My 6th Holiday Season
This is my 6th holiday season without you, Rick
I would think by now it might be easier -
I would be thinking wrong
The tears don’t come as often
But when they do?
They are still hot & sticky as they roll down my cheeks
The sobs still wrack my body
The grief seems to consume me
Mentally, emotionally, physically
I have learned to let it come -
But then to let it go
And to breathe deeply of life, of love, of laughter in the aftermath
Thankfully the destruction is kept to a minimum these days
The grief seems to have more of a healing effect on me now than what it did in the early days, weeks & months of being a widow
But how do I explain the difference to people who aren’t walking the path of being a widow?
Those who saw me crying in the early times
And who see tears upon my face now
They think it’s all the same
And wonder how I can still be so “trapped” or “wallowing” in grief
I am still told to “get a grip”, to “get over it”, to “move on with life”
I usually just take a deep breath and let it go
No words are said
Words are no longer enough
Words no longer have meaning and strength to them
I have not the energy to defend myself, nor my tears
Only those who have known a love that is your very breath and reason for living
And who have had the heartache of that love being taken from you
Only those “get” these thoughts, these emotions, these heart tugs
Many have said that “grief is grief” - and that we all know grief
While I agree with that statement, I also disagree with it
I have known the love and loss of parents, a brother, 2 sisters, a grandchild and numerous family members and friends
As hard as it was to endure the loss of my momma, and as much as I miss her every day - even after 14 years, still reach for the phone to call her at times -
As heart wrenching as many of these losses have been, and the change they have wrought within my heart and my life -
No loss was as intense or life changing as losing you, Rick, my husband.
Learning to navigate this life alone is the greatest challenge of my 59 years
Some have even blamed me for being alone - telling me that I should just love again
I just take a deep breath and softly say to myself, “It’s not as easy as you think” & let it go,
There are no answers that will satisfy
My heart is ready to love again
My mind tells me it’s ok to love again, after all, that’s what you asked me to do
- so there is no guilt there, no thoughts of betrayal
However, 99.99% of the guys I have talked to in these 5+ years since you have been gone want one thing ... well, 2:
1. Sex texting. Talking about it. There’s a good morning, how are you? Quickly followed by, “do you like the lights on or off” or some variation to that.
2. Pictures of boobs. Yes, I have 2 boobs. Yes, they are the larger size ones. But no! They are not for sale, they are not for a free look, either.
I can only think of 2 men who have been true gentlemen in every sense of the word.
2 men out of the many who have treated me with respect and honor.
2 men who have offered me comfort and conversation
2 men who have thought of me as more than just a warm body, or as one who can use words to stimulate
Ironically, both of them are named “Bill”.
One lives in Tennessee, and one lives in Idaho.
And to both of them, I give my heart and my soul!
One you know (Idaho Bill), and the other (TN Bill) you would have adored as much as I do!
These other guys?
One by one they have dropped away
When I do not respond with the talk or pictures, they no longer have a use for me, nor interest in me
And that’s just fine with me
If I am not worth more than that to someone, then I am worth nothing to them
God has His way of removing people from my life
Because He knows best who is a true friend, and who is not
I will say though that there are times when I am sorely tempted and tried,
just so that I can have someone to talk to,
someone to share some time with
But a deep breath and realization -
Not worth the guilt and regret
Not worth the shame and sorrow it would bring
So alone I am
and alone I will stay, unless God has another plan for me
Rick, I miss you terribly
Everything about you
Hey, You! :)
well, it's been 5 years now
5 years since i felt your touch
5 years since i looked into your eyes
5 years since i heard your voice say, "I love you"
i miss you more than i have words to tell
i know you would smile that smile of yours
and tell me how silly i was being if i told you
that i miss even our arguments
but i do
i miss everything about you
i miss everything about us
you were more than my husband
you were my best friend
you were my memory keeper
you were the one who could make me mad as an old wet hen
but you were also the one who could turn my giggle box upside down
i miss the way you smelled
the way your skin felt beneath my fingers
the touch of your whiskers on my neck
i miss the better half of me
i certainly don't feel like much of a woman without you
i've tried -
but failed miserably
i'm back in the arms of God now
so that's a good thing
when you died, i lost my way
i tried to be strong
but everything went wrong
i'm sorry honey that i let you down
that will be the regret of my life i know
i thought i was doing the best for me, the best for the kids and grandkids,
by going to kentucky for a while
never meant to stay so long
never meant to cross the lines
never intended to be like that
you were my anchor
and you were gone
guess i put too much on you
now it's God's turn to carry me
from here till eternity
no matter what happens
no matter where i go
it's all God
or it's nothing now
i'm glad you aren't here now in 2020
it's crazy here with the coronavirus pandemic
oh you and i would be having a blast together in this quarantine state
but it would also drive you crazy ;)
i sure miss you though
your sense of reason
your words of wisdom
just to hear your voice say "it's going to be ok, we are going to be ok - either way"
i will forever love you
and always miss you
with every breath i take
in every move i make
i know i have a lot of love left in me
and a lot of life yet to do
not sure how to get from here to there
or find out what it means
and how to do it
it's different without you
the regret over the last 5 years is almost more than i can bear at times
but God says He has forgiven me
i can only hope that somewhere down this road of life
i will find forgiveness for myself
and trust that you still love me
maybe i can yet make you proud of me
you often said that you would go crazy without me
that you couldn't handle life alone
you told me i was strong
honey, i hate to admit it
but you were wrong
i'm the one that lost it when you died
i'm the one who cries herself to sleep night after night, 5 years later
i work at moving forward
but 1 step on seems only to lead to 15 back
others are getting frustrated with me
sometimes i think the story of the old Indians going off alone is the best way after all
reading the Word
listening to the music
praying with all that is within me
what else am i supposed to do
rick, i sure do miss you
5 Christmases without You, Rick.
Good morning, Rick.
I wonder if you know just how much I miss you. Always. But there are times I miss you more.
When I have a bad dream, like night before last. One of those recurring dreams - where no matter how many times I woke up and went back to sleep, the dream just continued. I couldn't make it stop. I couldn't change the ending. It haunted me all day yesterday, seemed to permeate every part of me. Oh what I would give to be held in your arms after a bad dream, have you once again wipe away my tears with your kisses. Feel the beat of your heart as you wrapped me in your love and care. Just to know that I was guarded and protected. Sigh.
When I can't sleep, like last night. Waking up every few minutes all night long. Back aching. Legs cramping. I remember how you used to rub my back, and massage my legs. Do you know how hard it is to not be touched now? I'm realizing more and more that touch deprivation is a real thing - - real, painful, heart breaking.
Christmas is only 16 days away. Lights are up - makes me remember when we would go out at night, get a cup of hot chocolate at McDonald's, the white hot chocolate, and drive around looking at Christmas lights ... just the 2 of us. How many hours and gallons of gas did we use when the kids were little - going Christmas light lookin'? But I think we used almost as many just for us. Music plays - reminding me of hearing your voice singing or humming the carols. The Christmas baking & cooking - how you would snitch and I would fuss ... how you would grab me from behind, wrap your arms around me and take a "bite" out of my neck. Sigh.
One would think that this 5th Christmas without you would be easier ... it's not. There is no numbness now. Just the pain of emptiness.
One would think that being here with family and friends would make things better ... it doesn't. They are all so busy with their own lives and plans. And you know me, I can't ask them to change just for me. Seeing the couples together, even our kids, makes me miss you even more ... how is that possible? To miss you MORE? Yet it is.
Oh Rick. I know that death is just a part of life. But the holidays are a stark and blasting reminder of just how sucky a part of life it all is. I miss you.
Yes, I am counting the days till Christmas. Maybe I can breathe a little afterwards.
I don't want to wish away my life ... but I do have a few thoughts running thru my heart wishing the holidays were over. Sigh.
If only there were some way for you to wrap your arms around me now. Hold me. Just for a little while.
I love you -
Ever since you died I have struggled with the thoughts and feelings that it should have been me.
That if you had lived instead of me you would have known what to do, where to go, and how to get thru this.
I have cried a river of tears.
I have stomped and stormed.
I have tried to just accept and go on.
Still lost and confused.
Still thinking that it would have been better for everyone had it been me who died instead of you.
Then came yesterday afternoon and a moment of clarity, a "light-bulb-moment" as you used to call it.
Had it been me who died, you would have been as empty and lost as I am today.
We were so much a part of each other.
I love you too much to even think any longer that it would have been better.
I love you honey.
And as hard as this is to deal with - I am glad that you don't have to know the pain and agony of the emptiness and loneliness.
I still don't know what to do, nor where to be.
I don't feel like I belong anywhere.
There is such a cavernous and aching emptiness inside of me.
But I am breathing ...
some days Just Breathing.
I am putting one foot in front of the other, taking one moment at a time.
I love you and I miss you.
After all these months - it is still so hard to believe I will never see you again.
That you will never hold me.
I will never smell you when you kiss my forehead.
This hurts like Hell.
I love you too much to wish it were you dealing with it.
Independence . . .
Rick, i sit here this morning with a thousand thoughts and memories.
Sifting thru them, wondering what to write about.
It's hard sometimes to find the words - when i love you so much, when i miss you like crazy.
But what comes to the front of my mind and heart this morning is the independence you put in me.
When we got married, 35+ years ago, you asked me if i wanted a career - outside the home.
You told me before i answered that you would support me and do all you could to help me - whatever i wanted to do.
I didn't even have to think about it.
I remember looking at you - and telling you that i wanted to be your wife, the mother of your children one day, and the keeper of your home.
I still see the pride and joy in your eyes.
I see the glistening of passion and honor there.
And i hear your voice - "Well, then. I will make the living, you make the living worthwhile."
That is what we did ... for 34 years, 7 months, 17 days and 11 hours.
You also said, how many times did you say this to others? - "I have a very obedient wife."
Other guys would look at you and call "Bullshit" --
and your answer was always the same ...
"No seriously - she is very obedient. Always does exactly what i tell her. Because i told her to do whatever she wants to do - and i am big enough to back her up in it. And that is what she does - whatever she wants to!"
I miss that about you.
But i am so thankful for all those years of having that from you.
Course, that makes me a little more hard to deal with now.
There are those that wish i would listen to what they think and say more. That wish i was not so independently minded.
All i can say - Oh well!
It is who i am ...
Rick worked too hard to get me to where i am.
I will honor your legacy, your memory.
And i will stand on my own feet, even if i stumble and fall.
I miss knowing that you are there to steady me, or pick me up.
I miss knowing that you are there to defend me.
Makes me feel a bit vulnerable now.
But - I am learning to stand firm.
To draw those lines about meself.
I love you Rick.
I miss you.
An open letter Sweetheart ...
Rick -- i love you. and i miss you like crazy.
it's been 33 weeks today without you.
i look at your pictures and you are so alive in them.
it feels like you have just gone off on the truck again.
only you never come home now.
you don't call me anymore.
i wonder what did i do wrong? why did you leave me?
oh i know, deep within me, i know that i did not do this to you.
it was not my choice that you die. i don't think it was your choice either.
i think it was just life.
but life sucks!
i'm making it.
not sure how.
sometimes i wonder why.
but i'm making it.
one moment at a time.
some of those moments are tear stained - some are just buckets full of tears.
i don't feel one bit guilty over the tears.
after 35+ years together, tears are to be expected.
some of the moments are filled with smiles and even laughter.
i think those are even harder than the tears.
the guilt comes in - wave on wave. threatening to overwhelm me.
to take me under.
everyone says not to feel guilty when i laugh, or when i smile.
everyone says that you would want me to go forward with my life.
everyone says that you would want me to Live.
on one hand, i think they are right.
and on the other hand, i want to scream - what do you know? how do you know what my husband would want?
you and i had hours upon hours of conversations in the last 3 years.
And even more the last year.
i have no real doubt of what you would say to me now ... of what you would want for me.
*it's all going to be ok, honey.
*you are going to make it just fine.
*i'm just sitting here waiting on a woman.
*live your life. and live it well.
*cry a little when you need to.
*do what you want to for a change. you have raised our kids - and they are good kids, with good lives. you took care of me when i needed you.
now - do something for you.
Oh Rick. i don't know how.
i don't know how to keep on going thru all this.
this storm that just never lets up.
emotions that are all over the place.
thoughts that batter me from within.
days of nothing but memories.
i don't know how to take care of me - not without you.
But ... i'm trying.
and i'm learning.
no one handed me an instruction manual about being your widow.
so, there is a lot of trying and not doing -
probably more so than trying and getting it right.
i didn't know that when you left, just about everyone else would leave me too.
not in death have they left.
but they have left just the same.
perhaps it is because some of them are grieving, too.
perhaps it is because they don't know what to say. afraid that they will upset me. (like i don't stay upset - but whatever)
perhaps it is just their lives going on while mine came to a screeching halt.
i have met some new friends.
and they are quickly becoming family.
they are finding their ways into my heart and life.
i have lost about 60 pounds in these 33 weeks. i would so much rather be doing this with you.
but at least, i guess, i'm doing it.
got my hair permed again. will probably keep a spiral perm - i like the way it makes me feel.
trying to keep my nails did.
done a few little things just for me.
spending time with the kids and grandkids.
bought a little car - a convertible. oh it needs some TLC - and hopefully i can either figure out how to do that, or find someone who knows what to do.
slowly it feels like the woman in me is waking up.
the music plays again - more quietly right now.
i think i want to write that book that you and i talked about so much.
-a friend says that he thinks i can, that i should - has even promised to buy a copy of it. (you would like him. i can see in another world, a better time, that y'all would be friends.)-
i don't know where to go from here.
i don't know how to go on from here,
i know that life goes on.
and i know that i want to Live it.
i love you Sweetheart.
and i forever will.
September 5, 1980
The day my life began as Mrs. Rick McCoy. No greater joy, no greater passion - Thank you Sweetheart for choosing me. I love you - always have and forever will!!!!!