Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm looking for tolerable days

The days are getting a bit more tolerable. The stages of grief are running their course with a few stumbles backward from time to time. There is no shame in those backward stumbles. They are a more direct and strong reminder of my loss.

The worst times are when I'm driving somewhere. I listen to music on Sirius radio and hear songs with lyrics that tear my heart out. And while I listen to the lyrics, I talk to him, using those words to tell him how much I miss him, how much he made me so happy, what a wonderful life we had together, how much I still love him and always will. And inevitably the tears flow. But by the time I get back home, I'm spent emotionally and that meltdown is over. After getting out all that devastating physical emotion, I'm okay for the rest of the day.....until bedtime.  Maybe I should try listening to an all instrumental station!

Bedtime. I send the doggies outside for one last time, turn off the TV, shut the kitchen lights, make sure the front door is locked, get the doggies in and shut the doggie door, lock the patio doors, turn on the alarm and head for the bedroom. The dogs are already on the bed, Snuggles in her favorite place...Warren's side of the bed laying right next to his pillow with her head touching it. Sterling is on my side of the bed watching everything I do.

This is the quiet time when my thoughts turn to the events that shattered my life. The tears roll as I try desperately to fill my mind with the good memories. It doesn't always work. The doggies inch closer and lick my hands, my arms, and my nose. They nuzzle me, calming me right down. As I softly say good night to him while gently rubbing his pillow, Snuggles and Sterling settle in right next to me, as if to keep me safe. They comfort me and keep me sane and make the days and nights a bit more tolerable.

 The days are going toward tolerable, inch by inch, a step at a time. Tolerable. That's what I'm striving for now.

Copyright © 2018, Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 13, 2017

Planning for the unveiling

It was a difficult day. Although there is no religious law requiring an unveiling, it is customary to have one. An unveiling is the time when the gravestone for a loved one has been set up at the grave and "unveiled" to family and friends, usually just before the time of the first anniversary of the date of death. Today was the day I began those preparations. No final decision will be made until our sons and I decide together what will be on the monument.

I had not been to the cemetery since the funeral. But today I found myself standing at his grave and I lost it. There was a small marker there with his name on it and I just lost it. I did manage to place a stone on the marker, touch his name with my fingertips and gasp at the intensity of my anguish.

It was a distressing, difficult day.

Copyright © 2017, Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What I'm learning

Some lovely, caring friends have been kind enough to provide a few books dealing with grief. One is aptly named LIVING WITH AN EMPTY CHAIR. Just the title says a lot for that's truly what I'm doing. But the empty chair allegory also means the empty side of the bed, the empty passenger seat in the car, the emptiness of his presence in the house. It's how I must now live. But the real empty chairs (one in the kitchen and one in the living room) still retain his aura. For me, I picture him sitting beside me at breakfast or snoozing in the recliner in the living room with Sterling snoozing on his
lap. And though those pictures in my mind are there every day, my heart doesn't always accept that it's pure illusion.

What I found comforting about some of the advice in that book was that there is no timetable. My grief has many faces, some very intense, some very subdued and quiet. And as time goes by, it waivers between the two. And I don't question or wonder whether I am really dealing with it. I am, in my own way and it will take as long as it takes, even if that's forever.

I've also read Sheryl Sandberg's OPTION B. She's the COO of Facebook who lost her husband very suddenly. Even though her circumstances were different, her devastation mirrors my own. She, like me, began writing. She calls it journaling, I call it blogging. We both acknowledge it as a compulsion.  Letting the words pour out of me allows me to give vent to the insanity, the anguish, the memories replete with humor, giggles, sweetness, loving and, yes, punning.

I have been deeply wounded but I am not beyond repair. While my loss is profound and sadness will always have a home in a part of my heart, my 'option B' is to look forward and find a way to walk down this road with lessening pain, even if it's tinged with a bit of guilt. I'm not walking this road alone. Our sons are walking with me, bringing me much strength, support and joy (they are so much like their dad.)

The wonderful, happy and funny memories of our life together are coming a bit more often and crowding out the sad ones. But my Beloved will always be by my side, sharing the memories and joining in the happiness I feel when I think of them.

Copyright © 2017, Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 3, 2017

A case for laughter

As I drive around doing various errands, my conversations continue, almost like a running commentary. The other day, however, out pops the question: "So, how are you doing?" I immediately repeated it in my head, not as a question but as an exclamation, thinking, "Oh boy, I've just gone over the edge. I'm losing it." But I can hear him laughing his head off at the absurdity of the remark! And I actually had a good laugh about it, too.

And then I think about all the times I loved hearing him laugh. He was an extraordinarily good punster and for over fifty years he had me laughing and, yes, groaning, at his 'gift' and he would laugh, smile and giggle at each one. He couldn't help it. The puns would come tumbling out in a nanosecond during conversations with just about everyone he met.

We laughed a lot during our life together. I mean A LOT!  There were so many times I laughed so much, I almost keeled over from losing my breath. He got a kick out of how long I could laugh at his puns and jokes. And even though I had heard many of his puns over and over, they would evoke my giggles and laughter every time.

When he smiled or laughed, his whole face lit up, and you could see the joy in his eyes. I'm so lucky and grateful that I have so many memories that I can call up in my mind's eye and immerse myself in those moments of pure joy. I can hear his laughter, I can see his smiles and I can feel a great warmth pouring over me when those moments crowd my mind.

Laughter is good medicine.

Copyright © 2017, Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved