Yesterday I took my mom and sister to Duke Gardens, to the site where they are developing a garden of Lenten Roses in honor and memory of Adam and his friend Tom. I last visited the garden in early fall. It looked so much different yesterday. Winter had left it a bright, sunny spot, where it hadbeen shady and reclusive on the day I visited in September. Although the garden has such different personas in fall and early, early spring, it is still so calming and beautiful. I’m really looking forward to its dedication on April 12.

This morning I received my weekly newsletter from Megan at Refuge in Grief. In addition to her newsletter she has a blog and other sites and services. I clicked on the link to her blog and found the following essay. Don’t know why but I found it particularly compelling and could feel and understand all the emotion Megan put into it. Undoubtedly all of you have experienced, to some degree, the feelings Megan writes about so compellingly. So I share a link below.




I hope you don’t mind if I digress from the advertised topic for one post. However, these thoughts may contain some pertinent information.

Tonight I’m at my beach shack, a generous gift and undertaking from my late husband who, after he saw what I did with our family home, acknowledged that I had vision even if he did not. We bought this place and fixed it up, and it became such a favorite destination that when Adam first started experiencing symptoms of his illness he wanted to come here right away. Tonight I’m down here by myself. And I love it. I feel restored, renewed. My son calls it my happy place and he’s right.

But it’s important for me to acknowledge that this is my happy place because it is different from my real-life place. The things I enjoy here wouldn’t be as attractive if I lived here full-time. Here, I don’t have to pay bills or do laundry or go to the doctor. At my real house, I have the support of my friends, the staff at my grocery store who always make me feel welcome, all that stuff. It’s a yin and yang relationship. That’s why it’s good to be alone here—because alone-ness here is a choice, it hasn’t been imposed upon me.

The imposed-upon-me thing is one of the many reasons, I think, that widowhood is so devastating. Our loved one has been ripped from us. We can’t see him or her when we return home on Monday. He or she is not a short text away. We didn’t choose this.

Despite that, I feel really close to Adam when I’m here. I think he wanted to pass away here. Two days before I put him in the hospital our car was packed for a two-week stay here, and when we were all aboard, despite my misgivings, the car wouldn’t start. At all. We had to unpack and cry. We were going to celebrate our anniversary here (it was the day we were to leave) and my sister had put champagne and flowers in the house. That bottle of champagne is still in the fridge here. A marker. The next day I took Adam to the hospital and he never came home. The day after he was admitted he had a devastaing neurological event from which he never recovered. His brain swelled almost beyond its cavity.

It was simultaneously a godsend and a tragedy that we didn’t leave that day. Had we left I’m sure he’d have been flown back home via helicopter to the very hospital I took him to. But he wanted to end it here. I wish I’d been able to make that happen and a good friend worked with the hospice here to make it so. But I was weak and so was he and, well, this is just how it turned out.

It’s a bittersweet place to be. Whenever I’m at our favorite hangout down here, I hear a song that was a particular favorite of his. Tonight it was Tupelo Honey. He speaks to me through music so I know it’s not just happenstance. It’s comforting. I like it. It reassures me that he’s still with me.

So I suppose my topic wasn’t as divergent as I’d first assumed, when I sat down to write. I guess the point is that if you need solace and solitude, don’t criticize yourself. Those circumstances make you appreciate what you have, and even what you’ve lost… .Image