5 years and 9 months into this life without Chuck, I may have,
Gone over the edge.
It's a matter of opinion, I suppose.
Our world that is so critical and judgemental of how we grieve,
Those who tend to be uncomfortable with others who refuse to play the game of life their understood way...
Well, they might think I've gone over the edge.
Which is totally okay and cool with me.
People need to be shaken out of their complacency, in my way of thinking.
And I'm just the one to do it.
How, you ask?
My wife and I have always enjoyed mixing our favourite coping mechanism, comedy, with accomplishing important tasks. Sometimes, the best remedy for the worst life stresses is proactive humour. Natasha came up with the term “cancer card” as a way to deal with life’s day to day challenges. We would often jokingly ask each other a question, “Is this a cancer card moment?” For example, we are waiting for a table for brunch and Natasha tells me that we are third on the waitlist for a table. I turn to her and say, “This is a good time to play the cancer card.” I approach the hostess and say, “Excuse me, my wife is literally fighting cancer right now, so, if there is any way that we could get a table faster, that would be great.” Usually, the cancer card works because the restaurant staff and the other customers are very accommodating—especially if I had told Natasha to exaggerate her fatigue while I get her a chair to sit on. Contrary to popular opinion, some cancer patients are not super thin and emaciated. As in Natasha’s case, the medications used to manage the side effects of chemo can make you gain a lot of weight. As a result, she didn’t always look like a cancer patient to everyone, which is why exaggerating symptoms was sometimes necessary. In the past, when my self-esteem was low, I would have felt pushy, inconsiderate and manipulative using my wife’s cancer to get special treatment. Now, I know whatever I can do to make life easier for my family, I should definitely do. I know this might sound strange, but my wife’s cancer has actually had a positive impact on me: I am much more confident. In the past, I would have spent too much time worrying about pleasing strangers in a restaurant at my own expense—no more! One of the most important things I have learned is that we all have to do what we think is best for OUR family because if we don’t, no one else will. Besides, the chances of anyone else in line for a table is battling post-partum depression, cancer AND has a new born baby is highly doubtful.Read more
I'm 5 years and 9 months into life without Chuck.
I don't think I'm supposed to call it that.
Life without Chuck, I mean.
I think I'm supposed to structure it, this life after him, in a more positive manner, according to society at large.
The one thing I've done really well since Chuck died is be real about this widowed life shit.
And it ain't sunshine and roses, no matter how I try to dress it up.
Which I don't try to do, honestly, because I don't have it in me to be fake about it, or plant that pretend smile on my face.
I refuse to show it as anything other than what it is.
A shit show.Read more
You and I, my Love,
Are echoes in the halls of memories.
In lands far away and beyond the clouds
so beautifully and achingly tinged with vibrant colors,
I search for you.Read more
Yes, tildes are a thing. Unlike exclamation points, which everyone learns in grade school, you probably won't recognize the term, though you might very well recognize the symbol itself.
Lest you think this is a blog about grammar, let me clarify my why of writing about grammar points.
Both of them have played a significant role in my life for the past 5 years and 9 months since Chuck's death.
Godalmighty. How is it possible that it's been so excruciatingly long since he died?
Exclamation points and tildes...Read more
I was sick during the entire 12 days of Christmas. And counting. I lost last Tuesday, thinking it was still Monday, when it was actually Wednesday. Also, I thought last year was 2019 already.
I'm so out of it.
I could blame illness. Widows Fog. General lack of interest in Time itself. So many things.
What I choose to blame is that my creative brain is in process, and that kind of takes over.
Let's go with that.Read more
This may or may not end up being something.
My brain is tired. So is my heart.
I think I'm coming down with a cold.
Family arrives tomorrow for the holidays.
After I finished my workamping gig at the opera camp, I stayed here in Arkansas, visiting with my son and his family.
Will I Ever Stop Asking
Where would we be,
had you not died?
Will I ever stop wondering
what would have happened
in our life together
if you were still here?
Will I ever be at peace
with the idea that my life is filled
that do not have answers?
Will I ever feel okay
with the knowing
that large pieces of my life
will always remain unknown?
Will I?Read more
I've been on the road quite a bit in the last few weeks, visiting my NJ community. Not towing my trailer, because, you know, weather, and I'm on my way west to Arkansas now, for Thanksgiving.
All of which is to say...
I listen to podcasts as I drive. History podcasts, philosophy, widow stuff, life stuff. You name it, and I listen to it.
And I just never know what I might hear that will suddenly click the gears into place that generally turn non-stop, taking in all that is around me. Conversations of strangers, particular terrain, colors of the sky, what the road looks like in front of me...my internal gears are always spinning, picking up bits and pieces of everything and, sometimes, what seems like nothing but ends up being that one missing piece.Read more
I'm so sad that Chuck died and I don't know anymore if it's sadness that is emptiness inside me or emptiness with sadness and there is a burning wish in my soul to force myself into some semblance of feeling again, of connectedness again.
In the last few weeks I've caught a glimpse, I think, into the world of soldiers and Marines who return from the war zones, having defied death, seen their buddies die, who have had their hearts pierced with the tenuousness of life.
So often, I've read in numerous memoirs, they return to their so called normal lives but they go out and buy fast motorcycles, faster cars; they become thrill seekers. And I think I have some understanding of what goes on in their heads and hearts as they look at life around them. Just a glimpse, really, because their experiences are ever so much more than mine has been.
I don't think that they're courting death so much as they're trying to find something...anything...that might make them feel again. Something that will overcome the grief-filled apathy that comes along with numbness. Something that will help them connect again to the living, maybe jump-start the very breath in their lungs.Read more