Full Circle

It appears that I am remarkably consistent in my thinking.  All through this journey I am on I have written, sporadically, but still capturing my thoughts on paper.  When I feel melancholy I seem to have a nasty habit of trying to make myself feel worse by revisiting some of my previous writing.  Not all of it was angst believe it or not.  I used these little recipe cards that I kept by my bed, in my purse, everywhere.  When the mood hit me, I captured my thoughts.

Some of my writings contained ideas about how to make life better for people who end up in the same circumstances as me – facing the death of their partner and not knowing what’s expected of one, what it means and what to do – financially, emotionally, and so on.  Kevin died and in that first year I literally had so many stupid problems to deal with – bees in the walls, broken appliances, a flood in the basement, stupidity with the banks, it just kept coming.  And I wrote and I wrote.

But I also wrote, and I found this card last week, about loneliness and what to do about it.  My loneliness is and was pretty much self inflicted and I recognize that.  It takes effort to reconnect with people, physical and emotional effort, and, so far, I haven’t put much into it.  But people, friends and family, are hugely important.  We can be surrounded by people and yet somehow manage to be completely alone.  So on this card I found, I had written about setting up a club for people like me – alone, partnerless, widowed, divorced, unattached, didn’t matter how you got there, just that you were. I had mulled over the name – either the Solitaire Club (Shine on you crazy diamond), or One (one is the loneliest number). I had wanted my club to meet once a month, for drinks and conversation.  I’d written this card just about two years ago.

For the last month I’ve been saying to my daughter I need to do something, to get involved again, find some interests.  And then I find the card.  Go figure.  I guess it is something that I need to do. Put a little effort into life , and pick up the pieces and make a new puzzle.

The Twins

This past weekend I paid a visit to my son and his family.  They live around five hours away when travelling by car.  Two weeks ago his wife gave birth to twins –  boy and girl.  How his father would have talked up that!  No history of twins on either side of the family.  A completely unplanned pregnancy – especially since they already had three little boys, 6, 4 and almost two years of age.  Now they have 5 little ones.  Such a crazy chaotic life stretches before them!

It was awesome to meet the two newest babies – and they are perfect in every way.  Hard too, since it was the one thing that Kevin would go on about – how after he retired he planned on taking the grandchildren, the boys, there were no girls at that point, and have them come and stay with us for the summer.  He loved those kids and had great plans for them, plans he would never get to see through- so it was hard.  I have six grandchildren now, three of which never met him, that will only hear stories about their larger-than-life granddad.

When Kevin was close to the end, my son’s wife found out she was pregnant with her third child.  I couldn’t tell Kevin about the pregnancy, it would have broken him even more.  It was a hard thing to do, I know my son wanted his father to know.  But I couldn’t tell his dad, a man that family was everything to.  To know he wouldn’t be there for the birth of a child would have caused him so much pain. Right or wrong, I made the decision, Kevin had suffered so much, and he had anguished over everything, I couldn’t add to his burden.

As he got sicker, Kevin would tell me over and over that I got a bum deal when I married him.  How sorry he was that he got sick, for letting me down. He told me that I had to be there for the kids because he wouldn’t be able to.  His family was everything to him, and I like to believe that it still is.  Somewhere, somehow he carries a light to guide us forward.  That when I cradled those little ones on the weekend their grandfather was right there with me.  I believe his love certainly was.

What a crazy thing emotion is, that so much joy and so much sorrow can be in one’s heart at the same time.  But that’s how it was when I heard about the babies, so happy and so sad at the same time.  I say this often, because it’s true, I miss you so much Kevin.

 

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Shine On

i am heading into the hard part of the year.  January to March – hard for a multitude of reasons.  Deaths, lots of them, close and personal: my mother (January), father (February), father-in-law (February), mother-in-law (March), husband (March) topped off with what would have been my anniversary (March) – significant events that loom ahead of me.   I can’t remember last year’s Christmas it was overshadowed by the impending sadness. All I could think of was what I had lost. Loss, over and over again.  My mind, my thoughts consumed by the pain of death.

Now we head into Christmas again, marking, for me, the onset of a dark period.  That’s how I think of it – those life events that will be with me for always – sadness, darkness, heaviness.  I know it’s coming, can’t escape it and actually don’t want to. It’s part of my family history now, of who I am.  I know I can move through it, my family beside me, where I need to be with the people that matter the most.  I know it will be hard; I am keenly aware of the uncertainty of being, we all are in this family.

Twenty months after Kevin’s death and I think I am resignedly moving on in this loss journey from the “what ifs” to the “what is”, but that I will always carry the “what was” in my heart and in my mind.  Otherwise, what was the purpose of being if not to be remembered, of love, if not to be mourned.  Kevin’s star will always shine bright in my universe.

Finished

The task is complete and the room is done.  What a job that was.  Unfortunately, coward that I am, I saved the most difficult stuff for last.  And it was hard.  We had seven photo boards on display at Kevin’s funeral.  Covered with pictures, rich with memories.  After the funeral they had leaned against the wall in that little room.  For the first few months after he died every now and then I would take one of the boards out and run my fingers over the pictures, trying to remember and feel him again.  Silly thing but it was an unconscious need on my part.

I was always the ‘touchy’ one in our relationship, and Kevin didn’t mind that at all.  He’d sit beside me and I’d rub his shoulders or hands or even his feet.  He’d go very still, afraid that if he moved I’d stop.  If one of our cats jumped up on the couch with us he’d know it was game over, I’d start patting the cat.  Kevin did alright though.  So perhaps that’s why I felt the need to touch those pictures, because that’s what I do.

They were the last, but the biggest, hurdle in that room.  Seven boards with 20 to 30 photos on each one.  I sat there and peeled those pictures off the mounting boards and cried the whole time.  It couldn’t be hurried, each one needed to be looked at before it went away.  It was, after all, my life too in each of those images; a way of living that died when he did.

One of the toughest realizations that has come out of Kevin’s death has to do with the extent of the impact on the family.  For those who had him as a friend, you mourn his loss, perhaps profoundly, but the exposure and interaction with him was different – not constant.  For me, and the family, that loss is boundless – that day the light in our lives dimmed, and  part of us retreated to the shadows.

I think about that statement, ‘larger than life.’  I’ve pondered over it more than once since Kevin died.  If anyone earned it, it was him.  He loved life and while he was here he lived it large. Those photo boards were a testimony to that.  They also were a painful reminder of how quickly life can change.

 

Happy Birthday

Not much more to say.  This would have been Kev’s birthday.  We would have started celebrating days ago when he planned out exactly what he wanted.  The kids would have all been here.  Family and friends, helping us enjoy the day.  Enjoyment for Kevin, work for me.  What I wouldn’t give to be complaining about how much work it was.

Today’s reality was it was an easy day for me work-wise, but one filled with silent tears.  Great memories, but memories that are overshadowed by heartache and sadness.  Maybe one day I will be able to wake up on the 28th of August and not feel the sorrow, but that day isn’t here yet.  So for today it is Happy Birthday thoughts and wishes for a man whose melody continues on in the great cosmos as stardust, magical beautiful stardust.