I Carry His Heart

Halloween was Lorin’s favorite holiday. He loved getting dressed up and greeting the neighborhood kids.

If Halloween fell on a weekend, we would get more inventive with our costumes since we weren’t getting home late from work.

On one such Halloween, Lorin dressed up as a hillbilly zombie or was it a “redneck” zombie? He was excellent with makeup from his years studying and working in the theater. He wore a torn flannel shirt, suspenders, old pants, hiking boots and carried a mixing bowl with blood (red food dye colored water) and eyeballs (fake, of course). He stirred the bowl with a wooden spoon while sitting on the stoop. He scared some kids, but one actually asked for an eyeball, much to his mother’s chagrin.

I dressed up as the “joker’s wife” (Heath Ledger’s Joker) in a housedress, torn knee-high stockings, big slippers, matted hair in a hairnet with rubber spiders in it, and white face paint with a jagged red smile.

We were quite the pair.

A neighbor took a photo of us, but I can’t find it.

I will miss Lorin at Halloween, as I do every holiday, and every day.

This poem is dedicated to him. I almost had my best friend read it at his memorial service, but I changed my mind. I would have preferred to have read it myself, but I wasn’t fit to do so.

i carry your heart with me
(by e.e. cummings)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, fast approaches. It begins sundown September 29 and ends the evening of September 30.

More importantly, September 29 is the anniversary of Lorin’s death.

If you are a believer, this is the day that God will forgive you, purify you and cleanse you of all your sins.

I am hoping that God or whatever Life Force there is will help me get through this day.

I fear the day. It will mark the end of all “firsts”: the first Thanksgiving without Lorin, the first Christmas without Lorin, the first Valentine’s Day, the first wedding anniversary, the first birthday, and so on.

This Day may bring a measure of closure, but of this, like everything else, I cannot be certain. I have learned there is no certainty and no security in life. I am accepting this without self-pity or a sense of hopelessness. It is my truth. I am living it.

My life is forever changed, having lost my “Lost One.” That’s what Lorin used to call me, referring to the short story “The Lost Ones” by Samuel Beckett. On September 29, I lost the love of my life, my favorite person in the world, my writing partner, and the one who understood me better than anyone ever has, and possibly ever will.  I will try to be happy and continue to write and pursue the dreams we had forged as “Team Sweetie,” but I am forever changed.

Do not pity me.

Love more.

 

 

Anniversaries

Today is the eleven month anniversary of Lorin’s death. Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. We would have been married nine years.

I do not plan to celebrate our anniversary. I will light a candle for Lorin as I do every night and try to think about the happy times we shared.

Lorin died three days after my birthday, so that will be another day I think I’d rather forget.  We were planning to celebrate my birthday in Savannah when we arrived, intact. He bought me some jewelry and was very excited about giving it to me. The jewelry did not survive the car accident. It went missing or was destroyed, don’t know which.

Some pearls of wisdom from the world of trauma and grief:

(1)  Things that used to be bother me a great deal don’t bother me anymore.

(2)  Things that didn’t bother me before may really upset me.

(3) Don’t waste time.

(4) I do not suffer whiners gladly.

I am still trying to figure out why I survived, what my purpose is. It’s lonely being the survivor. Samson survived too. I couldn’t touch him for the first couple weeks after the accident. He seemed afraid of me and was obviously traumatized. When he finally let me pick him up, he seemed uncomfortable or in pain. His little bones must have been bruised.

Here he is with his new best friend Bo, who I adopted in November:

This song is dedicated to my dear Lorin, who was a wonderful dancer. He liked to grab me while I was in the kitchen or in the living room fussing, and start dancing with me. I miss that, among other things.  I wish I could dance with him one more time.

 

Why me? (re-blog)

I came across this post today from Tyson 72.  Being a recent widow myself, I have not come across many (or any) blogs written by widowers.  His story is painful, heartfelt and beautifully written.  Please comment at his site, not mine.

Thank you.

 

Personality

Personality counts. Especially in certain cases, like when you’re getting an ultrasound or another diagnostic test that may be cause for worry or concern. The technician who performed some tests on  me yesterday had almost zero personality. She led me or rather shuffled to the exam room with me trailing behind.  She opened the door and pointed to a paper “gown” that I was to put on. It wasn’t a really gown, but rather a sheet made of paper towel material.

She said, “Is that a dress?

“Yes,” I said.

“Take the dress and your bra off and put the gown on so it’s open in front.”

“Okay,” I said.

When she saw I was undressed with the giant paper towel wrapped around me, she said, “Lay on the table.”

A remake of “Lost in Love” by Air Supply was playing on her CD player / radio. One of my favorite love songs when I was a college freshman.

It seemed incongruous with the proceedings.

The technician begrudgingly pulled out the lower part of the examination table so my calves would not be dangling off the bottom.  The table squeaked when she jerked it down, and it was still too short for me. I’m only 5’6″. How must it be for really tall people?

“I’m going to do the echo cardiogram first,” she said. “Lay on your side.”

“Okay,” I said.

She slathered gel on my chest and starting moving the wand over my flesh.

I felt like a canned ham covered in jelly.

“Now lay on your back,” she said.

The next song that came on the CD player/radio was another remake of an easy listening song.

After ten or fifteen minutes she said, “Now I am going to do the other test.”

“Okay.”

When it was done, she said, sans expression, “You can get dressed now.”

She didn’t offer me any paper towels to wipe off the goop, so I grabbed a few I found near the sink and used the paper towel “gown” to wipe off the rest.

“When will I get the results?” I asked.

“You can go to the front desk, and they will tell you.”

“Thanks.”

She didn’t turn around to convey the information to me.

As I said, personality does count. But as long as she’s good at what she does, I guess it doesn’t matter all that much.

Zombie-Voodoo Dream


(google image, Night of the Living Dead, 1968)

A shadowy figure
coal dust-covered zombie in rags
followed me everywhere
reaching out his rotting finger
trying to touch me

I went into a hotel
telling them he would not leave me alone,
not to let him in
He got in anyway
I said, “What do you want from me?”
making a cross with two fingers in front of my face
as if that would ward him away

He didn’t speak

“I curse you,” I said.

I know he was trying to curse me

I woke up,  ready to do battle
with the zombie voodoo brigade

 

Powder

(google image)

Earth, moist from an earlier rainfall
impression of a body on the ground
where he lay

powder pink blanket with blue stripes
like a baby’s blanket
too short for an adult

I wanted to keep it
but it was taken from me
like everything else
that day

ground into dust

I am powder
no longer whole
only particles of myself
remain

I don’t recognize who I am

 

The Widow’s Handbook

Things NOT to say to a widow/widower:

  1.  It was God’s will.
  2.  He’s in a better place now.
  3. Everything happens for a reason.  (you deserve to be shot for this one)
  4.  You’re lucky to be alive (post-accident).
  5.  God must have a special plan for you.
  6.  What are you doing for fun?
  7.  Do you feel better now? (after several months have passed)
  8.  Have you thought about going to church?
  9.  He (deceased) would like you to do that (fill in the blank).
  10.  Maybe you need a makeover.

I know it’s hard to think of things to say to a widow or widower, and I don’t blame anyone for feeling inept. I know most people do their best not to stay stupid and inappropriate things. But platitudes and suggestions for rejuvenating one’s relationship with their Maker (whomever that might be) are generally unwelcome. Keep in mind that I am a lapsed Catholic, so I do have a religious background and spiritual inclination.

Enough said.

Hope you all have a great day!

Life is Just a Ziploc Bag of Cherries

I always thought the adage “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” silly, never gave it much thought. But while eating my afternoon snack of cherries in a ziploc bag, I was compelled to look up the lyrics to the song. Judy Garland does a rousing rendition of it, but I preferred Doris Day’s softer, slower interpretation. I’ve had a soft spot for Doris since I was a child. Often thought of her as a surrogate mom–always cheerful, rosy and full of life and love. Anyway, I digress.

Having read the lyrics, I find the song isn’t so inane after all:

People are queer, they’re always crowing, scrambling and rushing about
Why don’t they stop someday, address themselves this way?
Why are we here? Where are we going? It’s it time that we found out
We’re not here to stay; we’re on a short holiday.

And this part:

 . . . The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you’ve never owned?

So that’s all I’ve got today. Thought I’d drift into lighter territory and elude the sorrow.

Enjoy the cherries.

 

Scarlet Widow

(google image)

Don’t ask
don’t tell
A good widow
stays in the shadows
doesn’t mind the stares

I wear my wedding ring,
a source of confusion to some
I will wear it as long as I need to

So many questions

The lady at the nail salon
wanted to know
all the gorey details of the car accident
while trying to upsell me
on an acrylic manicure.
“I’m trying to save,” I said.
“I only have one income now.”
She said, “You’re lucky to be alive.”
I laughed and said, “I guess.”
I didn’t go back there again.

A good widow knows her place
A bad one has a scarlet letter
carved into her heart

She tries not to upset your
sensibilities

She tries to remember her place

Don’t burn her at the stake