Sunday, August 1, 2010


Originally uploaded by
Zita B.

Finally, what is known as a typical sunny summer day in San Diego, arrived this day.

My morning started out with me not feeling very well. I woke up at my usual 6 am, but was finding it difficult to move. I had a massive headache, and my body felt completely worn out. This after I had what I thought was a nice restful sleep. I got up, took something for my headache, then returned to bed. When I awoke again it was 9 am.

As I lay there in bed the best way I could describe how I was feeling was that of having a hangover. I wondered if this might be from the rather quick reduction in my prescribed medication. I knew it wasn't an actual hangover, as the last time I had a sip of alcohol was one month ago. I don't usually drink alcohol, so maybe this was a very delayed reaction. Not likely.

Of course the first thing that came to mind was the many mornings of waking up next to someone complaining of these very same symptoms. In the summer of 2007 Michael began having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I would hear his alarm go off, the see that he was not getting out of bed. I would nudge him, and remind him that he would be late for work if he waited much longer. He began complaining that he had headaches in the morning, and felt like he was hungover. I would joke about him getting up at night and partying while I slept, but in time we learned that these were the symptoms that often lead to a diagnosis of a brain tumor. So laying in bed this morning, feeling this way, and remembering these things, was a bit sobering.

Eventually I did get up, took a shower, and headed off to my Sunday morning yoga class. While driving to the class I worried how I would get through the class, as I was feeling even worse. As I arrived at the building, I told myself to just do the best I could, and maybe it would help me feel better. It did just that. I had a very good class, and felt great by the time I finished an hour and a half later. When I arrived back at home it was lunch time, and the boys were both in their rooms playing with their Playstations as usual. I let them know it was time to turn those darn things off, and to clean up their rooms. Afterward I asked what they would like to do. In typical form they looked at me with blank expressions, and then asked what were their options. Since it was the first truly sunny day since the weekend we first arrived, I suggested we go to lunch, then head off to one of the nearby beaches. They both thought that was a great idea.

I told the boys we should try visiting a different beach each outing, so that we become familiar with everything our new city had to offer. Today we were headed toward Mission Beach, but quickly saw that most of the city's inhabitants were also headed in that direction. I quickly changed lanes, and headed toward Ocean Beach. When we arrived at the beach my 16 year old grabbed his football, and headed off on his own to find a game to join in. My 12 year old and myself grabbed our boogie boards, and began searching for the best waves. We had a great time in the water. We swam, gliding along with the waves, and toppled over a couple of times. I couldn't help but feel sad that Michael wasn't here to enjoy this. Michael's favorite thing in the world was to swim at the beach. He and Remy had spent many a sunny day in the water together. Now it was my place to there with my son.

These are the kind of days that are truly bittersweet. I feel like that's a word that is often on my mind. I am transitioning. I am experiencing life, alongside memories, which feel very interconnected. I no longer feel like this life is being lived solely on my own. I carry Michael's sadness and worries with me often. I carry his joys and triumphs as well. When I am involved in new experiences I am constantly thinking how much Michael would have have enjoyed being part of this. I sometimes wish I could share this with others, like the men in the yoga class today. I wish they knew that I had a husband, and if he had not been taken, he would have been there right beside me. I wish that when I came up from under the cool wet waves, and would wipe the sea water from my eyes, that I would see his beautiful smile.

While in yoga class today our instructor told us not to focus on what others were doing around us. He asked us to focus on being present to ourselves. Be aware of our body. Be aware of our breathing.

As I floated there in the ocean I could see people all around me, but they were not a distraction. What I was feeling was my own place in the ocean. What I was experiencing was my own movement, in sync with that of the waves.

What I am aware of is movement. My movement. I don't know if I move forward only for me. I don't know if I breathe now only for myself. What I do know is that I move, and that I breathe.


  1. Wonderful piece of writing, Dan. During my travels, I've experienced many of those bittersweet moments when I think of how much Don would have loved to be in a certain place, or be walking with the dogs and me on a trail. Being here in Nova Scotia occasionally brings that feeling. I took the couchsurfer from France to a long white sand beach a couple of days ago. Watching him running along the beach with my young dog, I thought of how it should have been Don running there instead. In fact, as they disappeared into the fog, and then reappeared through the fog a minute later, I could almost imagine that it was Don running with Sage. Those kinds of moments still hurt a little - like a knife twisting - but they are getting to be less painful and more infrequent of late. So, yes, we just move forward - move, breathe.

    Oh, btw, that pain thing in the morning. I get that a lot! I get up and wonder if I've suddenly started to get old. What the heck causes that? I sometimes think it is just all of the work here. In any case, once I'm up and moving - if I can just keep pushing myself along, in an hour or two, I feel fine.

  2. Wonderful post, Dan. I especially was touched by the lines: "I am experiencing life, alongside memories, which feel very interconnected. I no longer feel like this life is being lived solely on my own.". So poignant and so true for me and probably most other widow/ers. Your writing brings so many thoughts and emotions to the surface. Thank you and see you soon!

    I hope you feel better tomorrow morning.