After all this time, there are still days when I don’t know how to live without him. His absence becomes so present it can’t be ignore, so I sit alone and stare, frozen in the silence. Encouragement from friends doesn’t help or thinking of all the good things in my life because these are logical, practical things I know but can’t quite reach my heart. Sometimes I know what brings me to this state and other times I just discover myself there. I believe my husband was so embedded in my life that he’ll be there forever. That’s not a bad thing. I love our great memories and want to share them with my grandchildren so they can know him as best they can. He took up many of the rooms in my life, rooms holding wants and needs. Those rooms were emptied when he left and even though I’ve been able to fill some of those rooms with great, but different, things, empty rooms still remain. When doors to those empty rooms open, that’s when the sadness comes. A reminder of that which is missing, not yet able to be discovered again or filled with something just as good.
My grandson has a sweet thing he does every once in a while. He holds up his thumb and index finger, showing a small space between them and says “I love you this much.” I, in turn, sadly say “Only that much?” He replies “No, I love you this much” and he brings his arms around his back until they touch, showing me he couldn’t love me any more. I’ve loved my husband with different kinds of love since the moment I met him. The hopeful love of wanting him to love me in return. Mutual love, in spite of everything love, neglected love, and love that stood the test of time and remained even when I didn’t like him at all. Grieving love came way too soon and now missing you love that recalls only what was good about him and us. I love my children with a love that changed from cherishing, to tough, to acceptance for who they are as adults. The love I hope will never change is that childlike love my grandson demonstrates which says I’ll love you with all the love I have, no matter what you say or do, because I can.
I’ve always appreciated sunsets; the cloud patterns and ever changing range of colors created by the sun as it sets. I never appreciated the sun rising, rarely finding beauty there. I discovered the real beauty of a sunrise is not seen with the eyes, after reading the words “a sunrise of promise”. Sunsets are beautiful, but they do represent the end of the day. The day has passed, what’s done is done, wasted or spent to the fullest extent, moments never to be altered. I don’t need to see the sun rise to know it happens every day. It is way more than just an event; it’s the moment the day’s potential begins. What is the day capable of? How much can it hold? How many possibilities will be seen or missed? Some of these answers will depend on my choices and actions, and others on my reactions, imagination, hope, determination, and stamina. I’ve faced all kinds of days from dreamlike to unthinkable and everything in between but I don’t remember ever starting any day wondering, with excitement, what will it bring, and reminding myself as it begins, that I have what it takes to face whatever comes my way.
So, I can breathe through half my nose and my cough has changed from loud to productive. The driveway is clear of snow and the snowblower treated me kind and worked perfectly. The satellite dish – let’s not go there. Tree branches were sawed down and missed my head, I muddled my way around Etsy shipping rates, and sleep is lasting longer. My grandson’s joy of having me at his school overwhelmed me but my husband’s presence was what I missed. I’m staying put for Thanksgiving due to expected bad roads that I cannot fix. These aren’t big things, even thrown into one big pot, so I’ll blame defeat on being physically sick enough to not want to get off the couch, but having to anyway because there’s no one here to take care of me or things. So, let’s call it what it really is – self-pity – and here’s my own definition since the real one is wrong. Feeling sorry for myself because of the misfortune that has befallen me, for my awful circumstances. Kick the cold, not me. Solving the dish means asking for help – jeez, I have asking for help issues! Almost there! Don’t quit.
I’ve been defeated by my cold and cough, the snow, the satellite dish, a squirrel, Etsy shipping, sleep, Grandparent’s Day, and the weather forecast. I’ve been defeated before, so I know I will rise from the mud to sail upon the sea. Well maybe not the sea (fear of water), but it sounded nice. Being defeated by one thing is hard enough, but as each one hit, and sinking further became easier and easier, I’m finding it fairly easy to stay down than to keep struggling, at least for a while. Even though I know I’ll be OK, I’m not sure when or how because defeat doesn’t necessarily repeat itself in exactly the same way each time and if defeat is not the same, neither is the victory. For a family issue it took a move and forgiving, even if it was never asked for. For my husband to finish his teaching degree it was massive amounts of self-motivation. The sale of my last home was the joy over having it gone and being done with it. Sometimes it’s just telling a friend what’s going on, not so much because you want them to fix it, rather to just listen.
I’m not runway beautiful or movie-star famous. I’m not circus-performer amazing or rock-star talented. I’m not iron-chef material or tight-rope-walker daring. I’m not Freddy Krueger scary or Mary Poppins magical. But . . . I have all of these in me if I am, or others are, willing to look. There’s beauty there if I just get past the outside. I believe I’ve positively impacted enough lives that I’ll be remembered for a while after I’m gone. There are things I’ve made and accomplished that are pretty amazing, if I can get past thinking it’s prideful to acknowledge them. I love to do lots of things, and maybe that’s why I’ve mastered none, but I love doing them and that’s what counts. I can make some homemade meals and desserts good enough for them to be asked for over and over again for the last 30 years. I hate fast and water, especially together, but that didn’t stop me from running the Hudson River at high water. There’s been mornings when my reflection requires me to be brave and I’ve seen the magic of discovery in the eyes of my children and grandchildren as we share new adventures. Just look!
I find myself saddened by the news media and posts on Facebook concerning the next president of the United States. To predict failure, to want anyone to fail, makes no sense. The result of one person’s failure can impact many. What’s wrong with wanting the best, not only for yourself, but for others? Nothing. What’s wrong with wanting the expected or desired result to be failure right from the start? Everything. I never wanted my kids to fail because when they succeeded, I felt like I also succeeded. My husband ran into many brick walls finishing his teaching degree. One was so horrendous it seemed impossible to climb over, but he did because failure wasn’t an option, no matter how much conquering each hurdle changed him. And if you think failure is certain in some circumstances and situations, think again. Nothing but death is absolutely certain. The same train stops for all of us. We don’t get to decide to get on or not, but we do get to decide what side of the tracks to live on while we wait – positive or negative, try or not try, hope or despair, joy or sadness. Time ticks by either way.