The last day of 2017.
It has been a mixed year - laughter & love, tears & sorrow. Which just means - it has been a year of Life.
I've learned that no matter what I do, sometimes it just is not enough.
I've also learned that some people do not get the concept of friendship in bad times as well as in good times. Brings new (and sad) understanding to "fair weather friends".
A hard lesson is that grief does not go away, even with time.
Grief does not get lighter, nor easier.
Yes, we get stronger at carrying the grief, wiser in knowing how to live with it.
Louis L'Amour said this about the desert - - "You can fight against it and you will die. If you learn to live in it, & with it, you will."
It works that way with grief.
Finding ways to live in it, with it.
I think the hardest lesson this year was learning that others, even those who are walking this journey of grief, so not "get" the way I process & deal with it.
The weekend Rick died someone asked me how I was doing, how I was going to get through it all.
My answer then - and my answer now:
(1) I will cry until I laugh, and laugh until I cry.
(2) I will just breathe when I can do nothing else.
(3) Leading me to live this journey one moment at a time.
Which was deemed a "good solid answer" then.
However, now? Not so much.
Not even by my co-widowers.
I "share too much". I "don't share enough".
I "cry at the drop of a hat". I "have a cold & black heart".
I "am wallowing in the grief".
I "can't have loved Rick if I am in any way ready to move forward".
I "can't just stay in the grief, it is time to pull the big girl panties up and live!"
My one 😥Christmas post.
I have loved Christmas since I was a kid, even though I grew up poor - more than one Christmas all I got was an apple, an orange, 5 walnuts, and one candy cane. After Rick and I got married our monies all went to our kids, we very rarely bought each other anything.
So Christmas has never been about the presents.
Growing up in Texas I never expected a white Christmas. Rick always said, "If Texans were supposed to have a white Christmas, God would have made bullshit white!" (lol, he was a mess <3 ). In my life (56 years) I have only had maybe 5 of the "dreaming of a white Christmas" times.
So it has never been about the snow.
I have just loved Christmas. The sights. The sounds. The smells. Rick always said that his biggest kid was me. Every year I would cajole him into letting me put the tree up a few days earlier, and leave it a few days later. One year we put it up the first of November, decorated it for a "Cowboy Christmas", complete with hay bales and a wooden fence in the house (that he and our son built). That year, we all enjoyed it so much that it stayed until July 5! Lol. We would change the decorations for each holiday.
Good times, good times.
The first year without Rick I was in shock, numb to the core and I think a bit in denial (he was just off on the truck and couldn't be with us type).
The second year I spent it with precious new friends. Felt a bit of the emptiness and loneliness from the loss, but still feeling that "he was at work". It was easy to get wrapped up in their holiday.
This year? Sigh. The hardest so far.
Others expect me to be better because it is my 3rd one without him. :( I know I am not here to live up to the expectations of others, but it still makes it even more difficult - to hide the tears, to not allow the heart to show on my face or in my eyes. To not take that deep breath or sigh, just to get thru the "moment".
*Every song has a vivid reminder to me this year - I hear him singing them, I remember family song-fests, the times we stood together and sang them in church.
*The visions of Christmas lights bring a tear, for all the times we would go "Christmas light looking", miles and miles of driving and searching for the "best one this year".
*The smells remind me of the years planning the meals and desserts, the shopping, the baking and cooking - how tired I would get, but oh what a good tired it was.
I miss cleaning the house so that it would sparkle for decorating.
I miss decorating.
I miss making the lists of foods to cook (we had 12 days of celebration, each meal different, each one "fancy" in its own way).
I miss cooking.
Damn I miss baking.
Yes, I miss the magic of Christmas.
It's not about the presents, nor the snow, not even about the decorations, the lights, or the foods.
It was all about the MAGIC.
The stories told.
The memories shared.
The hugs & forehead kisses.
That was my MAGIC.
This year, the magic is still there, aching to come out & show itself.
But I am lost as to how to allow that.
I physically feel the emptiness of my life.
I have allowed a tear or two of feeling sorry for myself.
I have allowed a few words of sharing my heart.
Time to dry the eyes, fix my hair, get dressed and hush.
I will always love Rick. I will never love him less.
He was not a perfect man. However, he was perfect enough for me.
Life goes on.
I promised him that I would laugh again, live my life, and if this world gave me the chance - I would take it and love again. Not that I was looking then, or now. But I did promise him. He had no idea how hard that promise would be to live out. I had no idea that I would ever have to live it - alone, without him. I honestly thought I was promising him these things as a form of comfort to him, for his mind and heart to have peace in the midst of pain and discomfort. But promise I did ... and live it I will.
Because love remains.
There will never be a moment in my life that I do not grieve for him, for the life we planned and dreamed and committed to one another.
I have learned (a hard and painful lesson) that grief is in the simplest terms - love with no where to go.
Realizations bite hard.
Once the sting eases, clarity and peace comes.
I am no longer the same person I was. April 23, 2015 @ 6:50 a.m. changed me. For better ... or for worse. Whether others understand or not. I am different now.
I no longer think the same ... feel the same ... act or react the same. Hell, I don't even look the same.
The tears are coming less often, yet when they come they still burn hot on my cheeks, still take the very breath from my body. I do everything I can to keep those tears to the night time hours, when no one has to see me, or hear me.
Yes, there are soft tears now, too - a sweet and precious memory that comes, and leaks from my heart.
There are also bitter tears coming - tears of anger and frustration.
*Rick should have taken better care of his body when he had the chance, when it would have made a difference.
*He should have provided for me in the event of his death - a home, a car, a life insurance policy.
*When he died, I not only lost him - the other half of my heart and life - I lost our home, my car, and 99% of my possessions. Yes, I am angry as hell. Yes, I am working hard to tame that anger, to take it and find a good outlet for it.
Life is not fair - if it were, a place like St. Jude's would not exist.
However, there is a right and a wrong about life. Even when it isn't fair.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here