Laughing Til’ I Snort~

My wid sis, Lorri, sent me this meme yesterday, and I snorted with laughter til I just about choked.

Seriously. It’s frickin’ hysterical. 

I laugh like a lunatic every time I see it.

Which is frequently, because I printed it out and put it on the wall next to my desk.

This kind of dark humor is pretty much the only thing that tickles my former funny bone. 

You know, the one I had when Chuck was alive and I genuinely laughed at all kinds of shit, and enjoyed life.

Now?

Now it’s this kind of dark humor.

One of my other fond laughing til I snorted moments was last Spring, after I and two of my wid sisters had wrapped up Camp Widow Tampa and returned to MacDill AFB where we’d taken lodging.

Before going to our separate rooms, we hung out in the snack bar near the front desk, knoshing on french fries and sandwiches. 

Talking about CW, people we’d met, workshops we’d attended. How the best part was just hanging out with our wid community, shooting the shit.

Our conversation quickly devolved…or evolved, as I see it…to our dead husbands. Funerals. Cremations. Urns. Memorials. Widowhood. The shit of widowhood. What it’s really like. How we’d love to say to those who are in early stages that it all gets better but mostly it just stays shit and you do life anyways and you make it count because what are the options and dating and marrying again and…everything.

We were laughing uproariously about all of it. Same as me and Lorri, with whom I’m rooming here in AZ, were doing this evening, over this meme.

As we sat in that snack bar at MacDill, and sat in the diner here in AZ this evening, laughing til our stomachs hurt, anyone looking at us would have thought we were having the time of our lives. The server at the snack bar commented to us about the good time we were having and how good it was to see people so enjoying themselves. 

Bless her heart.

If we’d told her that we were discussing rubbing our dead husband’s cremains into our arms after scattering them…or scattering them and having the wind blow them back into our faces…or mixing them in with, say, brownies or muffins and how inappropriate that would be…but would it really be inappropriate?…I can imagine the look on her face, right?

Dark widow humor. It’s my saving grace.

It takes what is real and painful and forever and puts it right there in front of me and you and helps us cope.

Yeah, death takes us all at one point. Of course it does. In any couple, 1/2 of you will die before the other half and the remaining half will be left holding the bag, trying to make sense out of the wasteland you now stand upon.

I’m never been comforted by the memes that boldly state when you can bravely tell your story without crying, that’s when you know you’ve healed. Shit, I don’t even know what the word healing means, other than I’m sure it carries different meaning for each person.

I don’t know what the word hope means, except…shit, I don’t know. 

I don’t care for the meme that says “you can cry because they’re gone or you can smile because they lived. That kind of shit diminishes the real and true and natural and normal expression of grief. I do, however, believe that I can cry because they’re gone AND smile because they lived, etc, etc...

I can’t promise those who are newly bereaved that it gets better, or easier. There are considerably too many components to grief to make such a blanket statement. Too many variables presented to each individual to say such a thing.

Call me a pragmatist.

All I know to really say is get ready for the shittiest, most confusing, exhausting, life changing and not always in a good way, ride of your life. Hang on tight. Hang onto your community. Find your community, as quickly as you can. They’ll save your life and, sometimes, with dark humor, your sanity.

Widowhood….grief in general, whatever the relationship…ain’t for the faint of heart.

So, yeah, I have a great sense of humor.

But it isn’t anything like the sense of humor I used to have.

And I’m okay with that.

Because, you know….

#deadhusband~

From Our Past…in my Present~

St Thomas Aquinas said that Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility.  It is therefore able to undertake all things.

To hear your laugh again did wonders for my heart.  I feel so deeply for you and want you to be as happy and fulfilled as you can be.

I know that Betty is now free of pain is with Kysa, and both are celebrating their new life.

I know that love is a powerful emotion and if anything can help, it is love. 

Together, in love and through love, we will get through this difficult time.

For most of our 24 years together, my beloved husband, Chuck, and I kept a journal for Love Notes to each other.  We did this instead of exchanging cards.  I’d write a note to him, a page maybe, and then place it on his pillow for him to find.  Or he’d write a note to me before leaving TDY (military travel) and put it on my pillow to find and read while he was gone.

Our Love Notes journal has traveled with me for all the years since Chuck died.  Mostly I haven’t opened it; it’s been too painful.  But it resides snugly with his flag and cremains, within hands reach each night, whether I’m in my trailer or in a room somewhere.

A few nights ago I opened it again.  Just read the first couple entries I told myself.  That much is bearable.

Our first few entries began the same year my mom and brother died.  Each of them had a different kind of cancer.  My younger brother died, and when I called my sister to tell her that our brother had died, she told me something was wrong with my mom.  Six months later my mom died.  Chuck was newly retired from the military, unable to find a job, money was tight, and death seemed all around us.  It was an impossibly stress-filled time.

The quotes above are Chuck’s words that he wrote to me in the first two entries of our Love Notes journal.  He writes the words about my brother and mom, about grief, about death…but he is speaking to me from the grave, isn’t he?  Because the words he wrote are what he believed, they tell me his concept of the afterlife, his fervent belief in the power of Love, and yes and most especially, what he wanted for me then, what he would want for me now.

These words are so very important because I’ve agonized since Chuck’s death, trying to remember what he believed of an afterlife.  I know we must have had numerous conversations about that, and about a Higher Power but I can’t recall any such conversations.  I don’t know what I believe and it has literally sickened me that I may not ever see him again, that maybe our 24 years is what we had and that’s it and it’s done and over and I can’t bear that thought.  I just can’t.

Within those sentences, within those words that I read night after night so that I can memorize them into my heart…I read them and I physically felt my heart begin to pound.  Here it is, I thought, here they are…his words Chuck’s words his beliefs here they are!  I don’t need to try to remember any longer because they’re right here to read, in a tiny journal of Love Notes, words that were written from him to me over 20 years ago.

His words echo what my heart and my instinct have told me continually since I began my Odyssey of Love.  That Love is all that matters, that with love and through Love, I can get through this.  It’s what I have left of him and what I live daily, mile after mile, year after year.

Chuck spoke to me from the grave yesterday, powerful words on the pages of a little book covered in stars and moons.  He spoke to me in the here and now, from a day in the past, and told me what he believed and what he hoped for, and what he wanted for me, and each and every one of his words are what he would write to me today, as I widow my way.

Love is powerful.  Love is what he and I shared for 24 years and Love is what he left behind for me and Love is all that matters to me now and forever.  We were Love and now I am Love.                                                                                                                                img_6451