Tag Archives: memories

Everybody dies …

wall photoes b and w

No one likes the thought of dying, but it’s the only event we all experience . Is it that we are really bad at talking about it or can’t we face it? I guess that’s the same thing.

“Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau) Maybe he meant that loneliness is like death, or maybe it means that the silence around death leads to loneliness? Either way it certainly is sad and it’s our own fault.

Have you ever overheard two people having a conversation about you? I have,  I’ll chew on that for hours, days even. They don’t understand me! How dare they! What would they know! And they’re the G rated responses!! As time slips by the outrage grows and grows until the ugly monster within has festered into something I no longer recognize. The story has exaggerated, just a little, and has turned into a Days of Our Lives script worthy of an Oscar or two. The mountain of emotion inside is ready to erupt on whomever is game enough to cross my path. God have pity on that poor soul.

But what if it that wasn’t the whole story? What if there was more to it, or it was spoken in concern not accusation?? That would change things, but I only know that if I will talk about it and look for the truth. If I choose to be honest with my emotions and air them in front of a third party. Me, my emotions and someone sane. If I choose the vulnerable path of letting someone in on the pain I feel so they can help me see what is real as opposed to how I perceive it. It’s like cleaning out an abscess, all the goo just has to come out, and it is not pretty.  Once clean though, healing begins.

I think it’s like that with death. We don’t talk about it, or about the one who has died and all manner of emotions fester inside. We think it might upset someone, it might make them cry. I say, that’s OK, let me cry, my tears honor my loved one. With my tears I say “I loved you and love you still”. With my tears I let the world know that their life really meant something, you’ll know that if you see me cry about him. You will know it touches my heart, it has pulled something out of me that’s personal and completely overwhelming. I don’t want to be scared of that. But as a people I think we are. Crying, or at least showing some true emotion, helps heal the wound, it goes part of the way to stopping it fester. Unattended that wound can be fatal. It is absolute sadness and keeps you looking at the death. Forgetting the life, the infection gets worse until complete shut down.

Everyone who dies has lived. That life has still been lived if they die, still happened, still part of you. Although they are no longer here with you, beside you as you would prefer, all that meaningful life still and forever has a purpose. My late husband loved me and is forever a part of me, of who I am today. My husband’s late wife loved him, and the life they lived together makes up so many years of who he is, of course I want to know about them, about her. She is the mother of children I now think of as my family. She is utterly integral, both our late partners are.

Sometimes I feel a lump in my throat when I speak his name, sometimes a smile. Either way, I believe it’s better said than locked away. Memories shared help them stay alive, helps them feel closer. We will all face death, but will we all remember the life?

Please do, even if you cry.

 


Remember the Smiles

Sadness can alter your memory. It can trick you into believing the lie that suffering was all there was to living. It isn’t true. Amidst the suffering there was true life, the one were a joke was laughed at, a hand was held, or  “hey how are you” was shared. These small things in the everyday mattered, and still matter.

The end did not negate the years of holding his babies, of taking them to soccer, of kissing me goodnight, of the worst dad jokes possible or of just sitting together wherever we were…because the place didn’t matter.

Hope finds it hard to return if it has to fight through regret and guilt. They where the bookends that held me captive, torturing me with a continual reel to reel of all that was bad in the end days. The “what ifs” intertwining each chapter with nagging questions.

“What if I had prayed harder…”

“What if we had tried another doctor…”

“What if he had wanted to stay a bit more…”

“What if I had been more…”

Answer-less questions that feed guilt because they can’t be answered from the grave.  

Before the suffering I knew the answers. Yes he loved me and knew I loved him. Yes his kids were his greatest achievements and nothing could alter that. Yes he found joy in life, in nature, in his faith and those he loved.  They were unaltered memories. They didn’t have question marks.

I had added the question marks to the statements of his life. I had warped the looking-glass of my memory. I had forgotten the smiles and could only see his pain.

I needed to see hope again. To believe hope was possible. I remember falling to my knees on my bedroom floor, desperate to know that moving on was OK. Stuck between the holding on and the letting go. Only a decision away but uncertain if letting go would leave him behind.  I asked God to free my heart of the guilt and betrayal that pushed hope away. To let go of those unanswerable weights and open my life up to new possibilities…even if that was on my own.

I needed to understand that choosing to live was in fact what he had wanted, even though every pore oozed the contrary. I took small steps and made small decisions that supported hope until it became a habit. Grace filled the space guilt left behind and I was able to walk on. Hope grew into a new life because you can’t grow moving backwards.

Honouring those who have died doesn’t have to be sad, live the life they supported, be all you can be. Intertwine the best of them into who you are and go forward knowing they are always in your heart. Smiling …until you meet again.

my honey


Mothers Day

Some days have joyous written all over them. Some are plain. Some put you in a time warp and take you to that same day in another year, like a familiar smell that triggers your senses. This time last year it was the beginning of the end.

I woke in my cold, sterile motel room near the hospital. It was Mother’s Day; alone I readied myself and began like many before and a few after, coffee then hospital. “Would he be better today?” I’d hope and pray thinking it couldn’t get worse, but it became much worse, 2 more weeks until the end, less till our last sparse conversation.

Those painful times are survived as if they belonged to someone else. This life cannot be mine. What happened? Who took my life away…..

Yet somehow, you do, like surviving the Holocaust, you’re in the same place but it’s all changed, nothing is the same. And after a struggle to breathe you reach out and try to find life again. Never the same, but life none the less. Rebuilding begins.

So now I am not alone on Mothers Day, I am home with my kids, I love that part. They are wonderful. I just may need a few more years for the haunting memories and associations to subside. The one year mark approaching fast, I’m not ready for that. But I am ready to be alive again.

It really truly didn’t kill me…I’d had my doubts.


Memories you aren’t in

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We dreamed of this, Europe in Springtime. But I go without you, how can I go without you? It’s so conflicting, how can I go without you? I would have cancelled 20 times if it wasn’t for letting others down and losing a stack of money! I’m going somewhere without you, making new memories that you aren’t in. I just don’t like it.

It sounds romantic when we hear people speak of “seasons of life”, “new chapters in the story of life”, or my unfavourite “when God closes a door, He opens a window!” Behind the cliché lies a truth about keeping on living, but the connotation of leaving my old life behind is crippling. You are not a door that closed, by the same analogy it was more like a house exploding into a million fragments…it can never be put back together the same way. It’s not a new chapter, it’s a complete do-over. It’s memories that you won’t be in.

Memories are powerful. I can be drawn back to a moment in time anywhere in my past 44 years instantaneously. It draws instant emotion as if you were there again. I can find myself smiling as I remember how it felt when you held me. The warmth, your breath on my neck, the tightening of your arms around me; it was a very safe place and I can feel it now. Of course there are some very traumatic memories as well, the ones that can stir around my head late at night when I try to sleep. I do not smile at those, nor do I want to describe them.

I know you would want us to be happy and never give up living, I do, I know that. You could never say it, I know you didn’t want to die and leave us, so there was no need for it. But I know your heart, and you most certainly would want us to live on. So I will, even if you aren’t there to make a memory with. Courage looks like many things, and right now it’s hopping on a plane without you and determining not to mourn forever. It’s knowing it’s OK to continue making memories without you.

Europe in the springtime.

Let’s see how I go!


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