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

 

 

Missing Bernie

(Lorin and Bernie at PetSmart)

I’ve been missing Bernie terribly today. He was the last kitty we adopted–in April 2016.  Lorin saw him at the adoption center at our local Petsmart and said, “You have to meet him.” We already had four cats, so it seemed nutty, even for me, but I went with Lorin on a Saturday to meet Bernie.

Love at first sight. As it was with my Lorin.

They were two peas in a pod.

Everyone loved Bernie, but no one wanted to adopt him, because he was fat. They were afraid he had diabetes or some other illnesses and didn’t want to be burdened with a sick feline.  Understandable.  One of the foster cat ladies named Chris told us that before he landed at Petsmart, Bernie was in a pound. Apparently his owner had died. He had matted fur on his back that had to be shaved off. It was still growing back, and rather coarse.  He had been in the foster system for several months. Chris said we could take him for a week and bring him back if he didn’t get along with our other cats. Of course, we kept him.

He was shy, but loving. He had a favorite red sherpa blanket that he dragged around the house and even brought down to the basement, when Lorin was working there. Lorin’s office was in the basement. Sometimes Lorin helped him drag it down. Bernie talked to his blanket and gathered lots of toys around him. He seemed to need security. We wondered if he had been abused.

Karl adored him, and they started to sleep on the guest room bed together.

\

(Karl and Bernie)

Bernie eventually moved from his “safe space” upstairs and started playing with the other cats. One of his favorite games was musical chairs, played at the dining room table. Karl seemed hurt when Bernie migrated downstairs and engaged in play with Quincy and Samson.

****

I have grieved over Lorin, but have been unable to grieve for my cats. On one hand, I felt  guilty for grieving over my pets, grotesque even, in light of the loss of my beloved husband. On the other hand, I had no space in my mind and heart for more sadness. The pain of losing Lorin was enough.

But today I was able to grieve for Bernie. Like all my lost pets, he is worth grieving for. I wish I didn’t have to grieve any losses, but there they are. I will never forget the image of Lorin lying dead, nor will I forget the image of Sylvester and Bernie struggling to get up after the accident. I was helpless, useless, unable to save them. I didn’t see Quincy, Karl or Samson, and assumed they were dead.

These images still haunt me and weigh heavily upon my shredded heart.

I still fantasize about Lorin walking through the front door.

Lorin found Bernie and wanted him to be part of our family. I am happy we adopted him and that he had a loving home for even the brief time he did.

If I have learned anything from this, it is that every moment counts, as trite as it sounds. Love the people and animals you love, unreservedly. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. Love is all.

Let Me Breathe

(google image)

Pulling myself out of the earth
grasping at crumbling bits of clay
choking on each bit as it slips
through my fingers and
into my mouth

Let me breathe

two steps forward
three steps back

Let me breathe

Your opinions are not welcome
a listening ear will do

Have you been living in the dirt
with me?
have you seen your husband die
alongside I-95?
then shut up
and let me be

Let me breathe