Thursday, February 27, 2014

Change in the Wind

Alone for months sitting in a room with your ashes, my head hurts, puffy eyes burn, nerves spark, and stomach churns, finally it’s time to move on. Home to happy days and darkest horror, our last home together; farewell, we’ll scatter you on the first anniversary of your passing, when I return.
Not ready to say goodbye to you, or this place. Dropped the dogs off at our friend’s days ago; I miss them too. Pulsing in the back of my neck, snotty nose, yes, I’m ready for New Orleans; in what reality?
When I walk out this door, its official, my life without you begins. No more you and me in the world, just me. I miss you so much. Just me, how can this be? It was always us. Now, who do I trust? I’ll go to places we’ve been before, remembering how happy we were. 
Your love has shaped me into the woman I am; you are part of me. We are not apart, but I want to hold your hand. Take offs and landings require your hand. I hate being without you.
Big Easy Parades pulsing to the beat, masked men throwing cheap jewelry, the crush of crowds; what was I thinking? Quiet contemplative months ended by the chaos of Bacchus; did I intend total immersion? Visions of traffic jams wind in my head; no, that’s my skull aching. Time for fun, live, laugh and be happy, Mardi Gras is a symbol of the good life. I didn’t know I’d be coming in for liaise bon temps roulette.
Apparently, I was out to lunch when the plans for my life were drawn up. The script read after twenty-five years of taking care of the man you love beyond measure, forty-five years of marriage; he dies, and then you’re on your own. Hell, I’d do it again; we had a great life. Thanks, Babe.
Til death do us part, you don’t think you’re getting off that easy; do you? God promised me a do over, if I do whatever it is the rest of my life is about, so I’m going to New Orleans to check it out. I love you, Honey; later, Dude!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Love Brings Hope

Dear Sister,
I struggle with bad urges. It upsets me when I wake up thinking about ending my life. Darkness found me after Kirt’s death. I've seen it twice, perhaps a floater in my eye, but no.
This battle for me has been the dark night of the soul. I am alone. This is more difficult than anything ever. I would accept again all the brutal beatings endured in childhood to have him back, but no.  My journey continues solo.
It scares me that I understand my sister, Darlene’s dark bitter hatred. My feet are planted firmly, the dark side will not win, but I am weak, sad and hurting. Forcefully I keep thoughts on the present, when I fail and think of my husband I cry. I am tired of crying. What is it they say? I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
The aerobics classes have helped me stay healthy, adding the workout with a trainer a couple of weeks ago tires me to the point of coming home to sleep, then waking up to suicidal thoughts. I wonder if it has anything to do with the angry rap music they play at the gym.
At month seven in the mourning process it’s a roller coaster ride with days in the pits and some days are quite normally nice, until I think of Kirt missing out on the good time, then sad. I've faced my darkest demons. Healing, the slow process begins with a whimper.
Less than three weeks to get everything in order to go to New Orleans to visit my aunt, less time to sit around the house with my memories. My aunt and I may have our difficulties, but we love each other. Love has healing qualities like nothing else, so I have hope. Today I feel better.  Thank you for loving me. God blessed me with you. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

To Die, to Sleep, to Dream No More

Sorrow, sadness, loneliness consume me. Nobody wants to know, they expect me to go on as if each day is better than the next. They tell each other she’s doing fine. We've all lost something, How lucky can I be, I've had love, kiss it goodbye and move along.
After a lifetime of together, alone is a test. First few months alone were hard to handle, but turns out alone is better than bad company; who knew?
Love Changes Everything, the song by Andrew Lloyd Webber says it all. How do I live without love? It feels as if I’m withering and dying. I have like, but not enough love anymore. Love in my life contributed to how I lived. Love gave me the zest to tackle all types of problems, to support my causes. I had beliefs, which seemed to matter because of love.
Adrift, my head barely above the water I tread; what was that they said? I’m doing fine. If you want to get rid of someone, just tell them how you really feel. Suddenly a pressing need to leave will arrive. People get tired of listening. It really is an imposition. I was lucky; I always had Kirt to listen to my shit.
About a month ago I started thinking about suicide again. I hated every day of my life. About that time a friend who hadn't seen me in a while said, “You look much calmer.” Surprise swept through me. I could feel it in my face. I wondered what it looked like, but only nodded in acknowledgement of the comment.  I have felt calmer after deciding to end it, but it didn't last when I thought of the consequences to my soul. Commitment to God and my soul prevents me from doing it, killing myself, so having the urge upsets me.
So what then? A movie gives momentary distraction. I can’t focus on my online classes. I always enjoyed getting into thought provoking things. Now, thinking too hard gives me a headache which can last for days.   My answer was to join a gym, hired a trainer to push me to do the exercises I don’t like, so I come home tired and sleep.
Going through the motions, doing just what I must to get by, hating most minutes of my day is no way to live. The dogs wag tails at the door waiting for good morning games that don’t come any more. Bowls of kibble quickly dispensed don’t make for a happy start to their day. Robert Redford paws at me to catch my attention. Lucky gives the big smile as he sits waiting for love. The dogs are neglected, given minimum daily requirement, no trips to the beach.

I am looking forward to going to the gym tomorrow, sweating, feeling muscles tremble. And you thought I was just going to complain.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Funny You Should Ask

Do you have family or love ones who weren't there for you after your spouse died? Where were they when you needed them the most? Those were the discussion questions on the widow/widower forum.
I’m so happy to say that my husband’s family, my niece, Sharon, and nephew, Donnie, check in with me to see if I’m okay. He came from a warm loving family.
My darling came into my life, when I was nineteen, just over a year after my father died. My sister, who wasn't quite four, went on our dates almost from the beginning. The first time Kirt came to pick me up for a date he sat in the living room with the precocious three year old while I got ready. Kirt saw the seven dwarf dolls lined up on a table, so he said, “Would you like me to tell you about the seven dwarfs?” She replied, “No, I’d rather hear about Simon and Garfunkel.”  “Why don’t you tell me about them?” Kirt said with a wink to me as I came into the room laughing.
Drive in movies with the kid sister sitting in the middle; it’s a wonder he put up with me. My motto was clear from the start; love me, love my family. Dinner dates were frequently threesomes. Our mother an attractive young widow had begun to date.
We were married in what now seems like record time. The kid sister spent weekends and summer vacations at our house. Kirt told her fantastic stories of trolls and fairies. He taught her how to swim. She biked in New Orleans City Park with us. I showed her St. Louis Cathedrals where our grandmother took me to mass. At the Café du Mon she had beignets and chocolate milk as I did with grandma.
Dance lessons, piano, and horse backing riding of course, my husband generously agreed we could afford for the girl we adored. Our second home, we chose on the basis of the best high school for little sister to get into college. He preferred a house in the next suburb, where we could have had a brick home on a huge country lot, but the school didn't compare. Love me, love my family rule was still in full force and effect. I always credited my success in life with the quality of my high school education. Thanks to the sisters at Mercy High School in Chicago for everything I've achieved. My sister had to have that start in life.
Once living in our house little sister became known as give me, take me or I’m so bored. When she came home from college, it felt nice to have a grown sister. She met the man she would later marry, told us what a great mechanic he was. Somehow he ended up fixing my husband’s tractor, since Kirt didn't have time to do the job.
We paid for parts the boy friend said were needed. He didn't usually work on tractors, but he could fix anything with a motor. Kirt sensed that the guy didn't know what he was doing, but sometimes you just need to let things play out.  Sister’s great mechanic delivered the tractor, wanted to be paid the rest of his money, so he could go. He had things to do, places to be. “Wait til Kirt comes home.” No he couldn't do that. You and my sister come over for dinner; we’ll celebrate a working tractor and pay you then, was my directive, since he was in such a hurry anyway.  
Kirt came home late, tired and hungry, so we had dinner with anticipation building to try out his beloved Ford 8N tractor. In the twilight I saw his lips curl up as we walked to the barn. He took a big breath, smiled, mounted his machine, and then click-click, nothing happened. He got off, checked fluid levels, looked things over and tried again, nothing happened.  Crestfallen he went to bed. He had to leave for work at five am, my hard working guy.
My sister’s last words to my husband were, “Put some gas in it.”
That was in 1984 or 85’ish. She hasn't called to this day to offer condolences, no email.

All I can say to others who've been hurt by this type of callous behavior is let it go. I don’t want the karma that comes with wishing her to rot in hell. I pray to God to give me grace.