Saturday, February 13, 2010

Outwardly Love

Well, let's recap the week, or at least the last few days. We went from me not running away from problems, carefully examining the after effects of grief on my body, to my lack of sex, with Michael, or anybody else for that matter.

Where do we go from here? I suppose there are only two directions to choose from, further outward, or further within. Most of my posts deal with my inner stirring and emotions. So to keep things interesting I suppose we should stay outside my mind for just a bit more. But where to turn? Hmmn.

I have carefully navigated myself away from discussing this weekends holiday pressures. No, I'm not talking about the emotionally loaded Presidents Weekend. 'Ol Abe and George will do fine without my assistance, and they offer me nothing of interest today. Although I remember as a kid, me and my two cousin, making Abe Lincoln and George Washington cards, and going door to door to sell them. There were not a great success then, and I don't expect to be flooded with requests to write about the effects of the prior presidents on my state of grieving today.

So, I suppose the holiday I should be addressing today, or real soon, is that of St. Valentine. The history of this saint, and the origins of this holiday, are both quite vague. So rather than do my usual 'wikipedia moment' I am going to gloss right over this and move on the the lay person's experience of the holiday. I give you a valentine, you give me a valentine, we both have good feelings. Yeah, right.

First off, I did my important sending of flowers to my parents, and to Michael's mother. My duties as a loving, and appreciative son, are completed. -check

Next, I needed to come up with something, perhaps some candy, to give to each of my kids on Valentine's day. This is something I have always done with them. I know that the holiday is supposed to be about romantic love, but since they have the tradition of exchanging cards at school, I have always had a small 'love gift' for each of my kids on the holiday. I stopped by a store on my way home yesterday. -check

While at the store I bought myself, and Michael, a small bouquet of white tulips. I put them in our bedroom, next to the electronic frame with an assortment of our pictures. -check

I have my brother, his wife, and twin 6 year olds, visiting us from southern California. So far we are having a fun, enjoyable weekend. This will definitely help me get through the holiday with little melt down. A pleasant distraction. -check

I know where to find the valentines I previously received from Michael so that I can re-read his sentiments on Sunday morning. -check

I thank God for the gift that Michael was to me. I thank God for every wonderful moment that I was blessed with to have Michael. I thank God for bringing Michael into my life, and for entrusting me with the task of preparing him to leave this world. -check

I thank Michael for giving me his heart. I thank Michael for his love. -check

Where does that leave me. I have done all my preparations for the holiday, and I expect it go by without a hitch. If it were so simple, right? For those of us who are grieving, the little things in life, those small occasions that would otherwise be a fleeting thought, become much more significant. Every day has the potential to spark some kind of memory of day's gone by with our deceased spouses. Valentines Day will be a loaded one for most of us. And, like many of my peers, this will be my first Valentine's Day without Michael. It is Saturday afternoon, and I am already feeling the emotions creep up on me.

I have just become aware that I have moved my thoughts deep within myself, oh well, so much for looking outward. I want this day to go by, but I also want to spend some time of it alone with my thoughts of Michael. I need to come up with some ritual action that will feel significant to me. I remember last year's Valentine's Day very clearly. While we were celebrating this day of romance, I was very aware of a friend who had recently lost her husband. I tried to imagine how she must have been feeling. I didn't want others to be celebrating without being aware of her loss, or the loss of other caregivers I had come to know through my online support group. I remember sending out an email reminding others to keep the widows in mind during this potentially emotional holiday. I suppose I was also quite aware that this year I could likely have joined their ranks.

Well, here I am. Michael has been gone now for exactly 5 months. It was on this day, in September, at 6:05 am that my heart was eternally broken. I held his face in my hands, and had my mouth pressed against his. I could tell by his breathing that he was about to take his final breathe. I firmly kissed his mouth, and as he exhaled his last breathe, I took it all in. I like to think that his spirit passed through me on it's way out. I also like to think that sediments of his spirit remain embedded within my lungs. I now breathe for two. I now speak for both of us. I carry on with my life, with Michael always being near, and within me.

After Michael died I walked upstairs to my kitchen, for what reason I do not know. But it is there that I let go of my control. I began screaming out loud. My children came running in to hold me and share in my grief. We all huddled there together, crying out loud. When enough time had passed I went back downstairs, showered, then asked to be alone with Michael. I washed his body, and carefully dressed him. It was my responsibility to finish the care needed. I remember being very calm during these actions. I was quiet, but talking to him in my mind. He looked so peaceful. I loved him so much, and continue to.

Looking back on that day five months ago, I feel so honored to have been part of Michael's life. I loved him with all of my heart. I loved him with all of my body. And I hope to one day be reunited with him in soul.


  1. for widowers and widows, Valentine's Day will be one of those days where we simply hold our spouses in our hearts. it is a day for lovers. i had logged on to write my post for my Dragon for tomorrow as i am not going to be in any shape to formulate thoughts.

    your very moving tribute here to your Michael is beautiful. i hope the writing of it brought you a sigh of peace. love is the strongest thing in the universe. stronger than water which always finds its way. your love for your Michael will continue to evolve in your heart and i believe, as sure as the sun will rise in the morning, that you will "be reunited with him in soul."

  2. oh, dan. took me 2 attempts to read this one. so overwhelming. i love how u write.

  3. What really touched me about this post is how it centers and focuses on all that you have, even in the face of loss. I tend to spend way too much of my energy cursing all that I don't have. And I think that it becomes detrimental.

    Your focus on the love you will always carry in your heart, the Valentine's from Michael you will reread and cherish, being grateful for everything Michael enriched your life with is a refreshing change from my gloom and doom attitude. Thank you for presenting it and making me consider a different mindset about my losses. They are losses but I need to be more conscious of all I gained.

    Sharing the memory of your trying to sell President's Day cards is priceless. I sold seeds door-to-door as a third grader! But your homemade cards sure beat that. Too funny!