It was suggested to me that I document this grief walk in pictures. Which is really out of my comfort zone - because I do NOT like my own pictures. But - as a form of visual therapy, I took the advice ... which is one of the reasons I post my pictures (certainly not out of vanity do I do that!).
And then, I look back at the pictures - and wow.
I can see the before Rick peace, love, and joy ...
and then the grief ...
and now I see the healing around the grief.
I know that I will always grieve for Rick, for the life that we missed having together.
I will forever love him.
But I also know that life moves forward.
I am learning to love again ... learning to love ME the way that I deserve to be loved ... learning to love my kids and grandkids - without daddy and p-paw ... learning to love family and friends - alone ... learning to love the music once again ... learning to love this life I have been given ... --
And there are many who do not understand the way I am loving and living. Well, I am learning to love you, too.
This was a very well written piece - by "Widows Wear Stilettos"
Our hearts have an infinite capacity to love.
It is a fact.
No matter what new love comes into your life
or in what form that new love arrives
(because "new love" does not necessarily have to be a person),
Your heart can love to the extent that you permit it to do so.
And if it is your choice to love something or someone new,
you should permit your heart to do so without any limitations.
Your heart has broken.
Your heart has wept.
Your heart works overtime every single day
in order to mend.
Why not allow your heart every opportunity to soar…
To delight in life once again.
and no “forgetting” the past
is or should ever be involved in loving anything or anyone
in a new life.
Do not allow ANYONE to try to convince you otherwise…
Yes, I am hard-headed. I have said it so many times since Rick died - this is MY grief, MY journey, MY life. I will live this the best way I know how ... and if I screw it up, then that is on me. I stand on that still today.
There is no offense intended. I do not desire to hurt anyone.
I am fully aware of this one thing - I am not alone.
I do not have to deal with the "moments" that come alone.
And my actions, or lack of, have a direct effect on others.
Because I am not alone in this grief walk.
I am at the point in my grief of letting chapters close.
It's like when you are reading a really good book, you are in a chapter that just captivates your mind, your emotions, your imagination -- and then, it's over.
You read the last word in that chapter, you stop, you shake your head, you look at the page and say - "WHAT?"
You weren't ready for that chapter to end. Not enough had happened.
Too many questions unanswered.
Your mind is whirling!
You have a choice.
Close the book, even tho it is not finished.
Or - read on.
Find out what the next chapter (s) have to say.
Will the story be continued?
Will the answers be given?
Will there be more excitement?
Will I laugh with the characters?
Or will I cry?
I am choosing to READ ON.
My mind works in analogies - and it used to drive Rick crazy. *giggle*
I think about an oyster who gets a grain of sand within his shell.
He does not cast the grain of sand away.
But every time he feels irritation because of that grain of sand, he puts a layer of protection around it.
He continues this ... until a beautiful pearl is created.
A pearl that is highly favored and of great value.
I will never be without the grief ...
my heart is broken.
And as it was so eloquently put to me yesterday - I don't want to ever be without that grief ... because my deep grief is evidence of the great love that Rick and I shared.
And to be without that grief would mean that it no longer matters.
This grief is proof of the changes in me without him.
But - I have to find those things that will add the layers of protection around my "grain of sand".
So that I can live this life with grace, with dignity - with giggles & with tears.
I know that many do not understand all that I say or do --
or what I don't say or do.
I have been told "I've never seen you like this before" --
uh, no you haven't.
I have never been a widow before.
I love this song - Born Free.
Rick valued his freedom above all things. So do I.
It is so important to me to be free - to be ME. And even more important is to allow others that freedom. I will choose your freedom every time!
We are all BORN FREE! Let's use that freedom to help one another, to love one another, to carry one another thru the bad times, to walk along side one another as partners in this LIFE.
Life changes ... and so have I. For all the years of growing up, I was daddy and momma's "Margaret Lee" ... and then, in that one day - I married and became "Mrs. Ricky Lee McCoy". For 34 years, 7 months, 17 days and 11 hours. And then ... that part of life that sucks - death came and took Rick from me, took all that I was away, too. Life changed - I had no choice.
For good or ill - I have changed. I am now a widow. Rick's widow. And yet, I know that is not WHO I am. That is the life I have to live. And I must find the way thru all the widowhood, the fog of grief, the numbness, the tears, the anger, all the stages of this grief - and believe you me, it is not an easy way.
I thought you moved from stage 1 to stage 2 to stage 3 and so forth.
Oh Hell no! Stage 1 then stage 7 and bounce back to stage 2 and on to stage 5 ... and then just for good damn measure - throw in stage 3,578!
And roundy roundy we go - all the way back to stage 1!!! --oh and that is before the FIRST cup of coffee!!!!
I will never be the same as I was.
Life has become "before Rick died" and "after Rick died".
I am told that is "normal" - Hell, I don't even know what "normal" is anymore!
But - I have no choice but to breathe in and breathe out ... one moment at a time ... one day at a time.
I will NOT give up.
I will NOT quit.
I will be ME.
I am still so in love with Rick - I feel like my heart has been ripped out of me.
I miss him like crazy - every moment of every day.
(And if you think otherwise - you really do not know me at all.)
I loved that man from the time I was about 11 years old. I sat my cap for him. I dated no one else.
I wanted no one else.
I said more than once "If I cannot have Ricky Lee McCoy - I will grow old alone. I will NOT have anyone else."
And he loved me - with a passion ... treated me like a queen ... he was my king. We loved and we lived. We went thru hell and high water together, over the hills and round the mountains - literally, and figuratively. We just lived and loved TOGETHER.
That is the most awesome word - TOGETHER. When you are together.
And then when death happens - it is the LONELIEST word in the English language. Together -- no more.
But you know what I realize? 12 days before the 11th month of life without my Sweetheart?
(1) He's not coming back. No matter what I do or what I do not do - Rick is gone. He is not coming back. I am left with a lifetime of memories, and an emptiness that I must learn to live life with.
(2) Life doesn't stop because of my broken heart. No matter what, Life goes on. One moment at a time. One day, one night. Each 24 hours. Life goes on.
(3) I press on forward. I breathe in. I breathe out. I cry until I laugh. Then I dry the snot bubbles. I laugh until I cry. And I find that the meltdowns come less often.
(4) Those that promised to "always be there for me" in those hours after Rick died, Life goes on for them - even tho Life for me came to a screeching upside-down-inside-out stop. I do not fault them - I remember all too well those days when I promised to "always be there" for those around me who had lost their spouses ... and then, Life went on for me. And months later - sometimes years - I could not understand or grasp that they were "still" grieving. I am sorry to each one of those ... I am so sorry.
(5) I am not the only one grieving. Not the only one grieving for Rick. And certainly not the only spouse grieving the loss of heart and life and soul and joy and peace and all that goes when he/she dies.
(6) These that are living this walk of grief, they are fast becoming framily to me. Friends that are family. There is an understanding between us that defies all explanation or definition. We are there for one another in the best of times - we giggle and we laugh ... we are there in the worst of times - we scream, and cry, and curse. And we send hugs and kisses and love and prayers and thoughts to one another by any means that we can - messaging, texts, Facebook, phone calls, and when we can ... face to face, arms around one another.
(7) I am slowly changing ...
--I have more patience in some areas than ever before. And in other areas? Well ... my patience and tolerance is at an all time zero level! Especially with rude behavior, or just plain stupidity. Yes, stupid should hurt!
--A desire to try new things, have new experiences, make new memories. Alone, and with friends. Alone, and with my kids and grandkids.
--Less caring of what others think about me. I never want to be mean or hateful - I really do care about others. But ... I maintain what I have said now for these almost 11 months ... This is MY grief, MY journey, MY life. I have to live this in the way that makes the most sense in a senseless life - to ME.
--My emotions seem to be settling more. Less the pendulum ride.
--Working on losing weight and getting in better shape. I have lost about 65 pounds since Rick died, and still working on it. As well as beginning to work on toning and firming this old body up. I will never be the 18 year old again - but ... I want to be the best 54 year old that I can be. I want to be better ... to feel better ... and yes, not with vanity or pride - but I want to look cute, hot and sexy.
--I cry less ... smile more ... giggling ... laughing. Does NOT mean that I miss Rick less, or don't love him as much as always.
LIFE goes on ... and I must adapt to live it.
I've read a thousand plus words on grief -
the pictures on Facebook, articles, books ...
I've heard a million words from people -
those who know this grief walk,
and those who have no idea what it is all about ...
And the ONE thing that is the same ...
Grief is MESSY.
it isn't easy, nor quick, nor simple.
it is hard, difficult, messy, too damn complicated.
and it hurts like a HELL that I have never known before.
and if you have never lost a husband or a wife, be ever so thankful -
but also be forewarned ...
you probably will be offended at some point in this blog.
Grief has many levels.
And in this journey of life, everyone experiences grief.
Death brings grief - be it death of a parent, a child, a family member, a friend ...
or be it death of job, a home, a dream, a hope.
No one gets thru this life without death and grief.
I have experienced almost all levels of grief ...
and to take nothing from you, to not say that your grief is less than mine -
but I will say it again, in all the death and grief that I have known there is NO death like the death of my husband ... and there is NO grief like the grief of being a widow.
And especially when you have lived such a life in being married that you are completely entwined with that person.
It was not Rick & Margaret.
It was US.
OUR home, OUR job, OUR family, OUR friends, OUR days off, OUR.
When you become ONE in life, death rips you apart in ways that defy all logic and all explanation.
After 3 years of being Rick's caregiver, and all the talks we had about life and death - and what I would do when he died - I think I was "prepared" for him to die ...
but yet, are you EVER "prepared"?
What I wasn't "prepared" for was for the ME that I had known for so long to die with him.
Nor was I "prepared" for all the relationships that I had known with him all those years to change.
-am I just a painful reminder that Rick is now gone?
And now, I find myself with broken pieces of my life ... shattered shards of ME ...
and not knowing the first damn thing about putting it all together.
I also find a guilt that I never expected -
my heart hurts that anyone else has to go thru this,
but at the same time ...
thankful that I am not alone.
There are those who know this grief walk, who get it -
those that I don't have to defend myself, or explain to them.
They just GET IT.
And I find an anger in me -
that Rick left me.
That I have to deal with all this alone.
That this is so damn complicated!
I don't want to be a widow any more!
There is a difference in me.
I will never be the "same" again.
I honestly don't think there is anything the same as before.
Everything has changed.
And if you don't think so - then be thankful that you don't get it!
And I realize that there are those that just cannot accept that difference. Not sure why - except I am thankful that they do not know, that they don't get it, that they truly don't understand - but it's ok.
They don't have to.
I don't need their acceptance to live this life I have been given.
But be sure of this - I cannot do this widow's life your way.
I have to do it the way that works for me ...
and sometimes that changes every 5 minutes of my days and nights.
The differences are at times so far from my comfort zone that it scares me - and at the same time, thrills me.
The fear I feel is not the kind that pushes me in a corner with panic,
but it is driving me forward -
to face the challenges,
to prove to myself that I CAN live this life,
I CAN do this!
Little things have always meant so much to me.
But even more so now.
I don't care about stuff - I want memories.
I want to go and to do and to see.
I want the sights and sounds and smells of life.
to sit on the banks of a river - watching the flow of the river, grasping for peace within my heart and soul.
to take a country road drive - music playing at times loudly, at times softly.
to have a picnic under a shade tree - cheese and crackers with a glass of wine.
a cup of coffee while watching the sun rise thru the trees, listening to the birds singing.
a glass of sweet tea, sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck under the moonlight.
to dance in the rain - barefoot and in the mud, laughing like a kid again.
to catch fireflies in a mason jar - watch them sparkle for a while, and let them go.
take a walk in knee high grass.
pick wildflowers off the side of the road.
just a simple country girl. liking to be barefoot and wear my pearls.
not really caring what others think about me.
but not wanting any dishonor or disrespect to be given to my husband, nor to those who do get this life of grief.
I love my husband, and I miss him like crazy.
There are those who are now saying that the grief is a "pretend game" that I am playing. WTF?
I give you the ignorance card - you just don't know.
My husband is gone.
He is not coming back.
Nothing I do - or don't do - will bring him back.
If I thought for one heartbeat that me going to bed and staying there would bring him back -
you wouldn't find me anywhere but laying there.
But he is gone.
That's the hardest part in all of this - just the knowing that he is gone. Forever.
He is NOT coming back.
I have a choice - and I choose to live this life the best way I know how ... grieving ...
giggles and tears.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here