cover the basics. I felt taken care of, even though we didn't have a lot.

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Broken Chain

I was recently given a beautiful cross with the poem below. It hit home. 

 

Little I knew that morning.

God was going to call your name.

In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same. 

It broke our hearts to lose you. 

You did not go alone, for part of me went with you, the day God called you home. 

You left us beautiful memories.

Your love is still our guide, and though we cannot see you, you are always by our side.

Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same.

But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

-Ron Tranmer

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Roads, Places, and Memories~

70. 20. 10. 65. 85. 60. 1.

East to west to north to south and back again.

The Oregon coast. The road to the Keys. New England. The Southwest. Deep South.

Roads and directions and places and, most of all...memories.

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In The Past 24 Hours...

In the past 24 hours…

…I collected my youngest daughter’s “personal effects” from the clinic she’d been attending

…I was told that her death by suicide most probably wasn’t pre-meditated, but an “on the spur of the moment” action

…I learned that my baby girl had been terrified at the possibility of being a carrier for Lynch syndrome – she still needed to wait three more years before she was eligible for testing

…I heard that she had included me, her mum, in the short list of “reasons she wouldn’t take her life”

 

It makes me heave. I feel sick. I just want to vomit it all up.

 

In the past 24 hours…

…I have sat in my bed and looked through the pictures and artwork that Julia had on her bedroom walls at the clinic

…I have sat on her bed and read through a calendar where she recorded her mood, what she ate, what she was thinking…it’s full of pain

…I have knelt on her floor and opened and closed and opened and closed again the cartons I collected with Pascaline from the centre

…I have put the ceremony card from her service on my office shelves

 

It turns my legs to jelly. My throat constricts. My tummy clenches more.

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Your Touch

Dear Mike,

 

 I miss your touch desperately.

 

When you were alive my skin knew your touch by heart.

I knew how you felt.

I knew that the stubble on your cheeks wasn’t that rough;

Your shoulders were wide and your chest was solid.

Your hands were thick and strong. 

I remember that your nails were always kept cut short because you thought it was gross when people were unkept.

 

I still know how your lips felt pressed against mine.

I still know how your goodbye kiss tasted.

I know how your “ hey, baby come here” good morning kiss feels.

I still know your kiss.

And, I miss it.

I miss it more than any words I can write.

 

I know how it feels to fall asleep on your chest.

And, I miss this feeling every single night.

Sometimes I miss you physically holding me so much I feel like I could crawl out of my skin.

When I acknowledge that there is nothing that can ever allow me to touch you again I feel nauseated.

 

Death means, never again.

No matter how much I want your touch and your warmth and your kiss, I can never feel this again as long as I live. 

Physically, you are not available to me ever again.

That statement takes my breath away. 

The reality of this, puts a lump in my throat and an ache in my chest.

The heaviness of this feels like it is crushing my heart.

 

I miss you Mike. 

And, I miss your touch.

(And, this is a fucking understatement.)

 

 

 

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Engagement from Two Sides

Today is a beginning of sorts. For the past few years, Mike and I have written for Soaring Spirits on separate days and will be moving to sharing Sundays now. For anyone who doesn’t know our story, we are both widowed and now engaged to one another. We met in Tampa at Camp Widow in 2015 and have been dating since. The idea to share a day seemed like a good one… a way for us to share both the similarities and differences in our losses as well as what our experience has been like in finding love again - both the good and the hard stuff. Some weeks we will be writing together, and other weeks we will write individual posts. I think this has the potential to teach us more about each other, as well as sharing the things we’re learning along the way 

With that said, this first shared post is from a suggestion of another widowed friend. She is newly dating and expressed to me that she wondered if being engaged was harder for Mike or for me. I thought this was a great question. I’ll share my feelings, and Mike’s will follow mine...

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Doing It All

My hands hurt from the day from carrying heaving boxes and fixing things around the house. Today, I had to build my little girl a toy box. I will say it took me some time, but I got it done correctly. My back hurts from all the lifting I did, in loading and unloading Costco groceries in 110-degree weather. I miss the days where I had my husband and he would just tell me to get in the car with our little girl. I have bruises on my body from carrying heavy things. Why don’t I just ask for help people might wonder? Well, it’s because everyone has their own life. This is the reality of being not only a single parent, but the only parent. 

My husband used to fix everything at our house. He would even help me cook and clean at times. He would help me make decisions, as we shared a beautiful partnership in our marriage. I reminisce on those times, and I wish I can go back in time. But the reality of it is, that I can’t. Nothing will bring my husband back. So I just have to deal with the reality of things and push forward. 

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Movies in my Life~

It seems that my imagination...what goes on in my mind to help me manage this life...has ramped up.

Almost any situation I encounter has a counterpart from various movies I've watched over the years.

The big picture of all of this is me in the middle of a romantic comedy.

I've always loved watching romcoms.

Chuck used to watch them with me.

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La Rentrée

In France, where I live, early September, with its “back to school and back to work” is known as “la rentrée”. 

This week is “la rentrée”. Schools go back. Three-year olds begin pre-school, known here as “Maternelle”.  Six-year olds begin primary/”Primaire”. Eleven-year olds begin secondary, known as “Collège”, and 15-year olds begin “Lycée”.

In our home, I used to say that the entire month of September was “la rentrée”. We might have three kids in three different schools. We often had a new au pair to onboard into our family’s way of living. We had a whole long list of activities including music, sport, theatre and English-language learning to schedule.

It somehow always fell to me to figure out how it would all work, and how many able-bodied adults over the age of 18 would be required to schlep the kids around. I always had an eye on whether or not the schedule would still work if there was only the au pair available, for example when Mike and/or I were working late or travelling – or both.

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