A One Year Dance~

Grief is an emotional, mental, physical, gut-wrenching, life-changing, soul-shattering, struggle.  Grief is endless nights  of cat-naps but blessed relief if unconsciousness actually happens so that the missing-ness can temporarily recede into nothingness.  Grief is getting up one more day and appearing normal on the outside (not because you’re trying to appear normal but because you just weirdly appear normal in spite of)  while the insides, right behind the eyes and right underneath your skin, are churning with the debris brought ashore by the tsunami that killed your life.

Is that over-stating it?

Family begins arriving today.  Our niece, Stephanie, who has been busily traveling the world, comes in from California, her first port of call after months in SouthEast Asia.  Tomorrow Fireman Nick and SugaPie fly in from Connecticut.

The reason?  Monday marks the one year point since Handsome Husband died.  Each stroke of the alphabet as I type that three-letter number slices into me.  The cognizance that one year just passed doesn’t make this time more painful to me; it makes it only more surreal to me.

Friends will join us at Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona on Sunday for a ritual to remember Handsome Husband.  Not everyone will be there-life interferes with no accommodation for sadness.  My step-daughter has 2 children to tend, with the attendant school and care issues so she’ll adjust the time difference (she’s in Vermont) and remember from afar with us.  Our NJ peeps, Bruce and Mary Ann, and so many others there…same thing.  All around the country, they’ll be remembering with us.

Words fail me (in spite of how much I’ve been writing recently).   At some point grief reaches such a saturation point that there is nothing left to say and silence falls.  I think back and remember this happening when my brother and mom died.  After 6 months, after 1 year, what is left to say?  It becomes repetitious.  I’m sad, I’m grieving, I’m desperate, I’m lonely, I can’t stand this life, I’m lost.  Understandably (but no less annoyingly) the general public starts to look at you and think “depressed”.  Cue the threatening music.

Grief is so much not depression and to name it that is condescending and dismissive and it also leads to the easy fix of medication.   (No, I’m not dissing medication as a personal decision.  I keep homeopathic remedies on hand to help me through the worst of it;  I’m just not going to get myself involved in prescriptive medication).   By its’ very definition, grief means a lack of.  Lack of focus, lack of sleep (though sleeping too much also happens), lack of joy, lack of patience, lack of most of what used to be.

Primarily, lack of the one who died.  Lack of their love, lack of their touch, lack of…them.

And it takes time to adjust, time to build a new life, time to find your feet underneath you so that you can build that new life.  Not one year, very often not two years.  Whatever time it takes.  You can’t just lay about and wait for it to happen though.  You have to get out there and do it, in spite of.  Which I’m doing.

Grief is a seesaw of emotions and not because emotions veer back and forth.  At least in my case, I’ve found that my emotions are fairly stable, in that there is nothing but pain as a baseline.  It’s a seesaw because we must search out balance again.  We must plant our feet in the middle of that seesaw, moving our weight from side to side until both ends level.  Not an easy job in any way.

On Sunday, at Bell Rock, I’ll play music  to celebrate Handsome Husband and we’ll all dance and I invite you, dear readers, wherever you are, to join us at 3 pm and dance your own dance.  Dance with us as we remember a man who touched our lives, and touched so many lives because of us.  Dance with me as I shout my love, and defiance of the death that took my most beloved husband from me last year on April 21.  Dance with me and our kids and our family and our friends and shout out your love for those who left you behind but also left so much love behind.

Dance it out.  Shout it out.  Love it out.

It matters.  IMG_8964


25 thoughts on “A One Year Dance~

  1. I love all your posts and entries. You are a beautiful writer. Your handsome husband was as lucky to have you, as you were to have him. When you compile all of this into a book, I’m buying it! Big hugs from California….sister #3652

  2. You expressed your grief, and my grief, so succinctly. It has been ten years since my beloved husband, Jerry, passed away and although I have made a new life for myself without him, I miss him every day.

    I will keep you in my prayers, dear friend, as you continue your journey. May God’s grace comfort you always.

    Darlene Leech Havertown PA

    Sent from my iPad

    • Darlene,
      Thank you for your words. Its daunting to realize, (but needs to be realized, I believe),that this grief for my husband will always be present, one way or another. How can it not be, really? No matter that I build a new life for myself, as you have done. There is that space named for Jerry, that space named for Chuck, that is permanent.

      I hope, Darlene, that you and I can meet when I return East. I know we’ll be going through PA on our drive to NJ.

      May we all be blessed, dear friend~

  3. You express so well the feelings that I am experiencing right now. My one year anniversary of Howard’s passing was April 2. I still am in a seesaw stage. Good, bad, bad, good, I could go on forever. There is always a certain dullness present that seems to fog my memories and my present. There has to be more ahead for me that I can laugh about and enjoy. I find myself being short-tempered and lacking in interest in anything.

    I am fortunate that I have made new friends through a grief group. A group of men and women who have lost their spouses to cancer. We meet, talk, understand what the other person is going through, and then share some free time together, usually a dinner after the meeting.

    Since I still work, a lot of my day is consumed with hard work and pressure. It is good for me to be out there with other people but I find myself grieving Howard even more. I miss him very much, but my thoughts of him are usually in the evening when I come home and attempt to wind down. I stay up late and then struggle to get up in the morning but don’t seem capable of (or to want to) get myself moving. It’s rush rush, get on the road late, and then angry with everyone but myself for not getting to work on time. This pattern has to stop.

    I will be thinking of you on April 21. That day, in the evening, is the first anniversary of Howard’s passing on the Jewish calendar. I will light a candle the night of the 21st for his anniversary on the 22nd.

    I’m thinking of you and can’t thank you enough for your words of wisdom.


    • Barbara,
      The endless days that lead us into the empty nights without them next to us…and repeat.

      I’m glad you have a group of others who have gone/are going through this. Its a lonesome road in every way as we try to figure it out.

      I thought of you and your husband in the evening of the 21.

      It means so much to me that you have reached out. Please stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing. And if you have any words of wisdom to impart that might make a difference for me.

      May we all be blessed,

  4. I will be with you in spirit at 3 PM on the 21st! God be with you and fill you with peace and blessings. HH is proud of what you have done and he loves you eternally.

  5. Sending you prayers for that ever so elusive comfort.
    I will dance with you in spirit remembering my beautiful, magical little boy who lived to laugh and love and dance and sing with indescribable joy during his 11 years. I will dance thinking of you and all of us travelling this lonesome road of grief…

  6. Yes my pink friend I will dance with you and sing and shout my loss unto the heavens. I miss him so much, but I will follow your advice as I am doing: Suit up and show up. Till we meet on the road of life, Let us dance! D

  7. thinking of you as this day comes and then turns into the next. Sending love to you sweet sister, from this side of our wondrous earth.

  8. Just seen a post on Facebook about your journey with Handsome Husband. I have been up for 2 solid nights reading your blog. I absolutely love it and view grief in the same light as you. Not depression, not a religious guidance but a human, physical one. Grief never will end for some, while others just bandaid their emotional scars and shelve them “till next time, if ever”. Amazing photos, amazing story. I live in Geneseo, IL (Metro area of the Quad Cities) I live 30 miles from the Iowa/Illinois border. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been through this area. (As I’ve read the Springfield blog and Lincoln’s tomb). But I highly recommend visiting our area if you ever pass through this way. It’s a water gateway as the Miss River runs through our border. Many different parks and areas I’d recommend to visit. Thank you for sharing your life’s journey…with Handsome Husband and physically without but never spiritually. I mean spiritual in a non-religious reference. Today, on this anniversary, I want to extend a virtual hug, a virtual hand on your shoulder of “I’m sorry and I grieve with you in a virtual way as I do not know Handsome Husband but I know him virtually through your words on your blog.” I bet you both would be wonderful friends had my husband Steve and I ever would’ve met you by chance or fate or whatever you call it. You are truly inspirational. Even to me who is approaching 38 year years old and only been married to my husband for 5 and a half years. (Steve is 52 by the way, 14 years my senior). We have a wonderful, in love marriage and as I’ve read your blog, we have so many similiarities to you and HH. We love to be together and are inseparable. I couldn’t ever just go out with my female friends without inviting my husband as being without him and his company just doesn’t feel right. Thanks so much for your smiles and laughter and writing about your grief. After all, it’s YOUR OWN GRIEF IN YOUR OWN WAY AND ON YOUR OWN TERMS. TO HELL WITH WHAT ANYONE ELSE WANTS TO SAY ABOUT THAT! You go girl! You do what you have to do for you…those who love you will always be there…those that say B.S. and point fingers and tear you down are misguided and trying to make you become/exist/be something you are not. You are you. You have every right to be that YOU. If you’re ever up my way, we can grab some coffee and talk about love. I know what you mean about love. Cheers!

    • Audra,
      I’ve written your town in my notebook of states and I hope we do get the opportunity to meet for coffee as Kamahooptra and I travel the country. Part of what we want to do is hear other’s love stories and it sounds like you and your husband have one we want to know~

      • That’s very kind of you to jot our quaint little town in your notebook. The Quad Cities area is a very interesting place and my town of about 6,500 has some very beautiful Victorian homes and cultural history. Feel free to contact me if you are up this way. It would be a wonderful thing to have a sip of coffee and chat with both of you. Happy Trails friend!


  9. You made it. I just read your story on “Goodnewsnetwork” and had to visit your blog. Can you believe how powerful wrtitng it all down can be? Love that you don’t hold back…no honey dripping from the true grieving heart. Will be interesting to see where the journey takes you next. Good Luck and be safe.

    • Someone,
      I couldn’t do this without the encouragement and support of my incredible community and I feel blessed every day for it.

      Yes, the story is only going to get bigger as my travels continue.

      I’m putting together my blog for the next big step. Stay tuned~

  10. I really envy you. My wife died with cancer and we loved to travel
    In our TRAVCO. We planned to travel after retirement but GOD decided
    He needed her. I am glad you have a companion to travel with
    Because it is not fun to travel alone. I will look forward to following you
    In your travels. Good Luck and may GOD guide and protect you3

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