Death Anniversary – Twenty Years – The Bite. I Love You to the Moon and Back for One Thousand Lifetimes

I love you to the core of my soul.

When you asked me to marry you, my heart held all the joy in the world.

Yet, the fear of the future and concern about how I’d deal if I were to lose you because of our age difference, it frightened me to my soul.

I weighed the odds and decided that another love like ours could never be.

I hugged you in true laughter, and said yes, but I made you promise me at least 20 years.

What a fool I was, short-changing myself and not asking for thirty.

Your promise gave me 22,

That fateful fear that’d sometimes niggled at my mind, came back to bite.

No amount of years would have ever been enough to have to let you go.

I love you now, still, and forever.

I love you forever into the beyond.

God gifted me you, but only on loan. Because he wanted you back.

You were my lesson on love.

I tasted true unconditional love,

A gift that many have been denied the privilege.

You’re a gift that will blanket my heart for the rest of my days.

I love you.

Puppy grave
In my heart forever

One year ago today, I lost the love of my life. I can’t even fathom the thought it’s been one year. It still aches like yesterday. My heart is still heavy, and the missing is a continuous gaping hole in my heart.

Today I will visit my husband’s grave, our grave, and lay a new rock upon the headstone. Although I feel the need to visit his grave, I feel him more when I’m home, or wherever I go, as though he is with me. He sends me lots of signs, so I know this much.

The only thing I’ve learned about heart-wrenching grief, is that it never subsides. Each wave that comes over me is like a fresh wound. It doesn’t get easier, I just learn to dance around it when it hits. I don’t suppose it ever goes away because as long as there was love, there will always be grief for the giant loss that resides in my heart.

Next week I will begin planning a celebration of life for my Puppy, the one Covid restrictions denied him; just like the Covid hospital restrictions that added to his demise. I still carry a lot of anger inside for that.

Ours was a true love story, and such as grief is, the more we love, the harder and longer we will grieve.

In the past year, I watched my husband die daily before my eyes. My heart was ripped, yet I had to carry on taking care of him because it was all I could do. I cast my brokenness aside, held back my tears and wouldn’t even admit to myself that my other half was leaving me. Until he did.

I packed up 25 years of our life together, gave things away and moved two months later. I don’t even know how I did it all, I just felt like I was on auto pilot going through the motions.

It was my friends who got me through the difficult days, allowing me to speak about him, about the pain, without any interruption or words of empowerment. Grievers don’t need all those foofie condolences, they need love and support and an ear to blanket the soul, for there are no solutions. Grief is just a process that one must journey through alone. But ears and hugs go a long way to comfort. So I thank my wonderful circle of friends, both here and at home, and all of you here for your love and support and for giving me back some of the ‘normal’ I need to continue on.

Beloved Puppy

I’m a longggg way from healing, but I’m doing and showing up, and taking in all the moments of gratitude along this painful road. And the only thing that keeps me doing so is believing my husband is still always here with me.

I came across the perfect word while reading things in one of the online grief groups I follow. There is a Portuguese word called ‘Saudade’, pronounced ‘Sodahd’. In the article I read it talked about this being the perfect word for which there isn’t a perfect English translation. But the gist of the word is it means a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for something or someone that one loves despite them being gone. It’s akin to the term ‘bittersweet’, a longing for something or someone that will never be again. I too now feel it is the perfect description for my grief. According to Dictionary.com,

saudade

soh-dahd; Portuguese soh-dah-juh ]

noun

(in Portuguese folk culture) a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent:the theme of saudade in literature and music.

I love this new word, it describes well the indescribable longing of grief.

Big Puppy
My Puppy

I haven’t published much in the last few years, during my husband’s illness and his dying, and subsequently, after. But don’t be fooled. I’ve been writing like a fiend. I’ve written many poems, conversations, observations and soul searching thoughts through this journey. Turns out I’m 30K words into a book about grief and love, although written in drafts. One day, when my heart can take it, I will put that book together. For now, I would like to share one of the poems I wrote for my husband:

IF

If I’d held you tighter and never let you go,
When God took you, I’d be there with you now.

If there wasn’t a Covid, and my pleas were heard,
You might have still been here with me now.

If I faced my fear of losing you and told you all I knew of your fate,
Would it have scared you more?

If I had a trillion more days, I couldn’t love or miss you more.

If I wasn’t so broken, I could reminisce our happy times,
Instead of just seeing your pained face and body, in my every thought.

If I could stop this biting pain, I could breathe.

If love could have saved you, you’d still be here with me now.




©DGKaye2022


Sunday Movie Review – The Father – Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman – #Dementia

The Sunday Movie Review – this movie caught me right out of left field. When I saw that The Father was released on Netflix starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman (The Crown), I couldn’t wait to watch it. I’ll also add that I had to put on my big girl pants to watch this heart grabbing story, but felt compelled to watch it, accompanied by a box of tissues.

 

A masterful performance by Anthony Hopkins in a heartwrenching role of The Father of Anne, played by Olivia Coleman.

 

My 5 Star Review:

 

This powerful story takes place in London where Anne has already taken in her father after realizing he shouldn’t be living on his own any longer, despite his stubborness. But Anthony (real name and movie name) still comes across as witty and intelligent – until he drifts into a lost person.

 

This is a heartbreaking character study movie, so don’t be looking for big plots and action. The premise is real and frightening and Hopkins gives the performance of his lifetime portraying a father with dementia. We get an internal look as we stand outside this box of grief and fear. The grief is what we feel from what we witness as this man continues to go back and forth from reality to his lost world of dementia and the grief we feel for his daughter Anne who remains compassionate, despite her moments of wanting to throw up her hands.

 

We take in the moments where Anthony’s fits of anger strike because his confusion annoys even himself. His verbal distaste for going into a home when suggested by Anne so she can take her opportunity to move to Paris, will have you, tugging at your own heartstrings.

 

The movie contains mostly dialogue and will have us the viewers just as confused as Anthony at some points as he trys to decipher the reality from his own dementia. The ending will rip what’s left of your heart out with Anthony’s vulnerability.

 

This movie portrays the brutal and raw realism of dementia, how one lives within himself with it and how those who are the caregivers live a living grief.

 

 

Most heartwrenching quote by Hopkins as he questions his own sanity:

“I feel as though I’m losing all my leaves.”

 

 

From IMDB :

Storyline

Having just scared off his recent caregiver, Anthony, an ailing, octogenarian Londoner gradually succumbing to dementia, feels abandoned when concerned Anne, his daughter, tells him she’s moving to Paris. Confused and upset, against the backdrop of a warped perspective and his rapid, heart-rending mental decline, Anthony is starting to lose his grip on reality, struggling to navigate the opaque landscape of present and past. Now, as faded memories and glimpses of lucidity trigger sudden mood swings, dear ones, Anthony’s surroundings, and even time itself become distorted. Why has his younger daughter stopped visiting? Who are the strangers that burst in on Anthony?Nick Riganas

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A fantastic half hour interview with Sir Anthony Hopkins on the making of this film, how he felt in the role and how he prepared for it. Note: He played a man his own age of 84.
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Has anyone here seen the movie? Thoughts?
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©DGKaye2021

 

Sunday Book Review – A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

 

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Through my journey of grief and reading several books on the subject of grieving, several times I came across quotes from C.S. Lewis’ book on grief mentioned in other books- A Grief Observed, which he wrote after losing his beloved wife. I came across Lewis’ reflections on bereavement in some other books I’d read, which had me scurrying off to Amazon to read yet another book on grief. But I didn’t feel this was just ‘another book on grief’, but a telling, a rant, a questioning, and a feeling of familiarity. I also felt this book different because it wasn’t written after the healing began, rather, in the rawness of grief as he questioned death and what, if anything, comes after.

 

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day.

 

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C.S. Lewis

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

A Grief Observed is Lewis’ brutally honest reflection on the death of his wife, Joy Gresham, which exposes readers to the fact that man is vulnerable and fragile when attempting to understand the goodness of God in the midst of extreme pain.

 

Lewis’ four-part reflection brings readers face to face with the cruel reality of the damage that sin has done to our world. His writing demonstrates utter despair as a result of acknowledging that death is a natural and unavoidable destiny for all. He writes expressing the sentiment that his wife was so beautiful and beloved that her death, though natural, was undeserved. Lewis compares the feeling of grief to fear stating that it gives him the same restlessness, yawning and fluttering of the stomach. It is not hard for the reader to recognize that Lewis feels that damage has been done to his world.

 

While Lewis paints a vivid picture of why he loved his wife Joy, throughout his reflection she remains a faint figure in the background while the author focuses on grief itself. A Grief Observed leaves readers with a real sense of the frailty of the human experience.

 

Written after his wife’s tragic death as a way of surviving the “mad midnight moments”, A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis’s honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections on that period: “Nothing will shake a man, or at any rate a man like me, out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.”

 

This is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings.

 

 

My 5 Star Review:

I’ve read many books on grief through my own journey of darkness after losing the love of my own life, and what I will say about this book is that it’s raw and in the moment while the writer suffers the pangs of grief for the giant loss in his life while in the depths of his grief, sharing his thoughts and cynicism on the topic of death during the grieving process through his anger at god. Lewis questions all we know of death and what happens after, asking, what do we know really about the end of life and if there really is anything more after. Lewis helps put in words what many of us grievers wonder of the same. The author doesn’t offer the hope, but shares his path to coping as he questions god and religion and what exactly the ‘afterlife’ is all about and if it exists.

 

Lewis is a broken and confused man struggling to accept the death of his wife, writer Joy Gresham, he affectionately refers to as H., (her given name, Helen). These are the writings of a man suffering grief after losing the true love of his life – his ‘other half’. His writings are like a search for answers, a questioning of self, love and god.

 

Lewis talks about some people as ‘idiots’ in one of his rants – people who don’t have the faintest idea about some of the platitudes that automatically spill from their mouths as condolence: “It was God’s plan,” “She’s in a better place now.” Empty platitudes he calls them from people who have no conception behind those words. This statement seems to be the general concensus from those of us who’ve loved and lost.

 

Often people don’t know what to say. They don’t want us to hurt so they say words like, “It will get better, time to move on, or even worse, pretending to know the actual weight of grief when they’ve never walked the walk,” Lewis touches on this, the deep-seated root of pain of loss as he laments in his grief.

 

I’d recommend this book for anyone grieving and searching their soul.

 

 

Memorable quotes from Lewis on grief: ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

 

“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

 

“Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. 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?”

 

“Did you ever know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past, even of the things we never shared.”

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Grief Diaries – Dimes from Heaven. So, Where are You? – Grave Decorating

Dimes from Heaven, So where are you already?

 

I heard when you find dimes, your lost loved one is around. I came across three while cleaning out our large rented condo to move to a smaller one. And then, nothing.

 

Moving sucked whatever life I had left in me – to the bone. It wasn’t enough I lost you and my heart and soul were broken, but I’m physically broken from the new record breaking most horrendous move I’ve ever endured; and you know we had plenty of horrors with our many moves together – not to mention, I had you, my strong, handsome handyman to do the grueling things and heavy lifting, and to hang a million things I asked of you. You never denied me. We were so good together.

I’m reading many books about how people get through this most painful heart-wrenching time in life and survive from not dying from a broken heart. It always makes me think of my dad when I’m in my deepest moments of a new wave of grief; I always said he died of a broken heart because my mother crushed him so many times. I can feel how this could happen.

I just need to start feeling your presence, like I can sometimes when I feel my dad and aunt around. I know their signals when they are around. I need to sense your presence and have a visit to help calm my fears. I need to know you’re okay, you know, like the story I told you many times, about the one and only time I went to visit my dad in heaven and saw his light and spoke with him? I’m waiting for that time again with you.

In the meantime, after visiting your grave two weeks ago, I Couldn’t Find You?

I promised myself when I got this place sorted after the big bad move, I was going to come visit our grave. I hesitated a few times because I felt the need to be close to you here. Even though I ‘think’ you are around me, but no concrete evidence to appease me yet, I felt I needed to visit your grave to see if I felt closer to you there. It was a beautiful sunny day and I hadn’t been out in many, and my (our) new apartment is a bit too dreary for me, which adds to the grief I live daily. But I digress, so I was feeling like I had to test my feelings I get when ‘I think’ you are around at home, to see how I will feel at the cemetery being physically closer to you – Only I Couldn’t Find You.

Omg, I took in some beautiful warm sunshine as I walked around the graves and looked for that beautiful big tree that was kind of a landmark, but everything looked so different without snow. And many more graves and headstones have been added.

I walked around and called out to you loud and clear, “Puppy, where are you?” And I didn’t feel a thing, and just wasn’t sure exactly where you were since they laid the grass and there’s no marker. I was sure then that your presence is felt more in our home than at the cemetery.

I got back in the car and drove around to the office. The woman seemed warm when she asked if she could help me, and I told her I can’t find my husband – our grave. I waited while she went to check out ‘our’ neighbors on file so I could find you and handed me a paper with a few names in our row. And I found you!

The grass hasn’t fully mended yet. All the things left there from last time were gone. Before grass was laid, the grave was a pile of dirt with all the flowers and ribbons from your coffin piled on top. It’s a barren looking grave at the moment. I assessed and made a list of what to buy to ‘spruce’ up the area and remind others that there is someone under the grass.

I wanted something symbolic to leave there as a marker until the headstone is made, which apparently takes 4 months to make and that will be perfect. I want to make you a big unveiling when this damn Covid thing is over and done with – or, at least, under control because I want the many people who would have been at your funeral to be there this time. So no rush. If things are calmed down by end of year I’ll arrange it then. If not, it can wait til April, your one year. And I will be arranging it all on my own, for that is how I live now, on my own.

I got back in the car to drive home and turned back on the radio when I started the car. I hadn’t listened to it on the way down because I was on speaker phone with my friend Alison during the drive. Well, on came Johnny Cash – one of your all-time favorites. Mysteriously, the station was tuned into the 50s channel, which you know I alwayssssssss made you change because I don’t like that era of music. We’d compromise, I’d give up my 70s channel and you’d give up the 50s and we’d listen to the 60s together in the car. So what was up with that? I never turn the 50s on in my car! That was you, I know. 🌺

Update: I gathered some beautiful rocks, ordered paint markers and sealant and made my own decorations for you. I placed a small planter of baby roses, a plaque, several loving rocks and butterfly stakes around the grave. I couldn’t have you lying there incognito with no name and no recognition, so as usual, I fixed up your spot.

Graveside design

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Sunday Book Review – Talking to Heaven by James Van Praagh

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. As many of you already know, my reading interest since my husband’s passing is solely being hungry for books about getting through the grieving journey, as well as books about the hereafter. Talking to Heaven was a beautiful book, giving a deeper understanding to what goes on with the transition of death to the next realm.

 

 

Blurb:

James Van Praagh is a spiritual medium—someone who is able to bridge the physical and spiritual worlds. Though unaware of his gifts until his twenties, he slowly came to terms with his unique abilities. Talking to Heaven explores his most revealing sessions with grieving people seeking to contact the spirits of loved ones. From a devastated mother receiving a message of hope from her deceased little girl, to communicating with a young man, killed in Vietnam, who doesn’t realize he’s dead, Van Praagh affirms his belief in the existence of a peaceful afterlife. Talking to Heaven also offers those who are grieving methods to recognize and positively deal with the pain of grief in a healthy, honest manner.

Part spiritual memoir, part case study, part instrumental guide, Talking to Heaven will change the way you perceive death and life.

 

My 5 Star Review:

Medium James Van Praagh is a well-known psychic medium who writes in this book about his live experiences doing readings for people wanting to connect with lost loved ones.

He shares how he introduces himself to each client by sharing incidence in the client’s life that nobody else would never even know. Using examples of stories of his encounters with spirit, he shares how he receives his information and how he feels what the deceased experienced as their death.

For anyone curious to learn what happens to spirit on the other side after life, this book is a calming and informing about how our loved ones who’ve passed may be gone from their earthly life, but remain around us for the rest of ours. Praagh also tells us the same about our loved and lost pets and how they still come round and hang out in their favorite spots from their earthly life.

Praagh goes into the chakras and meditations that help to open us up and allow us to go deeper into ourselves, teaching us with guided meditations how we can connect on another realm with a lost loved one, something I certainly hope I will eventually be able to do.

In this book, the author shares a lot about himself, detailing how he came to be a psychic medium through his own experiences, as well as sharing many experiences others have encountered with lost love ones from the other side with his assistance. Stories of hope for others to learn how to connect and understand better, the hereafter.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Kindness, Tears and Loving Beyond – #Grief and Loss

Unexpected kindness is the small things, ordinary things someone kind may do in passing, like when someone sends us a card to let us know they’re thinking of us as a lovely gesture, often without them realizing how a simple gesture can mean so much and can bring a smile – or a tear.

 

I’ve received some lovely cards – both physical and ecards, as well as many messages, and it is comforting and humbling to know that people hold us in their thoughts. Yes, I do realize I keep saying ‘us’, as old habits die hard. I remember reading in quite a few books, how grievers tend to speak about their lost loved one in the present tense, as though they are still here. I am guilty of this as in my heart my beloved is still here with me. I don’t know that I shall ever use the past tense for my husband.

This journey of grief is certainly not for the faint-hearted. The ripples and waves, and sometimes tsunamis of grief roll through randomly and unexpectedly 24/7. Tears splash so easily – a thought, a memory, a condolence, a photo, loneliness, even opening the fridge door and catching a glimpse of his favorite foods will set off a new stream of waterworks. The smiles aren’t as plentiful as it literally hurts my heart to smile sometimes.

The tears are a constant release of pain that ooze out through the eyes, somewhat allowing the heart a tiny bit more of breathing room – until the pool refills itself, something that stuns me, the abundance of tears that never cease to replenish.

The only comfort for me in this time is being able to talk about my husband and all the good and funny things about him. But these talks only satisfy me if they are with someone who knew him well, because they could appreciate the moments with me. And then there is music, but most days I find songs too painful to listen to so I’ll resort to mindless TV.

It’s barely been six weeks since I laid my husband to rest in the double-decker grave I bought for us, yet, the pain in my heart feels like it’s been trodden over for years.

Every new day brings with it yesterday’s sorrow within. I miss my husband terribly and I can’t help but wonder if it will ever get easier. But one thing I know for sure, I will always love him from the core of my being, and not time or anyone can take that away from me.

I’ve been humming a song in the back of my mind lately. It’s a passionate song about loving someone forever, and it’s a beautiful Italian song that I always loved, only now, it’s taken on so much more meaning. Al Di La means ‘Next Life’ or ‘Above and Beyond’, I will love you beyond the beyond. This song was made famous from the 1962 movie – Roman Adventure starring Suzanne Pleshette and Troy Donahue.

 

Take a listen. And if you would like a direct translation of the lyrics, you can find them here.

 

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Sunday Book Review – No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny – #Grief and Loss

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. As I’ve explained before in other reviews for books I’m currently on a tangent with reading during my time of grief. Before and after losing my own husband, I couldn’t concentrate on reading any books as my mind was preoccupied with my husband’s welfare, then ultimately, his passing. But I have found that I can easily read books on grieving, and stories about life after death, in the literal sense, and as a grieving widow. Such books give me a bit of comfort right now in my life, books that equate with what is currently going on inside me, questions swirling around, the need for a kinship with those who’ve walked in the shoes before me in this journey, and a sense of ‘fitting in’ somewhere new.

 

Nora McInerny’s story is a powerful one. In this book she teaches us through her own lessons about deep love and loss, how she endured, and how she found new love unexpectedly, and the guilt she felt for loving another man while she was still in love with her first husband.

Now, I’m so veryyyyyyyyyyyy far away from even thinking about a ‘Chapter 2’, as Nora calls it. And I was drawn to this book after watching a Ted Talk with Nora as she briefly discussed her journey of loss, and despite the sadness of her whole situation, her ability to punctuate some of her story with humor in her easy conversational style of telling, compelled me to read further on about this woman.

You can expect more reviews in coming weeks of books I feel make a difference in the life of someone who is grieving, so I hope you can all take something from my reviews whether you’ve been ‘in the shoes’ or not, because inevitably, we will all be walking the walk at some point in our lives.

 

 

 

Blurb:

The author of It’s Okay to Laugh and host of the popular podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking—interviews that are “a gift to be able to listen [to]” (New York Times)—returns with more hilarious meditations on her messy, wonderful, bittersweet, and unconventional life.

Life has a million different ways to kick you right in the chops. We lose love, lose jobs, lose our sense of self. For Nora McInerny, it was losing her husband, her father, and her unborn second child in one catastrophic year.

But in the wake of loss, we get to assemble something new from whatever is left behind. Some circles call finding happiness after loss “Chapter 2”—the continuation of something else. Today, Nora is remarried and mothers four children aged 16 months to 16 years. While her new circumstances bring her extraordinary joy, they are also tinged with sadness over the loved ones she’s lost.

Life has made Nora a reluctant expert in hard conversations. On her wildly popular podcast, she talks about painful experiences we inevitably face, and exposes the absurdity of the question “how are you?” that people often ask when we’re coping with the aftermath of emotional catastrophe. She knows intimately that when your life falls apart, there’s a mad rush to be okay—to find a silver lining, to get to the happy ending. In this, her second memoir, Nora offers a tragicomic exploration of the tension between finding happiness and holding space for the unhappy experiences that have shaped us.

No Happy Endings is a book for people living life after life has fallen apart. It’s a book for people who know that they’re moving forward, not moving on. It’s a book for people who know life isn’t always happy, but it isn’t the end: there will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy. As Nora reminds us, there will be no happy endings—but there will be new beginnings.

 

My 5 Star Review:

Nora McInerny helps to welcome those of us new to widowhood with a delivery of micro dosing of humor threaded in where warranted to ease in some comedic relief to soften the heartache we will engulf within when reading Nora’s story.

This author explains to us within her own personal stories, how everything we do in life, leads us to the next something. She shares her life openly and the tragic woe she lived through in a short timeframe of losing her unborn child, her father, and her beloved husband Aaron within the span of a few short months. As she states, “You don’t stop loving your first love, you keep it and take it with you.” She explains that everything that came ‘after’ in her life was built on the life she had before; she refers to her life after losing her first husband as – Chapter 2.

This book is a memoir told in conversational style of the author’s most raw and poignant moments of love, loss, enduring, and even how her life moved forward – not on, almost without her realizing as all the new parts in her new widowed life fell and found new life. Ahh, but new life doesn’t mean she forgot about her old life, or that the searing pain of missing her first husband ever went away, but how she managed to tuck that life into a sacred place and allowed it to become part of her new life. She freely expresses her thoughts, fears, doubts, and longings as she grieved the loss of Aaron, some of which might have some scratching their heads to her open admissions about physical longings and needs being met, not because she wanted another relationship, not to get over her love for Aaron, but to remember what it felt like to be touched and desired, before she realized that human emotions do have an affect on her limitations and that her momentary needs were just that, moments of longing to feel human touch. She’ll continue on sharing her apologies for her spontaneous desire, sharing her not realizing how the one she chose for pleasure only began to entangle the emotions of that partner, and her realization about how wrong that was to allow someone into her bubble of grief for her own satisfaction, and her self-reckoning with how that person was hurt.

After Nora meets Matthew, her deep, intense telling of how that relationship even came to be, she makes us understand the gift she was given at her ‘second chance with love’, all the while making us understand that despite her second time round, everything she did and was came from her deep love for her first love, Aaron.

Nora shares how she struggled to be in her new relationship because of guilt and shame she felt for holding love in her heart for Aaron while having ‘new’ love for someone else. Nora continues on about the relationship with Matthew and talks about the places she could no longer go to with anyone that were now sacred to her and Aaron, but shows us the way on how she made new places to go in her new life.

 

Best Relatable Quotes:

Most poignant line for me: “I wasn’t a caregiver, I was a wife living my vows.”

“Aaron died at age thirty-five and that will always be tragic and it will always make me sad. But our love and his death are not a burden to the person who loves me next. Aaron’s love and Aaron’s death are my foundation.”

“The first year of widowhood is a year of firsts: 365 days where you can say, ‘last year, we were . . .”

On religion: ” What does God have to do with this? I wanted to shout at every person who tweeted their #thoughtsandprayers to me while Aaron’s body wasted next to me. What does a prayer do? What kind of God is listening, but not doing anything?”

“God to me is just people.” (Referring to the people who helped her find her way.)

“Even if you’re surrounded by people you love, figuring out grief is a solo project.”

Nora to her therapist: “This is what I’ve felt like all these months, like I’m groping about in the darkness, waking up in a world I hadn’t expected to occupy. But there is no way through it, except through it.”

On being unafraid to give her heart again: “You cannot bubble wrap and protect your heart from life, and why should you? It is meant to be used, and sometimes broken. Use it up, wear it out, leave nothing left undone or unsaid to the people you love. Let it get banged up and busted if it needs to. That’s what your heart is there for.”

Hemingway Quote: “.. the world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are stronger in the broken places.”

Nora shares with us that her grief for the loss of Aaron remains, despite the new love she has with Matthew, because true love will never die just because the body has.

©DGKaye2021

Life Love Loss

 

Shopping for One – Life, Love and Loss – #Grief

 

After two weeks of grueling paperwork, phone calls and income tax, and … grieving, I thought perhaps I should run out and pick up a few groceries – few being the operative word. I should have known by the sunny sky I’d spied when I peeked out the window before leaving, the sunshine would be short-lived as it rained down a five minute stunt of chunky snowflakes as soon as I pulled out of the garage. Maybe it wasn’t the right day to venture out into the world in my new singleness.

 

I had zero vegetables left – or chocolates, so that was enough to motivate me to get outside, only my second time out since my husband’s funeral. Still, I felt strange. But I thought it would also be a good idea to just get out. Sure, plenty of times while my husband wasn’t well I’d done the shopping solo, but I was still shopping for the two of us. This time I wasn’t.

I ambled into the supermarket, feeling slightly numb from the combination of half an Ativan and carrying the boulder around as added weight, which feels permanently attached to my heart. I chose what I needed for myself from the produce section and picked up a few red grapes. I stopped myself for a moment in thought. George likes green grapes. I try to explain to him, to no avail, that there are better benefits from eating red grapes – resveratrol, for one. But I’d continue to get him his green grapes, as the extra health factor in the red grapes didn’t excite, and myself the red. Today I only bought the red grapes.

As I ventured up every aisle just looking for a few things, my eyes glanced the many items I’d normally throw in the basket for my husband. Nope, don’t need the almond milk creamer, but thanks again Stupidstore for not having my soy creamer. Again! I grabbed myself a case of fizzy water, and left behind the case of gingerale, which is another staple for George. I picked up my toothpaste, not his.

As I scooted down the refrigerated aisle, I was taken aback when I passed his favorite rice pudding cups. How many years have I bought him those cups? I stood there for a few minutes just staring at the rice pudding, but in actuality, I was staring right through it, far and beyond. Then I went to the chocolate bar and candy aisle – George’s favorite aisle to roam in. I picked up my milk chocolate big bar, and left his dark chocolate one behind.

I bypassed the bread aisle. None required. The same oatmeal box caught my eye as the one I had at home, still almost full, save for that one bowl I tried to feed you again after you ate it the previous day and loved it. But that was that day, every day we’d cross a new challenge.

It was a short shop. I’d had enough. I went to stand in the Covid partroled lineup to cash out. My position in line, directly beside the flower shop. The roses took me back to the roses of two weeks ago, the ones that were placed on your coffin. Let’s go, let’s go, I kept repeating silently within as I could feel another outburst of grief brewing within. I needed to get out of that store. I just couldn’t breathe.

I think it was a bit too early for me to venture back out in the outside world, especially alone. I realized that being locked down in my Covid-free lockdown home is where I feel most comfortable at this moment. There I can be more comfortable in my unacceptance that you’re really gone, like when I’m in the living room, I pretend you’re sleeping. That’s how I’m able to function right now.

I feel the same aching inside every time I open up a cupboard or a fridge door in our home. So many of your favorite foods that I don’t eat remain resting on the shelves. I’ll throw it out someday. But right now I’m just not ready.

 

sad face

 

Triggers are everywhere and in everything. As the well of grief refills itself daily, I learn the simplest of things can set off a tidal wave of tears. Below, I’ll share a poignant passage from Gary Roe’s book – Comfort for the Grieving Spouse’s Heart, which I recently read and reviewed:

 

…My grief is like that. It can make a fool out of me without warning. No way to prepare for it. No way to anticipate it. Every moment, I’m at the mercy of my surroundings and my emotions. ~Gary Roe.

 

©DGKaye2021

Life Love Loss