Ghosts

It’s coming. Facebook has been quite reliable about reminding me on my personal page that this week is bringing memories I’d rather not revisit. A particularly evil “memory” from them began with me writing that Adam was in the last days of his life. Somehow this doesn’t seem consistent with what Facebook is after, but what do I know?
What I do know is that after having shut down my computer for the night, I woke the old woman because I had something to tell you all. If the world is nice to me, I’ll remember it long enough to share it with you here.
Honestly it’s a couple of things.
I try to avoid references to spirituality and the possibility of afterlife, because people believe different things and I really don’t want to alienate anyone. Tonight I’ve decided that I need to reference these things and I hope I don’t lose anyone.
Tuesday was my kids’ 20th birthday. It was a cruel, cruel thing, honestly beyond description, that their 16th birthday was “celebrated” in Adam’s hospice room, and half-hearted activities took place at home. Our friend Janet took everyone to the mall and Build-a-Bear, but that wasn’t a boy thing so Will was blowing in the wind.
That whole thing just stunk. I don’t know how I would recover from a significant birthday happening while my father was dying. The kids don’t seem so enthusiastic about celebrating the day. That could be just because they’re getting older and it’s not that important, or it could be because they don’t want those memories. It’s anyone’s guess and maybe they don’t even know.
While they were opening gifts Tuesday evening, a couple of small picture frames on the piano fell over without having been disturbed. Behind them was a picture of Adam made on his last Christmas day. It was startling to say the least. Mostly I felt bad for not having recognized him while we were having their celebration. The reassurance that he is still around with us, all the time, was both startling and reassuring. I questioned my interpretation of these falling frames, but honestly there was no other explanation.
Can’t remember whom I quoted under a picture of Adam recently, but he hypothesized that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Agreed.
As this coming week develops, I don’t know how I’ll feel. Maybe I’ll be immersed in activity in order to blunt my feelings. Maybe I’ll have myself perfectly together on Thursday, a day I’ve taken off from work just in case I fall apart. There’s no way of knowing. Endruing our wedding anniversary on July 8 took all the strength I had. That was a surprise. So who knows what’s upcoming.
He’s here and I feel his presence and his love, which sustains me during really awful times. That may sound crazy, but I believe it and I’ve not been looking for it. I’m really wondering about ” ’til death do us part.”
Sorry my writing isn’t up to par tonight. It’s late and I’m tired but I wanted to get some thoughts down before tomorrow drowned them out.

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Ritual Grieving

Don’t know about you, but I hear and read a lot about creating rituals to recognize important days. I’ve never embraced this idea because my concept of a ritual felt forced and artificial.
As I’ve said, today would have been my 27th wedding anniversary. Despite having a big red flag on my calendar, supported by email and text reminders, it still kind of snuck up on me. Guess I was wishing it away.
As I opened my jewelry box this morning, there they were–my wedding rings, sitting stoically beside Adam’s wedding band and his high school class ring. I don’t wear them for many reasons which are irrelevant today. Suffice it to say that my gaze fell on them and I knew that wearing them once again, if just for today, would be my ritual.
I put them on and felt a return to myself. Emotional support, recognition of the fact that I was married to a wonderful man who gave me these lovely rings, thoughts of him as I glanced at them during the day.
Wearing those rings will be my ritual. I don’t have to bury stones or burn scraps of paper bearing words of despair and regret. I don’t have to hike the paths Adam once loved or make his favorite meal. Wearing the rings Adam gave me is the way I will feel comfortable remembering him.
I’ve decided to wear them the entire month of July, a month chock full of good and bad times, times of growth and times of loss, joy and devastation.
I wanted to share this decision with you in case you, too, are struggling to find a meaningful way to mark particular anniversaries. What I discovered today is that a ritual doesn’t have to be lengthy, public, time-consuming, something that makes you feel awkward or that you simply don’t want to do. For me, simply wearing my husband’s rings again reminds me of his presence, his life, his love, and the many other gifts he gave to me, large and small, material and spiritual, during our all-too-brief time together.
Happy 27th, my love.

Blah blah blah blah blah

You’re going to hear a lot of boring stuff from me this month because it is the month when I die inside.

I have a new job and I am grateful beyond belief because it’s exactly what I wanted, if I had to have a job.

But I have to learn lots of things about the business and it’s really hard to maintain one’s concentration when the mind wishes to be focusing on grief. What day is this? What happened on this particular awful day in 2012? What can we do on the 28th to mark this day because it needs to be honored but how? How do you honor something you wish had never happened and pray you never have to remember?

And the whole month you are living it.

I spent the whole July 4th weekend cleaning out my closet via the Konmarie method–you know, the woman who wrote about the joy of tidying up. Well that’s rich, since Adam’s clothes still hang in the guest-room closet.

It’s just a cameo, really, of the month to come, the cascade of nightmares commemorated every single day.

I’ve already enjoyed the recurring nightmare of Adam being alive but sick to death. Why can’t I shake this? I wake and thank God it was just a dream, only to fall back to sleep and have it start up again.

This won’t stop until mid-August, when the anniversaries are past. I’m trying to do a new job. This is why it’s taken me so long to attempt a new job! And now I’m being ambushed by these nightmares and memories that have no welcome and no place. I just pray I survive.

And that my children survive because they don’t talk.

And I thank God for my in-laws who I love to death.

Thanks for listening.

Future Shock

I just read the following essay which asks why it’s so hard to live in the present moment. I have to say that since the moment Adam was diagosed I’ve done little but live in the present. Mostly this has been good for me, since, as the article suggests, we miss a lot of good stuff if we are focused not on our present, but ruminating about the future over which we have no control, or grousing about the past, which is, well, past.

To be sure many of you, like me, have a hard time dismissing the past. The downside, I’ve found, to being unable to feature the future is that I find it very difficult to make plans. A few months after Adam died a friend was buying tickets to a February show and asked if I’d like to come along. “February” was unfathomable to me. What would be happening in February? Any sort of debacle could have cropped up by then. I took a leap of faith, bought my ticket, and we had a good time with no disaster to keep us from attending.

I still find it difficult to think about the future. Maybe that’s one reason it took me so long to get a job. A job? What for? For the future? Like I’m going to have a future. Honestly, I have really felt this way.

I wonder if it’s just me. Have you felt like this? That the future stopped when your loved one was diagnosed or died? If you’re interested in reading the article that sparked my thinking, here’s the link. Really like this website. Enjoy.

http://www.thebookoflife.org/the-difficulty-of-being-in-th…/

Very many of us suffer from a peculiar-sounding problem: an inability to properly inhabit the stretch of time we call ‘the present’. Maybe we’re on a beautiful beach on a sunny day, the sky is azure and the palm trees slender and implausibly…
THEBOOKOFLIFE.ORG