Monday, March 30, 2015

Crying Time Again

Tears burned in my eyes, as I pulled into a parking space between the Morning Call and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Memories of Kirt aren’t enough today. I ache to have him near, to smell his skin, to put my face in his neck. Today without him hurts.
What's the point?

In four months it will be two years without him. You’d think I’d be getting the hang of this by now. I’m bringing him with me where ever I go. I think about what he would say about a piece of art. I know he’d like the naked golden archer poised on a golden ball. From the bench where I sit the pine trees make the perfect back drop.  
A lady Mallard rushes out of the brush near my bench. A green headed boy follows in hot pursuit. She takes to flight just past the armless Venus. He wanders aimlessly without her.
The sobs, which threatened, reside. Watching people observe the sculptures gives me pleasure. I know them so well. Safety, comfort, understanding, and something to admire; and we are all quite contended little creatures.
A day in the park watching the genders and breeds of my species gives me that essential touch stone, the one which shows me the facets of God’s great gift to us. We are not boring.

Doing this each day to keep myself occupied and maybe entertained, helps me continue living my life, but it’s so freaking lonely. Alone is better than a bad fit. Even when I’m with people my mind reaches out to my husband with a thought or a declaration of love. It doesn't stop. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Moving On

New Orleans, the eternally entertaining city still captivates me. The witty Dorothy Parker play, the Waltz, reacquainted me with the art of ladylike witticisms, the kind that don’t utterly emasculate.
Yin and yang artfully displayed twenty-four hours a day, all over town. Completely normal looking Americans in blue jeans, tee shirts and white sneakers walk along with a woman wearing feathers and a guy in a cat in the hat hat.  

French quarter craziness rockets me into overload rather quickly. Memories maudlin and otherwise flood my senses with the infamous bitter-sweet. My best years with my dad were in this town.  Pink azaleas remind me of him.  

This morning I’m having coffee in the yard at my friend’s house, where I’ve been staying for just over a week. There’s four of us sitting around, reading the paper, commenting on stories. It feels good to have normal at home conversation again. It’s been a while.
In the middle of everything I think of my honey; I’m sad, but it’s more of that bitter sweet shit. Sad remains in vogue in my head, when we drive to Rouses where I pick up a pound of Crescent City Roast for coffee on Monday.

Rueda Casino or salsa dance class at the Ashe Center on Oretha Castle Haley was fun; I’m going again next Wednesday. I keep trying to fill myself up with fun and interesting, palliative measures; nothing gives me love of life like before. For all the good times, the ha-ha’s, just below the surface I want to cry, but I’m so tired of crying I hate the thought.

Twenty months he’s been gone. I talk to him every day. Missing him hurts, but not as much. I want to be better. I want to quit hurting. I just don’t know how. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sexist or Defensive or What?

I’m mystified by the exchange that went on in my car on Friday night.
I was taking two friends to an ocean front, open air little place for what is some of the tastiest octopus in a pie shell on the island.
At the red light I got into the left lane. Sometimes this lane gets blocked up with people making a left into Home Depot, but this wasn’t the case at the moment. Just up the hill on the right is the entrance to the toll road to San Juan, so sometimes the two right lanes get blocked with people going from the left lane cutting across to hit the entrance to the city.
As the light turns green my male passenger says,
“You should always get in the middle lane. The reason I’m telling you this is that you can get blocked by cars making a left.”
Of the six cars ahead of me at the light, the first two took off like bats out of hell, three pulled into the promising middle lane, and one pulled into the left turn lane. I had a clear lane; unless I took flight to catch cars one and two. I smiled pleased with being three cars ahead of where I would have been in the middle lane.
Frankly, I thought my driving skills should be receiving compliments, if anything.
“No, you should get into that middle lane. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
He said in a just too patient tone. Up till that I’d been ignoring him because I focused on driving.
“Why are you saying this?” I asked. “What’s wrong?”
He replied, “You should have gotten in the middle lane back there. Why are you so defensive? You’re being defensive.”
My female friend provided the “Amen” chorus, “Yes, she’s being defensive.”
“I can’t figure out why you’re telling me this; what prompted you to say anything? How could I have improved that outcome?”
This I asked without a feeling of being defensive because it surprised me that he was saying anything. I was pleased with the outcome. When you can tell me how I can make things better, I’ll listen. It didn’t make sense to me to get in the middle lane when I see it won’t improve my outcome.
My adorable little female friend took up the chant,
“You’re right; she’s being defensive!”
This was as much of this crap as I wanted to deal with, so I said,
“How about we change the subject; or I pull over to the curb to let my unhappy passengers out?”
The silence didn’t last. We’re much too jolly for that. What bothered me was that I’d improved our position in line more than I could have by being in the middle lane, yet I’m listening to people tell me how to drive. No, it was a man telling me how to drive and a woman agreeing with him.

My husband, who was a king of the road with two million safe miles to his credit, taught me how to drive. I read the road and make my decisions. Without a problem or a reason, I don’t see why I should change; do you? Am I wrong?
Does anybody see this as sexist? Do you ever hear one man telling another how to drive?
Hey, man, you should always use the middle lane!
You want to f’ing drive?
The only way that conversation would go differently is if the driver worked for the passenger, or father to son. It would be a hierarchal situation in which the passenger was dominant to the driver.
Don’t get me started on my little friend, who thought she was going to enjoy seeing me squirm.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Best Advice

I’ve screamed and cried, and then languished for twenty months, sharing my pain in my blog and online in Daily Strength Widow/Widowers’ Support Group.
“I don’t know who I am without him,” was my big lament.

A widow in the group told me,

Be kind to yourself; treat yourself well each day.”

Meditating on that opened a most pleasant way of thinking for me in my time of crisis.
Lavender soap and body oil replaced sales brands in my bath. Modest luxuries I used as part of daily rituals made me feel better about myself, when I really didn't give a shit about mush.

Movies were replaced by boat rides to restaurants overlooking a tropical lake,

and then I spent some extraordinary time in Louisiana with my Aunt Margaret before she died this last November. We bonded in ways I never expected; nor would her sister or my cousins believe.

If it’s meant for you, God stick’s it right in your arms. God gave me a sister of the heart in Cuba, who for three weeks treated me like precious cargo. She showed me what is felt like to be loved by a sister.
In one of God’s truly mysterious ways, I met another sister of the heart in New Orleans; how I met her is another story, but soon Lt. Linda and I will be paling around the Crescent City.
Thanks for the advice on Daily Strength! I need all the positive I can get in my life. Healing after losing the love of my life is hard.

Kirt had my heart; the pieces of my heart need to find places to love and be loved now that I am accepting his death. Yes, there’s still hesitation, but no longer raw pain. I’ll call that well improved.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Balance and Purpose

A light morning shower cools the air, Puerto Rico before spring, mid-seventies and breezy. Winter, my official favorite season will end with spring, March 20th, when night equals day.

Balance on the planet only comes twice a year. Balance of day and night, dark and light, only comes twice a year. Is that a metaphor?

I think it is for the pain-joy balance in my life. Kirt’s death put me in hell. Every day hurt so much that I didn’t really want to live.
A few months into this process I noticed that movies, working out at the gym, hanging with friends, or live music could distract me from my pain. I mean, you know shit like that in your brain, but living the moment is something else.
My brain still doesn’t work the way it did before the DKD, day Kirt died. I can’t concentrate too hard, or too long; it hurts my head. It’s like someone is giving me an electric shock. My memory sucks; I have to write things down. That happened to me before, after Kirt’s accident, I had similar trouble, but it went away for the most part. Age doesn’t help.
Planning my future became habit after I took a sales training course from Tommy Hopkins; thank you, Tommy. Things almost always go better when I have a plan.

I went to the baths in Coamo, a horseshow in Ponce, live jazz in Mayaquez, and the beach once a week. For a couple of hours the pain eased. Someone advised me to do something good for myself every day. Some days that meant I cooked myself a nice meal. I had no taste for food, dropped thirty pounds, but I focused on proper nutrition.

Distractions work only brief periods, so I repeated them more frequently as time progressed. When I didn't, depression visited with a vengeance. The many down periods could only be combated by reading. Early, after the DKD, I slept a lot.
Laying around, reading, my front line defense against depression, comes with a huge drawback; laying around begets laying around, I tried to maintain my workout schedule.
The love of my life died. I am alone, being miserable or distracting myself is not a long term solution. It reminds me of the alert code that played in American airports for years after nine-eleven. We are at yellow alert. This is a yellow alert. I can’t live in the alert.
I need to find a balance in my new reality where I’m not miserable, if I’m not distracting myself.
If what “they” say is correct, I have a purpose. Caroline Myss wrote that we have contracts with God/the Universe.
Twenty months after DKD, I can say that my healing is a work in progress. Carol Myss also wrote about “Woundology” wherein we hang on to our wounds. I don’t think that I’m hanging on to my wounds, but I may not be the best person to ask; who knows?
Long term goals need to be addressed. On my twentieth birthday day I entered into a contract with myself to work hard and contribute to society, and then, when I got old, I would travel.

In two months, I’ll be sixty-seven; suddenly, all I care to do is plan visiting different places. It feels like an alarm went off in my head, but is it really just providing escape, another distraction to prevent me for facing day to day life? 
All I can say is that if it gets me to a better place, “Thank you, God!”


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Who I am

I am a hawk with wings clipped, scratching on the ground amid the ducks, pigeons and sparrows. They are lovely birds, but prefer to avoid me.

I yearn for the companionship a flock, but don’t quack like a duck. Cooing is out of the question. A pigeon’s flight slow and labored, that’s not the flight for me; I am a hawk.

My mate and I soared the sky, floating on the winds of sight and sound, sensing God in my face. Now, he’s gone, only ashes in a vase.

As clouds go by, I sit on the ground, feeling too old to fly, so I scratch with the sparrows, who fly in flocks so grand, I can’t help, but try to join them.

Hawks don’t fit with pigeons, ducks or sparrows.

They mate or fly alone.