Thursday, June 12, 2014

Au Revoir

Well here it is. It has now been a few days short of a year since that fated night that unexpectedly changed my life forever. Last September, when I came up for air enough to go back to school and function, I made the decision that I did not want to be in this zip code when the anniversary of his death came around. Not having superb powers of concentration yet, I was reading light fiction by Maeve Binchy. Her books are all set in Ireland, and that seemed as good as any place to visit. I called my friend Sally and within a week we had booked a 10 day tour. It seemed light years away then, and yet here it is. We leave this evening for ten days.

I started this blog last year after being told several times what a terrible year it would be. I decided at that time that if that was true, then I really needed to write it down. I began writing it for myself, as a record of thoughts, feelings and changes during the year. I am amazed at the breadth of people it has reached; it is very humbling. And yet, the time has come for this blog to end. Every ending in life, be it death, divorce, job loss or whatever, needs a sense of closure. A place of peace to move forward.

Closure doesn't mean forgetting, or not reflecting on the past ever again. For me it means that I've worked really hard, really hard, this year to figure out where I go from here. Because after June 16, all the " firsts" are done. And he's still gone. And I'm still here. And if I learned anything this year it is that life is fragile and precious.

 I'm not the same person I was last June. Oh I am essentially the same, but when I look at the last year, and all I did to create a new path for myself, I am amazed. There were terrible parts where the waves of grief would literally knock me off my feet. But someone was always there to pick me up and hold me. How do you ever thank people and family enough for that? And then there were the " I Am Woman" moments, where I accomplished something like buying a new car alone, scuba diving, or household maintenance that had never been on my list of responsibility, where I actually stood a little taller. I got a little stronger so that the next wave didn't knock me down quite as hard. I learned this year to be okay by myself and to be good to myself. I created my own living space, and learned how to ask for help when I simply couldn't do something.  And I realized that my friend Sherri was right when she said it wouldn't be terrible, it would just be different. There were terrible parts to be sure, but there were magical parts as well as I forged my new path in this life.

I talked to him recently. It's true , I do that now and then, and I told him that I'm in the beginning of a new relationship that brings me laughter and joy again. I could honestly hear his loud laugh, and the words "Yes. Live." And his big hands gesturing, " Go...go."  with that huge s##t eating grin he had.

And so the year is done. Nothing changes dramatically because the year is over, but for me it marks a new beginning which will probably mean a new blog. This has been a hugely cathartic piece of my healing.

So I say to all of you reading this, and as I've said to Glenn many times in death-

au revoir.

Until we meet again.
On the journey.

Monday, June 2, 2014

June revisited.

And so it is June once again. I turned the calendar this morning and had a flood of emotions and memories.
In some ways it feels like, " Already?" But mostly it amazes and exhausts me to think of the events of  last June.

This week last year Glenn was attending Austin's eighth grade graduation, where the last formal picture I have of him was taken.  It remains one of my favorites.  I was finishing school, ready for summer and pestering him about a summer trip.  The last plan was to drive the Lake Superior trail, although he was only lukewarm on that.  I remember when he returned from that graduation, we called Chris on his birthday and said we would be down to St. Paul soon to celebrate both his and Rianna's birthday. Little did we know that his funeral would take place on Rianna's actual birthday.

Looking back at the calendar last year, this was the month his new assignment of mentoring at Emmanuel in Alexandria was to begin. He was as excited about that as anything I'd seen for a long time. He finally felt the part of spiritual leader in a parish again and he was like a duck in water.
The month before we had decided to stay here in Baxter indefinitely and there was a peace to that decision. It finally felt like home.

My mom was in the nursing home doing rehab on her broken arm. Never for a minute did I think I would visit her two weeks later in the middle of the night to tell her he was gone.

I'd like to say that last June 1st I saw it coming, but I didn't. And I don't think the card he gave me around Mothers Day was a premonition. But I do cherish it and Ariel made it into a wall hanging for me.
       From A.A. Milne-
        " If ever there is a time when we're not together...there is something you must always remember.
        You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Even if
         we're apart....I'll always be with you."

Who knew those words would prove so true last June 1st?

This will be one of my last blog entries. I always intended to keep it for a year so I would have a record. To keep it longer would mean to remain living and reflecting in the past. During this year I've come to really know and believe and accept that he is gone. And I'm still here.  We both believed that life is for the living; to be enjoyed and lived as fully as possible.

And that is my intention.

On the journey.