Saturday, March 9, 2019

Friend? Acquaintance?

The words 'friend' and 'acquaintance' are really not interchangeable. I am casually familiar with a lot of people who are witty, warm and fun to be with, but good friends with only a very few. I am aware that people rarely think of the difference. But the difference was made abundantly clear to me over the past few years.

The friends Warren and I held dear gave us an abundance of support in countless ways, even though almost all of them live on the other side of the country. That kind of support can never be repaid. It is what sustained us and kept us hopeful during his illness. We never quite got that kind of support from others, not all, of those who lived closer. They were kind and concerned....the "thoughts and prayers" kind of concern. But they were emotionally and physically distant for the most part.  Nevertheless, when we did meet up with them, they were genuinely kind and profuse with their good wishes and we were grateful for that kind of affection.

What we were most bewildered and hurt about was how two people we thought were really good friends for so many years just stopped communicating with us completely not long after Warren became ill. We heard nothing............ crickets.......from them. It's as if they just threw us away. And that is what prompted me to think about this subject, again.

This is just an interesting observation I have made, not a judgment about anyone I know. With friends, we were part of their "inner circle." With acquaintances, we were on the perimeter. The thing is, we understood that people have their own lives, activities, obligations and interests. And as newcomers wherever we lived (six different states), we found it hard to break in to established "inner circles." After a while, though, in each place we lived, we made our own inner circle. But in life, it's necessary to have both kinds of relationships. Friends AND acquaintances round out a lifetime of experiences, without which we could not survive.

And so, I hold my friends who continue to provide the support I still need, close to my heart. And I deeply enjoy the relationships we made with others and welcome meeting new people who will enlarge my circle.

So, friend or acquaintance? Does it really matter? Both are necessary for a life well-lived. And a bonus to all of this is that, in our lives and in my life, some acquaintances have become extremely good friends and for that, I am deeply and truly grateful.

Copyright © 2019. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.






Sunday, February 10, 2019

That silent presence

I've mentioned before that I truly miss my beloved Warren's embrace. He took me inside his arms and held me tight. The feel of his arms around me, several times a day, every day made me feel warm, comforted, protected, cozy, secluded and loved. Hugging was a big part of our lives. And the words that we whispered to each other were like love letters. It provided an irreplaceable and ongoing testament to the kind of marriage we shared.

So now I am left without the physical embrace. But I think about those times a lot. And when I do, something magical happens. I can see him, quite clearly, encircling me and damn, I can feel that embrace. My body reacts physically to those memories that I envision and my heart is soothed and consoled by each one.

I have a vivid imagination. That ability of reproducing images allows me to tap into the thousands of memories stored in my subconscious.....in my heart of hearts. What I'm grateful for is that the majority of these memories are so beautiful, so filled with love, so filled with laughter and I can draw on these whenever I need to. But the amazing thing is these memories arrive when I least expect them but when they're most needed. It's as if a silent presence understands my need.

He is that silent presence who resides in my heart and in my mind and gently guides me throughout my days. He has a hand in almost everything I do and his presence and influence makes me feel safe.

Memories are funny things. They form the chapters of our lives and the more you have, the bigger the book. Little did I know that my book would become a series..... so huge because it's filled with so many wonderful recollections.

Copyright © 2019. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved


Thursday, January 17, 2019

From news and commentary to a personal journey

We got the diagnosis on May 20, 2016, the day our wonderful life together did a 180 degree flip. My blog posts became sporadic after that, writing only seven until April of 2017. Two posts, on August 31st and October 29th, alluded to what had befallen us. My mind, my brain, my energy, my thoughts, my attention, and my very being...  all of it was directed elsewhere.  Every breath I took had something to do with overcoming the horribleness that had enveloped our lives.                              

But by April of 2017 I needed an outlet to express what I was feeling and going through. Thus, on April 23, 2017, I changed the direction of the subjects I had been writing about before that fateful day and concentrated on the changes to my life, our lives and everything I had known.

And so, I began my journey of giving voice to the constant see-saw of feelings I was experiencing. There have been 47 posts before this one and each one came from a heart that once was filled with hope and then...... total despair.

I started writing these posts to vent. It gave me a place to lay claim to my emotions, trying to understand them. I poured my heart out here, hoping to find some relief. Many times I did. I was somewhat surprised, though, at how many people read the posts and never commented on them. People seemed, perhaps, not to know what to say. I think a death sometimes makes us incapable of knowing how to react and renders us mute. And that's a shame. If they only knew what a simple acknowledgement would have meant to me.

One of my sons suggested that I find a way to gather the posts and have them published somewhere because the raw emotions and thoughts might help others who are in the same situation and walking the same road. I've thought about it but I have no idea where to begin.

I've re-read all of my posts and marvel at how clearly I was able to get it all out, the sheer rawness of what was swirling in my head, the hope, the desperation, the inevitable, the crashing of dreams, the pain that was all-consuming, and the staggered healing (two steps forward, one step back but sometimes one step forward and two steps back.) The continuing pain that ebbs and flows like an unrelenting tide seems to be the norm now. I truly think it will never go away but since there is no timetable for grief, perhaps it will play out in its own time. And if it doesn't I will carry it, parked deep inside my heart where no one else can see it, until my last breath.

Whether I continue to write in this vein remains to be decided. I write about what moves me but this blog site has become much more personal. Writing these posts has been a way to begin to purge the intense anger, the anguish, and the unbearable sorrow and as time has passed, the intensity of those feelings has lessened. And I hope, in time, that I cry less because he is no longer here and smile more because he lived and loved and left me to cherish his memory.

I have another blog site at Wordpress with the same name: lifeismorethansoundbites.wordpress.com and I've combined the two on occasion. Maybe I'll write on other subjects there and keep this one as it is........... for now,  as long as I feel compelled to document this journey that I'm on.

Copyright © 2019. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.






Saturday, January 5, 2019

Songs in our book of life

I listen to the radio as I drive around town, doing whatever I need to do that gets me into my vehicle. It is sometimes my own personal safe cocoon. The music brings me to places I'd rather be, back in time and those places jump into my mind's eye as clearly as if I was really there.

I listen to the 60's station a lot when it all started and each song is like a chapter of our lives. I wander to the 70's and 80's station with Seriously Sinatra thrown in to "add" to our 'book of life.' The lyrics become the start of conversations I continue to have with him.

It's funny how, when I'm listening to the lyrics of a song, they bring up memories that begin to weave the story of our lives together. Usually it's just one or two lines that get me thinking of where we were, what we were doing when that particular song was popular. Then those memories bring a flood of emotions, many of which make me happy to have had my beloved Warren by my side during those times and for so many years.

Here's a sampling of lines that spark those memories and cradle my heart:

...You made me so very happy. I'm so glad you came into my life.....

...I love you more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow.....

...Baby, you're my soul and my inspiration.....

...Another day in paradise.... just you and me....

...God only knows what I'd be without you.....

...I can't see me loving nobody but you for all my life. When you're with me, baby, the skies will be blue, for all my life. So happy together..........

...Imagine all the people living life in peace..........

...We are the champions... and... We will rock you (the anthems for our UCONN Women's basketball teams!).....

...I am a woman in love and I'd do anything to get you into my world and hold you within.  Life is a moment in space. When the dream is gone, it's a lonelier place....

...We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.....

...God bless you, you make me feel brand new, for God blessed me with you.............

The tears still fall, silently, and the heart continues to hurt. The magnitude of his loss hasn't gone away but I'm learning how to carry it. I smile because he lived and left me with an overabundance of love and cherished sweet memories from which I draw comfort and warmth and laughter.

Copyright © 2019. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.