Sunday, September 19, 2010

Unconditional Love

Tom passed at 7:30 am on Sunday, November 14th.  Earlier that morning, I wrote in my journal - about gratitude, gratitude that we had our life and our love.  Tom was buried on Thursday, November 18th, they handed me the folded American flag sometime just after noon.    After midnight on his burial day,  and after countless drinks at his Irish Wake, which was filled with laughter, tears and lots of whiskey, I again wrote in my journal.  That night I wrote again about gratefulness - for our lives together - the precious celebration that we found and held fast to one another. 

This weekend I was standing outside with my sweetheart, who has walked his own widowed road, when I said that thing we widowed often say to one another - "the journey we didn't ask to take."  His immediate response, "oh yes, we knew when we married."  For a moment I was puzzled, thinking of strokes and cancer and care giving and standing helpless, standing witness to the end of the person you love so deeply.

We were standing shoulder to shoulder, hands clasped and he simply said, "of course, 'till death do us part."   The fulfillment of the vows - unconditional love - not a fairy tale - authentic love.

After nearly six years of widowhood - I am grateful to have this man burst into my life.  We both know that unconditional love - in all its messiness and all its humanness - is possible.

Monday, September 13, 2010



Remind yourself
"Fear is a bio-chemical phenomenon"


Laugh some more


Kiss some more


Step back
Remind yourself
"Fear is a bio-chemical phemonenon"

Step forward
Lead with your heart


Listen to the breathing next to you
In the dark

Reach over 
Engulfed in warmth


Remind yourself
"To hell with fear!"


Friday, September 10, 2010

The Past is Approved - The Future is Open

Death is powerful. You do not know what it is like to live until you have experienced death first hand, up close and personal.  I may not be living in the past anymore but it still effects who I am today.

That is a quote from a widow I met on Facebook.   It is so true.   As the years have passed since Tom's death, I have often thought and wrote about this new life and how much it has changed since his passing.  If Tom walked in the door today - he would not recognize the house since it has been remodeled; he would not recognize the backyard since I put in the patio we were planning to add; what else would he not recognize?

The transformation after the death of your life partner profoundly smashes your world.  It shakes everything to its  core - you think, "death doesn't scare me, in fact it hurts so much death would feel better."  It makes you open your doors wide and welcome death in.  It brings you to your knees over and over again.  It shares its truths with you - life is short - those are not just words anymore.  

One thing I know after experiencing "death first hand, up close and personal" is that I can open my heart quite easily to those who need the hand, the heart, the silence, the support, the companionship during their own personal journey.  I also can more easily recognize those who are truly friends and those who are going through the motions.  I have no interest in sharing my heart or my life with those who are unable to give in return.

What else would Tom not recognize?  Would he recognize me?  The new me that has emerged from my personal fiery hell of grief and loss. Would he recognize this life I am living?

The answer is NO.  In the past:  that saddened me.  Today:  it doesn't matter.   There is only one thing I would trade from the lessons and transforming experiences of the grief journey and that is not going to happen.  I am not living in the past anymore - standing here in the present - continuing to live, grow, learn and love.  Thank you for being loving companions on my life's journey - Namaste.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Nine Nine Two Thousand Ten

Memories to cherish - the faces of family and friends as we pledged our vows to one another.  The vows we fulfilled - "in sickness and in health - til death do us part."  The laughter - the huge wheel of St. Andre Cheese with plump strawberries and fresh baked baguette.  The cake Lisa brought, "nonsense, you HAVE to have a cake" - a whirlwind confection of fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

The toasts - the fact that Lisa and Pat brought a video camera - the beautiful ivory roses in my bouquet, called Porcelana - and one long stemmed rose for each of my sister-friends.  The music - the love - the fulfillment of our deepest longing - to be a family.  And we were.

This morning, 15 years later - I hold those memories close for a few minutes and then release with open heart and gratitude.  Through years of sorrow are born new memories.  I believe there is much more to come.................

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Nine Nine Ninety-Five

Yes, tomorrow would have been my 15th wedding anniversary.  Death takes so much and life gives so much in return.  Even with the difference in our ages we hoped to have 20 years of married life - that was not to be. 

I will always love my darling - my husband - my Tom and yet, the last few years I have stepped into a new life.  The life I live is filled with joy, with promise and with many blessings. 

Happy Anniversary my Angel - watch over me.  

Monday, September 06, 2010

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Yes - that is how my life feels right now - from my professional life to the deepest recesses of my personal journey.  Laughter is abundant in my world today.

I wrote in this blog that sorrow stripped me bare and left me by the side of the road - abandoned by all I held dear.  During those years of scalding tears; those years of deep longing for that which would never return, I wondered if the laughter had died with you know who.  At some point, in the journey, I picked up my scarred and scattered bones - gently held together the gaping, ragged edges of grief-hewn wounds and slowly began to grow new muscle, sinew and skin - the softest skin imaginable now covers an indomitable spirit and the will to live and grow and celebrate each day that is left.

I took my passion and turned it into work.  I hand-forged a new life for one - me.  Slowly I began to find enjoyment.  I embraced my cherished friends and family of choice.  I took care of family and honored my duty to my mother.  I counted myself blessed to do the work I am called to do.  And thus, a new life slowly emerged and I began to embrace each new day.

And yet, there remained an empty reservoir - hidden deep inside.  It is a deeply personal place that feels best when filled with laughter, kisses, hugs, passionate embrace and long slow times of talking, walking, and sitting in companionable silence.  A strong and gentle blue-eyed man - with an amazing laugh, a tender touch, and a passionate soul has arrived in my life.  It has been the reawakening of the woman I thought was lost. Not lost but standing here - the woman who was transformed in the fiery cauldron of grief.

Laughter abounds in my life.  Passion surrounds me.   All I can say is Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.