What Was. What Is~

Your death

stripped me down to bone and marrow.

It dug my heart out of my body with sharp talons

And flung it, bloodied, onto the ground

A sharp bladed axe,

Such as was used for beheadings in the days of Henry VIII 

Hacked away at that bloodied heart of mine on the ground.

Slicing and dicing it into miniscule pieces.

It took effort and determination and grit

And all the Love he left behind for me,

To string those pieces of you and me together.

My heart doesn’t look the same now, as it did when it was full in my chest.

I don’t look the same as I did all the years of our together lives.

I am stripped raw.

Exposed.

Vulnerable.

That isn’t a bad thing.

Or a good thing.

It’s just what I am now.

I’m still dislocated. Dispossessed. Disoriented. Displaced. In dissaray. 

I’m okay with all this, too.

In a world where nothing is okay because you are no longer in it…

I’m weirdly okay.

Living and missing you. Living while missing you with each breath. Living. And missing.

Empty and filled with Love for you.

I don’t try to reason any of it out any longer.

Perhaps that is the true freedom that comes with grief.

In the truest, most loving, strongest way of letting go…

It is letting go of people’s expectations of me. 

People’s opinions of me.

People’s anything of me.

Or judgement of myself.

I’m just me. 

Still, and always, in Love with a dead man.

With a heart open to Love every day.

No matter what.

Aching with Love.

Aching for you.

Loving you~

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To Us~

Yes, You~

to those of us left behind
standing amidst the ashes that remain
atop the skeletons of our lives and ourselves.

to those of us left behind
who struggle with unseeing eyes blinded by grief
and limbs made heavy with exhaustion
and shattered souls
uncertain about…everything.

to those of us left behind
who must learn to live in the without
and open our hearts to life
when all that is in us begs to close those very hearts.

to those of us left behind
who loved so deeply and so passionately
whose lips whisper names into the darkness
of the soul and heart and body
and hear only an echo.

to those of us left behind
who stagger through each moment and each hour
of every day and night
as the months pass by and the sharp blades of a love gone
cut and shred.

To you, to me, to us
left behind but left behind
with the love that can and will and must
become bigger than the absence of those who
have gone beyond our reach.

We who grieve the grief of a lover gone
and slowly dance our spirit dances and speak their names in our hearts
as our hands and souls entwine with theirs
and our bodies search and our minds question and the deepest part of ourselves
burns and become determined and we become Love in remembrance of the love we once held close.

To those of us left behind
searching the heavens, finding our footing, seeking,
gasping, breathing,
being…

To us~

What Meds Don’t Do~

Here’s what I now know about medications and grief.  This isn’t all personal experience, at least as far as allopathic medications are concerned; this is what I’ve gathered from other widow/ers.  I speak only of the herbs/homeopathic remedies that I’ve employed to help me with my grief.

This St John’s Wort, widely used in Europe as a mood elevator, works for me in that it almost immediately dropped a gossamer veil between me and my grief.  I picture my grief now as the filter used in old-time movies to soften the features of the actors and actresses.  I know my grief is there but there is very clearly something keeping me from fully absorbing it.  And that is indeed the purpose of St John’s Wort so…mission accomplished on that.

What it doesn’t do is take away or remove everything else that companions the meat-cutter of grief.  There is no filter on the shattering loneliness.  The lost feelings of being someone’s someone.  The steady thrum of starvation from the lack of touch by the man I love.  The empty silence where all the words I want to speak fall not on deaf ears but no ears.  The shuddering absence of the energy that shimmered and shifted next to me through the years.  The hole in my soul.

I don’t believe that there is any medication or herb in the world that changes these realities.

Yes, I can find a group of people with whom to discuss issues.  And I do talk with people constantly in the course of my day. And my kids and friends call, and they give me hugs and I’m so thankful for that. And yes, I have grand-kids and I love them all dearly. And none of that makes up for/replaces what I had with Handsome Husband.

I crave his touch and my body starves, knowing I’ll never feel his hands on me again. I wonder how it would feel to have another man’s hands on me, feel another man’s arms around me, dance with another man, even as I realize it is my husband I desire, not just any man.  And I know that even if I invite another man into my life someday, Handsome Husband will always be my husband even should I fall in love (which I hope to do).  I’ll always be his widow because he was my husband and there is some strange beauty in that in this fucking weird new world without him.

These thoughts spin round and round in my heart these days and, contrary to how I appear, I’m really very confused.  Which is, I know, pretty well reflected in this particular piece of writing.

Really, all I know is that I miss my husband.  I miss Chuck.  I miss him in ways that can only be imagined in the nightmares that come in the deepest, darkest hours of sleep that waken you sweating and screaming and breathless with adrenalin.

Beat, thrum, throb, cut, slice goes my heart…

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Three weeks, again~

Three weeks.   Its’ been three weeks for everyone in the world and each and every person in this world had their three weeks play out according to their own personal current events.

My three weeks, as of last night at 11:21, was three weeks since my beloved Handsome Husband died.  Three weeks since my world, and the world of our kids, changed forever.  And forever.  Each Sunday night for all of us, at that particular hour, for a while to come, will bring a sense of heightened adrenalin, as if we are back in Odyssey Hospice, watching this man, who changed all of our lives over 23 years ago, breathe higher and higher until there was no place for more breath to live, and his final out breath happened, and he was no more.

I’ve had so much anger in these three weeks, over big things and small things.  Some of the anger was, I believe, completely justifiable, though it might more accurately be called hurt, at how some of the events around his death played out.  That hurt is still there, more evident now than the anger.  But mostly the anger is gone, and the crushing grief has smashed through and into, my body, my heart and my soul.

I went to a bereavement support group, I went to a Tai Chi class, I’ve made myself go out, out of this place we rented that is nothing but a place of nerve-tingling pain for me.  Out into where people are and where I have no interest being.  Over to Joshua Tree National Park, where Handsome Husband and I wanted to go.  And yes, I even got out of the car, with the intent of hiking and maybe climbing some of the easier rock formations, thinking that maybe I’d find him there.  He wasn’t there and I didn’t stay long at all.  There was no meaning to being there, without him to share the experience with me, so I returned to the car, filled with both pain and numbness, and came back to this painful place where I pretty much just wander from room to room, picturing him in whatever room I happen to be.  And not picturing him in a good way because we had no “good ways” from the time we arrived.  There was pain, and worry, and unknowing and frustration and effort and futile attempts to allay what we thought was going on with him.

And all the while it was cancer.  Oh blessed hindsight that now signals me that of course it was his cancer returned.  How obviously it had returned.  And the ungodly pain he was in, though he masked it well.    Hindsight is an evil exercise so I shut my brain down when it creeps in.  Don’t go there, don’t go there, don’t go there, I chant to myself.  Because if I consider the ungodly pain he carried, it becomes an ungodly pain for me, that I carry for him, and the pain morphs into a pain that is bigger than our love and that is unsustainable for me.

Three weeks.  No time at all but more than a lifetime.  Every emotion that beats through my body is overwhelming now, because every emotion translates into crushing grief from what happened, how it happened, that it happened and that my world will never be the same for me without him in it.

I had Handsome Husband for 24 years.  For 23 of those years we were married.  He had 1 child, I had 3. We celebrated our 5 year anniversary with a renewal of vows.  Our 23rd anniversary we celebrated with a slow dance at the side of the road in Death Valley as the sun set and Chicago played for us on my IPOD.  He died 1 month before our 4 years on the road anniversary.  For almost 4 years we sat no more than 2 feet across from one another in our Ford Escape.  2 hearts, mine and his, figuring out our new world.  2 hearts, so closely entwined in the most loving way.  Not perfectly figured out, this traveling world, but always with love.

Handsome Husband loved numbers, frequently adding up the numbers of parks we visited, or military bases or hotels where we stayed, the numbers of miles we traveled.  Numbers.  They carry within them the history of a person’s life.  They mean everything and, ultimately, they mean nothing.

October 16, 1952  (his birth date).  October 18, 1990 (our marriage date).  May 29, 2009 (we became Happily Homeless).  September 2010 (cancer)  October, 2011 (final surgery).  March, 2013 (cancer returns)  April 21, the Day.   11:21 pm, the Time.   May 12.  11:21 pm.  3 weeks.

Inside of those numbers is his life, my life, our life together.  Inside those numbers lie so many broken hearts.