Tuesday, December 27, 2005

ICE

I fell on the stairs on Monday night - crap. I am really hurting - my entire left side from my hip to my bottom rib. So here I am, ice and advil. I have been up all day today. Propped in my office chair with pillows and ice packs.

i made it through an entire year of mourning without an accident and now - POW. I will take it easy for a few days - healing rays of golden light.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

LEAP

Sometimes you just have to leap and build your wings on the way down

Holidays

This is the first time Hanukkah has fallen on Christmas in 40 years. I am glad to light the candles this evening and fill the house with light. Chicken soup is on the stove. Menorah is on the window sill.

Here in my solitude - has been a couple of sad days - missing you know who. Last year I was just too numb to feel. This year, I am no longer numb and am grateful for the healing I have experienced.

Nearing the end of an incredible year. Looking forward not back.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mother

My mother, heartbroken again at 79 - after surviving so many challenges.

She was a 20 and 30 something battered woman. Back in the day when there was no safe haven - stay and be beaten - leave and run for your life. She left - we left.

Years of work - then remarried - we were grown. A marriage forged in late mid-life - an unlikely pair but love. Then - POW - widowhood. Only widow/ers know the painful journey

Then they met, Russell- Mother. Both widowed. Another unlikely pair. Years of friendship - cards from him each month on their "anniversary." Three years of living together.

She went to get her hair done and when she returned, he was gone. Gone? Yes, gone. Returning now on the weekend to move his things. No explanation - no talk - no sorrys - no nothing.

She is heartbroken. Sixteen years. Betrayal at any age is devastating.

My picture


Suzann Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pave Over Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot

Tonight, the longest night of the year. Candles everywhere. For the last twenty-four hours, I have been feeling like Sylvester the Cat after Yosemite Sam shoots him in the midsection with the big cannon. Just a perfect big hole in the middle = can you see daylight, can you see the trees that once were my life?

Crying while driving - not like last year. Intense feelings - in short stanzas.

Where do I fit in this parking lot? A rock? A car? A complacent parking attendant? An old piece of gum peeled off the bottom of your shoe? Maybe I am one of those parking guys that usher you in with a high powered beam = come on, keep movin! Perhaps I am the lucky penny = fallen from one's pocket.

I miss my husband, I miss the life we shared. I miss TOM'S HUMANITY. Your laugh. I miss your appetite for good food. I miss your kisses. I miss your hugs. I miss my tall husband. I miss you, Tom.

What is Paradise? Love? Literature? Dreams? Striving to understand the mysteries of life?

Just here. Making meaning from profound loss.


Friday, December 09, 2005

So Go

Here I am on the other side of "something" - not dust your hands off and say, "that's done." Different than the last 13 months. Healing? Moving On? All of the preceeding. It is staying in place and moving on.

I am energized - I am connected - I am doing my life, my newly reconstituted life. I still get shot through the heart without warning. I am no longer mortally wounded when the arrows hit the mark.

I am renewed - in the same skin, with modifications. I know, not in theory, not in late night conversation, not in wondering and not in fear. A glimpse of the universe - an acceptance of the inevitable. The power of spirit. The wonder of connection with another soul.

Here on the planet - less judgmental, on myself and others. Filled with gratitude.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Turkey in the Snow

Snow. The turkey dinner was tasty - new life - next steps - kick myself in the butt.

I close on the new duplex on December 15th. Next steps. I am so happy just being alone here in the house. Not lonely - just solitude.

I know that the next part of this life is right in front of my face. Go.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Beat Goes On

One cycle is complete. Yesterday, one year since Tom's funeral and burial. Steps forward, steps back. Always forward momentum. Resiliency is a primary quality that I value in myself. I am resilient - I am resourceful - I am here on the planet - Life is no longer pointless.

Ann was so right when she told me that in the second year one will have new memories to replace the old. Last year at Thanksgiving I was consumed by thoughts of 2003 - this year I remember that Susan and I had the "Tom Murray Memorial Steak Dinner" for Thanksgiving. This year, I am cooking traditional for Jonathan, Jennifer, Aidan, Sebastian, and Bonnie.

Life is circular. Joy, sadness, love, loss, beginnings, endings, tears, laughter. My heart, my life, my being is enriched by Tom's love and life. Reconstructing one's life is a challenge - a never ending process. The Beat Goes On.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Life is Mysterious

An email sent today:

Today is an important day to mark the legacy of Tom Murray - our husband, father, step-father, grandfather and friend to many. In this sacred space today, I am filled with memories of him - his love, his strength, his impatience, his laugh, his pride in each of you. His love for his grandchildren. His hopes for a future that was much different than was planned and his courage in the face of adversity. His humanity.

When Tom and I married, we brought all our experiences and our children to this new union. We had a friendship, a courtship, and time to learn about and from one another before we made the life commitment. After our first year of marriage - we knew - we committed to forge a family that contained all our children.

A month ago, someone who knew Tom well said, "You know, Tom was much more than he seemed." So true. He was innately humble and patient with others; even in the midst of his own impatience with life's twists and turns. I hope that each of you have found those things, from his life, that have meaning for you - those elements that were the bedrock of his character, his values and his life.

Today, I send my love to each of you: David, Paul, Cathy, Christina, Mark, Esther, Brad, Mari, Olivia, Evan, Justin and Emily. I am enriched by my life with Tom - my soulmate, the love of my life - your father, step-father, grandfather and friend. My heart to yours -

Thomas William Murray
April 23, 1935-November 14, 2004
Our Strength - Our Guide


Scars

One year. My heart to yours.

Scars

Grieving is an art

like surgery or verse,

essentially the art of healing

loss or losses unaccounted for.


Losses cut the soul

in twos and threes,

in wide green gash

like the wound of

a tree cut down

suddenly.


So much more time

than expected

so slowly heals

the severed pieces

of the self shock-shattered

by guilt and rage

and the simple loneliness

of something missing,

the hug, the casual telephone talk,

the good occasional fight lost forever

to the harsh nonphysical world of death.


Grief lived faithfully heals itself

in time not fully.

Where once an open wound burned

unbearably

now a thin, transparent scar.

Still I know that till

the hour of my own death

the scar glows

and now and then bad weather

will come and waken the same old ache.

A scar is a now and then throb

that dies only with one’s own death.

- Alla Renee Bozarth

In love and your memory forever - Tom, my soul mate, my husband, the love of my life.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Sacred Time

one minute at a time for twenty-four hours. One year ago yesterday: we woke at 7 am one year ago - you had moved upstairs to sleep in the den because you had a bad cold - "my nose is like a faucet." You in your glen plaid jammies - the same jammies that were lying in tatters on the floor of the Emergency Room 10 hours later.

I went to see Dr. Cathey at 3 - I called on my way home - no answer. I went to Target to fill the prescription. I called from Target - no answer. I called on the way home - 3/4 mile - no answer. I turned into the drive and the house was dark - it was 5 pm.

Now it is one year and one day later. Tonight 10 of your friends and I gathered in our home to eat, talk, laugh, and remember you and our life with them.

This is a sacred time - a time to remember - a time to honor you. My darling Tom.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Remembering

One year ago today you were still on the planet and we had no idea what was just ahead for us. This has been a confusing few days - remembering, remembering, remembering. Remembering that you went to the eye doctor November 10, 2004 and found out that the surgeries had been succesful. Remembering that we came home and it was just a "normal" day - the last "normal" day we would ever have together.

I remember that when I came to pick you up at the house, you walked out looking so handsome. You were dressed in black jeans, your black sweater, a turtle neck and your leather jacket. I told you how handsome you looked and gave you a big kiss. We both had colds and big smiles.

It is hard to believe that I have lived almost a year without you. It is hard to believe that you are gone - no hand holding, no kisses, no laughter.

Here I am in my little boat - tossed on the turbulent ocean of grief and loss. Sometimes I paddle, sometimes I float, and sometimes I just hold on to the sides with my heart throbbing and tears running down my face.

The recurring theme this year has been one of gratitude - the undercurrent of it all - gratitude that I had you in my life.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Learning to be Whole Again

Optimistic - I feel optimism for the first time. A sense that the future is ahead and there is a newly forged life about to begin. As the first anniversary of your passing comes I am often ambushed with the deep longing for you. I want, I long, I wish, for you and for our life together. I cry in 10 minutes increments several times aday.

Now we come to this new place = the place that honors our life, the place that recognizes all we gave to one another, the place that is grateful for our love and the new place to which I am moving. A life - a new place and pace - a resolve to be here on the planet and take the next steps.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Life Moves On

We are now rushing towards the 12 month - one year - day of your death - see, I wrote it, said it. Since I last blogged I have finally traveled away from this home, this state = TWICE. I have been in Florida and in the pool with Joan and in Philadelphia with our children and grandchildren.

How I long for you, Tom. How I miss your tall body = your hearty laugh = your little butt = your broad shoulders = your loving arms = your objectivity = your physical loving presence in my life.

Olivia is an incredible young girl - I know how much you love her. At one point I was sitting on the deck and she came up to hug me and I said, "do you remember Grampa?" - she looked at me with this perfect look of "have you lost your mind?" and said - "of course."

Evan is really beautiful - I wish you could hold him and see him.

Oh my darling - life moves on but oh so slowly without you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Golden Light

My Sweet Baby Darling - 10 months today since your body took its leave. The golden light that shined from your eyes at the moment your spirit took flight is always in my heart. This weekend on our wedding anniversary, I sent all my heart, my soul and my love to you. How can it be? I am healing, I am grateful for your love, for our life. Oh Tom, my life will NEVER be the same without you. Baby steps to a future I didn't plan for - baby steps to a future without your sweet smile, your loving arms, your strength and your unconditional love. I miss so many things - more than I can list - they are engraved upon my heart. My darling, my husband, my best friend -- my love flies out to you. To you Tom - my strength and my guide.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Connected in Sorrow

The horror of the devastatation on the Gulf coast and in New Orleans is astounding - loss of a magnitude that is beyond comprehension. Watching the television and crying - making a donation and feeling powerless to do more.

We sway through our lives - "being in control" Once again, the Universe says, "ha!" Choices we make - people trapped in the Superdome because it was the "end of the month" and they didn't have money left for gas OR their autos were such rattle traps that they couldn't trust them to take them out of harm's way.

We are all inextricably connected. Round and round and round in the circle game.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Lost in the Process

It has taken some time to get balanced after being so sick for so long. Not good to be isolated like that. It seemed to throw me back in time on the grief journey. Moving forward again. Making plans for the next steps - going to make some real estate investments, work with Mark Hulsey and try some diversifying.

Yesterday was a huge anxiety day - I do not know why. It was like in the winter but I kept at it. Accomplished quite a bit of client work and tried to distract myself from the whirlwind in the pit of my stomach. Last night it occurred to me that one of the things I had forgotten in the last two weeks in the midst of illness and isolation was my gratitude practice. Overwhelmed to the point that I misplaced daily reflection of all my blessings - and there are so many.

Getting lost in the process - what counts is finding one's self. I am grateful for:

- my home
- my work
- my friends
- my family
- my good mind
- my commitment to the future
- for life

Take nothing for granted. Tom rests in my heart and is my strength and my guide. I am strong, smart, funny, and moving into the future. Om Shanti

Friday, August 12, 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Start Small

Sick for the last 11 days - finally went to see Dr. Cathey yesterday and have multiple respiratory infections. I got antibiotics and feel better already. Being sick and isolated brought on a downward spiral of grief and feeling sorry for myself. Missing Tom - being disconnected again - focused on "making things happen" - I should - fill in the blanks:

- Take 3 months off
- "Retire" and find a part-time job in a {{flower shop}}} (((book store}}}}
- Go be a program director
- Find a job doing direct service

Oh.

I called Tigger yesterday and we talked. She asked me, "who is the most important person in your life?" My answer, "Me." I am glad I can have that answer as it probably is the first time - ever - I can know that. Her answer, among others was, "Get out of your head and start living your life. You don't have to change everything to make a change - start small."

I have been withdrawn from life during these days - doing work in my home office - but basically alone. Some of Tigger's words were harsh - some from not really knowing me - but always with a truth. I have been weeping again - touching things in the house and asking Tom for guidance.

This afternoon, as I was propped up in bed - watching Oprah - it occurred to me that I can do anything {{{{just like I have been saying - "now is the first time in my life that I do not have ANYONE depending upon me"))))))) It is frightening - that is the results of this reflection. Isn't is so much easier to be guided by the needs of others? Not our own.

How wonderful that now I can really say that I am the most important person in my world - that means that I have a responsibility to me and the world around me. No one else to put things off on - no else to get in the way - no else to deflect my taking on a greater responsibility for my actions and my life.

New things to ponder. I have been thinking - couldn't I take $20K and invest it in myself instead of in retirement accounts. That thought has been about taking time "off." Why not use it to take time "on." What are my dreams - the foster care project, the grief support.

Yesterday Tigger said, "you don't have to change your daily life and your base to have these changes." Start small.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Claiming Your Power

The water heater is leaking from the bottom and there are towels all over the floor - soaking up the water - plumbers cost $36.50 each 15 minutes plus the $65 trip charge. They also lay in dirty water on their backs. And I have no idea how to fix a water heater. I bill $31.25 per 1/4 hour - it's just a trade for skills.

Joan left today - my heart flies out to her in her journey - Namaste.

The "itch" I feel is a longing for something that is out of my vision right now. I only know that I feel a strong pull to an unexperienced place, a new mountain or valley. A little cottage with a garden is as close as I can come in words.

I wish I could just lie down and cry again like before. It would feel so good to be powerless - a victim of life's random moment. Claiming my power is diffcult - yet necessary. Oh the weeping shadows on the wall.

I have the courage to see this through. I am carefully placing each new brick - building a foundation to last. Om Shanti.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Surrender and Go

Chicken wings, martinis, brandy manhattans, hugs and nonstop conversation. Joan arrived last night. A glorious week with my best friend and no work in sight. The weather is perfect - Minnesota in summer in all its splendor.

My spontaneous spirit is being rebuilt - one day at a time. I feel like I am coming home to a new place. I actually laugh sometimes - not the ha-ha - but the real laugh from my belly, my spirit. This morning there was a message in my inbox that said, "surrender and go." Sounds good to me.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fake it 'til You Make It

energy - enthusiasm - not "fake it til you make it" like sometimes in the winter - but a natural wellspring - the beginning of a new reservoir in my soul.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What did you do with Them?

350,632 minutes. It is eight months today.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Gone

I awoke this morning after sleeping late. I glanced over at the treadmill in the corner and saw Tom's boxer shorts hanging on the railing. I reached over towards him and then realized, with a jolt, that it was just a white dish towel. Tom will never hang his boxer shorts on that railing again.

Today is the 5-year anniversary of the first stroke. The incident that defined our lives in such a profound manner. We had half of our marriage pre-stroke - half post-stroke. We found our new normal - several times over. We worked hard together, we compensated for disability and learned to love one another in the deepest way possible.

I am having my last day off and sitting quietly reading a book, Seven Choices - Finding Daylight after Loss Shatters Your World. I just read a passage, in it a therapist tells the widowed author that she will never again be so innocent or trusting, she will never have the relationship and love again that she had with her deceased husband. There will never be that particular joy, that same depth of love again. And I wept. It is true.

As I wept, I realized that I do want a future. I miss my husband. I miss our life. I am moving, however slowly, towards a new life. I am finding solace in my own company - solitude is a blessing. The love and enduring support of friends have made it possible to come to this place now.

My ongoing question - how long will this take? The ongoing answer - as long as it takes. Rebuilding one tiny step at a time. I am grateful that I had the love of a good man and that I will have the memories forever.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Is Your Life's Mission Fulfilled?

Music on the machine - hot and sticky outside and here I am inside, putting together the elements of my new kitchen. Unpacking my life, which has been in boxes for the past three months. A little like hang gliding - giddy with the excitement of organizing the cupboards; free falling into memories as I unwrap unexpected things that remind me of life before death.

I found a quote this morning that touched me -

"Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive it isn't." Richard Bach, Illusions.
Moving through sorrow with joy is difficult. Making meaning out of mourning the challenge. I am becoming - the metamorphosis of a life suddenly spun out of control. CONTROL - ha, that is another illusion, isn't it. There is no such thing.

I surrender.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Take a Vacation from Your Problems

A few glorious days to myself. A real downside to being a business owner is actually taking vacation time and not going anywhere. I am home in my newly remodeled house. Just soaking in some quiet, reflective time alone.

I had lunch with Ann yesterday. I find such comfort and guidance with women who have gone before me on the widow's walk. This strange journey truly needs pathfinders to assure you that you have not lost your mind completely, just misplaced it for awhile.

Having been stripped of all the skin from my body this winter, I feel it growing back - but oh so slowly. My being is tissue paper thin and I never know when something will pierce me with such suddeness that I am breathless. Little defense right now from pain; yet I am growing stronger.

The absolute craziness of this time transcends all previous experiences. I can sense the future at hand - I know that a day will come that I will be scarred but whole - a different person. My purpose is to make meaning of the past few months and live in this ocean of ambiguity.

Goddess give me strength as I watch all the weeping shadows on the wall.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"Why Don't You Just Get Better?"

I'm grieving as fast as I can. Tonight I learned that my pain is affecting someone close to me. That is difficult to hear. I know I have made progress on the journey to a new life. I know that I am healthier. I know that I am no longer the "puddle" of tears that I once was. I know that I have flashes of joy - that I can feel a sense of contentment - however briefly - it is there. I know that there are spontaneous minutes.

Grief is tough work. It is not linear. It is not planful. It is not strategic. It is not tactical. It is being disconnected from your personal reality. It is not what anyone would willing choose.

It is overwhelming. It is crazy. It is a loss of your illusionary "control." It is personal. It is disconcerting. It is the pit you can unknowingly walk into at any moment without a second's notice.

I ask, "how long will it last?" The answer is, "as long as it takes." I am not a professional mourner. I will have a new life - I will respect and love and mourn my husband. I will feel my feelings. I will shed my tears. I will fear my fears. I will mourn the loss of my dreams.

I know my friend wants only to end my pain. So too do I wish that the pain would end. It will end in its own time - however, the loss will never be forgotten.

Yes, I am different. Different than Sunday, November 14, 2004 when my darling passed in my arms. Who wouldn't be? Who I am now, that's a work in progress.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Baby Steps

A beautiful sunny morning after a huge thunder storm. The last day of June - my birthday has come and gone - my first in many years without you here to celebrate with me. I had a couple of days of the "black hole" but now am centered again and ready to tackle life anew.

The house looks beautiful - so rich and so new. All very natural - wood, stone, stainless steel, glass - reds and golds. A new environment for this new life I am trying to build. Grief now is like a low grade fever or software that runs constantly in the background. I now actually have days that I can feel joy at being on the planet. I can spontaneously smile and even laugh.

Lots of unpacking to do - everything is in the garage in boxes. I went through everything really well in preparation for the remodel and will do so again as I unpack. If there is not a place in the house for it, if it doesn't have a practical purpose or a sentimental value, it is out of here. Simplify my life, that is what this part is about. No more "stuff."

The furniture is back in the living room and looks gorgeous. I am now aware that I have been moving to this place in both form and color for the last three years. It all fits and is a joy to the senses.

Life now is baby steps, baby steps, baby steps - taking good care of myself - physically, mentally, spiritually.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Crying in the Car

This afternoon Honey came to visit with beautiful roses for my birthday. The roses are peach and very lovely. I have been missing Tom off and on all day. Although, I worked in the home office and got lots done, he just came to mind a million times. Why is crying in the car such a pastime for widows?

Saturday is my birthday - the first without my darling husband. The house remodel is almost done and looks gorgeous - happy birthday, Suzann. Seems so empty somehow without Tom. This is my journey from the dark side of grief to the future - whatever it may hold. Om Shanti.

Monday, June 20, 2005

226 days more or less since you died in my arms. The winter of bottomless grief is over - the spring of beginning to emerge is passed. Summer is here, finally, but only in the season of the solstice.

The white egret flew over the house when Harry Chapin sang our song, my arms rasied to the sky - Circles - "our love is like a circle, let's go round one more time."

What now, my love? Grief comes in many disguises - sometimes as straight forward as a ragged wound - held and moaned for. Other times a bottomless pit of weeping - then time goes on and pieces of of one's life are picked up - beware the guerrilla grief. She comes and whaps you from behind when you least expect it - she is a debutaunte hopeful in her ballgown, she is a housewife content in apron with a solitary skillet in hand - she is a martini glass with perfect pick impaling a blue cheese olive - she allows you to think again and then whoof - you are back in the never, never land of "what happens next."

Perhaps I should "go back to New Mexico." Perhaps I should just trust the process.

So, the house is remodeled - just one more week and it will be transformed. What is my life without you - how shall I make the next steps - what shall I be now, without you.