Sunday, January 17, 2010


Originally uploaded by ParanoidMonk

Today I'm experiencing a real craving for Michael, physically. His mother and I spent a bit more time this morning going through Michael's things. It wasn't a day of saying goodbye to much of his belongings, more of just looking at some of his clothing, and talking about what we will later do with the majority of his things.

Where Michael's mother lives, she has been actively participating in a grief group. She tells me that the group is sponsored by a local hospice, who has a couple of stores that sells second hand items. This is one of their ways of creating extra revenue for the clients they serve. Michael's mother asked me to decide which items of clothing I want to keep, and put aside the rest for her. She plans to then see what Michael's brother and nephew might be able to use, and donate the rest to the hospice organization. I think this is an excellent idea, and told her I would work on more of the sorting at a later time. She reminded me that there is no hurry.

I'm not sure if I mentioned yesterday, but the reason we did the sorting this weekend, is that it is Michael's birthday tomorrow. This gave his mother and I the opportunity to spend time together. It helped me feel like part of Michael was here, because his mother was here. I had bought a birthday sheet cake from the local grocery store, complete with his name written in icing. Yesterday, after dinner, the kids, his mother, and I sang happy birthday to Michael. I know it was two days early, but Michael's birthday celebrations always lasted a few days. Every year he and I would go away for the weekend to celebrate. Then on his actual birthday we would have dinner and cake with his, and our, family.

After Michael's mother left this afternoon I began missing him terribly. I can feel the gloom coming on. I went down to our bedroom to retrieve one of his sweaters, as it is a cold rainy day out. I settled into the large arm chair in the living room, to watch a bit of t.v. with the kids. I quickly became very tired, and was falling asleep. My daughter finally intervened, asking if this might be a good time for a nap. Back down to our bedroom, I lit a few candles, and covered myself with Michael's prayer quilt. Last year I was active in an online caregivers group. One of the women in the group previously lost her mother to the same type of brain tumor. She wrote me a letter asking if her church could make Michael a prayer quilt. The quilt is designed with fabric depicting ocean and beach scenes, as Michael loved the ocean. I climbed into bed, and covered myself with the quilt. Holding the quilt batting together are these many ties. Each of the ties have been knotted many times by the women who made the quilt, by myself, and others who visited with Michael last year. We said prayers for him every time we tied a knot. As you might guess, the quilt has a lot of sentimental value for me.

A short bit ago I woke up from my nap. In the course of my sleeping, the sun has gone down. As I opened my eyes the room was lit solely by the soft glow of the candles. It felt both soothing and romantic. Almost immediately, I began to feel a craving, a craving for Michael. Before the nap I was thinking about the place I currently find myself with my grief. I realized that I am becoming more comfortable with the fact that Michael is not here. It is sinking further into my psyche that he is permanently gone.

While I have only been a widower for four months, I now know the signs and symptoms of sorrow. My craving tells me that I will be in much emotional pain tonight. I already feel it coming on, and I am trying with all my might to keep it at bay.

My daughter came down to my room to check on me. She says a friend dropped off some food, as they had a part yesterday, and there was a lot of food left over. My daughter asked if she could fix me a plate, and if I was feeling okay. I said I would come up later to eat. I'm feeling a bit queasy while looking at this computer screen. I know this symptom too well. It is usually the first warning of a migraine. I need to go take something to stop the migraine from fully developing.

Knowing what's ahead for me tonight, I wonder if I am ready, or do I have the strength to endure it. I know that I do, and that I have no other choice. They waves of grief are beginning to break through as I write. Tears are beginning to well up, and my breathing is becoming shorter. I can feel myself chocking back my emotions, trying in desperation to not let them rise beyond my throat. It is far too early in the evening to begin this process. I have learned in these past four months that once the water works begin, they will carry on for quite some time. Better to fight it off for a couple of hours so that I don't become all consumed by it so early in the evening. I know that if I do the kids will become very worried, and their laughter will quickly turn to sorrow as well.

This process is horrible. I know that it serves it's purpose, and that I must mourn. I have to embrace it at times, otherwise I will get stuck. Better to let the tears come tonight, then to get lost in them tomorrow.

There is only one thing that will stop all of this. One thing that makes me feel safe in the world. One thing that fills me with so much joy, that all the rest pales in comparison. And so I crave. I crave for Michael. I know he is gone. He cannot be here to hold me. I can't hear his voice. I can't smell his scent.

I am being pulled under. This current has me, not I it. I give in to it. I concede to it's power. I give up my strength, better to stop fighting.

I relax.

It is here.

1 comment:

  1. Even in the midst of such excruciating pain there is good: the time with your mother-in-law; the idea of donating Michael's clothing to the hospice; celebrating Michael's birthday with the cake and your family; the comforting prayer quilt; the friend dropping off the extra food and your daughter checking up on you. I felt your pain but I also felt the love coming out of all the good.