Friday, December 31, 2021

So, continuing that Dash..........

We made it to the end of the line that was created for us as a couple. But I still feel that the line should have been much, much longer because we had plans for when we entered our doddering old age! I'm getting closer to the end of that Dash I wrote about so long ago in August of 2016.

As I reflect on the time I've lived through since my beloved Warren died, I'm acutely aware of all the things we didn't get a chance to do, the places we didn't get a chance to go, the experiences we didn't get a chance to have. We had plans. BUT..........

I also reflect on the kind of life we were able to live: the places we lived, some courtesy of the US Air Force and the sightseeing we did during those years with the accompanying beautiful memories. We really had an extraordinary life. We lived at 16 different addresses in six states. And in each state we had adventures. We've been to thirty-four states in our travels. We've been to Mexico, Canada and Bermuda. And, damn, we had FUN!

Recently, though, as I was driving, an intense feeling of wanting to go home washed over me. But all I could think of was where's home? Where would I go? Images of cities we've lived in raced through my mind's eye like a film strip running through a camera. Where I currently live is just a house, it's not the home it once was. A home is where the people you love dwell - with you. A home is where you get to hug  and kiss those you love. A home is not the things in it. It's the people and pets who live there. The home I remember is fading little by little but I still have Snuggles to hug and kiss and Abbott and Ethan when they're able to grace this house with their presence. For now, that and my sweet memories have to suffice.

So, as I live in this house that we established here to be near to our boys, and while I'm walking along that Dash of a road with its end in what I hope will be a very far distance, I keep reminding myself that we had the best of lives together, the best of life's experiences and the best of what  LOVE has to offer. And while I walk along that road called DASH, I won't be alone. My beloved Warren is walking with me, right by my side, his arm around my shoulder or his hand strongly holding mine, just as he always did, just as he always will. I love you, my beloved, my darling Warren, just as I always have, just as I always will.

Copyright © 2021. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

This is like a running commentary - a stage play that has no end.

Those words of endearment: Hon, Luv, Sweetie, Sweetheart, Darling. When you met the love of your life, how long before you were able to ease into using those words?

We started out with just our names, or derivatives of them, then finding some special "pet" names we lovingly called each other. Those lasted throughout all our years together. But those terms of endearment eventually worked their way into our everyday lives as easily and as naturally as breathing. When we used them, it was as if we were being caressed. 


I saw an ad for an app that helps you find your quiet place. I live in a quiet place but the quiet can sometimes be deafening. I have resigned myself to the quietness, the feeling of emptiness, the sense that someone's missing, the daily activities that have changed. I sometimes feel like I'm drowning in loneliness.


As I scroll through all the photos and videos on my phone, I remember all the days when life was sweet, loving, comforting, fun and safe. I have memories, through photos, all around me everywhere hoping I wouldn't feel so alone but...memories are great, still sometimes they're just not enough.


Whenever a memory reduces me to tears, I ask him: "Hey, my Luv. You're so brilliant. Why haven't you been able to figure out how to come back?


I've mentioned this before but I still talk to him like he's here because I'm surrounded by photos of him everywhere, the kitchen, the living room, our bedroom. Everywhere I turn I can see him. I even have photos on the dining table. And as I go about my day, the conversations continue. And sometimes, I can hear him, in my head, reply or make a comment. It seems so natural. 


I've had 3 working professions in my life: teacher, radio reporter and talk show host, law office manager. But the most rewarding and precious positions I ever had was as wife to the most wonderful human being who ever walked the face of the earth and mom to the two boys who, thankfully, have taken after their dad. Warren had an incredibly brilliant mind in so many areas beside the law, he was extremely kind, he took great delight in being an incorrigible punster and joke teller, he had the widest grin and most beautiful smile and the best twinkling eyes. All of this, I see in our sons.                                                          


As the old song goes, "Good morning yesterday. You wake up and time has slipped away." Time did, indeed, slip away from us. We thought we had a lot more years to love together. And the years that were stolen from us have been ones of sweet memories and screaming nightmares, constant crying and swearing and many smiles at the photos, videos and voicemails. 


Shabbats are the worst for me. I don't light the candles anymore. That was the time we would stand together, his arm around my waist and we both would recite the blessing. I tried to continue to light them but it became too horrific for me. I would shake too much to light the candles and I would end up in a pile of tears unable to complete the task. So I gave up. I don't sip any wine anymore, either. And now, when I make challah, I make very small ones, enough for maybe one meal. And I have barely eaten at the dining table or at our kitchen table. I eat, hunched over, at the coffee table in front of the sofa, usually with Snuggles by my side hoping to share some of my meal. The joy is gone. And, slowly, I'm getting used to this.


While I have really beautiful memories that sometimes sustain me, the worst memory is the moment of his passing. That scene jumps into my head and destroys me for the remainder of the day. Thank goodness it doesn't happen too often, but it does happen. And it wracks my soul.


I've been taking stock of how I'm getting through all this. I've concluded that as strong as I thought I was, I'm not that person. I've found different ways to cope but intense anger remains. I'm still learning how to hide that anger. When it bubbles up, I try to concentrate on all the kindness, graciousness, humor, brilliance and loving that was Warren's essence. That seems to calm me down, almost as if he's caressing me and whispering that it will be alright.


I have cried every single day since he died. I cannot control that. It just happens.


While driving, I listen to music. I find my inner antenna catching familiar scenarios and I end up having conversations with the lyrics. The lyrics seem to be coming from him and I answer. Sometimes, the conversations can go on for miles! 


I've put away my dreams which actually were our dreams. They're locked up in a figurative box that now no longer has a key. And the box has been shoved deep, deep down into one of the millions of pieces of my broken heart.


I'm missing an essential piece of my everyday life. There is no substitute. And that just cuts me to the quick.


When is this continuous dwelling of his fight and passing going to let go of its strangling hold around my heart? And when will I learn how to handle it better than I've been able to do? I'm afraid  the struggle, the sadness and the emotional upheaval will continue. Everyone's reaction is different but that's just the way it is with me.  


I continue, but my heart sees happiness in every conversation with our precious and wonderful sons. Abbott and Ethan continue to help me retain my sanity and bring much of Warren's essence into my life through their love, humor, smiles, caring and good counsel. They both inherited all of Warren's wonderful traits: they are an extension of him....Warren's gifts that keep on giving. And I know how lucky I am.

Copyright © 2021. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Into the fifth year

 So, I am now into the fifth year of my incredible loss and I'm realizing that I have pushed my immense sorrow deep down into a pocket of my heart, safely tucked way, or so I think. I can now get through most of my waking hours without the feelings of dread and heartache that have consistently wracked my mind and body since my beloved Warren died. It never goes away though, it just changes. 

For a long time I could not face his loss. My anger and bitterness overwhelmed me, mostly because of the cancer that took his life.  He was a very healthy man and this was a punch in the gut that appeared out of the blue, no real warning, no clue....just there in the blink of an eye. How the hell does that happen? Thus my intense anger and rage which has been festering now, for years.

That smoldering anger has ruled my life and, slowly, I'm trying to let it go. I talk to him a lot. I listen to his videos and voicemails because I love the sound of his voice. I close my eyes and see him then. I sometimes smile and sometimes cry. But I'm thankful that I have them.

The apprehension I feel is exacerbated by my hold on the anger. So I continue to look for ways to release it. I've read books, I've talked to people and surprisingly, I've been able to assuage others in similar circumstances although I've not been able to do the same for me. It's disquieting and gives me palpitations but I keep trying. And I realize I feel this way because of the great love we had. I continue to feel that love, every single second that I breathe. 

What I'm really trying to say here is that I'm not the same person I was, I'm really two people: the one who will forever internally mourn his loss with pain, agony, tears and deep sorrow and the other who shows a semblance of calm on the outside, never revealing what's deep down inside, presenting a normal facade to the public. It will never be okay on the inside but it will be okay on the outside. And I consider that another step forward. My ultimate goal is to find some peace. Working on it. 

Copyright © 2021 Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

1461 days

 It's been four years since my life was ripped apart, my heart was smashed into millions of pieces, my sons lost their best friend, and so did I. But during these 1461 days, I have seen Warren's strength, intelligence, sense of humor and love become so much more conspicuous through our sons, Ethan and Abbott. These two have channeled their dad so naturally and so completely that most of our conversations, texts and emails have us convulsing in laughter. And in the back of my mind, I can hear Warren joining in and I can see his beautiful twinkling eyes and wide, magnificently exquisite smile. 

The three of us are so lucky to have the memories that we do. Every conversation we have always includes Warren's input in one way or another and his presence is unmistakeable.

I'm grateful for the thousands of photos I have and the not enough videos and voicemails I still have. I carry those everywhere so he's always with me, visually and audibly. And he's in my heart and head,  always and in all ways. 

But grief has been my companion for 1461 days and it has never left me alone. It has changed but has never gotten easier because I miss his voice, his laughter, his puns and jokes, his hugs. I miss everything about him. It is ever present, it just feels and looks different now. Some days it is vivid and some days it hides just below the surface. But the grief I feel is always a reminder of the great love we had.

How can it already be 1461 days? It seems like only yesterday. My Love, my beloved Warren, I hug you in my thoughts every day.

Copyright © 2021. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 25, 2021

His presence makes a difference.

I'm beginning 2021 in a little better health than the last two months of 2020. I contracted Valley Fever with bilateral pneumonia and it really knocked the hell out of me. It was more than scary for me. I've never been so sick and felt so alone.

Over the years, I've been lucky enough to enjoy relatively good health. But during the few times when I wasn't well, I always had Warren to lean on. He always took such good care of me. I always felt protected and knew he would never let anything bad happen to me.

This time though, I felt uncertain, vulnerable and scared. There were a few nights when my breathing was so labored and I would get into bed wondering whether I would get up in the morning. The dread of being alone was almost overwhelming. As much as I love Snuggles, she had some trouble stepping into  Warren's role for the reassurance and comfort I always had when Warren was with me. But she found a way to help me in her own 'snuggling' way.

It's times like this that the wound opens up wide and the anguish comes spilling out. I let it flow until it runs out of spaces to go.

I talk to him all the time. While I am sick, though, I specifically ask him to see me through this like he always did. "In sickness and in health"............ we always took care of each other and I truly believe he has been watching over me and making sure I get better every day.

And even though I'm not quite out of the woods yet, (I still have pneumonia), I feel almost normal. I believe Warren's influence helps me retain a sense of calm and hope as I take all the precautions necessary to make a complete recovery. 

Thank you, my Darling, for the presence you still have in my life. You are always with me.

Copyright © 2021. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved