Letters To Heaven

Dearest Dan,

I don’t know why I want to write this letter. I know that you can see all that you loved here without any explanation or “Newsflash”. I just want to share with you the things that we always shared together.

Tonight, Bubby wrestled in his first match. Of course, I thought about you and all the evenings that we watched wrestling. Thank you for not watching the fake WWF stuff. I never enjoyed watching the acting kind of this sport. But, I did enjoy watching the other kind where the contestants actually use wrestling moves.

As I watched him on the mat, I thought how Bubby would have benefited from your experience. All, but the part where you “blew out” your knee. Kids don’t need to know about the injury possibility right out of the gate, at least, not Bubby. He already sought me out when he became winded and told me about how his lungs were hurting.

You know, NanNan the Nurse, should be able to tell if he was “over doing” it. All of this before the match began. I had to hide my smile.

Bubby seemed impressed when I told him about how you wrestled in High School. There are so many things to tell the next generation about you. How will I ever remember it all?

I haven’t heard much regarding your other grandsons. As time progresses, the communication lines become more quiet. You mustn’t be upset with your family. Their lives are full of raising young children or seeing to the care of your parents. It is just the way things go when the person that linked you to them is no longer on this earth. It is human nature.

Yet, there are old friends that seem to keep in touch. I still hear from a few of them back in Parke County and Brazil. They have been deeply touched by your life and, when you come to mind, they seem to remember me.

An update on your Washington State branch. You oldest granddaughter just turned 2 years old in August and she sings all of the songs from the Sound Of Music. When I was told about her Christmas gift of a guitar, I thought about you. It seems that she will be the next generation to love and perform music. Yes, my love, that part of you, the part that loved music, lives within her.

Her baby sister is growing.  She is a real Buster. She is one of those little fat babies that knows when meal time is rolling around. She is trying to crawl already. It is amazing that she is doing all of these things. It reminds me that  life is passing so quickly and  I am not living at the same speed.

I missed you, tonight. As everyone walked out of the gym, I noticed that it seemed everyone walked in pairs.  All of the parents and grandparents that filled the gym were walking two by two…everyone, but me.

How I hurt to see all of these grandparents enjoy watching the beginning of the days that will be spent watching grandchildren and dreaming of the next decade. Somehow,  they count on the time that they will spend being involved with these kinds of events.

For a moment, I feel the bitter burn of disappointment; that old familiar stabbing pain, that tells me that you had so much more to live and to experience. I know that it means so much to kids to have family come and watch them as they try the new things of life…how cheated I feel for both of us.

Tonight, I can’t sleep again. I seem  not to be able to quiet my mind and find slumber. My thoughts are with you and the pain of your absence nags at me like a constant ache in my body. 

I tried to watch a movie, but my mind wanders away from the plot and, as usual, I loose too much of the story line to enjoy what I see. You see, some things never change. At least, you don’t have to explain the details I missed because I was out of the room. That thought makes me smile. I know how much that always irritated you.

Watching TV into the night  is just another coping mechanism. Numbing my mind with meaningless TV just doesn’t seem to work like it once did.

In a few days, it will be 8 months since you left. Every time I begin to think that I am recovering from some of this pain, I realize that I fall back into it. I am always falling back to you.

I don’t know what to expect now. It seems that I don’t have a life to call my own. I just work and immerse myself in the lives of others and their needs. Dan my life is still with you.

Well, there is nothing more to tell you. I am sure that you are keeping tabs on the kids and grand kids. As in life and now in your new existence, I know that your heart is always with them.

I don’t have an address for this letter. Just like the Valentine Days card, I hope that it will find its way to you by some kind of “special delivery”.

I love you, Dan. I miss you tonight….and every night.

All my love,

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Coincidence or Timely Messages?

12_77_57-red-rose_web1Sometimes, the anticipation of pain is worse than the actual pain in and of itself.

I had a neighbor who suffered from kidney stones. He had terrible pain when one would develop and the doctor allowed him to have a very strong pain medication for relief. His wife was a RN so the doctor allowed the medication to be administered by injection while he was home  . It was given every 4-6 hours “as needed”.

It wasn’t too long before the multiple dose vial was empty. The doctor refused to refill the medication because the neighbor went through it so quickly. The neighbor was upset because he only envisioned that the pain would come and he was without anything to offset the excruciating pain.

As his frustrated wife discussed this with me, she voiced her anger that her husband would become totally unreasonable when she tried to encourage him to try a pain pill before having the injection. She also was upset because she knew that the doctor lost trust in her as a nurse because of the quick consumption of the potent pain killer. Once a doctor believes that someone is abusing this kind of medication, there is nothing that will pursuade him to order the medication again.

I suggested to both the neighbor and his wife that it wasn’t the pain that was causing him to reach for the injection, but rather, it was the fear of the pain. The memory of having that kind of horrific pain caused such a fear of its return that a person will want to be relieved of the possibility as much as the pain.  The medication can become a “security blanket” of sorts and the fear had to be dealt. The doctor was not going to allow the fear to become the first steps toward the chance of addiction.

When I said the words “fear of the pain”, my neighbor chimed in that it was the fear of the pain that caused him to become irrate and unreasonable when his wife tried to get him to delay the injection. The fear became more powerful than the pain.

So it seems to be the same with me. I think that the past few weeks of living mountain-in-the-midst-of-a-stormthrough the first wedding anniversary without Dan, remembering in disbelief that the happiness found in the Renewal Ceremony had come and gone and it was just a year ago. And then the first Valentines Day without Dan; all of this was akin to  my neighbor’s fear of the pain. 

My anticipated fear of Valentines Day was more potent and dreadful than the actually living through the day and being reminded of loosing Dan.

Yes, it did hurt to not have the customary card or gift from Dan. Overhearing of everyone’s plan for the special day also was a hurtful reminder that I was alone without love in this world. For a while, it caused melencholy to sweep over me  as I spent the evenings alone.It was the fear of the approaching day that became more intensely painful. That is until I received something special.

I came home on Friday to find a voice message on my home phone. My neighbor said that he found an envelop with a card in it in the ditch in front of his house. It was addressed to me and that he walked the 50 feet to my mailbox and placed it inside. He made the comment that he thought that it was peculiar that the card was so far from my house. He just couldn’t understand how the mail man had lost it so far from my house.

After hearing the message, I went to the mailbox. Inside was an ink smeared envelope. My name and address was barely legible.  On the return address was a familiar name. It was from a friend of Dan’s and mine who worked in one of the doctor’s office.

I stood next to the mailbox and opened the envelope. On the inside of the card, our friend wrote of how much she enjoyed reading this blog and how she looked forward to each new posting. She added how both she and her husband realized how difficult this holiday would be for me. 

She was already familiar with Dan and my story. img_2036She saw us every week for the past year and half. She knew Dan’s personality well. She watched our life unfold around Dan’s  final days. In the card she wrote …”He was so strong and had that certain edge about him that made him so tough-Yet, he seemed so kind and loving at the same time…”  She and the doctor commented on Dan’s will to live and how he fought a hard fight to survive cancer. Inside the card was $25 with the instructions to “treat” myself with coffee and chocolate.

As I stood by the mailbox reading this wonderful card, I marvelled at the special circumstance of receiving this card and I pondered over if this was just coincidence or was this a timely message that I needed to hear???

My Immortal Beloved

This is the title of one of Dan’s favorite movies. Beethoven and his lost love was the focus of this film and Dan identified with the idea of lost love…except, in his mind, he was granted a second chance when we crossed each others paths.

The story is passionate and so sad because Beethoven’s deafness cheated him out of the love of his life. He died never knowing that he lost his love because he couldn’t hear her words whispered into his ears. But, from this continual heartache, music became the language that he spoke and we are blessed by his genius.

“My Immortal Beloved, My All, My Other Self” is the line that resonated within Dan and it now does so in me. As this Valentines Day approaches, the emptiness and the lonliness invades my soul deeper than ever before.

So many days, my thoughts are consumed with being left behind. I don’t know why that my pain focuses on that phrase, “Left Behind”, but that is the source of my woundedness.

My head knows the reason why, but it is my heart that cannot accept this loss. Dan is always with me and there are times, I do wish that I could get passed this emotional gaunlet.

I feel the passing of time and I am stuck in this mire called grief. Yet, the truth of it is, I can’t seem to leave him, even though he has left me.

A few weeks ago, I accepted an invitation to dinner from a “friend of a friend”. I reasoned that I may make a new friend and I expressed to my friend that this was my focus. I cautioned him to be very clear with his friend that friendship was all that interested me.

I met the friend of a friend and we talked, ate a nice dinner and then I left the resturant. As I was driving home, I wondered why I even wasted this poor man’s time. I realized that I wasn’t even interested in finding a new “friend” at this time in my life.

I would have been just as content with an episode of NCIS and a Lean Cusuine dinner. I realized that my heart is not ready to open up for any new kind of relationship. It would take a lightening bolt and an audible Heavenly commandment for me to think about having a new relationship in my life right now…my heart is still bleeding and I don’t know if it will even quit.

I was introduced to this song on Sparkle’s blog. It seemed to capture so much that is hidden deep inside my aching heart at this moment and especially as Valentines Day approaches.

Dan still has all of me. I know that before anything changes, I will have to take my heart back, if I can, before I will be ready to face any kind of new relationship. There is just too much pain.

Another Anniversary

It seems impossible that a year has come and gone since this day.

Dan and I knew that this anniversary would be our last one together.  Thanks to the extraordinary show of love from family and friends, the simple ceremony with the pastor and a couple of friends that we first talked about became a wedding with a dinner reception. We could not have imagined this when I first asked him what he wanted to do for this anniversary and he replied, ” Get married in church”.

This was a far cry from the setting of being married in a bank vault by the Justice Of The Peace in Jellico, Tennessee. (Yes, we always were a little “unconventional”)

As I looked through these pictures, the tears came when I remembered that it was almost 5 months to the day that this wonderful man was gone from mylife. How grateful I am that we were given this amazing gift and how deeply moved I am to realize that Dan was loved so well by those who sacrificed and gave us this occasion.

I remember thinking that this Renewal Ceremony was going to be Dan’s “life celebration” and he was going to participate in it. At the time, that was my primary thought as we prepared for this special day.

Today, I am so glad that I did not understand nor know the depth of the pain his death would bring to me. If I had known, I doubt that I could have enjoyed this moment in our life. I would have had dread and fear instead of happiness.

I know that the day will come when I will be comforted by these memories, but for the present, I am tearfully gratful to see the love in Dan’s eyes for those who came to be a part of our love. He and I are so blessed to have family and friends that love us like this. I feel so humbled by their willingness to put love into action.

Immobilized II

Thanks to you all who commented on the Immobilized post.

I was able to get out on Friday, but it was still “tricky” to get around. The roads out here were finally attended to at 3:30 AM on Friday morning. I was awake when the snow plow raked what it could off of the road. At least, it took the ruts down so that I would not bounce in and out of them and find myself in the ditch.

Sunday afternoon, everything was in a major melt mode and the ruts were as bad as before. Later in the day, the snow plow came back through and the pavement was a welcomed sight.

Today, I only had to deal with the refreeze and that was a little challenging at 5:30 AM, but I got to my client’s without incident. But, tomorrow, the forecast is for 3-6 inches of fresh snow and I need to be at the client’s house 30 minutes earlier than usual because the mother is traveling to a new location…

Oh, how I will welcome spring and it takes more and more of me to daily say, “Thank you Lord for another beautiful morning”…

I know that February is the month that we in the “southern” part of Indiana have the most snow and winter woes…please pray for me.

My biggest battle is not the weather, but it is the fear of what the consequences of poor driving conditions or poor driving skills can heap on my fragil state of existence.

As I tried to explain to my employer, I am the only income in this household. I have no one to find me if I am missing, provide for me if I am injured nor keep me safe and warm if I do not work…so I am evaluating each day as to the risk involved and weighing it against loosing the car or my health…

I doubt if it made a dent in her thinking, but that is the way it is when others haven’t experienced what it is to loose a spouse or a livelihood…so, whatever they want to do to me for not venturing out in a Level II Snow Emergency, it is what it is

This is my reality.

As far as my being grateful, I am truly grateful that my daily needs are met and that I have electricity and warmth. So many in Kentucky are without power and heat. There are some who have been in shelters since the beginning of this mess and they are being told that they may have an additional week or more before power is restored.

Gratitude is never relational, but our awakening to our blessings may be…Gratitude is a way of life and I am striving to learn the lessons that Dan taught me regarding the subject…I am not a fast learning when it comes to things that are against my circumstances, but I am determined to learn. If not for my own benefit, for Dan’s memory…