I used to spend a lot of time trying to figure it all out.
Many times, we know the answers. When we are the ones who leave, we know the answers.
Where I am now in my life, I know longer try to figure it out. My reason for that is if people can just disappear without a word then I don’t let them rent space in my head. They had a reason, and they left.
No big deal.
I don’t chase people for answers any longer. I did at one time, but with all that has happened to me over the years the one lesson I learned is that if someone walks away without a word, they never intended to stay.
Yes, we can be. Be and be better. For they existed. This is the last line of a poem Maya Angelou wrote and, in my life, in my wilderness of grief, in my world I can be. I can also be and be better because Larry existed.
Years ago, I taught myself how to be strong and fiercely independent. There are people who saw me often at my worst and they would not think of me that way. They are wrong. I am strong, and I am resilient, and I can be (fiercely independent).
While we had an amazing partnership of souls in our marriage, we could also stand apart from each other and not implode, we just found it was better together.
Larry was not my rock. I am my rock. Yes, fissures would occur and then he would bring his concoction of super glue and mortar, maybe some duct tape, but the actual repair work was mine to do. He taught me emotional skills; he reinforced things I already knew how to do. He taught me it was okay to curse and to slam doors.
The biggest thing he taught me though was how good it felt to be deeply loved unconditionally and how capable I was to always fix my cracks alone.
Larry married a happy woman, and that is why everyday I work at showing him I am still happy. I know he understands that I do still cry. I cry because I miss him a lot. Then I see him standing in front of me with a roll of duct tape in his hand and I remember that Larry married a happy woman, and that is how he would want to think of me right now.
I sit back daily and watch the numbers grow as this virus spreads without stopping and I know the whole world is grieving right now.
For those of us who have experienced the death of a loved one and have been grieving for months, even years, we have had practice. We have had a dress rehearsal except that grief hits every single one of us in a different way yet the depth of the pain is the same.
I have been living in a place of stillness for over a year. I have had occasional breaks from it when
friends and family have come to help me, but the majority of my time is spent
in stillness. It is lonely. I suppose I am accustomed to it, but that
doesn’t ease the loneliness.
You see now there is fear. The very person who could always talk me off
the ledge is no longer here with me, and I fail at being able to do this.
What as I see as my goodness in all of this is the fact that
I started writing when Larry died, and I haven’t stopped.
Writing is therapeutic.
Writing helps us heal. My writing
helps others. I have fans. I can say that because they tell me they are
fans. I have a following and that makes
me feel exceptionally blessed.
I never would have guessed that at the age I am now would be
when I actually found what I am in awe of and be blessed with an epiphany of
I believe Larry always knew this about me. He probably would have preferred staying
around to see me realize my potential. Unfortunately,
God had other plans, however when I wake in the morning with a song playing in
my head, I know it came from Larry.
It has been a while since that happened and I was overjoyed
this morning to wake to “I Love the Way You Love Me” by John Michael
Just a sign of encouragement from the love of my life.
This morning when I wrote my usual morning thoughts my mind went down into my memory bank and rummaged around. It came back with all the wonderful springs Larry and I celebrated when we lived in the snowy and frozen Midwest.
I wrote about how much joy we got when we saw signs of rebirth happening all over our yard. We loved to garden. We had so many beautiful plants, flowering shrubs and bulbs and seeing them bud and struggle to push through the ground was something we treated with respect.
There is so much energy in plant growth that we take for granted.
It was within my memories that I realized I am not moving forward, I am pushing forward, like those plants.
It takes a lot of energy to push forward. Some days I cannot summon that energy and that is when I am in the depths of my grief wilderness and boulders block my pathway.
Where is the dynamite when it is needed?
No dynamite, then where is a pickaxe and shovel?
When I am thrown down to the ground in my wilderness, I have no tools. I only have my bare hands and my bare heart.
I can use my shoulder to move through the rubble, but it rarely works. I meet resistance with every attempt.
I look around for the pickaxe and the shovel. I know why I cannot find them. Finding them would make the destruction I am left with too easy to navigate, and there is nothing easy in being suddenly left behind in the dark world of grief.
If we did not love, we would not grieve. If we did not love, we wouldn’t have wounds that do not heal, reminding us that healing will never be complete.
Color me claustrophobic.
When I am above ground and freed temporarily from my wilderness, I have anxiety any time I am in a tight space, or a crowded elevator, or even a crowd of people.
Below ground I see all these boulders surrounding me, and my chest grows so heavy that breathing is difficult.
Then I ask myself what it would feel like if I had no grief, and I realize that if I had no grief, I would never have experienced a burning, passionate love and wouldn’t that be the real tragedy?
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” C. S. Lewis
13 Days in Hell.
A year ago right now I was on day 9 of 13 meeting with a psychologist and a palliative care doctor after being told that the team of Neurologists caring for Larry had signed off of his care.
Days 1-8 I had been told repetitively that Larry was making improvements daily.
They lied. Now I had fear.
I am not sure why they lied. Since that time I have shown photos of his MRI that showed a bilateral stroke to his basilar artery, which is rarely recoverable and I had been told that this was as serious as it could be.
They lied. They lied for 8 days and gave me fear.
Worse yet, they let an ICU RN tell me they were signing off without having the professional courtesy to discuss their decision with me.
I cannot forgive them, and because I can’t forgive them, I resigned from a committee at the same hospital. It was necessary for my well-being.
Grief steals your filter. I am more honest now than I have been over the past year. I have no patience for petty issues or small talk. I curse more now, and I don’t apologize for it.
Down the road I had several meetings with doctors in this organization, and they assured me that there was a lesson in all of this. Why did Larry have to be the lesson? There is over one lesson to be learned. Can they start with the lies?
I did not receive closure on this until I pushed the envelope further. I pissed them off with my tenacity, but I needed answers and I needed resolution.
My Shock and Trauma
Sudden death is a cause of PTSD. I was already in shock; I had tremendous trauma for 8 days. On day 9 I had a second dose of PTSD when this team walked away from Larry, leaving me to honor his wishes.
Over this past year, I have been in talk therapy and deep therapy for PTSD. It has helped, yet the fear comes rushing back to me when I remember how I felt when I was told they had given up.
They lied and here I am a year later living through 13 days in Hell again.
Fractured. What is Fractured? What is Fractured about? Is it about breaking a bone? Is it about a crack in the earth? What is it?
Fractured describes my heart and how it cracked and broke on February 19, 2019. There is no cast to put around it. There is no ace bandage to hold it in place. I can’t use duct tape, superglue, or stitches. My heart is permanently fractured, but it still hangs on beating 60-80 beats per minute even though in less than 5 seconds I knew it would remain broken forever.
Now Fractured is a book I am writing, and a podcast I am starting. It is a love story, a memoir, an encapsulation of what I call #SuperLove, and all wrapped up in a beautiful bow it represents what true love is forever.
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