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.
You always said "wish in one hand - sh*t in the other" and see which one fills up the fastest.
So, I know you would not approve of this blog post. But these are my thoughts today.
I wish you had taken the chance when we first learned about the diabetes in 1995. That you had gotten angry enough to fight it. Not have the attitude of "no one is going to tell me what I can or cannot eat, what I will or won't do".
I wish I had been worth the fight.
I miss you.
I love you.
I wonder if you know how much I miss you today ... and allowing myself to miss ONE thing about you? I miss your wisdom and perspective.
Oh Rick. I am so confused and frustrated. You always said to "go where the peace is". And if there is no peace to go - then stay. What happens when there is no peace to go ... but there is no peace to stay? I wish that I could just disappear for a while - at least till some of the confusion and distress eases. If there was a safe refuge to go to - I would be there before night falls tonight.
I love our kids and grandkids. You knew how much then ... and I know how much now. They don't understand the grief and tears. They don't get the change in me. I hope they never do. Neither of them have the room (or life) for me. They have their lives - and they are doing good, honestly better than I really thought they would. They have the day to day stresses, but over all? They are doing good. You gave them a firm foundation to stand on, to build their lives on. You did good. They love you and they miss you. They grieve - but they are slowly moving forward in this life.
I don't really "fit" with either of their lives. They know that. I know that.
They love me. I have no doubt. They tell me that they want me happy - no matter where I am. What they don't understand? I don't even know what true happiness is anymore.
They both have told me that I am welcome in their homes - for as long as I want to be there. That they will "make a way", "make room". I appreciate that more than these words can say.
I don't really feel like a "third wheel" when I am there - but I certainly don't feel like I belong either. I don't know my place in their home - what to do, or what not to do. Seems like I create more stress than joy when I am there. Perhaps I do ... maybe I don't. I don't know anymore.
I don't mean to sound selfish - but, 19 months of sleeping in a recliner, or on a couch ... I am so grateful and thankful to have somewhere to rest, to lay my head - out of the weather, in safety. But, honey! I am aching for more - arms to hold me, a bed to lie down in. I know those nights are over now ... it's hard to accept. Leaves me more tired than I ever thought possible. The realizations and the struggle to accept. There is a weariness that I cannot explain in trying to figure all this out.
Thankfully, I was awarded the widow benefits. Which means I have a little money each month - I am not totally dependent on anyone. But it really is not enough to "live" on. I have priced apartments, and houses. I have even considered living in an RV again. I have looked into working - but a 55 year old woman is not in great demand. And considering I would need to make at least as much as the widow benefits - the opportunities are even fewer and farther between. Working will remove the widow benefits. Damned if I do - and damned if I don't. I wish a thousand times over again that you (we) had better prepared for this time. Sigh. But we didn't. And now ...
Staying with a friend - helping out as much as I can. But even here it feels like I am more of a burden than a joy. I feel in the way - even tho I try to make my "space", and me, as small as possible. I care perhaps too much. I worry that my leaving will create a hardship ... but then I worry that my staying will place a heavy burden that should not have to be borne.
Others make comments - because they don't understand. They aren't living this life. And even the ones who know grief, they don't understand every point of this for me. I am finding that words hurt more than I really care to admit. I keep saying that I do not care what anyone thinks or says - my heart screams loudly, "Yes, you do!"
I am not afraid to leave ... I just don't know where to go, or when to leave.
I am not afraid to be alone ... I just don't know where to be, or how to get there from here.
I am not even afraid to love again ... but I cannot make someone love me, cannot twist their arm to care for me.
And i am not afraid to disappear - in so many ways i feel like i already have. not enough to satisfy some. i just don't know how to make that happen either.
i keep looking for direction ... for a purpose in my being alive. why was it me that lived thru cancer? so many do not. why did i live, and you didn't?
i don't know if i can keep doing this ... i never thought i would get to the point of giving up.
Oh honey! Nothing is right.
i wish a thousand times over again that i could hear your voice, feel your arms, know your wisdom.
what should i do?
where should i be?
I hate this life. being a widow sucks.
how much i miss belonging.
day after tomorrow is Thanksgiving ... and i hate all of this!
i love you - always did ... always will.
i miss you, too.
I never thought I could be so weary ... but here i am - weary to the core.
I never thought I could be so lonely - but here i am - lonely doesn't begin to describe the emptiness within me and just how lost i feel.
I just honestly want to go home.
but there is no home.
home is NOT a house. home is NOT a place.
home is - -
- - knowing that you are loved
- - knowing that you are safe
- - knowing that someone has your back when the world is against you
- - knowing that you are not judged nor criticized
- - knowing that you are supported and encouraged
- - knowing that arms wait for you
- - knowing that a heart would hurt missing you if you weren't there
i just want to go home.
Oh Rick. I miss you.
even the bad days and times - i miss you.
i knew you loved me - even when we argued.
i knew you wanted me in your life - no matter what others thought or said.
i just knew where i stood with you.
i was yours.
i am me. mine.
i don't want to do this anymore.
i have tried.
oh how i have tried.
i don't want to anymore.
i want to go home.
and yet, here i sit.
tears rolling down my face.
knowing that there is no home.
knowing that arms do not wait for me.
knowing that no one stands at the ready when the world (or just one person) is set against me.
even you knew that i do not do well alone --
so i wonder why you had to leave?
it is so not fair.
oh honey! who will ever want me?
not just for what i can do?
not just for being a warm body in bed?
but for my heart? my hopes? my dreams?
for the ideas that abound within me?
for the drive and passion that i have?
you knew all my faults and flaws ...
you were well aware of my shortcomings.
yet, you loved me ... perhaps because you were stuck with me. you did promise to love me no matter what. *wink*
but, seriously, who in their right mind would want a 55 year old woman - me?
i don't need to remind you (or myself) of all the reasons why no one will want me.
if you didn't want me to be alone - you shouldn't have left.
i love you.
i miss you.
just a bad Saturday evening. with not much hope of a better night.
tomorrow is another day - i will try again.
No pretty or cute pictures today sweetheart. Just me - pouring my heart out in these words.
I wonder if you know just how much I love you, and miss you?
I don't think one is ever old enough to be alone like this ... nor is anyone ever married long enough to be without the other. Not when there was a love like ours.
I miss so much about you.
That twinkle in your eye.
The way you would pat me on the butt ... or "cop a feel".
I miss you opening your arms to me - hearing you say, "Awww, baby. It's going to be ok. We will make it thru all this."
I miss coffee with you - even tho you didn't really like it, you would drink that first cup with me every morning.
I miss a glass of tea in the evenings.
I miss fixing your meals, and waiting on you.
I miss when you would find me busy and you would fix me a glass of tea, bring it to me and take one drink before handing it to me.
Makes me smile now to remember.
Memories are sweet ... but they also hurt like hell. Because they aren't real anymore.
I don't mean to whine or complain - but this widow life sucks! Trying to be strong now for 17 months (come Friday). I'm tired, honey. I think about just giving up, giving in to the sorrow and the grief. I feel so weak at the thought of pressing forward and living this life without you.
You gave me strength and you offered me courage.
Our life wasn't perfect. We saw a lot of hard times, didn't we? The last few years being the hardest. But thru it all - we stayed together. We held onto one another. We fought life side by side.
In some ways - you won, and I lost. Living with that hurts.
I want to go home. Oh how I want to go home.
Home is not a house, or a place. Home is being loved, and held. Home is knowing that no matter what - someone has your back. Home is laughter, and disagreements. Home is reality. Oh! I want to go home.
When those thoughts come - on the heels of those thoughts, is the dark realization that there is no home.
I have no house or place to call "home". I have no one who waits for me, or misses me. I have no arms that are open to me. There is no one who truly has my back - even when I am wrong.
I don't even have a place to unpack my suitcase and hang my clothes up - do you know how tired I am of wearing wrinkled clothes? I told you several years ago that I was tired of that. The travels ... the truck driving ... the staying here and staying there. So tired of packing and unpacking. Even more so now. I want to hang my clothes up!
But more than hanging my clothes up - I want to be held. loved. cared for.
I miss you.
I wish I had had the presence of mind in those first few months to hang onto some of the things I miss most now - your coffee cup, your cereal bowl, your favorite glass, spoon and fork, our iron skillet that Momma bought us for a wedding present ... just "things" and "stuff" - but, they were ours! they were now mine. But when the house was taken, and my life was turned inside out - I didn't know what to do with it all. I couldn't think clearly. And now? all that I own will fit comfortably in the back seat of a small car.
Others talk to me about getting my own place ... I might ought to. But there is no excitement in that for me. I do not do alone very well. I have no desire for that. But I know that I cannot continue to be a burden to those around me.
I struggle daily to focus on the little things - those things that make me smile. Moments and memories.
I smile more, and laugh more often ... and I cry less. There are still tears - and on occasion, bitter tears.
Think I am getting stronger at carrying the grief ... but it will always remain. As I will be always in love with you.
I miss you.
It's been a while since I wrote to you. Course, I talk to you every day - no matter where I am, or who I am with, or what I am doing ... you are in my heart, always in my thoughts.
I hope you know that I love you - have loved you since I was about 10 years old. I knew even then that I wanted to be your wife, the mother of your children, the keeper of your home. I just knew. How many times I was told just how crazy I was - for hanging on to that hope and dream, for not paying these other "boys" any attention. It was easy -- because even then, I loved you. I loved you all those years before we got married ... loved you more the years we were married ... and love you still today ... knowing in my heart that I will always love you - first.
it's been almost 14 months now ... since I heard your voice, since I have seen into your eyes, since I have felt your touch. it blows my mind to think that I have had these nights without you ... I miss you, honey. with all my heart, with all that is within me - I miss you.
if you were here now, there would be no question - I would be right by your side, just like always I was.
2 weeks before you died, you had me sit on the edge of the bed and you said these words that I never wanted to hear from you --
Words that have played over and over in my heart and mind. I can still see your eyes - filled with love. Hear your voice - heavy with passion. And I still feel the tears on my cheeks - oh wait, these tears are this morning as I write this ...
"Listen to me. I don't think I am going to make it thru all of this. I feel like my race is about run, that my life will soon be over. When I am gone I don't want you to wallow in the grief. Grieve you will. Mourn you must. But there will come a day when it will be easier for you. On that day, I want you to wash your face, and open your heart. I want you to live this life you are given. Open your heart and soul - to love and to be loved. You are too young of a woman, and way too beautiful, to live this life alone. Let yourself be found - to love, to be loved, to be "in love". You have not only my permission, and my blessing - but you have this as my final request. Honor me in this. Please. ...oh, and if by some miracle I do make it thru all this - then forget these words!"
And you smiled that twinkle ... you opened your arms, I came into your arms. You folded me up, held me close. You kissed the top of my head. And you let me cry. After a while, with your voice husky - you said, "it is enough".
Oh Rick. I didn't want to hear those words then. But I ache for them now. Just to know that you loved me. To know that you still have my back - even in death. I love you, honey. Oh how I love you. Thank you for this priceless and precious gift you have given me.
Will there be one who loves me? Will there be one that I will love? Time will tell. And as you used to say - "Only heaven knows".
I know this -- there is room in my heart to love and to be loved. Never to forget you - for you have your own place in my heart, as in my life. If love happens - I shall allow it. I will accept your blessing, your permission. Thank you Honey. I love you.
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.
Well, Rick ... I had a major meltdown yesterday afternoon.
The grief hit me on the blindside - attacked me and threw me totally "under the bus". The tears came, and wouldn't stop again. My breath was ragged. My thoughts were going 90-to-nothing.
I really thought I was losing it for a little while.
I could not see my way thru that attack.
I fought against it for a few minutes, then thought - What the Hell! What difference does it really make? Like who gives a fuck anyway?
Let the grief have me. I just don't care anymore.
And that was probably the best thing i could have done.
Just let the grief have its work in me.
The tears came ... and then they dried.
The thoughts calmed.
And my breath came back.
There were those who loved on me, spoke words of encouragement and hope to me.
Those who shared their hearts and grief along side me.
Those who just were there - and let me know that they were, quietly waiting with me for the grief bus to roll on by.
And then, the ones who got in it with me ...
wouldn't let go ...
made me smile ...
even made me giggle.
I am so thankful for them.
I can't imagine going thru this grief walk without the ones that really get it, that care enough to stay with me - no matter how fucked up i am.
There were a couple of people that although i would think they would "get" this grief walk, and know what to say -
or what not to say ... sigh.
I gotta say that as much as i detest rude behavior, I feel like i got rude with them.
I will NOT be rushed or pushed into anything.
I am NOT a child in this.
And you know me, I do not handle well when others tell me what I will do, or what I cannot do.
Make suggestions, give words of encouragement, offer to take me by the hand and gently lead me thru the wreckage of the day ... do NOT draw the lines and insist that i walk on them!
Which brings me to my memory for today ...
Thank you for all those times that you listened to me - without judging, without criticizing, without telling me what to do.
You just LISTENED.
You let me talk things out - all the pros and cons, the ins and outs, the ups and downs.
You would offer a word of hope or encouragement, a gentle hand of guiding and leading - but you LISTENED.
Even when you didn't understand - you listened.
i know you were tired at times.
And surely you had to wish on more than one occasion, that i would just shut up.
But you were patient, and kind.
You let me talk.
And when the tears came, you would open your arms and say -
Come here Baby.
I love you.
Rick, I sit here with you on my mind this morning. What shall I write about today?
11 months today since you went away. After 34 years, 7 months, 17 days, and 11 hours - you went away. You left me. You took my breath, my heart. You stole away the music, and my reasons.
I am slowly learning how to breathe again. My heart beats but seems out of time. The music is returning. And the reasons to go on - well, some days I still search for those.
Memories this morning are bouncing around in my head. Flooding my thoughts. Smiles are thru the tears.
--when you got us lost on our way to our wedding night. Going to Lake o' the Pines. We left the church around 10 p.m. - should have been a simple hour drive ... we finally found the motel you had reserved a room at - 1 a.m.!
--the next morning we went to breakfast. The waitress that was snickering when she came to our table. And then, the older lady who came over and quietly told you that you had your shirt on wrong side out. Giggle.
--the times we were in the kitchen together. Music playing. Dancing around. Me cooking - and you snitching every chance you got. The teasing and fussing. The stories we shared.
--You singing to Elvis ... and doing the "hip thing" - making me catch my breath every time.
--us writing the silly little notes to one another, hiding them everywhere. Always trying to "one up" the other one. I found all your notes to me after you left - and I put them into a journal. I sometimes take that journal and snuggle with it. Thinking about you. Missing you.
--the times you would come in the house, tell me to put my shoes on, and you would take me by the hand - lead me outside, and into one of the vehicles. You would get in and start driving. Me asking you where we were going - you knew that drove me crazy! You would just smile and drive. Usually back country roads ... until you found a tree that was amazing in size and strength ... or a rose bush in full bloom - and you would steal a rose bud for me ... or you would drive until we found that out of the way general store, for a coke ... a cafe that you were certain had pie ...
--the midnight runs on the motorcycle. Wake me up at midnight - get up, and get dressed. It's a full moon night - time for a bike ride. We would ride until the sun started coming up.
--when we were so broke we couldn't find 2 pennies ... and you would come home from work with a Dr Pepper for me. Because someone on your route had given it to you, but you would't drink it ... bringing it home to me. I would take 2 of our prettiest glasses, and share it.
--sitting on the swing late into the night talking about our future.
--sitting on the tailgate of the pickup under the stars, asking questions that we had no answers for.
And you know what I miss the most this morning?
Remember when I would get stressed out with life, just with all of life?
You stand there - open your arms - and say ... Oh baby, come here.
I would walk into your arms.
You folded me up in your arms, held me against your chest.
And you would always say the same thing ...
"it's going to be all right. we are going to make it thru this -- together."
Damn! I miss being held. Just to be gathered and held.
I love you Rick ... thank you for all the memories ...
the smiles ...
even the tears.
Just to know that I was loved once in my life.
Loved once - for 34 years, 7 months, 17 days, and 11 hours.
I love you today ... always and forever.
Monkey Hands ...
In 1994-1995, we lived on Dickey Prairie Road, out of Molalla Oregon. We lived in a small mountain cabin that sat on a point of land where Trout Creek flowed into the Molalla River. Surrounded by a forest of trees.
I think it had to be the most beautiful place we ever were blessed to live in our life together.
The cabin had one bedroom downstairs, a loft up a simple ladder that the kids shared, a living room, and a kitchen. The bathroom was a small room that had a bathtub in it. We did buy a camping port a potty to put in there for night times. The outhouse sat 75 steps up into the trees, 35 if you were in a hurry.
Our water came out of the Molalla River - grandfathered in from many years before. I had an electric cook stove, it sat on the side porch - I used it in the summer time. The kitchen stove was a 1929 wood cook stove. We had 3 wood boxes, because depending on what you were cooking - it required different sizes and kinds of wood.
Our bedroom had the most awesome view! 3 sides of the room was windows - and it overlooked the Molalla River. Thru one window you could see Trout Creek as it dropped off into the Molalla. We decided against covering our windows - just too beautiful to cover up.
It was a house filled with love and with joy and with laughter.
And one time in particular is on my mind this morning -- the time of the Monkey Hands.
Rick got home early from work one day, while the kids were still at school. He walked up the driveway - I asked him where the car was. He giggled and said he had parked it across the road up in the woods. Why on earth would you do that? He just giggled.
He sat down at the table, took pen and paper, and began to write --
"Mandy & Joshua - Daddy and Momma have had to go to town. When you get home, just come in and start your homework. STAY OUT of our bedroom!!! There was a circus came thru today, and a gorilla escaped. He got in the house, and Momma penned him in the bedroom. We shut the door, and have gone to town to get the Sheriff. STAY OUT of our bedroom!!! Just do your homework, we will be back in a little while."
Mandy was about 11, and Joshua was almost 10. Just the right age to decide that they knew better than Daddy and Momma. *giggling*
Rick had a pair of gloves that he had picked up somewhere - black leather type palms, and fuzzy on the back. Actually did look like monkey hands.
When we heard the bus coming down the mountain, we went into the bedroom, shut the door, and just got quiet. Rick put the gloves on, and sat down at the door - because there was about an inch of space between the door and the floor.
The kids came in the house, calling for Momma. We heard them walk thru the kitchen, and then Mandy said - "Here's a note." She read it out loud ... and then there was quiet.
Then a loud whisper from her - "I gotta see." Joshua said, "Sissy! Daddy said not to go in the bedroom!" "I just want to see the gorilla."
Soft steps from the kitchen to the bedroom.
Rick reached up and held the door knob with one hand, and stuck his other hand under the door. We heard the kids' breath catch!
"Oh look! There IS a gorilla in there! See his hand!"
Mandy reached down and touched the monkey hand. "I want to see him!", she said. "NO! Sissy, don't open that door!"
Rick leaned on the door so that they couldn't open it. And with his other hand he began to scratch on the door, while making grunting and moaning sounds. By this time, I have my hand over my mouth making myself just be quiet. Oh my - priceless.
Mandy is concerned that the gorilla may be hurt - because he is moaning and groaning. She tries to open the door, it won't budge. She talks to the gorilla telling him to move away from the door.
All this time, Joshua is begging and pleading with her to leave him alone!
Rick got up out of the floor, still leaning on the door. Then he took the door knob, rattled it, like he was trying to open it.
Mandy still talking to this monkey. LOL
Rick looked at me, quietly telling me to get ready ...
We stood to the side of the door ... and he jerked the door open -
As he jerked the door open, Rick lunged out with a gorilla type yell, and I screamed!
Our poor kids! They probably still need therapy! Oh my!!!
Joshua's eyes got big ... and he began to run backwards - but there was a wall there, he could go no farther! Except climbing the wall! Gave new meaning to those words!
Mandy screamed and began to run in place. Then when she realized there was NO real gorilla, she got upset!
Oh Rick -- you were something else.
That was one of your shining moments!!!
Oh so good!!!
Thank you for the laughter that day ... you and I both were sick from laughing, and had sore tummies the next day.
Thank you today for the memories, for the laughter.
I love you Sweetheart.
I miss you, in all of your craziness - I miss you.
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!!!!!