Hubby being silly on our last trip to Canada in the fall before he passed away unexpectedly in December…
And I swear he is still being silly, as almost every time oldest was in my room at the house working on the bathroom floor his dad’s lamp on his nightstand would come on by itself! It happened at least three times. Never my lamp, only his dad’s…
Just last week the realtor told me the day of the open house she was hurrying through and turning lights on in all the rooms. When she got to the master bedroom and walked in, one of the pulls on my dresser started moving up and down for about five seconds. Said she thought she was imagining it at first but it kept going! Then she jumped up and down in front of the dresser and tried to make it move again, but it wouldn’t.
I firmly believe there’s some extra energy in that room that’s making things happen. And I never told the realtor about the light until she told me about the dresser pull.
I’m sure it’s hubby and I imagine he got a kick out of her jumping up and down in front of the dresser!
I’ve never been sure how I felt about what happens when someone dies, but lately I’ve seen his light come on by itself many times. Some items from his jewelry box seem to be missing, too, so I guess I’ll search for things in unexpected places!
Yesterday my two boys and I, along with DDIL and JP, attended a memorial service at the chapel in the hospital where my husband passed away in early December. It was small and informal with what looked to be about five families attending. Apparently the hospital chaplains and grief counselors hold these quarterly services to celebrate the lives of people who died at the hospital or in hospice.
Chaplain Kim had lost an older sister when she was 17 and her family had few coping skills to deal with their grief, let alone the ability to teach their children how to handle their feelings. The grief counselor lost her husband to a brain aneurysm many years ago when she was a 28-year-old mother of a three-year old daughter. He lingered in a coma for nearly a month. It was obvious that these events shaped their lives and career choices.
One woman who attended lost her 22-year-old son, father of three little ones, to a heroin overdose in December. Another family lost their elderly father after a grueling hospice stay.
We had the chance to light a candle for our loved one and pick a stone from a bowl of lovely choices to keep with us as a tangible reminder of the love we had shared. I chose one that is a bluish gray and reminded me of my husband’s eyes. I think I will put it by his picture on my nightstand so it’s the last thing I see before turning out the light.
I was too emotional to speak to the group, but if I’d been able, I would have told them that Paul was my soul mate, a great father and papa and a wonderful husband. He was a self made man from rural Tennessee who put himself through school on the GI Bill and became an electronic engineer. He told me he’d known since he was a small child what he wanted to do for a living. He found the whole process so fascinating when his family’s first little house finally got electricity that he had to understand how it worked. And he eventually did!
What I gleaned from the memorial service were mostly things I already knew. Any feelings you are experiencing about grief are normal and okay. There is shock, denial, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance. There can be a need to be alone or a need to share. Self-care and socialization are important, but we all move at our own speed. I feel like I’m somewhere in the “fake it till you make it” phase. I have moved on from shock and denial and am able to get through the days.
I’m packing up the house to sell but it’s not a hasty decision. We had planned to move this year anyway, but instead of finding a new place right away, youngest and I will move in with JP’s family for a while. My house is too big and holds too many memories.
And that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m kind of day by day right now in the healing process.
Slowly I’m getting back to writing. I hope you like this first shaky attempt…
That place where my heart dwelled
Has been raw and empty
A wound leaking life’s blood
Since the moment you left me…
Why keep drawing breath
Day after night after day
Searching for a semblance of reason
When faced with your untimely death
Grasping at thoughts while the mind reels
Holding close pieces of me that threaten to shatter
Searching for hope to let in the light
That every tortured breath steals
From my fractured heart to a sadder place
Where darkness reigns and mourning is king
No more attempts to bargain with a higher power
I accept our fate with reluctant grace
Deep in my soul I yearn to know again
The wonder of love in your glance
Will I ever move beyond the pain
And allow life another chance…
Weeks become months of their own accord
The sun rises and sets, oblivious to my despair
Then one day with dry eyes I awaken
To find I’m battered but still unbroken
…and today would have been my husband’s birthday…
We’re all still adjusting to this newer, emptier life (at least for me) but we are getting through the days. The nights are a little harder.
After more than 38 years with someone wonderful by your side I guess it’s natural to be lost. And he was wonderful, truly the love of my life. When I met him he was divorced with three children to support. A dream come true, right? I used to joke that when he said he had bills, I thought he meant green ones and that’s why I married him!
The truth is we were so head over heels for each other that nothing could have kept us apart. He was the best husband and father, working two jobs for a long time to support us. He said he was fascinated with electricity when he was young and knew from the time he was about eight that would be his career. He was from rural Tennessee and enlisted in the Navy, getting a chance to be an electronic tech and then later going to school on the GI Bill and eventually became an electronic engineer.
This year the grief is still very fresh, but I’m grateful my three sons will be over tonight with their families and we are planning to eat pizza and drink their dad’s favorite Merlot and probably share some funny stories. And we’ll get through another first this year and keep moving forward…
Reading or listening to the news lately is so disheartening that I sometimes wonder what has happened to this world we live in. Then something sweet happens and I feel better about the future…
In the few days after my husband died in December, family began gathering as is usually the case, I’m sure. Everyone was anxious to help do something — anything, really. I asked my stepson if he would take youngest to get a hair and beard trim before the weekend. They went to Upscale Male, a salon in nearby Naperville, where my husband and Dave have gotten their hair cut for years.
One of the stylists came over to ask Dave where his dad was. The guys sadly explained what had happened with their dad and she was, of course, shocked at the suddenness. Dave and his dad had just been in there the month before. She excused herself for a moment and came back with the owner who was terribly upset and offered his condolences — and insisted that he be allowed to provide his services on the house that day as a tribute to their dad.
What a lovely gesture from a very kind man who went out of his way to try to help my guys feel a little better. ❤️❤️❤️