Wednesday, May 30, 2012

take care

I was proactive in taking care of me.  Any time I actually make a doctor's appointment for myself I feel good.  I'd been taking care of Edd for so long, but there are no longer any excuses to neglect my own health.  I knew I needed some extra help and advice so I went to see my doctor to talk over my concerns and how all this grieving is affecting me.  I'm glad I did.  I even discovered I weigh five pounds less than I did this time last year. I'll take any good news I can find!

I am seeing myself go through different stages in the last couple of months since losing Edd.  I hurt just as much, but I feel as though he is deeper in my heart than he has ever been.  I used to get angry if someone said he would always be with me, but I am feeling as though this really may be true.  He isn't here the way I want him to be, that's a fact.... and when I think of how much I miss him it can be unbearable....  but he is with me in ways that will only increase with time. 

It is a great blessing that I feel his support... every moment.  He wanted it to be that way, and it is.  I have felt too vulnerable for too long.  Fragile.  Bending at times to the opinions of others whose views we didn't entirely share.   But it'll be okay.  Going forward I plan to feel more confident because that is what Edd would want for me.  I feel his strength.  Every day.  Telling me... "Kathi, you're doing fine."  Or, "I'll see you before you know it".

And he would want me to take care of myself... at least as much as I took care of him...

I dropped a tear in the ocean.  The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you.  ~Author Unknown


Thursday, May 24, 2012

the small stuff

Days follow days.  I'm doing the right things.  Most of them anyway.  I appear to be coping quite well.  Goes to show that no one really knows do they....  and appearances can be quite deceptive.   I'm reading.  A Grief Observed....   The Year of Magical Thinking.  It helps to get my mind on something else.  Relatable.  But there is no cure for grief.  None.

A very insightful friend who also lost her husband told me this week that "it doesn't help that you keep finding yourself 'ambushed' by the simplest things. Missing the little things even more than the big stuff. This is one time when the small stuff seems to have power to hurt beyond reason." 

A Robert Brault quote comes back to me effortlessly ....  "Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."  

I did enjoy the little things. 

I had a dream last night.  I was in the same room as Edd.  It was a full room packed with people.  The details of the dream aren't terribly important but the important thing was that we knew we were in the same room together.   My awareness of his presence was strong.  And I was certain he was aware of mine.  It felt nice... even though we didn't speak.  He was busy in charge of doing something and I was going to have some responsibility placed on me too.  But I felt good just knowing he was nearby.  I was very aware of the feeling of wanting to do well because he would know.  I didn't feel stress.... but I just wanted to do a good job because he would be there to see me.

I've had my share of bad dreams.... It's nice when you have a good one.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

living today

I believe the things that happen to us that change us and teach us something should be used going forward.  Somehow it will be.  I was changed so much by Edd.  And I feel in some way he will go on as I use some of what I've learned from experiencing life together with him.  We expereinced so much in a short time.   Some things that others don't experience in a lifetime.  It was a crash course in sacrificial love, compassion, selflessness, burden bearing... oh but so much fun too!  Boy did we have fun together!

I've been thinking also about how luck has been said to be when preparation meets opportunity.  I believe this.  I want to live my life in a preparedness fashion so I can take advantage of opportunities when they come along.  All in good time though... One day and one step at a time. 

I've been exercising.... Yay... eating healthy.... Yay again.  

Today wasn't so bad.  Yeah, there was loneliness.  But I doubt that will ever change entirely. 

Yet. I put one foot in front of the other and ventured out. 

Veggies from the farmer's market.  Yay organic!

 A new yummy candle.

A small jewelry holder to hold my favorites from Edd
Bought a jewelry holder to hold all my favorite every day stuff.

Went shopping for a few new pieces for my wardrobe.

 Fresh salmon and lots of greens.  

It doesn't come natural to me.  I often don't want to do what I should.  So often I think, "Edd would want me to do this or that....." and so he helps me.  In so many ways he is such a huge part of my life still.  And always will be.  

Tonight I will curl up with a cup of tea (having already had some cool Chardonnay with my salmon) and enjoy War Horse.... Nothing like a good movie to end the day....

Friday, May 18, 2012

moving through it

Met with my therapist again today.  Yes, I have one.  Here's the thing.  Everyone needs to grieve.  It's not an option.  I don't need anyone to tell me that.  I'm naturally reflective.  No surprise there I know. It comes pretty natural to me.  It's exhausting though to sit and cry in front of a stranger.  And I have no ability to hold it back right now.   Sometimes I feel like, "why am I doing this?", but in reality, it is what I need.  It validates my feelings.  It allows me to express myself in a safe place.  It helps to let someone else hear my heart and tell me things in a different way that I am already experiencing. 

Just as I was feeling a little too vulnerable and as though maybe this wasn't where I needed to be, I began talking about how I've always believed one of the greatest things we can do in life is to help take the sting out of it for someone who is experiencing something hard or painful.  It occurred to me that I DO take on other's pain in a real and raw way.  People I intensely love.  Like Edd.  He often said, "I think this is harder on you than it is on me"... Could that have been true?   I didn't think so at the time.  He may have felt some of my hurt too.   But today I realized that I had double the pain.  Not only did I feel acutely my own, but I felt (or imagined) his as well. 

When I was watching Edd's suffering, helping him through it and being a support or caregiver and all that goes with it, I thought, "when all this is over I am going to need some serious grief counseling" because I didn't have time to think about it at the time.   I just did what needed to be done and tried as hard as I could to be strong... for him.  It was what needed to be done, but now I am left with all of it still...  the memories.  Feeling it, remembering it all. Processing it.  Feeling it all over again.  I didn't have time then to grieve or cry or sort it out.  I watched his emotional and physical pain and felt it and mine in all its enormity.

So... I understood today that it's not just the pain of loss... of separation... of not wanting to let him go... that I feel, as if that isn't painful enough... It's also the accumulation of pain and grief from seeing him suffer and how I internalized all of that for oh so long.... I wanted sooo much to ease his suffering, somehow take it away from him, that I took it on myself.  I felt it all...his and mine.   And that is what I am dealing with now. 

So... again... we are all changed by one another, aren't we?  To a certain degree.  I have this love that is no longer in my life with a deep desire to channel it somewhere.  A desire for expression that has no where to go.  Wanting to keep that sense of connection with him somehow.   To honor him with some kind of perfect expression. 

How to do that?  I don't know.  It is still to be discovered.


Monday, May 14, 2012

eaglets.... and decisions...

I'm still watching the eagles.  The first one hatched the day Edd left.  March 27.  I see their growth and it reminds me of the passing of time....

They've grown.  They are maturing.  They are becoming exactly what they are meant to become.  Mom and Dad are being good parents.  Bringing them food and protecting them from danger.  Day and night.  Always attentive to their needs. 

They don't communicate with words like we do, but they do communicate.  They teach.  I am in awe of how they get the lessons across to their young.

Often now I witness mom or dad sitting in the nest with wings outstretched.  Just still.  Just sitting there for the youngsters to.... observe.  No words said.  Nothing but an example.   Not all at once but they are slowly learning to fly ... one step at a time.

The young watch.  They are observing.  And they are imitating.  They are doing the same.  Opening up their own wings.  Like mama.  So endearing.  So sweet.  Reminds me how most things are caught, not verbally taught.

Eagle photo

On another not totally unrelated topic....

I've been looking at some of Edd's management books.  I was always impressed by what a good manager he was.  Of his time, of people, of groups, of projects.   All the ideas are so good.  Valuable skills to have... principles to know.  Like....

    1. Never tolerate mediocrity.
    2. Move fast with reversible decisions- move less fast with irreversible decisions.
    3. It is better to impose slight over-control than to lose control.
    4. Aggressive and consistent review of accountability guarantees an improvement in results.
    5. Management planning is not complicated, but it is tedious- That's why the temptation is so strong to avoid it.
    6. Avoid becoming responsible for someone else's problems- you should have enough of your own to work on.
    7. A decisive man will prevail only because almost everybody is indecisive. 
    8. (but)  Never make a decision unless you really have to.
    9. The right decision at the wrong time is always a bad decision.

I have many good things I can learn and spend my time on.  I have some decisions to make too and some of them I have been putting off.  Some are perfectly okay to put off.  Some shouldn't be put off.  And some I didn't put off, but did exactly right.  Made a decision that needed to be made and was proactive.

I'm kind of proud of that.  And Edd would be proud of me too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

random reflections on Mother's Day

"Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it... We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”  ~Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

I need to give myself permission to grieve in my own way.  It seems unending now.  It doesn't get easier.  It just keeps feeling more and more empty.

  Sometimes you need to step out and just let yourself react.... to be. Unapologetic.  To bring your own unique energy into a situation that maybe someone could benefit from.  Hopefully.   To share who you are and your story with someone who is begging for the perspective.  Or at least that is how I've justified my behavior today.....

.... I was in line at the brunch buffet... sort of in my own reflective world as I tend to be these days.  Taking everything in.  The woman in front of me told me I could go ahead of her because  she was waiting for her husband.  I didn't respond or acknowledge her as quickly as she thought I should have and she said sarcastically and abruptly, "You're welcome... and Happy Mother's Day."  I was stunned.  I was already feeling fragile and this unkindness startled me.  I mean, she didn't know me.  She didn't even know if I was a mother.  It was strange... and sadly inhumane.   I was completely innocent of any wrongdoing.  I looked her straight in the eye and said, "You know.  My husband died a month-and-a-half ago and your sarcasm and unkindness is cruel.  You should be careful what you say to people because you never know what they might be going through.  You just don't have any idea of their story."   I was surprised at a stranger's ease at using sarcasm and unkindness.   I hope she'll think twice before unloading it on someone else in the future.  

But I had a nice Mother's Day.  I am blessed to have a wonderful mother.  And I have been blessed to have so many wonderful memories being a mother.  It was the best and most rewarding job I ever had.  Every moment was sacred.  And cherished.  And still is.  Truly.

I'm learning that I should be true to myself and do what I believe is right.  Not everyone will agree, but it's okay.  

I began putting some things away... out of sight... that cause pain.  Personal items.  Not giving them away... or worse throwing them away.  I can't get rid of anything that was his... but I can get it out of my direct viewing and somehow out of the way of direct pain.

“I closed the box and put it in a closet.
There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.”  Joan Didion, Where I Was From


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

every moment

Staying busy right now is helpful.  And I do have a lot of things that need doing.  It's amazing actually.  So far it hasn't felt overwhelming.  I will tackle things one item at a time.  Like Edd would do.  Even when he had little strength he did what he needed to do.  His example is ever with me.  He gives me strength every day.  He said doing the right thing gave him strength.  It does the same for me.  I will do the right things. 

Lately Texas has experienced a few pretty impressive thunderstorms and some dark, cloudy days.  They give me a melancholy feeling ... as if I needed more of that ... and make me feel like I should take a jacuzzi or settle down with a book... and rest.  Maybe that's one of the reasons I dislike summers here ... they can be hot and sunny every day and don't compel me to sit a while, hunker down, and just be cozy. 

The days keep marching on though.  Never stopping for anyone or anything.  How did the world not stop the day he left me?  I feel as though I'm sitting by a window on a train watching as the scene keeps changing, the days keep passing, and yet my heart is left behind in the past.  It has a gaping wound that even as it begins to heal, as all wounds should, the scab continues to fall off... again and again. 

I write because it feels as though I'm keeping him close.  I write because I miss him so much.  I write because every day I am reminded in so many ways how much he loved me and how he wants me to be strong.  I write because I want him to somehow know I will never forget.  I write because he is so close in my heart and even though I may be doing any number of things during the day, he is always in my thoughts.  Always right there.  Every moment. 


Ps... I love all those who have messaged me or commented... Please know your words are so precious to me and mean so much.... more than you could ever know.  Although I write for ME, I so appreciate the sweet encouragement and love that's been expressed... Bless you all...

My spring garden in the rain

Just a song I like....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

thank you

Dear E,

Thank you for being brave.  Thank you for being a shining example of courage and love.  Sometimes I think of different ways this all could have played out.  You could have spent your last months complaining or cursing God.  You could have become bitter. You could have become angry or hateful.  You could have turned inward and become depressed.  You could have pushed me away.  You could have given up. 

But you never did.

Thank you for all the times you looked at me with deep concern and love.  Thank you for all the hours you spent listening to me.  Thank you for always making me feel first in your heart.  Thank you for always thinking of me and wanting me to be okay.   Thank you for telling me that after meeting me you didn't even see other women.  Thank you for your words and actions that said, "Everything I do, I do for you".  Thank you for telling me all the time that I was your joy.  Thank you for meaning it.  Thank you for letting me love you with all my strength.

Your illness revealed who you were.  Your true essence.  A strong, loving, gentle, intensely thoughtful soul with the utmost poise and grace and dignity.  I wish I could scream it loud for everyone to hear.  I am so incredibly proud of you.  I have so much love and respect for you and how you responded to your day to day reality.  I saw it.  I saw it all.  It will forever be a part of who I am.  And who I want to be.

 Photo by Jenni @

Thursday, May 3, 2012

made it through

What a week.  I should be writing this on a Friday, but so much has happened during the week that I think I'll start early looking back on it. 

It was exhausting.  I am totally depleted tonight.  But you know what?  I made it through.  I tackled problems.  I did what needed to be done. I looked for solutions.  I found them.  I educated myself.   I did some planning.  I cried a lot.  I even laughed a little. 

I had dinner with a friend tonight.  What a sweetheart she is.  We chatted it up.  She even let me talk endlessly about Edd.  We talked about men.  Husbands.  How the way they show love for their families is by providing for them.  Edd showed a lot of love.  He thought of everything.  He worked hard and one of the ways he wanted to show he loved me was by taking care of me.  Helping me to understand everything so I'd know what to do.  It gave him joy.  He loved my appreciation for all he did.  Lack of appreciation was one of the things that made his previous relationship sour and die.  As we said to each other one time recently, "What good is love if you can't feel it..."

So even though the week was full of court appearances, opening accounts, closing accounts, learning and trying to understand new things, working through problems, talking to people who can help walk me through difficult decisions, not to mention a broken air conditioner..... I felt okay.   Even through the many tears, I felt what Edd would have wanted me to feel.  Loved and empowered.

Now if I could only get a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

always with me

Lessons are sometimes too quickly lost.  Forgotten.  How these last days, months... years... have changed me is worth keeping close and somehow putting into words. 

Sometimes I concentrate too much on what I don't know and too little on what I do.

I've learned.  I've grown.  I'm changed.  I'm a better person for what I've gone through.  For what I've gone through with him.  His strength has given me courage as I make decisions.  His commitment to us, to me and my good, has humbled me.  His selflessness has inspired me and given me compassion I didn't know I had.  His foresight and ability to look ahead to potential problems and think through issues made an impact on me.  I find myself emulating him.  Being more like him in ways that make me a better person.  He has become a part of me.   

People who say he is always with me sometimes perplex and annoy me, because he isn't with me.  I want his touch and his smile and his warm body to embrace.  But I do sense his spirit.   The very soul that gave me so much love and kindness.

My days have been busy.  It's best that way.  I do work every day and have a lot to get done.  I remember Edd's custom of doing a little (or a lot) every day and that amounted to actually accomplishing things in time.  I will do the same.

But I want to make room for some fun too.  Today I fixed up a cozy spot in my living room and placed a new desk and chair in a corner so I'd have a place to plunk my portable laptop.  It's a nice place to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while I do some work, reading or research.

One day at a time.  That's about all I can do right now.  My throat often gets tight and tears are ready to spill in an instant.  How quickly they come.  My heart is completely full of him.  It will take time to learn to breathe again.   A lot of time.   I'm not in any hurry.  He was THAT special.