One year, twelve months, three hundred and sixty-five-days, eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty-hours or five hundred and twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes, ago on September 18th, my husband departed this world.
How is it that so much time could move so quickly? I remember as a child how long it took for tomorrow to come.
So much, and yet so little has transpired in the past twelve-months: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, his birthday, my uncle's passing, my mother's passing, my ill-health, hospitalizations, surgeries, loads of luncheon dates with friends, dozens of dinners out with friends, a couple of movies, hundreds of phone calls, several dozen loads of laundry, lots of grocery shopping, so many puppy licks, and too, too many tears.
PHILIP WITH OUR PUPPY by Norma Sherry
An un-momentous year since he left my side, left this earth. The tears ebb and flow. There are days, many days when I don't shed a tear, and then there are times I can't contain them.
I read all the doctor's notes when I was in the hospital; "Patient is a widow ten-months. She became teary-eyed when she told me that her husband had died." The tone reads as if, "She's still sad after ten-months." Makes me wonder if my eyes hadn't welled with tears if they wouldn't have written, "Patient shows no emotion when telling me that her husband died ten-months ago."
For those who know me peripherally, or know me well, or even those who love me dearly, it's difficult for anyone else to fully understand the depths of loss and the anguish of a year. Even I, before my personal loss could not have comprehended how time has not diminished the sadness of loss.
After all, life goes on, and in so many ways it does. The sun comes up and a new day begins. I sleep; I wake; I bathe; I dress, and I eat. Dishes need washing; floors need sweeping; dogs need attending; phone calls need answering; the yard needs mowing"time moves on; life moves forward.
For the first ninety-days I filled every moment with as much out of the house activity as I could. I worked hard at not feeling the pain, the sadness. I laughed; I smiled, and I cried into my pillow, in my shower and in my cereal only when I was alone.
I guess time has taken its toll because I no longer cry like I did. My tears are more random these days. Nevertheless, still, all these months and minutes and seconds later it takes little to bring on the tears, the sadness. Sometimes it's a memory, other times it could be a TV movie, or a benign question never meant to elicit the pain of being without him. It's haphazard this hurt called loss.
I'm reminded, by those who knew "us" how lucky I was. I'm told repeatedly that few women can attest to a love such as ours. None of this helps. I know they mean well. I know they want to ease my heartache, but it doesn't. I love them for their caring hearts, but the loss is too profound for words to ease.
I don't want to be misunderstood; I'm not wallowing in the complexities of loss. I'm aware of the emotions and there are times that my emotions overtake me and bubble to the surface. Most often, however, I move in and out of each day with grace and fortitude. I have great empathy for others going through the same process.
In the end, unless I'm sharing my thoughts with another widow or widower, there is a gap of true empathetic understanding. I'm grateful that for those of you who haven't lost a significant part of you, that you don't have this awareness yet. There is time enough for that to come, and sadly, for all of us living, it will come.
It's the struggle and how we emerge from the struggle that counts. As for those around us who care for our hearts, your presence and your effort at understanding our loss is a gift more profound then you could know. There is a Yiddish word, "Mitzvah" that is most often used to express an "Act of human kindness;" it's most befitting in the case of loss.
It is a Mitzvah to having a caring, empathetic heart for those suffering the loss of a loved one. Know that their healing is not in sync with the normal rhythms of the world around us.
It's not possible for it to be because they are missing an integral aspect of life; they're missing the joy that once was such a strong component of their lives. Now it's replaced with grief. They're missing togetherness, which has been replaced with aloneness. They no longer have companionship, or that special someone by their side.
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