For all of us here
So much pain, so many tears, so much loneliness and despair. Nothing quite as beautiful as it once was, each of our better halves no longer with us. Family and friends love us and try their best to comfort us. The cruel fact is life goes on. Bills must be paid, appointments kept, these mundane tasks we perform with broken hearts and shattered souls. Every day.
Like many of you I prefer to be alone in the apartment I shared with my beautiful wife Donna. June 8th will make 18 months since she lost her battle with lung cancer. She was 52 years old. So young, so, so, unfair. June 4th will mark the 36th anniversary of our marriage, the day this most amazing woman became my lifelong partner, lover, and best friend. I suppose, as I did last year, I'll toss a yellow rose or two into the ocean where I laid her ashes. Her favorite flower. Her favorite spot. Her favorite person.
Since her death I haven't had a single visitor in my apartment. Fine by me. And since her death I've lost my sister, and two brothers. Not long ago I had 5 siblings, now I have 2. Guilt, to me anyway, is such a destructive, useless emotion. It seems my broken heart can only process so much grief. I try to lay my guilt aside, like a disinterested child with an old toy. I've made peace with my brothers and sister no longer with us. I truly pray they understand.
Donna and I never had children and decided 24 years ago to move to Maine from Massachussetts. She thrived here, making friends, embracing our life together on our new adventure. I plan on living here till the day I join her again. As difficult as it is sometimes being here without family, this is my home.
The day before she passed we talked at length about a number of things, she commented on how nice our conversation was. I knew she had been diagnosed 2 1/2 years earlier with stage 4 lung cancer. I did my best to take care of her, to make her as comfortable as possible. I've since found out she knew she would be leaving me, she made sure certain things were taken care of. For me. Seems I was wrapped up in her illness and her caregiving to actually realize she would be taken from me. All of her cat-scans the previous 2 and 1/2 years showed no growth and even some shrinkage, we both thought the good vibes, karma, and prayers our family and friends sent us was a big reason why. Along with Donna's tenacity and positive thinking. I thought she would fight this and win, maybe my subconscious mind couldn't or wouldn't deal with it. An ending to our life together never entered the picture. Then in November of 2011 the news was not so good, the tumors had grown and her Oncologist laid out her options to us, one month later her battle had ended. The day before she passed she told me she had no regrets in life. I take great comfort in that fact. I recently told my Doctor that I was a blessed man being with Donna for so long. My Doctor told me so was Donna.......
Last weekend I repotted 23 houseplants that Donna enjoyed taking care of. I consider it a great privilege to do so, it's a link to the past between myself and her. I fuss over them and make sure they're doing well. I also have a 6 foot tall orange tree that is about 30 years old that we used to decorate for Christmas! Memories. They enter my mind ever so slowly, in tiny increments. Too many at once and I'll be painfully overwhelmed. And I've got a truckload of precious memories. In time.
I've still got most of her clothes, still hanging in the closet of our spare bedroom where she so enjoyed making Christmas and birthday cards. The jewelry box still sits atop the file cabinet filled with the earrings she once wore. Pictures of friends she adopted as family still lie on the shelf of the desk where she once sat.
All of us here have our own stories of lives forever changed, of hearts that will never be mended. But my wish for all of us is this: Know that our pain is so fierce, our memories so bittersweet, our path so difficult, so lonely, our days so draining and filled with despair because each and every one of us have been lucky enough to have known True Love. For 3 months or 63 years, you see it doesn't matter!!
Wear this in your soul as you would a badge of honor on your sleeve.......I sure do!