It’s amazing how simple things can etch a memory deep into your heart. Music, sights, sounds and smells. Food and cooking has always brought back memories of family holidays and campfire stories. Tin loved food. That’s basically the understatement of the year. He would take anything we had in the kitchen and in an hour there would be a beautiful meal on the table and every pot and pan in the sink. Tin was also an avid gardener so it’s only natural that he loved fresh herbs.
When we first met, I went over to his apartment and sat on the balcony. It was like a rainforest in the middle of Atlanta. Palms growing as tall as the ceiling would let them and flowers in every corner. A thunderstorm was approaching and we sat and talked watching the beautiful sky change and fill the air with electric excitement. The rain began to fall. A breeze accompanied the drops and sprayed them into the rainforest. I remember distinctly starting to get the summer rain smell as I listened to Clayton and the rain share their stories. I took in a deep breath and was captivated by a new note in the song of the storm. The breeze and the rain had rustled past a small bush nearby and brought to me an amazing aromatic blend of summer rain and Thai basil. It became a favorite of ours and we often spoke of that day whenever we cooked with Thai basil. That day we were etched.
When Clayton became sick last October, he could no longer garden. He could no longer do much of anything except to cook and eat. His hunger drive and specific food desires at random times grew stronger by the day. He began to show anger if he couldn’t have what he wanted when he wanted it. To some it appeared childish but to us we knew that food was the last thing Tin had control over as he moved towards his final meals. To give him back some of his gardening, for Christmas I bought him an indoor gardening kit with Thai Basil seeds. I had him open it last as the big surprise. He was excited and wanted some time to read everything and get his garden growing. Deep down it was my way to show him that he still had the ability to hold life.Read more
Alarm goes off and it hurts to get out of bed. I was asleep by 10 pm last night and it’s 5am now. That’s 7 hours! 7!! Why am I exhausted? Up I go and into the bathroom. Brush my teeth, get dressed, take meds, get yelled at for food by the cat, walk the dog, pack my lunch, rush to eat breakfast, gym for 1 hour, catch up on texts, emails and Facebook on the elliptical machine…Breathe…
Work at 8am! Work is so busy there isn’t a break, meeting, questions, meeting, annoyed guest, annoyed staff so no lunch, meeting, sudden change in the day’s plan and I’m supposed to be out by 4:30pm yet it’s 5:15pm, off to the grocery store, check the mail, get greeted by the dog, get yelled at for food by the cat, put the groceries on the counter, take the dog on a walk and catch up on texts, emails and Facebook…Breathe…
Back in the house, phones going crazy because everyone else is off of work and asking for things, make the dog dinner, take a shower, probably laundry but the laundry from 2 days ago is still in the washing machine so re-wash and realize there is still clothes in the dryer so you add them to the pile on the living room chair….Breathe…
So what’s next? Put on the tv so you can hear what disasters are occurring in other people’s lives…Breathe ---Ahhhhhh!!!! I haven’t eaten since like 7 am!Read more
He strides through my mind on a daily basis.
My heart yearns for the Love I felt so strongly with him.
My soul remembers back to the years we shared.
My body yearns for his hands upon it.
It’s been 5 years and 3 months since he left my world.
I’m in love with a dead man.
I can almost hear the shrieks of dismay and shock and see people draw back in…
I’m not sure why they would draw back upon hearing this from me.
Maybe it’s too morbid? I’ve been accused of morbidity.
Maybe they feel that it says something slightly crazy about me, that I’m in love with a dead man…
And I speak so openly about it.
Maybe they think that being in love with a dead man will keep me from being in love with a man who is alive.
Not that any opportunities have presented themselves.
Here’s the god’s honest truth…
I think about my dead husband day and night.
My pulse beats to the memories of our years together.
As I go about living this life…interacting with those I meet along the way on a daily basis…
I’m thinking about him.Read more
My Dear Linzi,
Five Years, my love. Five Years.
We would’ve been married five years today.
Yet another milestone you won’t be able to see or celebrate with me. What would we have done? Where would I have taken you? Who would’ve watched Lila that night? Would I have cooked for you? All questions that will forever remain unanswered and unknown.
My, where has the time gone?
It trailed off in the wake of your absence. Everywhere. Nowhere. I’m not sure. It’s been difficult to pay attention to the passage of time anymore. One more second is just another second closer to seeing you again. How long am I trapped in this prison of pain, my love?
The tears still fall just as freely as they did back then. The thought of you is still as bittersweet as the day I woke up to you gone, reconciling with myself that the night before actually happened.
I miss the arguments. I miss your encouragement and your compliments. I miss the disagreements over silly things like preference of condiments. I miss laughing at anything that didn’t make sense. I miss your critiques meant to help me do better than I once did.
Since you died I feel like I am masquerading in someone else's life. The likelihood of outliving you was always in the back of my mind, but it wasn't something that I prepared for because I naively thought we had "the rest of our lives" ahead of us. I honestly thought that we had at least twenty more years together. And, because I blindly believed this, I arrived to widowhood completely unsorted. For the first few months everything was raw and rough. I was unpracticed at being a widow, so I made homespun, amateur attempts at surviving. However, with time, my ability to live with grief has become more polished. Fifteen months later, I do less improvising throughout my day.
I am doing this 'widow thing' . And, from the outside looking in, things appear to be returning to 'normal'. But, those of us who live this life know full well that we can never return to 'normal' again. I don't say this looking for sympathy. I say it because it is the truth. You know this as well as me. It just is what it is. This is widowhood.
As much as I dislike it, living with Grief has become somewhat 'normal' to me. I don't remember what it feels like not to miss you. I don't recall living without emptiness inside me. I don't remember what 'normal' feels like anymore. I don't remember what it feels like to be an 'ordinary', 'regular' mid-aged woman. I am forever changed.
The death of your spouse permanently alters a person, and I am no exception. Yet, somehow, I am starting to become okay with the changes in me. Even still, I am not proficient living my changed life. Most of the time I feel like I am participating in a makeshift existence that was not thoroughly planned out. I did not rehearse for this; and, honestly, it shows.
Art: Loui Jover
Death is a part of life. We die because we live.
The concept is simple. It is understood by everyone. But, the mechanics behind surviving without someone you love are tedious and complicated. It is relatively simple to comprehend the facts. They. are. dead. But, to accept this is not easy. To live this reality - this - brings you to your knees.
It is overwhelming and utterly disorientating to remain alive when the person you love is dead. Most of us do not prepare ourselves for outliving the ones we love. Honestly, I know there is no way to "prepare" for death; but, looking back I wish I had put more forethought into it. Until death intimately affected me, I never seriously entertained the idea of living without him. So, when he died I was blindsided. I was lost with no sense of direction.
Everything felt surreal. It still does...
I have a lot going on these days. In the past year, things have speeded up for me. I am working on a new career, and further schooling to that end started this week, as the first course is ending. Working another job in the meantime. And looking at the inevitable change that will come when the house goes.
Amidst all of that are the quiet moments. Sitting on my lanai, doing all kinds of work on my iPad, suddenly it will come over me.
He’s not here.
Do I have to say how much I miss you? Wherever you are, if you can hear me, you must know this, because I say it all the time. Speaking into the ether, perhaps into a void, not knowing if it is received on your end, but always imagining it is, hoping it is.
I see signs from you. At least that is how I choose to interpret the birds that swoop over my path in certain moments, the grasshopper on my door or in my house that appears just when my heart is clenched from a painful memory of what I have lost. That particular song that comes on the radio at that exact right time, and the shooting star that streaks across the heavens at the exact moment I look up into the night sky, thinking of you.
It is the middle of May, now, and we are moving toward the anniversary of your death. Sunday, May 24th, is the day the police came to tell us they had found your son, dead, in his flat. I remember that moment as if it happened yesterday. It was a Saturday afternoon, and we had not long returned from our weekly shop. We were relaxing on the sofa, and watching a silly show. You put the show on pause to answer the doorbell. Our doorbell was set to the melody of "It's a Small World," an apt tune, for us.