Things realized ... and learned
1. Yes, I am a widow. 29 months now.
2. No, I do not want your boyfriend / husband.
3. Yes, I miss being loved, but even more - I miss loving someone. I like me more when I can give the love away that is locked in my heart and soul.
4. I know my value and my worth as a woman. I also know my flaws and shortcomings. All things considered, the whisper of hope that someone will love me, or even allow me to love them, is fading quickly. I am thinking that I was loved. Operative word being "Was".
5. I am not expecting someone to step in and pick up where Rick left off. What I had with him was a lifetime. We grew up together, we were married for almost 35 years. I will never have that with someone else again. I do not look for it, nor expect it. However, the thought of growing old with someone who loves me, who will allow me to love him? That I could do, and do well without taking one thing from Rick and the love we shared.
6. I am not looking for money, houses, cars, credit cards, trips, or any thing such as. All of that can be there, or not. All of it can change. I have had all that ... and lost it when I lost Rick. In the process of life, loss and grief I have learned an important lesson. None of that matters. It is the heart. If I am looking for anything, now or ever? It is simply to love someone.
7. I believe that you can learn to love again after loss. Love again does not always "just happen". Choosing to love someone, learning to love that one, does not diminish the depth and strength of that love. It is romantic and full of joy when "it just happens". I believe it can be learned and be just as sweet and precious. I also believe that when it is right, it will scare the hell out of you! ;)
8. Grief will remain. Always. As the grain of sand remains within the pearl, even though the oyster has added layer upon layer around that sand, the sand remains. Always. So will the grief remain, no matter the layers upon layers that we add to it. That being said, if life allows another chapter to my life, then the grief will carry on ... but so will I.
9. I am told that I must "love myself first" - before anyone else will love me. To those who say that? Thank you for the added guilt and pressure. I am not worth being loved by anyone until I get my heart and life in order. Wow. I learned to love me AFTER Rick loved me, AFTER he chose me for his beloved. I love me most when I am loving someone else.
10. Life goes on. Whether I want it to or not. Whether with someone or alone. Life goes on. I ache deep within my soul to belong somewhere. If not to belong to some ONE, then at least to belong some WHERE. As of 29 months, I wander. Belonging to no one, belonging no where. Yet, going on with life. Because life goes on.
To those who "get" this journey -
We are each one unique. The love we shared. The lives we lost. The walk on this grief journey now. However, we share so much together. I thought I would share my story for any that have not read it yet.
Part I - -
I fell in love with a boy when I was 10 years old. I knew he was the one I wanted. The only one I wanted. 9 years later, he asked me, "So when do you want to get married?"
Ours was a love of the ages. He was my Sweetheart. I was his Beloved. Never once did either of question the love of the other.
The ups and downs of life - tears and laughter, joys and sorrows, good times and bad, even arguments, and making up *wink*, abundance and want.
In sickness and in health. For richer, for poorer. Life. 2 kids, 4 grandkids.
And then real life blindsided us -
He went into renal failure January 2012. It was caught early - with at least 21% of his kidney function remaining, and with diet and exercise changes prognosis was still a long life without dialysis. July 2012, he tore a rotator cuff at work. Requiring surgery. After much assurance from the doctors that yes they would consult with his nephrologist, they did not. The medication used during surgery (October 2012) destroyed what was left of his kidney function. December 2012 he went on home dialysis. He was more angry than not. Bitter about his body betraying him. No amount of counseling or talk would help. He told me, "You didn't want me to die in the hospital back in January, you wanted me to fight for life - then whatever needs to be done, you do it. I am nothing anymore." So I was the one to do everything needed for the dialysis, no help from him. He gave up into a mere existence.
Yes, we still had good moments and even good days. But the stress began to eat away at "us". There were times when we would sit and talk, with hope of a future. Then when we would walk away from that talk, some little something would happen and the downward spiral would hit him again. Punch after punch after punch.
January 2015, what we thought was a simple yeast infection was so much more. 21 days, 4 prescriptions, 1 doctor, 2 specialists later - he had a partial amputation of his penis, losing over 2/3 of it. The hospital screwed up his dialysis. A week out of the hospital and I could not get things right, so another hospital stay - and he was better. Then, A-fib showed up during a routine dr visit. Back into the hospital for a round of tests. Final on those tests - "Your heart is strong and well. No problems." We were told the first of April 2015 that he would be released from all care by June 1, and we could return to life and living, still on home dialysis.
A stomach virus attacked him on a Thursday. For 3 days he was so ill. Then he began to feel better. He was extremely weak, but better. I was in constant touch with the nurse and doctor on Wednesday. We were told if he was not stronger by Thursday morning to bring him to the hospital, and he agreed.
Somewhere around 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening, April 22, he was sitting there, tears streaming down his face. Alarmed, I asked him what was wrong. His answer, "Honey, I'm scared." "Scared of what, sweetheart?" I asked.
With a fear in his eyes, a tremble to his voice, he told me - "What if it hurts more to die than to live? I have already endured so much pain, I don't know if I can handle any more. I am so tired and weary. What if it hurts more to die?"
My heart constricted. For a moment my voice froze. I looked into his eyes, and I saw his soul.
"Honey, we just have to believe that God would not allow that to happen. That death would simply be a closing of the eyes here, and waking there. A simple step from pain into freedom."
Little did I know that in only 12 hours ...
Advised that it sounded like the first stages of dehydration. I was told to take his blood sugar and blood pressure every hour thru the night. I stayed awake to do just that. He would love on me, hold me, kiss me, tell me how much he loved me, and then he would sleep again.
6:50 a.m. - I was going to wait until the dialysis machine had finished it's last cycle of the night, then I was taking a shower and have coffee. He woke up - stretched one leg out, then the other. I said, "Baby what's wrong?" "My legs are cramping like crazy." Not unusual for him - he had always had leg cramps. Not unusual for a dialysis patient, and certainly not unusual for one having just had a stomach virus. I walked around the bed ... laid my hand on his chest ... looked into his eyes. Love and peace was what I saw. He moved his mouth to say something, I thought his mouth was dry. I looked around for his water bottle, my hand still on his chest. 3 seconds. 3 damn seconds. I looked back at him, he was GONE. His heart just stopped. CPR was started. 911 was called. EMT's worked for an hour. No response at all. He was gone. The EMT's could not stop working on him until they heard me say it - "Leave him be".
3 damn seconds. 3 damn words.
34 years, 7 months, 17 days, 11 hours as Rick's wife. Over in one heartbeat.
Part II later ...
October 03rd, 2017
Ever since Rick died, I have tried to simply continue sharing the ups & downs of life. Not because I really believed anyone cared all that much, but in honor to him. Because he asked me to keep on writing and sharing. His words have been ringing in my ears - "If we can help just one person, then everything that we have been thru, and are going thru, then, it will be worth it."
It seems the more I share, the more "trouble" I find myself in.
I laugh too much.
I cry too much.
I am too sad.
I am too not-sad.
As a result, I have pulled away. I have come back. I have tried to "tone it down", to not share so much.
Rick always said, "You can please some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time, but never will you please all the people all the time". (Not that I am trying to please people with my writings. But it does get a bit old having so many come against me no matter what I write / share.)
So, Rick, just to honor you today - - and if I lose family or friends over this? Then, as you told me many years ago ... what have I lost?
The world doesn't stop for my broken heart. Life goes forward. It is my choice to do what I can to go forward with it.
Grief will always be within my heart and soul. An oyster does not get rid of the grain of sand, rather, he adds layer upon layer when the sand begins to hurt him or annoy him. Creating a precious pearl. However, if you cut that pearl open? The grain of sand remains. I am learning what works best to use as the layers around the grief. Every day, every night, there is a new layer ... a new challenge to find a layer.
Contrary to what has been said to me in the last few days:
(1) I am not hiding from life
Even on the days that I wish I could just hide away, I get up, get dressed, and come to the office. Life goes on. So do I. Always with a broken heart. Forever grieving. Yet, I go on.
(2) I have not run away from home
Silly me, I thought you had to actually have a home before you could run away from it!
(3) I certainly have not forgotten my children and grandchildren
That is just absurd to even think that! How could I ever? For those who think this, you might want to check my phone records, the text messages and the chats, before you continue spouting off what you obviously do NOT know.
& (4) I have not forgotten family and friends, either.
You want to know something amazing?
The phone lines work both ways.
As do the texts and chat messages.
Contact and communication is NOT a one way street.
Use it ... or lose me.
Everyone is free to think what you will, and free to say what you deem necessary so that you can appease your own guilt. Some of you have guilt. You could have spent time with Rick those last 3 years, and you chose not to for whatever excuse you want to lay it off on. I realize that seeing me without him is a vivid reminder that he is no longer with us, and a painful pill that you must swallow.
I love you. Always have. Always will.
I just hope and pray that you never "get" this journey.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here