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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

It seems like the first year is the most difficult.  There have so many firsts without Mike.  Halloween.  Thanksgiving.  His Birthday – that  day felt really empty. Christmas.  New Year’s.  Valentine’s Day.  I thought about him a lot.  He made a big deal of Valentine’s Day.  He surprised me each year with a special gift and card. I’d never had a man be so thoughtful and loving with this holiday.  Easter.  Our wedding anniversary – I wrote April 6th for two days in a row until I realized why.  I had forgotten our anniversary a couple times before.  I was always happy he remembered it.  Much harder was April 21st –  six months since Mike departed this life experience.  Every time I thought of this, tears sprung to my eyes. It seemed like it had been so recently and yet, so long ago.  I couldn’t really write about it till now. 

This timeframe feels like a milestone in accepting the reality that Mike’s not here.  I keep reflecting on Joan Didion’s book, The Year of Magical Thinking.  It took a year for her to really accept – or begin to accept – that her husband was gone.  More holidays and remembrances to come.  Memorial Day.  Fourth of July – last year we were at Dillon Beach, as usual.  My girlfriend and I and our daughters have been going every year for ten years.  It was so wonderful to have Mike there, too.  We all had so much fun.  I know I will miss him being there this year.

At first, it felt uncomfortable driving Mike’s Mini Cooper.  It smells like Mike, my daughter said.  It did.  I felt like I was surrounded by him.  He loved his Mini.  Years ago, I read that items that are well loved, hold that love energy  and you can feel that attraction, that love.  I have experienced this with rings  – my mother’s, my grandmothers’, and Mike’s mother’s – and  with the Mini.  I’m driving it more now.  The scent is beginning to fade, or perhaps, I’m getting more used to it.

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This last week has been transforming, cathartic, sad, grieving, digging up soil that hadn’t been turned yet . . . turning up items of Mike’s that I’d stuffed in drawers – till later.  I had shelves and rods installed in the master closet a week ago.  Which meant I had to empty the closet.  This also meant that I had to go through everything in the closet.  No more waiting.  As I put things away, I cried, wishing Mike were here.  I’m washing lots of clothes as I sort through it all – what to keep, what to pass on.  Cleaning.  Clearing.  Working in my closet.  Seems like inner work to me.  Feels like it, too.  Lots of greiving.  Changing the inside as I change the outside.  

After a week plus of closet work, I found myself drawn to clean out my email in and out boxes.  My inbox messages had been filed a couple months ago, but I had not cleared the outbox since before Mike passed on.  I found emails I had sent to him and a few from him – more dipping into the depths of what was. . . that is no longer.  I cried and pushed the delete button on the emails.  There’s no deleting him from my heart.

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In the Goo

When I was first reeling from the news of Mike’s death, the image that came to mind was of turning into goo – just like a caterpillar does.  It deconstructs in the cocoon and melts into goo.  The imaginal cells then move into action to reform the goo into a butterfly.  I was pushed into the goo.  I feel like I am still in the goo now.  Sometimes I feel like I have an inkling of what’s next, that my imagination, my imaginal cells are creating something new.  It’s not yet clear, it’s still mostly goo.

A few weeks later, a second image came to mind . . . I was flattened like Bozo the Clown.  When I was a child, we had a blow-up punching bag of Bozo the Clown.  You could punch it to the ground, and it would right itself because of the weighted bottom.  I feel like I was punched to the ground.  There are times when it seems I am righting myself, and other times when I am flattened again.  Bozo always came back to standing up and I know I will, too.

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It is a bummer that Mike took off his earth suit so soon. In some ways, I thought we were just getting started on our life together.  We’d been married for just 4 and a half years.  I could see how we were both sanding off the bumps and corners of each other as we evolved our life together.  I do know that in pushing the eject button on his earth suit, Mike realized a more expansive sense of who he is – that Love Life essence that never changes. 

Over the past few months prior to Mike’s transition, I had been noticing and appreciating the ordinariness of our relationship – the everyday little things.  Just having Mike at home – whether he was napping or reading,  or cooking together, or watching a movie together with our daughter.  We loved dinner and a movie at home or going out.  We loved to cook and entertain our friends.  It was fun to plan what we were each going to make.  I do have to mention his amazing lobster bisque.  One sip and I wanted to marry him.  Thank goodness this is one recipe that IS written down.  I am grateful that I was noticing and appreciating the ordinary gems in our relationship.  I do miss both of us cooking in the kitchen together – it is what our remodeled kitchen was designed for.  I miss the we.

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Erasing the Blackboard

All the plans – such as gatherings with friends, the dreams – retiring to Hawaii, the trips we were planning – to visit Mike’s sister and husband in the UK and at their house in France, to visit NYC which Mike had never been to – even though he’d lived or traveled in over 49 countries.  All these and many more desires that we had talked about . . . I now am erasing from the blackboard.  Those plans don’t apply now.  Well, some do – I will still go visit friends in NYC, and visit his sister & husband in the UK and France – just not with Mike.  We talked about going to Esalen Institute in Big Sur – he had been and said it was so wonderful.  Maybe I will go . . . and, it will be different without him.

In the book, Spiritual Liberation, by Michael Beckwith, he says:  “Surrender is a bold spiritual stance, the stance of a spiritual warrior, because what we are surrendering to is the next stage of our evolution.”  I am surrendering to a new next stage of my evolution, wiping the blackboard clean to start again.

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Going Deeper

Reading about grief in Emotional Genius, by Karla McLaren affirms what my spiritual and intellectual quadrants know without a doubt – that Mike knows himself to be expansive Love and Light – and consciousness.  Who he is has not changed, except he has taken off his earth suit.

And . . .  I must dive deep into my body and emotional quadrants.  To cry the tears that release the stuckness of shock.   To dive into the depths of the sorrow – to the sacred connections with our ancestors, loved ones and all of Life.  To “connect to the healing energies inside grief ” – and immerse myself in the waters of my emotions.  The body knows about grief and what to do.  I am listening.

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Flowers

I’ve always wondered why flowers are sent to the family of the deceased. Now I have a different understanding of why this is a tradition and a way to express condolences.

Flowers are alive, fresh.  A reminder of life.  Flowers also have powerful emotional and spiritual healing properties.  The floral arrangements I received were a reminder of the love and support of those that sent them to me – every time I looked at them and appreciated their beauty.

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