For a While

by Zoe

So I survived the year mark, and for a while, I thought maybe I was getting better. Then today I was looking for something in my office and I opened a drawer in a file cabinet I do not often use and there were vases, glass flower vases all stacked and put away and I felt as though someone had kicked me in the chest. See John always sent me flowers; there was never a day that I did not have a vase of flowers on my desk. The girls always kidded me when they came, and I would smile because I know he sent them because he wanted me to always have something tangible to show that he loved me. But there are no more flowers; there are just stacks of empty glass vases.
John promised me we would be together always; he promised me he would not leave. But he is gone. I am alone, the most horrible kind of alone, the alone where every action, every thought rattles of a memory, rings of the loss of the most wonderful man in the world. Its like being on the other side of an echo, no real sound, just a memory.
We say here one breath on step, right now I do not feel like I can breathe, it is as if the air has been knocked out of me. See it occurred to me, as I looked in the drawer at these vases, that they were vases merely because they had held flowers. They were defined by what they did, what filled them, what made them whole. Now they are just glass jars collecting dust in a drawer I know my assistant never thought I would open. (I know she put them up, not wanting to throw them away, but not wanting me to see them.)
I was John’s, he filled me up, and he gave me purpose and meaning. And he was mine, I protected that part of him he was afraid to show, I made him smile. I am like the vases; I am defined by what I was, what filled me up, what gave me meaning and purpose, now, I am merely biding my time. Because the absolute honest truth is, I cannot do this without him, I do not want to. Oh I, will go through the motions and I will bide my time like these vases, a vague memory of what I was, until that time that I can be with him again.
One breathe one-step…

Comments for For a While

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Apr 07, 2011
Thank you for your beautiful writing
by: Marjorie

Hi Zoe,

Thank you so much for your beautiful writing and insight, Zoe. I completely understand your pain and I hope tomorrow is better for you.

Thank you for your posting - it helps me grieve and understand my own grief a little bit more.

Apr 05, 2011
I Miss It All Too.....
by: TrishJ

Valentine's day was especially hard for me. My husband wasn't the most romantic guy going but he always made up for a whole year on Valentine's day. I always got flowers, a great card that he actually read at the store (he would always underline and emphasize certain word), earrings, dinner out. I miss him so much.
Every drawer I open lately holds something that reminds me of him. It's only been 4 months for me. As I'm sitting at my computer and look around I see 8 photos of us together. Pictures everywhere. My daughter asked me if it's a good idea to have all the pictures out. Right now they are bringing me comfort as does my wedding ring. I can't even think about taking that off right now. As I go through this journey maybe some things will change. We all travel through it at our own speed. Little things still reduce me to tears in a matter of just a few seconds. Right now I have one day that feels better ~ that is followed by two horrible days. I'm still just getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other. Yesterday I left my pjs on all day. Little baby steps. I hope I'm where you are in 6 more months.
I just tell myself over and over again that my husband still loves us. If he had a choice he would still be here. God called him home. I have to adjust. I have to carry on for my children and little grandsons. It's hard most days but I am making baby step progress. I thank God for the support of my family and friends. I don't know what I would to without them and this web site.
God bless you Zoe. Keep up the good work. Who woulda thought the sight of empty vases would take you back a few steps? It's the price we pay for loving so deeply. Peace and love.

Apr 05, 2011
For a while
by: M Mack


The vases, closets, everything that was part of them is what we do. They are tucked in our memories and from time to time just when we think were good, they resurface to rekindle our grief.

I used to get flowers almost everyday just like you. Little notes and the LOVE IS from the daily newspaper that he would cut out and saved for me.......corny I know but that's what touched my heart. The little things that no body else ever did for me. That's what made him special, one in a million. Over the last year or so before his death, I began to keep just one flowerhead, let it dry and placed them in a large glass vase. I still have this today and look at that vase often with a sign and happy memory.

Try looking at your vases the same. My support group called it "facing grief" and acceptance of what was. Don't let the vases haunt you, just keep them as a reminder that although John and the flowers are gone, the soul never dies. They were found for a reason, so use them to gain strength as part of the process to regain your life back while you find peace. Don't give up, and know we are here for you as support.

Apr 05, 2011
the glass vase
by: Hope


We cannot go through our days afraid to open drawers but often things do pop out to scare us, make us weak again. One day it is an old pay stub of Paul's when he was a strong working man.
Before this whole nightmare of illness and death changed our life. Another time while looking through old spirals, found an old score paper in his beautiful writing before the stroke. I walk around with it in my hand...Do I save this? Would the kids want it? Do I want it? Is it a fond memory or does it just bring pain when I look at it? Another spiral had the bloodwork tests for the hospital before this whole nightmare began.

Memories all over the place haunting me. Forcing me to remember the darkest days of my life. Clearing out the clutter of 11 years in this house sure has brought some ghosts out of the closet.

The study was one of the last rooms to go through. I still walk around bewildered, unsure whether to keep medical info from that long dark journey that we entered together yet only I survived.

Your memories stem from empty vases. But they can come from anything anywhere at anytime. It halts us as we try to make this new life work. I shut the drawer for another time knowing that it is there waiting for me to decide. What memories do I keep and what memories bring that dark black time back in vivid detail?

I thought that if I could just make it to the year mark I would be o.k. I am much better, stronger more self sufficient. But there will always be that tender wound that can be opened up as little reminders flutter out of a drawer.

Stay strong I know that you can do this, we all can and will there is only one way out of grief once you have hit bottom and that is up.

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