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

 

Moving – Closure and Erasure, and #Grieving

I recently did the big move two Saturdays ago. It was a horrendous journey from the getgo. Barely two weeks had passed after my husband’s death when I was informed there was a one bedroom coming available in July. I probably wasn’t in my rightest mind, but I did know I didn’t want to pay exuberant rent living alone in the big place, so I agreed to take the early departure.

 

But before any packing could be done, I had to go through a lifetime of everything we owned. I had to downsize to at least half of everything – furniture, clothes, shoes, and other assorted big things taking up space. I barely had time to mourn over the seperation of the so many things that have been a part of my life, our life, for decades. But there was no choice. And there was barely a helping hand to help me sort out our life and condense it into boxes and smaller spaces. Trauma teaches us just how many are really in our life, and how many actually give a shit. I found out – not many.

I was referred to the clown movers by ‘a friend’ in my building. My good friend Vinnie had brought me over a large moving trolley a month before the move, telling me to use it to transport stuff downstairs as soon as I got the keys early. I did many loads and unloads, alone, and by the time moving day came, it should have been a four hour deal. Only, the mover guys came with no moving tools, didn’t bother taking a shower before coming to our air-conditioned building that was working overtime with some of the worst humidity from a temporary heatwave that hit on moving day, making the breathing more unbearable – even through a mask. These clowns needed me to guide and babysit them, so there was no way I could be down in the new place doing anything constructive. You may be wondering, so no, NOBODY came to help me on moving day.

After over ten hours of moving, scraping, dragging my furniture up and down hallways, I fired them at almost 9pm. My bones all felt broken, and I fell into a very dark place. It wouldn’t be until the Monday, two days later that the cavalry – my good friends Vinnie, Tonie and Alison showed up to help turn my place into a home. There were a few more visits over the last two weeks from my lovely friends, as everyone is busy and has their own life issues to deal with, but I learned a lot. And I couldn’t help thinking about a famous quote from Maya Angelou – “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

Through my journey of grief, I haven’t been working on a book, heck, I haven’t been writing regularly, but I have been writing. I found myself writing snippets of life and what I learned and felt through the days of my husband’s illness, through his dying days, and the emotional fallout afterwards that I continue to live daily. Late at night is when my inspirational moments of recall become crystal clear, and I write these thoughts down in one Word doc that will surely become elaborated on and condensed into a book – eventually – when I regain my balance and begin to stomach rereading the enormity of my life this past year. But in the interim, I will share snippets of my thoughts, here on my blog:

 

Closure Erasure

I scream at the top of my lungs when the pain gets too much. I have to release it or I may just spontaneously combust. Since the day you went away I have been running on auto pilot. From the shock of your death to making funeral arrangements, to burying you, to trying to swallow the five lonely weeks you lived from your death edict diagnosis.

The paper work, the banks, investments, will, and income tax to be done too, kept me in a tailspin between tears. Then, the last thing in the world on my mind was moving, yet, I knew I had to. We had planned to move in the early fall before we even knew how very sick you were. What I really wanted to do when you died was lay in bed with covers over my head, for however long I wanted to – days? Weeks? Who knows how long I’d allow myself. But it was as if you intervened when I surprisingly found out in gest there was a smaller unit in the same building. I truly believe you made that happen. But in the midst of the madness of preparing for this 180 degree move for me, it felt more like a total 360.

Life was a merry-go-round of fun, spontaneity, and love. We traveled, we laughed, and we loved, and we had a great life. Once again, I’m suddenly on my own and moving back to a one bedroom apartment, like I did when I left home at eighteen. Only then, it was exciting and freeing. This time it’s painful and lonely.

I’ve given all your belongings to your family, as I was forced to take on the ‘cleaning out’ process as half our stuff would not fit the new place. In the span of my life taking a 180, losing you, and clearing out our life, every picture, sock, piece of furniture, had me and you all over it. A monumental task that I still to this day, do not know how I had the strength to keep moving through while my heart is shattered. But I did. And often I felt I wasn’t even in my own body. Like some invisible force was keeping me going – like a friend calling to offer a hand just at the right moment -like my bestie Zan who still calls me twice a day from the other side of the world, because other than you, my love, there is nobody left living on this planet earth who loves me to nth degree and unconditionally, but Zan.

Erasure and closure everywhere I look. Bare walls embedded with leftover nails sticking out the walls from photos and mirrors now sold or packed away are what reflect back to me now. I think about how many homes we’ve built and sold and downsized each time, yet, we kept so much, like the huge two shopping bags full of every card for every occasion we’d ever given each other in our almost twenty-five years together. When I was getting rid of a lot of things, someone remarked to me that I should toss those bags too. I told her what they were and she remarked they’re no good to me now. Did you hear that? They are ever more important to me now. And one day, when my heart is ready to smile about our good times, I’d like to look back at those cards and smile in my heart again.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

“You’re allowed to change your mind about the people and things you want in your life. You’re allowed to adjust your values and preferences as you get older and wiser. You’re allowed to evolve and be a different person today than you were yesterday. This is your life.” ~ Unknown wordables.

 

 

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

 

PLAYGROUND OF TIME

angel baby

You came into this world as a bundle of joy,

Praying for health, your parents cared not whether you were girl or boy.

angel wing

Frilly frocks, colouring books and dolls, a little girl’s delight,

Tender hugs and kisses comforted you when you were afraid of the night.

angel sleep

 

First swings then school and boyfriends as you grew,

Soon marriage and children became part of you.

 

Time doesn’t measure how many years have passed,

You are always somebody’s child no matter how far the future is cast.

 

Our hearts now in sorrow filled with worry and fear,

As we begin to sense that you may no longer be near.

 

With lost efforts parents beg, plead and pray,

For you to be healed, not to be taken away.

 

D.G.Kaye c2014