Friday, January 1, 2010

2010, Day 1

Originally uploaded by Hotel Lyric [off]

I wish I could report different, but this is Migraine, day 2.

I've never really been the type to read too much into what I consider a natural occurrence (migraines), happening on a significant day (New Year's Eve), and therefore presenting an omen of sorts. That I said farewell to 2009 with a painful migraine, and began the new year, with another, is not going to set the pace for the year ahead.

And even though 2009 was the year that I lost Michael, I refuse to curse it, and in retrospect, think of it as the worst year of my life. I happen to have many wonderful memories with Michael in 2009. He took me to Sedona, Arizona, for my 50th birthday, and we spent a week at the most beautiful, and wonderful, destination, Enchantment Resort. They had a fantastic spa, wonderful restaurants with romantic ambiance, and our room had the most comfortable bed and a lovely fireplace. As Michael was not feeling completely well, he needed a lot of rest. So often he would nap, and I would go walking, or swim at the spa. I also had plenty of time to read, and one evening took time to write.

I had carried with me a journal, and in it a list of questions that Michael and I had been discussing. They were questions that I found online regarding how to write your own legacy. I used the questions as a starting place for some of my free flowing thoughts. Here is one that I had written while in Sedona. It was a night that Michael shared something with me, something that hurt. I will resist the urge to do some editing.

Stormy Sedona
Originally uploaded by hbp_pix

April 2009

The most profound moment in romantic love was when I shared my vows with Michael in front of our family and friends. This was a moment of both my utmost dreams, and beyond what I held as part of my reality. Mature romantic love appeared to have passed me by during my adult life. I could never quite understand why it didn't come to me. In many ways I had given up on dreams of romantic love. I had also come to accept that this world I was born into would never fully embrace the type of romantic love I was capable of. Throughout my childhood I was surrounded by examples, role models of long lasting love. My parents, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, showing limitless love and devotion and commitment to each other. Somehow, for some reason, I was put on this earth to love another man. Yet for most of my life those I loved and respected held the belief that my kind of romantic love was wrong, and far from something to celebrate.

Here I was at 49 years of age, standing before my loved ones, pledging my love and commitment to Michael. And here he was returning, no, confirming, his own love and devotion to me. From where I stood, I could feel the full embrace, and joy, that my parents felt for our union. Michael and I had been together for a relative short time, yet had already face many years worth of challenges. We truly knew what was meant by "in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, all the days of our lives."

Such irony to have understood these words to the core of our souls before pledging them to each other in a formal way. It was almost a year to the day that I found myself screaming, in pain and sorrow, when hearing the grave news from the surgeon. She told me that the man I loved, the man I had let into my heart, of whom I put my future dreams in, would not be with me for very long.

Somehow life is cruel, yes, as cruel as it is good. Irony, isn't that how they would coin it? Why did my life have to be filled with such irony? I found myself outside that hospital screaming loudly from my core, like an animal who is fatally wounded. Appearances meant nothing at that moment in time. What does it matter when you are given such a lethal blow? It mattered not to me how I presented to others. It mattered not how out of control I felt.

Isn't love that way? Beyond our control? It is full of irony. You can only be hurt so fatally because you love so fatally. When you love someone to your core, then you will also find yourself hurting to your core. To that end, you know what you have is real. It is something to feel hurt over. It is something to find ironic.

Irony is where I find myself tonight. I'm on a wonderful vacation, given to me by Michael to celebrate my 50 years. Why do I find myself alone late at night writing these thoughts? Not because I have lost my love, for Michael is still with me. But because I am hurt by his words. I am hurt by his insecurities, and see how I have let him make assumptions about my love and fidelity. Well, perhaps I haven't let him do this, but maybe should have challenged him further to put his insecurities aside, as they have only brought me pain.

I am reminded of time, as time is not on our side. It is time for me to acknowledge the pain and hurt that I feel tonight, and it is also time to let go of the hurt. It will not serve me well to become consumed by the pain, for there will likely be stronger pain in the future. It is time to go back to the exchange of those vows.

In good times and in bad...beyond today, beyond these current feelings, there is a joy to remember, a love to cherish. It is a challenge to let go of hurt feelings, to pretend otherwise would be dishonest.

I'll commit to the challenge.

I'll let go.

I'll let go,

let go.

Go, back to love.

Back to joy.

Back to celebration.

Back to Michael.

New Year's blossom
Originally uploaded by Zuzka Grujbárová

As many of you may know, Michael died September 13, 2009. I was right to look ahead, and see what is truly important. I was also correct in foreseeing that I would know pain far deeper than ever imaginable. Will I look back at 2009 with despair? Yes. There is no way around this. I have many tears yet to shed. But I will also look back at 2009 with memories of real living and loving.

In 2008 we vowed to be there in good times and bad, in sickness and in health. In 2009 we had good times and bad, we had sickness and health. And on September 13th, with Michael's death did we part.

I do not know what 2010 will bring my way, but whatever it is, I will be open to it.


  1. You astonish me. Time and time again. Along this journey, I have reached certain conclusions, and they always seem to take you half the time to get there! You have such a good attitude towards life and you are an inspiration to me, truly.

    I hope your migraine has finally lifted ... I don't see it as an omen ... I do see it as a sign of all the stress of getting through your first Christmas and New Year without your Michael.


  2. i agree, that the migraine is probably from all the stress, all the sleepless nights, and all the introspection we do when we grieve. i hope you feel better this morning.

  3. The words you wrote describing taking your vows with Michael are exquisite. Both of you gave each other the gift of love - it was not one-sided as some/most relationships. Yours was the real deal in part because it encompassed the whole spectrum - sickness, health, good times, challenges, joy, growing together, learning from one another and maybe most importantly commitment through it all - whatever life would bring.

    Your vacation to Sedona sounds wonderful - it is my dream place to visit.

    As always, your pictures speak to me and seem to match the words that flow from you perfectly, especially the flower.

    It seems as though your view seems to have shifted and I appreciate your documenting this, for it can provide clarity and hope to others, including myself. You are celebrating the past with Michael while still looking ahead to the future and willing to be open to what it will bring. I don't think there is a harder job out there than that! Or one more noble or worth taking.

    I find it a really beautiful and incredible gift to Michael that you will not say 2009 is the worst year of your life. Yet you are also right in acknowledging that it will be a year of despair and pain. How can it not be when you loved Michael to the core? Of course, your pain will be as deep.

    I hope by now the migraine has subsided and that you have medication. When I get a migraine I find that there is something magical in a fountain Coke from McDonald's. It has to be regular Coke, not diet and only from McDonald's. Anyway, thank you as always for such an inspiring post. Your words have given me a spark of strength to get up, meet the day and open the door to what the world has to bring in.