Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Easier? Not exactly.

I'm starting the fourth year without my beloved Warren. The past three years have been a crescendo of unmitigated sadness and physical and emotional suffering and pain. The passage of time, everyone told me, would lessen the pain, the sadness and the anger. Everyone assured me that, with time, my life would get easier to bear.

I still get asked how I'm doing. I can't answer without either lying to make you feel better or telling the truth which would make you feel bad about asking. My close friends never ask. They already understand that my heart will never completely heal. They know that I cry every day. They know that his loss is more than I can bear. They know this because his loss is their loss too, and they all still feel it, deeply, in their own way.

So, easier is not exactly the word I would use. There is nothing easy about losing a person who has been such a loving force throughout most of your life. The only change that I can readily recognize is a lessening of the times the searing pain rams through my very being. But to me, that is not an insignificant change.

I can now look at any of the dozens of photos I have of him all over the house and not get totally crushed with sadness. I think I smile at them a little more, remembering where the photos were taken and what we were doing. Those flashbacks have a calming effect and bring up incredibly funny and loving memories.

This is not to say that my life is normal again. My road has been long, maybe longer than what others believe is normal or standard or commonplace. There is no "normal" in my life or at least what I perceive it to be. I'll admit I have fought "normal" all the way, unable to give up my pictures of a life I still long for. I knew it would be difficult, but DAMN!

So easier? No, it will never really be easier. But maybe heading toward tolerable. I wrote in November of 2017 that I was looking for tolerable days. I think they're finally starting to show up.

Copyright © 2020. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.



Sunday, May 17, 2020

He must have known

I've been having some particularly bad days lately during this self-imposed isolation period we're all going through. Even though I've more or less lived like this since Warren died, there are days when it almost feels like I'm strangling on the loneliness.

I was looking for something in particular yesterday and I opened a small drawer in Warren's bedside bookcase. I've opened that drawer before but never really went through everything in it. I came across a folded paper and when I opened it, I gasped. It was a love letter I had written to him seven weeks before we were married, telling him how much I loved him and all the reasons why.

That he kept that letter, so accessible, didn't surprise me. What actually surprised me was that I found it when I needed to. Rereading it took my breath away and brought me right back to that time of excitement and sweet anticipation, filling me with a rush of overwhelming love. Somehow, in this sequestered time and place, he must have known how much I needed a tangible sign of the joy of our lives as a married couple. He knew. I have no other explanation. He knew.


Copyright. © 2020. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Music and memories

Music was always a big part of our lives. For me it began with piano lessons as a kid, then glee club in junior high. And I babysat to save up my money to get my own portable radio. That radio went everywhere with me and at night, after I was in bed, I turned it on very softly and listened for as long as I could keep my eyes open! In college, during my senior year, my music class turned into a mini-band and I played the glockenspiel and then, the bass drum! Don't even ask! My mother and brother, Ed, were music aficionados on the piano and Ed played the clarinet and guitar, too.

Warren loved to listen to music. And he told me that, as a kid, he had wanted to learn to play the violin but that never materialized. All during our lives though, music was "on" playing in the background, at home, in the car, at work. Sometimes we'd sing together but that always ended in us collapsing in giggles. Neither one of us had great voices but I, at least, could keep a tune. Warren, on the other hand, perfected the "one-note" melody! More about that later.

Our taste in music ran the gamut. Ed introduced me to the Big Band sound: Glenn Miller, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, etc. The list is endless. Warren had similar taste in music. We both loved smooth jazz and instrumentals as well as the music we grew up with in the 50s, 60s and 70s.  He adored the Everly Brothers and drew great delight when one of their songs came on the car radio. And, yes, he would sing along with them! He enjoyed classical music, a bit more than I did, and that station was his choice in his car.

And later on, the boys introduced me to the Hair Bands: Twisted Sister, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Motley Crew, etc. and I realized I enjoyed a lot of their music. Dad....not so much. Then, Abbott met Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme and his music interest, specifically with guitar, took off. Ethan didn't play a musical instrument. His instrument was a camera which he used to photograph hundreds of the best and up-and-coming rock bands in the world.

All of this 'preamble' leads up to this. When Warren sang, I occasionally called him "Johnny-one-note." Holding hot coals was easier than holding a tune! BUT, here's the really crazy thing. When we were at services and singing the beautiful prayers in Hebrew, my beloved one-note Warren was precisely ON TUNE and singing just so sweetly. I would often lower my voice to practically a whisper just so I could listen to him sing. It was profoundly beautiful to hear him. And he was always amazed when I told him how great he sounded. Who knows whether it was singing in another language, singing such beautiful melodies or just being in synagogue that made the difference. We both enjoyed singing those Hebrew melodies. And now, when I go to services, it's really difficult for me to get through the music because I can hear him in my head, singing as if he is standing right next to me and little by little the tears flow.

Warren, my beloved, I still hear your music. You were my love song, you still are and will forever be the music in my heart.

Copyright © 2020, Reisa Sterling Miller, All Rights Reserved.