Today is one of those exquisitely beautiful, bright autumn days. With temperatures that would feel “just right” on a mid-summer’s day, but with the added benefit of a gentle breeze to doubly kiss my bare skin as I sit now, in the garden, writing this piece.
I have been out on a “long run”. The kind of “long run” I do in the run-up to a half-marathon. I am registered for the one in Lausanne (Switzerland) just two weeks from now. Today should be my “peak distance” run, but because I have run so little, there was nothing noteworthy about this particular peak.
I was reflecting while I was out. I don’t take podcasts or music with me. For years I have allowed myself the privilege of total silence when out and about running – for mental space as well as personal safety reasons. Where I run, on fairly remote forest and mountain tracks, I need to be vigilant.
I was reflecting on how I had been in a conversation the night before with a dear friend whose friendship goes back now 28 years. She’s known me through all my losses. We don’t see each other much and when we talk there feels to be much to catch up on. But it’s work. Hard work. Going into my grief stories, trying to find words to articulate that for which there are no words is so painful. Tiring. It hurts. Particularly when it’s what I live day in day out.Read more
I am a new guest writer here on Soaring Spirits. I do realise that it’s a site for Widowed people. I am widowed. My husband Mike died of pancreatic cancer on 8th April 2017. He was 53.
It feels like a life time ago.
It feels like yesterday.
It feels unreal.
In addition, I have lost an amazing and one and only best platonic male friend, Don (11 September 2015) to colon cancer; a beautiful younger brother, Edward (10 January 2016) to glioblastoma; and a gorgeously beautiful, clever, funny, artistic, creative, talented youngest child, Julia (30 June 2019. Yes, 2019) to suicide.
All in the past four years. Devastation on top of wreckage after bomb blast after tsunami.
Julia took her life after deciding, 2 years and 2 ½ months after her dad’s death, that life without him was not worth living.
That was the night of 30 June/1 July this year. It’s recent. Very recent.
Yesterday. Today. And every tomorrow.Read more
What you don’t know is that
People die because of Grief
People die because of a Broken Heart
People Die by Suicide
Because their Grief is
Too Much to Bear
I had a call just last night from the
Now-orphaned-daughter of a friend
Whose husband was my friend and colleague
He had helped Mike get to
Chemo treatments on occasion when
I just couldn’t manage to fit it all in
But my friend also died
Just months after Mike died
And my new friend
My friend’s wife
Missed him too much
And like Julia chose to end the
Desperately Painful Grief that had
Settled over her life and her being
Her present and future and
Even her past
Replacing the love she had once felt
And reveled in and rejoiced in
Not a fair reward for
Decades of love
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.Read more
Today we welcome a new Widow's Voice Author to our Thursday posts! Mari - welcome to the blog, and thank you for sharing your heart with our readers!
On March 28, 2015, I met the love of my life. We had a peculiar first date, but I got a gut feeling that I needed to give him a second chance. So I did, and falling in love with him, was magical. Just only after five months of dating, he proposed to me in Sedona, AZ, at a beautiful location filled with music, candles, roses, and love. I had never been so sure of anything in my life, but his love. So we decided to get married three months later, and on November 28, 2015, I gave my all to this wonderful man. My husband was a true gentleman. He never raised his voice at me in all the years we were married. He loved me unconditionally and wanted to spend every minute with me. He was kind-hearted, smart, loving, and had a great sense of humor. I felt like I had won the lottery in love. Just after two years of being married, we decided to bring a little bundle of joy into this world. So in 2017, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl. My husband was such a wonderful father. He would help me change diapers, and he would wake up in the middle of the night to feed our daughter, and so much more. I felt blessed and honored to be his wife. Our life was incredibly beautiful, one that you see in movies, or read in novels. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it truly was. We both loved each other unconditionally and would put each other first. Our souls were in-sync. He was my best friend, my rock and indeed my force of strength.Read more
Another week past and overall things have been even keel. However the dreaded dates pile one on top of another. July 15th is Tin’s first birthday. July 4th is Tin's and my anniversary and today, June 29th, 2018 is the first anniversary of my father Wayne’s passing.
I know this writing is not based mainly on my lost partner Tin but it has a strong and strange effect on my healing. My father passed away 3 months before Tin was diagnosed with terminal liver failure. My father had over 13 back surgeries, was addicted to pain medication and became an alcoholic to try to manage what the pills could not do. We all thought he would pass away from liver failure. He had heart failure the same as his father Thomas whom I got my middle name from. The irony is that Tin, who did not drink nearly as much as my father, passed away from acute liver failure. I have recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure so now I fear the fate of my father and grandfather. All the while, a glass of red wine is good for the heart but bad for the liver. So life feels like a walking contradiction. I have new fears that never occurred to me until the past year. As I write this there is a commercial for a heart attack medication on the television and I can’t help but wonder if it is a “sign”.
I know that I have better health than both of the men that left my life but perhaps that is another complexity of being a gay man. You lose your father, you lose your partner and you could have the same ending. It’s easy to support family and friends that have breast cancer but that is an evil disease that effects women much more often and a man has a harder time relating to that disease. My mother has beat breast cancer and I am so thankful. A dear friend beat cervical cancer and I can provide all the support possible but I can’t relate. She could do the same but not relate if someone had prostate cancer. I’m rambling but this is what goes on in my head. Either way my fears have intensely heightened.Read more
I was stuck for ideas the other day in art class and the teacher was trying to help me brainstorm. Make it autobiographical, he said, in his cheery 20-something voice, about the movie poster I was assigned to create.Read more