“For in grief nothing “stays put.” One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?
But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?
How often — will it be for always? — how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, “I never realized my loss till this moment”? The same leg is cut off time after time.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
The sun will come up this morning. This is one of those days when I find that hard to believe. Six months ago today the love of my life lost his life after a brief but horrendous battle with cancer. He was gone just weeks after his diagnosis. Of course, I will always be ever so grateful he didn’t linger in the terrible pain and suffering, but we just weren’t ready to say good-bye…
Just this past weekend, it once again hit home for me how altered my life is. I was sick–nothing serious just seriously miserable. The kind of weekend when Harold would have had hot tea, soup and juice at the ready. I know I was no doubt very spoiled, and that I no doubt took it for granted far more often than not–and that I was very blessed to have had such a generous and loving helpmate.
Of course, I can, and did, make my own tea and I made a pot of soup, but it was a very lonely empty weekend. To be sure, I have any number of wonderful friends who would have brought me anything I needed or wanted. Truth be told, most times when I feel this miserable, I’m grumpy and not good company. Harold knew that too–he just made sure I knew he was there if I needed him. Hard act to follow!
Every day, I find myself doing things I didn’t before. I take out the trash, service the car, do yard work, hang pictures, deal with auto insurance, and more. It’s not that I wasn’t capable of doing those tasks before, but those particular things were not part of my everyday “stuff”. We shared chores and responsibilities, we had one another’s back, we knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We complemented one another. We always tried to remember to compliment each other. We liked each other a lot. We loved one another deeply. I’d like to think we each took good care of the other.
He was my dearest friend and losing him has left a huge gaping hole in my life. I still don’t know what will ever fill it. If possible, my grief is deeper and more painful now. Possibly it’s just that the shock and numbness is wearing off.
That being said, I am keenly aware of all the good things in my life. My family–my dear daughters (we express our love and lean on one another daily)–my twin brother (don’t know what I’d do without him–my older brother (who while not living here is so supportive and caring)–Harold’s family (who took me in as one of them over 40 years ago and thankfully have not let go of me yet)–my amazing friends and church family (all of whom have literally loved me through these last 6 months). I have a warm comfortable roof over my head (made possible by very special friends who I can never begin to pay back for their kindness). I have a marvelous job working with the best people I could wish for (a blessing on so many levels–a reason to be up and about–the financial boon to be quite honest–loving the work and that I sometimes get to be a bit creative–and the privilege of giving something back to those who give so much to me.) I have a faith that sustains and comforts me. I am beginning to write again. For the most part, I have my health (need to resolve to take better care of myself, but…)
Speaking of health, this past week I signed up for Medicare insurance, which will truly be a blessing since I have been without insurance for some time. Of course, it did bring me face to face with my age. And, it reminded me that growing old is another thing I never could have imagined doing by myself. I do have trouble envisioning a future without Harold in it. We had such plans! Regardless, the future will come, and I know it will not be all bleak. I have joy in my life and things to look forward to. It will be different, but I know I have so many amazing people to walk this new path with me. Change has never been easy for me–Harold knew that about me and would sometimes tease me about it. But more, he would challenge me to do things I never would have otherwise considered–and I believe he’s still cheering me on.
And now 6 months have gone by. How is that possible? I didn’t think I could make it 6 days, and surely not 6 weeks without Harold by my side. Yet here I am, and yes, the sun has come up.