Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fourteen Years Later............

I  bought this wonderful new book called Ten Years Later.  It was written by Hoda Kotb, an NBC morning show host and I knew it would be inspirational when I saw her interviewed.  In her battle with breast cancer a few years ago she has her own stories of tenacity, survival and coming out the other side, renewed.   This time of year, I seem to need an extra dose of nurturing and encouragement and sensed this might be the boost I needed.    Maybe I do suffer from some moderate seasonal affective disorder too; my good friends have been telling me that for years.  I don’t care for the cold, drearier days and winter weather.  I’m a fair weather girl and love warm air and sunshine tickling and  toasting my skin, bare feet all snuggled into silky, sand beaches.  To live like that at least part of the year, is a bucket list item yet to be checked off.   Yet, intuitively, I know what it is: this wave of exhaustion and sadness that happens this time, every year.    Quite simply, when you lose people you love on the deepest soul level, those losses remain seared on your heart never to be forgotten completely. After all this time, I might get up on “that morning” and forget it’s “that day” for a few hours, but my spirit always weeps silent tears.  The enormity of this loss invades my subconscious. Quite simply, I miss him.  Fourteen years later. 

Yet, Hoda’s book triggered some positive reflection for me too.  So much has happened in fourteen years; much of it full of really joyful events, a few bucket list items checked off, the experience of love again, and some authentic serenity unlike I have ever known.  A little healthy  pride has arrived too as I humbly reflect and recognize I’ve become more courageous, capable, and rather independent.  That makes me smile.  I think it would him too.   I reflected back on all of this in awe.  Mostly because I remember, a week before his death, a social worker hugged me and said, "I promise you it will not always hurt this badly. Your life will be different, yes.  But it will be good again."  Reciprocating her hug, and forcing a smile on my tear-streaked face, the voice in my head said, "You clueless bitch... you have no idea."  Even though the words were never spoken, I owe her a telepathic apology.  I think the best way to do that is to be available to others who need to hear those words, even when they don't think they do.  Just like me..... And share my own experience, strength and hope.  

The necessity (and what I now recognize as the gift) of a healing process; something I reluctantly entered into kicking and screaming because it hurt just too damn much, evolved in its own perfect time.   The ethereal spark that lives somewhere within all of us, began to thirst for joy again and forced me to look inward for not only survival, but growth, and nourishment.  Amazing.   Fourteen years ago, this life, my life,  I was convinced at best, I would limp through half-heartedly.  The other half of my heart seemed too irreparably shattered.  Yet, this new life, while different, is brimming with blessings.  I wouldn’t have believed I would feel blessed again, especially  if you had told me at year five of my grief process.  Or, again around year ten, but, my life, as are  ALL lives, is a journey. I have come to accept and even welcome that thought, especially since his death. Change. Grow. Regress. Grieve. Celebrate. Love. Heartbreak. Love some more.  Over and over again.  My life, even without him, has truly been an evolution, ultimately leading  me to a sense of purpose, authenticity, and so much gratitude.  Leading me HOME to my true HOME.  I know where I come from, where I  belong, and where I will someday, wind up.  

 Fourteen years later, lots of change, and many obstacles as well.  Most of them, I castigated  the poor deceased man that drenched me in more love than I’d ever felt in my life.  How dare he leave me with all these responsibilities, a quarter of our income, and no real help on the horizon?  Every broken appliance, vehicle, and arrow to my heart, I blamed on his departure. He died and left me: abandoned  as so many others had before him- since my early childhood.   It was all his fault when bills piled up, medical issues brought me to my knees,  the flimsy white wooden shingles  began to age off the side of the house, and every new worry etched a wrinkle in my once smooth face.  And, moving from a size 4 to a size 10? Well of course, he was responsible for that too!  

Fourteen years later I recognize,  all along, he has loved me from afar.  He's always sent the perfect opportunities, people, lovers, heart breakers, and most of all angels to guide me along the right path... for me.  A road that will ultimately lead me, someday, into welcoming arms.  I know he'll greet me and lead me by the hand to my Creator.  We'll stand side by side in front the of big screen replaying all those scenes from my life.  As it's all playing out, dramatic.... Hollywood movie style,  I’m sure he’ll bop me gently on the head, and say, “See, when you believed we were ignoring your request for what you thought you wanted, and what you thought was best for you, we were protecting you.”  Now, can I go play some golf, please?”  

We have such limited vision in those times of the darkness of our soul and are often unable to view our sojourn in big picture fashion.  The best we can do, is simply keep moving.  Keep moving and believing that there IS a larger purpose and it is all meaningfully developing. Our role is to simply ultimately trust in that, as we piece it all together. Sometimes we randomly try to shove disparate pieces where they don't belong, but that's okay.   We do the best we know how with the knowledge and the tools we have available to us at the time.  
My gift under my pillow

I know he’s still  with me.  All I need to do is close my eyes.   I dreamed about him the other night.  He radiated this soft  glow....  like the light I saw reflected in his eyes every time he looked at me in life... gentle, full of pride and pure love. Of all the wonderful gifts he gave me and brought into our relationship, that look is my most treasured and precious. 

This morning I was changing the sheets on my bed. I discovered I don’t need to close my eyes to touch in with him.   In fact if I want to connect with him, I ought  to keep them wide open and pay attention.  Lying tucked underneath the mound of pillows I snuggle into every night was a tiny white paper heart.  It appeared the love fairy left an offering. 

Or wait.... was it left over from some Christmas wrapping over the holidays?  I think not. I’ve changed those sheets since then.  

I think, fourteen years later, he's reminding me of  the pure unconditional love I’ve been privileged to feel.  Most of all I know he wants me to know, I will always be in HIS heart too.    

I AM able to deal with the trials and tribulations, and even the occasional Squirrels in the Attic, just fine, on my own.   A heavenly host has got my back, led by one phenomenal man who I was privileged to have in my life for not nearly long enough.  

January 30, 1999. Carpe Diem My Love.  I celebrate you.... and me, and the  anniversary of your homecoming. Fore!  Play Golf.... If you could check in occasionally, I would be most grateful. See you someday.... until then,  hugs and kisses from below.