Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another Anniversary

Since I posted I have been through another anniversary - one year on March 24th for Jim's Funeral Mass. It was hard. That was Palm Sunday. I chose to go to Mass alone and afterwards I went to our Prayer Group. That was a right decision - to be with folks who were at the Mass last year and who also knew and cared about Jim - and to pray with them. A year - what does that mean when you are grieving? For me it means that the shock has worn off and the fog has lifted and I really feel the loss even more deeply - but others are looking for signs and reassurances that I am "better", that I am getting over it. I can think back to doing that myself - to not understanding that the loss of someone you love is not something you get over. But I am better - better at getting up and going on. I have taken to writing a few sort-of poems especially when I am sitting in the car. 5:10 PM I am sitting in the car outside my house. It is 5:10 PM. Traffic on Brierly Road is picking up as people start coming home from work. This is the time of day the very core of my body most misses Jim. I expect him to come home - even though I know he won't be coming today. or any day. DAMN!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

One Year Anniversary of Jim's Death

Jim died March 6, 2012 so this month I have  bumped up against the one-year anniversary.  I planned several things to bring my family together - a Mass and a meal - and thanks to a snow storm those plans were interrupted  - but we flexed and things worked out.

There was nothing easy about it.
For one thing it does not seem like a year. Somehow my perception of time has changed. Instead of stretching out it seems to contract.  Days shrink.

I don't know what I thought the year-end would bring. If I expected to be out of the woods and moving on - I was rediculously misguided. How could I have thought that after 58 years I could just shake myself and go on. It isn't that easy.

Some days or nights I ache for Jim to be here with a greater pain than I felt in the beginning. Now that is something that most books I have read agree on - the later days are harder than the earlier. I guess the fog I have been living in also blocks the reality and hurt.

But I am managing. I am working hard to do the Federal Taxes for the first time, fortunately with help from my son and daughter.  My new one-woman show for the Capital Fringe this summer is really coming along and I am in the middle of a series of  "try outs" to practice it.

In April I am making a 10 day storytelling tour to SC and Ga/ I will be featured at a Storytelling Festival and then tell three one-person shows - all different - in three cities.  I am excited - and scared.

After a successful House Concert try-out last week-end I felt so alone without Jim being there. He and I always talked over a performance afterwards - identifying where it was going well and then tweaking spots that needed work. Fortunately my friends who had hosted the performance worked it over with me next morning. But it was a warning. My storytelling trip is not going to be a walk-in-the-park. I have to prepare for that.

Something is missing. And, at this one year milestone I painfully know that Jim will always be missing.

In closing I want to recommend two books that have been helpful.

Don't Take My Grief Away  is the first book I found that really spoke to me in a human and kind way about what I was living through and with. It is written in fairly simple conversational style which I needed in the early days because I could not fully concentrate on anything I was reading.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion was a challenge. Much has been written about it as a personal look at the process of loss and grief. And it is. But I could not read it until about three weeks before the one-year anniversary. I tried two times getting no futher than the 2nd or 3rd chapter. I just was not ready to hear what she was saying until last month. That may be just me.

Both have something to offer.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rough Days

Where is that Leo Lion when I need him? He could write this quicker using fewer words than I do. These are tough days. March 6 is the one year anniversary of Jim's death. On top of many "firsts" coming just before it. Yesterday I donated our 2000 Toyota Van to public radio. It had been sitting in its accustomed place in front of our house - without moving - since October. I sat in the car Thursday afternoon and made lists of all I could remember of trips and times Jim and I spent in the car together. Wrote and wrote and wrote. And cried. I did not want to give up the car. It gave out. The pick up truck arrived at 7:30 am. He hooked up the car, removed the license plates and I signed the paperwork and gave him the title. The man was understanding. When we were done he drove to the corner and turned around so that when he drove by our house I could get a good picture. This morning I did not look out the front window. I can imagine the van is still there. Seems foolish I know but some days I want to grab hold of anything that belonged to Jim. Hang on. Hold him here. Deny that he is not coming back. So, now its a year. Maybe I should be further along. I thought I would be coming closer to normal - but then I realized why I am not I am waking up - not but wide awake. But maybe others did not have two funerals - five months later. Jim died March 6. We had a wonderful uplifting Memorial Mass on March 24. Then I brought Jim's urn here. Because he was to be buried at Arlington National Cemetary - and you have to wait to be given a date. And, I waited and waited and waited until finally they called two months later to tell me the burial would be August 1. A five month wait until the final burial. I loved having Jim's ashes here with me. The urn was sitting on a bookcase shelf in the living room. The morning we left for Arlington it was like another wrench as we took Jim's urn to the car. The Arlington burial was a full military honors ceremony was wonderful. Ritual does sweeten the sorrow. But the burial was a new final good-bye - another funeral - - and suddenly I was emotionally back to the beginnign. The grief choked me again. So, here I am - at his one-year anniversary...but its not a year for me... And, there are still more "firsts" ahead.