Mostly there’s stuff. You know, the kind of things that really only matter to you. Or in this case me. But I write because it’s helpful to me. If people read and get something from this that makes me happy, but if not, that’s okay too. This is the one place I get to be selfish when I am not a selfish person at all. Here I get to say what I want to say about “stuff” and feel safe.
I just celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and though the day was wonderful and I was full of gratitude for all the wonderful things I do have, it ended early with people going home and I was left empty. There is nobody to share the highlights with. There is nobody to eat an extra piece of pie before bedtime (I actually sent all left overs home with the family). There is no more tradition in my life. Zero tradition. I’ve heard “so you start a new tradition.” I’m here to say that traditions are great and when raising a family they are important. But traditions can and do end and leave a gape as wide as the Grand Canyon on your heart when you are left without your best friend. Again, this does not mean I am not grateful for the blessings in my life which are many. Those blessings however plentiful, do not even temporarily bandage this broken heart. I do not currently subscribe to the “time heals all wounds” theory. The 2nd Thanksgiving may have resulted in a better outcome for me when all was said and done if this were true. My husband may be surrounding me with his love, but right now, I’m just wishing the holidays going forward would fast-forward.
I remember one day that Keith was sitting in his chair across from me. I was on my computer (shocking I know) and I could feel his intense stare. I looked over at him and he had tears streaming down his face – I said, “Oh honey, what’s wrong?” His reply was, “I just feel so sorry for you.” I tried to soften the blow of his words with things like “… oh but I get to see the grandkids grow up and you will be in better place and will witness with me – I know you will be with me…” He knew. He knew he was my world and that I would struggle. Sometimes I can turn my head a certain way and still see the sadness on his face that he felt for me. He never felt sorry for himself and I try hard not to feel sorry for myself but I am not as amazing as he was. I do have my days where I wallow in my sorrow – yesterday and today are perfect examples. I wonder if he is still crying for me or if he is laughing because I’m writing about this. My guess is a little of both. At the end of our conversation that day, when we were both holding each other and crying, I pulled my arms from around him and held his hands, looked him straight in the eyes and said, “I feel sorry for me too.” Oh how I long for those moments that were so intimate and sad and peaceful all in one.
Keith will be gone from this life two years on December 9th. It will be my third Christmas without him. When I put it this way it helps to remind me that I have survived it.
People ask how I like my new place and are the people nice? I’m a hermit. I have not ventured out and I hide from people if I know they are outside because I really don’t care at this point to engage. Maybe 2017 will be different. I’ve put in my application to sit with dying patients in a program called “No One Dies Alone” because that I believe is what is calling me. The Chaplain in charge is happy to have me on board. It, like my work with the ACPMP Research Foundation, is volunteer. As awful as I feel in losing my husband, I am forever grateful to have been at his side, the side of my sister and the side of my grandmother as they took their last breaths. I truly hope this leads to something more in my life and I will be working in the spiritual care department in this capacity. God knows my heart and I believe He will lead me to where I need to be.
I am not sure if I will update on the anniversary of Keith’s passing – I have no idea what my thoughts will be on that day – if I will continue to be thankful that he no longer suffers with the horrible disease that took him from this life or if I will wake up and say I’m not getting out of bed today! I am sincere when I say grief has a bi-polar component to it.
Should I not write before we embark on the next holiday, I wish you all a very blessed Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule or however you celebrate your beliefs. Even through my grief, God has been my go-to to get me through and I am thankful for Him always.