Where Have All My Words Gone?

Without Dan and the daily stuggle to survive the darkest moment of my life, my desire and ability to take words and weave them into a tapestry has vanished.

I always said that my writing was an expression of my heart. Now, it causes me to wonder about my heart. The lack of words would indicate that my heart is sterile. It has nothing. It holds nothing.

Maybe, that isn’t totally accurate. The void may be the fact that I am living in a numbness that is ongoing. Love is missing.

It was love that filled my heart and made me feel alive. It was the love from Dan that defined my womanhood. It was Dan’s love that held the magic and now, the magic is missing.

There had to be something that was inherent inside of my heart that was the essence of what Dan loved. My head is trying to convince my heart that this is a truth. My heart is bleak.

Lately, with all of the holidays, anniversaries and Valentines Day, all I can think of is that my heart has died within me. The sparkle has gone from my eyes and the smile has vanished from my face. Yes, I can still smile and my eyes are still open yet, there is something missing.

These days are full of freezing fog, dull gray days and the threat of ice and snow. So it is with my heart. My heart has become a block of ice. It no longer beats with the color of red. It is as gray as the winter skys. It is lost to me and I grieve for the person that I once was.

As David cried out in the Psalms, “How long, oh Lord, how long?” This is my daily cry…”How long???”

How long will I feel this sad? How long will I feel so lost? How long will everyday look like the same gray and empty day that comes to greet me?

No one has answers and my heart and head will continue to battle over this bleak reality of emptiness.

I continue to search and I want to plan my life. But, now more than ever, I realize that it is a falsehood to believe that I plan anything regarding my life.

The quest is to find balance between the hope of life and the lack of hope in it.

Is this the sum total of my years? I lived and I knew love. Now, I live and I can only remember what love was. It isn’t much to build a life around, is it?

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Release

As I sit here missing Dan, I thought of this song. In many ways, he was a gambler. He took his risks and he placed his bets on those things in which he believed. Many payed him back well; others left him feeling the loss. He may have made different choices, but he would have gambled on living life his way.

As I listen to the lyrics of this song, I relate to the words about the song in the heart of a woman and how her song could only be released by the truest of loves.

I was that woman. Dan’s love set the hidden melody that was inside of my lonely heart free. I was free to love him totally without reserve or fear. That in and of itself is a miracle.

 Without Dan in my life, I would have been bamkrupt of the joy or contentment. I, forever, will know difference betweeen true love and what is produced by expectations or media influence. So, many live a lifetime and never know what true love feels like. I am one of the lucky ones. His love gave me so many wonderful gifts.

Dan loved beautiful things. His eye could always find the fine lines in a classic car. (Sorry to say that he didn’t like the looks of today’s cars very much).

He admired the touch and skill of a sculptor and their finished creation. He was mesmerized by the muse that struck the artist’s hands.

He loved the essence of color in all living things. He never overlooked the colors in a mountain scene or the display of color in a sunset.

Because of his artistry, he loved women and his eyes rested on me and I became the literal definition of the word “Wife”;  the desire of the eyes.

He found beauty in all women. He gave compliments easily and he meant them. He never “flattered”. He stated the obvious. Many believed that he was just saying empty words or that he had an agenda; they misunderstood him. His  security in his manhood allowed him to be sincere. He meant what he said.

Lately, I have pondered all of the gifts he gave me. They are not of the material nature. His love was a key that unlocked so many things that were out of sight, especially my sight. The best gift was my discovery of all that was held within my heart.

He made me understand what it was like to be cherished. I did not know what it was like to be valued like a precious gem. It was in the safety of his love that allowed me to dance in the palm of his hand and I saw him delight in me. I was amazed.  His eyes became my “looking glass”.

Without Dan in my life, I would never have known such joy. I grew up with a father that didn’t value women. He never gave compliments and he insisted that women were  not “made” to do the things that he respected. Sadly, I learned at an early age that women were of less value than men. I learned to discount my worth because I was a female.

Dan taught me  that all of me was of value and he celebrated  my womanhood, my femininity because he had a deep respect for strong woman. I believe his understanding of women was because of his grandmother. His love for her formed his respect for  women, and because of her, he was not threatened by their strength. He admired their strength as well as their beauty.

In his eyes, I had  that strength. He didn’t try to dominate it nor did he try to control it. Instead, he nurtured it and it grew within my heart. He saw my strengths and was not intimidated.

He  delighted in most everything that I did. It didn’t matter if I was singing in church or in a Karaoke bar, Dan was my greatest fan.  He never failed to encourage me after a song and he told me when I needed to use more air to keep the pitch. He had an acute ear for music.

He would tell me how he loved watching my hair blowing in the wind as we rode  the Harley. He said that he loved the shades of brown and red  highlights my hair.

Sometimes, he would sit and stare at me. When this began to unnerve me,  I would ask him what he was looking at so intently. I always expected a critism, but he never gave one. He commented on the petitness of my hands and how he loved to watch me play piano.

But, the comments that I will store lovingly in my heart of hearts will be the ones he gave me for just being who and what I was. I will never forget the evening that we went to the symphony. I finished getting ready and came out of the bedroom. In a hushed voice, he said,  ” You look stunning.”. I had never heard that phrase before in my life. I was speechless. I always felt beautiful with him.

He always told me that how much  he loved my shape and the feel of my skin. He helped me become comfortable with living in my body. Somewhere inside of me, I reasoned that if a man like Dan loved my body, why should I not trust that there was value in it. Without his love, I could not  have  discovered the joy of being a woman.

Everyday, I take the time to make myself look the best that I can.  I want to make him look good. I am proud to be his widow, as much as I was proud to be his wife, the desire of his eyes.

After thinking about the song that Dan’s love  released inside of me, I realized that his love set my heart free to be me. And then a new discovery came forth. For the first time in my life, I am free .

I was no longer in the role of wife or parent.  At first, I felt the emptiness that this kind of  loss brings. For these past few months, I felt the sting of not being someone’s wife and I struggled to understand just who and what I was to do now. As I grieved  over these losses, as well as his death, I felt abandoned and useless.

Then, it came to me. I have no parents to  disappoint nor do I have a husband to please. My children are grown and the responsibilities for their upbringing has past me. I am no longer required.

But, as I processed this feeling of detachment, I came to a new realization. I am free to be just be whomever I am and I am free to go wherever it takes me. I was surprised by my own reaction to this understanding.

I am acutely aware that my time on this earth is running low and I have discoveries to make about myself and the person who has lived and survived so many tragedies.

His gift of love freed me to a new horizon that I did not know existed. I began to feel a new kind of relief. A relief that I do not totally understand.

In someways, it feels like when I was in middle school and I was just learning about the wonders of a world outside of my parents and church.

I suppose it feels like a new birth of sorts. That is the best way I know how  to describe it.

I do know that I have a different appreciation for life than my peers. I know that I want the final 25 years of my life to be more and not less. Because I am widowed and without the responsibilites of parenting, I am not confined by these roles which allows me to be redefined by the present and not the past.

I don’t want to sound as if I begrudged those roles of daughter, wife, mother, step mother and grandmother. That is far from the truth. Rather, it feels like the spark of a new fire that is being kindled inside of me. It borders on excitement…I seem to have forgottem what that felt like.

Yes, Dan’s love set me free and, now,  I am trying to learn how to “soar”. To rely on my own set of wings. I am so very grateful to him and the love he gave to me.

As I watched this video, I was taken by all of the beautifl landscapes and sunsets. I thought of how Dan saw the Rockies for the first time as he drove his Semi truck through the high passes. As I watched further into the video, I saw his life and the many miles that he lived providing for his loved ones.

The lyrics speak of  a light in the depth of the darkness and a calm in the eye of every storm. Maybe, I am beginning to see both the light and calm….

His love was for a very important season of my life. I will always have it and I have one more obligation to him. I believe it would be his desire for me to learn to really live. He would want the effects of his life to shine on past his days here. And the best place to see the beauty of his life’s sunset is in the lives of those he loved.

How is the best way to thank him for everything he was to me? I believe the best thanks to him is for me to live, live well.  And I shall  live a life of  thanksgiving for the man who set my heart free….

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…

I Want Spring!!!

I couldn’t get out of my driveway to go to my client’s today…I felt like a wimp and I felt bad for my client.winter-garden1

I shoveled snow for 45 minutes only to decide that 6 inches of snow with freezing rain and another 6 inches of the white stuff on its way was just too much for my frazzled nerves to face. So, after wrenching my back and pulling muscles in my hip, I called my client and told them that I couldn’t come today.

Then, I thought about how small my paycheck will be because of this blasted weather. Ouch! I just got the bill for the LP that was put into the tank yesterday…$450. Double ouch!!

My job isn’t too much different from driving a truck. If my wheels don’t turn, I do not make money. There are no snow days, no sick days, no vacation days, at least, not until I am with this company for a year. That tells you how high the “turn over” rate is in visiting nurses, or, at least, with this company.

This is the first time I had to shovel snow in 17 years.

Dan loved snow and winter. It must have been from growing up on the northern side of Chicago. He always took care of the snow for me…one of the many things that I didn’t thank him for…I miss him…but, when don’t I miss him?

He could drive on this stuff and not look pulsed or nervous. He drove on ice like it was dry pavement. I remember one of his trucks that was covered in an inch of ice. He brought the load in when everyone else parked their vehicles on the side of the road. It took 3 days for the truck to thaw out. It looked like it was in an ice bubble…

I guess, I keep thinking that, if I get to my client’s house, I may not be able to get home and what would Mozart do? He would be so afraid! I know that my cousins would tend to him, but that isn’t the same as me being home.

I am also keenly aware that if I crash my car, I am out of a job. If the car quits, so do I…plus, whatever damage I do to the car while trying to brave the elements will cost a lot more than today’s wage.

The most overwhelming thought on days like today is that there is no one to notice if I am late or if I don’t come home in a timely manner. Maybe, it is adjusting to widowhood, but I always have this in the back of my mind. I have to call someone to come look for me instead of having someone who requires my presence…sorry, a moment of self pity is emerging from this inclement day.

I keep thinking about flowers and gardening. I am weary of winter and its cold. What a sorry excuse for a woman I am! This is the first measurable snow of the season. Yes, it might end up being a snow storm that dumps 12 inches of snow, but I am still ashamed of my inability to tackle this seamingly benign white stuff.

I am weary…

…. of not seeing the sun and feeling its warmth. e54d116291 …of not seeing color….of being afraid to drive and wreck my car. I could do that on a clear day, but it becomes more of my focus on days like today….of not feeling safe anymore.

 

….of the continual sorrow thatin-the-shadow-of-the-cross1 shadows me like a dark cloud on an overcast day.

 

I want spring. More than that, I need Spring…I need a warm break…I will have to just add it to my “Wish List” because it isn’t coming soon.

And So, It Begins

My husband knew that the medications that he would receive could be mind altering so as to make it impossible for him to tell them just how much he loves them, so, the last few hours before we left for the hospital were spent calling those that he loves and telling them just how deeply he feels.

Finally, he reached the point to where the pain was too unbearable and he knew that we were waiting for something that was not likely to happen. Each hour, each minute that passed without decompression of his bowel, could make this a permanent, life threatening state. He just hated going. He already knew the process and procedures that he would suffer. He finally relented to the reality that there was nothing more that I could do to help him here at home.

His last few minutes were spent holding out little dog. The bond between this small animal and him is so very strong. The dog has always senses his pain and his mood. Always faithful, the little dog offers his head as a comfort as my husband sat stroking this  little bundle of love and devotion. Both were hoping that the separation would not be permanent and that the separation would pass quickly so as to bring back his master’s return.  At around 4:30 PM, we left for the ER. 

It was fortunate that the doctor on duty was one that had seen my husband in the ER before. The ER doctor possessed the kindness that my husband needed and he decided to not put my husband through the routine tests. Time wasn’t wasted in writing the admission orders and finally, my husband received the kind of pain medication that could reach his level of pain.

By the time my husband was settled, hours had passed and it was sunset. I needed to return home and let our little dog outside one last time before I left him alone for the night. As I drove back to the house, I noticed that it was like a scene out of a movie.

The sunset this evening was of a pastel palette. Shades of a blushing rose served as a backdrop to the darkening silhouette of the trees with their delicate leaves in multi shades of green.  As I pointed the car toward the west, the radio was wafting the melodies of ” I Will Always Love You”. How appropriate.

It was like one of the last scenes in a movie where the love between two people becomes so real that it is almost palatable. The moment is a foreshadowing of the things to come. The future is being fortold where one person is leaving for a place where the other cannot follow. Such a terribly bittersweet moment in the movie until it is realized that it isn’t “Hollywood” but my life.

But, the scene is not the finale. It is just a repeat of the same scene experienced before and each time, he rallied and we continued on with living. What makes this time so different? The tumors are larger and they have stolen the remaining space that belong to his internal organs. How much longer can they continue to function is such cramped conditions? The truth is, not long…maybe days, a few weeks, not long.

All last night, my husband struggled with constant motion. He was working. His hands were opening something or he was telling me to look at this truck as it went down the highway. One time, he forcibly threw back the covers in disgust and began to undo all of the tubes that were attached to him. He said that he was “…was over all of this monkey business…”

All night, I held his hands to prevent them from undoing the things that were helping him. The pain medication had taken him to a land that was “over the rainbow” and he didn’t know that I was there with him. I could see his frustration with this medically induced fog.

In small intervals, he would see through his true eyes and he would apologize. Just as quickly, he would return to his “work” and pick at the air…always working, always busy, always trying to fix something…

At one point, I stepped outside of the room and asked the nurse what was being administered to him for pain. She stated that another medicine was given to potentate the baseline pain medication. I suggested that it was a little too much and she agreed. She was going to inform the doctor and she acknowledged that it was good that I was there to “help”. So, most of the night, I helped him “pick cotton”, find the change that he knew was in his pants pocket and tighten down the last bolt on the motorcycle. We “worked” all night in this twilight like we had worked together all of our lives.

In the morning light, he improved  By no means, was he out of danger from the effects of the medicines or from the bowel obstruction. But, greatfully, improvement came with the dawn.

Knowing that the improvements may not alter the outcome, I am still grateful. I will take the smallest of improvements. I will take any hope, no matter how small. I know that this is closer to the final sunset than not, so any positive accomplishments are appreciated with hope for a few more days.

Earlier, as he and I prayed in the ER, we both agreed that his life is in God’s Hand’s now. It is His Will to be done. We have asked repeatedly and we have both come to the understanding that we serve God, He is Our Sovereign and He doesn’t serve us.  We found a renewed peace come to us as we prayed. So, it begins, the final leg to this journey. How long does my husband have left remaining on this earth? Only God knows. We will take every precious moment and find the good in it.

The time will come when I will tell the doctor that it is time for him to come home. He will not take his final steps into the sunset from this hospital room that has unfamiliar surroundings. He will be with me surrounded by all that he loves and who love him. It will be in our home when I unclench my hands that has held on to him with an iron grasp and say,

 “If You Must Go, Then Go In Peace.

Go in His Strength, Where ere it leads.

Know that you take the Bread that Has Been Broken

Walk Unafraid, Humble and Free

Know that you are not alone

Know that you are not alone,

Had it not been for Sacrifice

Nothing could quench the thrist for light

Never forsake the One that’s been given

Keep His Dear Cross ever in sight.

God Be with You may He Sheds His Grace

On Your darkest hours and your best of days

Nothing below or above

Can come between you and His Love

Remember you go in the Shadow of the Cross.”

Go in the Shadow of the Cross

First Call

 

We Made It!!!

We made it! 

March has come and gone and his prediction has gone with it…He is still here. In fact, he is in a holding pattern of sorts.

Of course, having the “flu” isn’t good. We are through the “fever” part of the virus. The other symptoms didn’t materialize. I should say, they did not make the appearance that we expected.  That is great, too.

He has complained of pleurisy type pain. The first order of business will be to fill the Rx for the antibiotic. We just have to get through the next 48 hours. The disability money will be in and we can get the medicine filled.  In the mean time, we are taking collodial silver. It was the antibiotic of the 1930’s and it is effective without adding stress on the liver. Hopefully, it is having a positive effect on keeping us from experiencing the usual symptoms of this flu.

Anyone with asthma or a compromised immune system i.e. cancer dreads the idea of having the flu. Others will suffer through it and in a couple of weeks, life returns to normal…what takes two weeks for them takes us a month of recovery.

For cancer victims, the secondary complications that lead to pnuemonia can become the usher of death. So far, he is being very resilient and we are not having the complications, but we are only a week into this round. We must still error on the side of caution.

As for me, I never know which virus will trigger my asthma and I always sit on “pins and needles” looking for the changes that I have come to know too well. I am happy to say that I am not having any asthma symptoms as yet. This is peculiar.

The main complaint has been the exhaution and feeling worse than dirt. My husband battles fatigue from the cancer. I battle it from the “depression”. So, add with it the virus, the world has come to a halt and we are dragging ourselves around this little house like some sort of zombies….

This is the first time in a week that I wanted to sit at the computer and write anything. I am grateful that I have had the desire. If it produces anything, all the better.

Then, it hit me…it is April. We made it!!! March is gone and April is full of many things to look forward to. (for better understanding see the January post where my husband predicts that he will be gone by March.)

In two weeks, the new grandson will be here. His birthday is scheduled for the 17th. (my husband’s daughter must deliver by C-section)

We are having dinner with an old friend next week. Oldest Grandson is in his first musical. (he is in first grade. I am thrilled because I was in musical theater and I am hoping for one of my grandsons to take up the torch and run with music in his heart)

The week following, another friend is in the area for training and she will be stopping by or we will be going to dinner with her. And the last week of April, we have another friend who will be coming here and staying while she works in Kentucky…April is quite full for a couple who usually has very little to accomplish…

It is also the month that I will continue the story of Lela. I am working on the rough draft a little at a time….and I am still researching her life.

I am also continuing on with my journey towards forgiveness. It is important for me to overcome this particular shadow. I understand that it is an ongoing journey, but the major accomplishment is that I want to pursue forgiveness. I had no desire to do this for a very long time.

There is a line in a song by Brad Paisley/Dolly Parton that says, ” When I get where I am going, I will shed the sins and struggles that I’ve carried all these years, And I’ll leave my heart wide open,  I will love and have no fear….”

This part of the song speaks volumes to my hubby and to my heart as well. I just don’t want to wait until I leave this world to accomplish this goal. I want to shed the sins and struggles now. I want to live now with my heart wide open and love and have no fear …

That is my desire. It is so contrary from what my head says. I have lived before with my heart wide open and I have lived long enough to know that leaving your heart so open results in great pain…that is the risk you take when you love.

I am so tired of the pain and the pain brings with it anger. The anger fails to walk alone and brings fear with it. That can evolve into a defensive nature that pushes everything away. Everything like love, peace, contentment, all of these things are kept behind the wall of defense. I don’t want to live like that any longer.

I want the hurt and the bitterness of life’s disappointments to be laid down. Carrying this load is more than I can bear.

Sometimes, it seems like I am walking the Valley of the Shadow as a mule that has one purpose and that is to carry the heavy packs along a narrow trail. I am not as sure footed as the mule. I know that I can slip and fall. I have fallen many times on this journey.

I want to lighten the load by forgiving those who have used me.  Those who have found me not as dependable as they thought I should be. Those who have demanded of me and I failed them. I am weary of bearing the guilt for disappointing them. .

I want to forgive myself and I want to forgive God.

All of these things are in my hopes for April. It will be interesting to see how this month proceeds.

Wait…I caught a glimpse of something outside the window…It is a robin. Wait, I can  smell the earth warming….yes, finally….there are the green sprouts of daffodil…oh yeah!!

It is Spring…we made it!!!!