Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Knocked back down to my knees.
I was checking out Facebook earlier, as I like to see who is celebrating their birthday. Today was the birthday of one of Michael's best friends, so I went to her page. While there I decided to check out her photos, and didn't prepare myself for what I might see. It was the photos since Michael's death that hit me, and hit me hard.
I got through our two year wedding anniversary really well last week. I had the loving support of my kids, and of Abel. I had a quiet evening, but a peaceful one. Today, looking at photos of Michael's friends spending time together during the past couple of years was very hard to look at. I suppose it was just a harsh reminder of how much time has passed since he's been gone. I think I incorporate my daily life, my life without him, and it all is beginning to feel more comfortable. Yet, I don't often think about how much his presence is missing in the rest of the world.
Immediately after looking at the photos, and making a casual comment to my daughter about them, I realized that the dark bile of grief was working it's way up my throat. I went into my bedroom, and was knocked to my knees. I haven't felt this level of pain in such a long time. It was cutting me from every side of my being. From within, and from without. I couldn't find comfort laying on my bed, so I did as I usually do. I lit the candles that sit along side his urn, got out my meditation pillow, and sat there before the glowing warmth of the candle light. For comfort I reached out for the pocket watch he gave me five months before his death. It was supposed to remind me of the beating of his heart, yet in the two years that have passed, the battery had died. I sat there on the floor, with a dead pocket watch, crying over my dead husband.
I must have released a shitload of stored up grief, because it went on and on. As I sat there I felt the need to connect to him physically once again. I didn't want something that used to belong to him, I wanted him. I know this may be morbid to some, yet I know what I need from time to time. I went to his urn, opened the lid, and reached in.
My fingers grazed across the jagged mixture of bone and dust. I opened a small bag that I keep separate from the rest. I let my fingers dig deep, and to feel his ashes in between my fingers. I ran this dust, his ashes, across my hand, and then laid back down on the floor. I laid there, physically connected, spiritually reaching out, and waited for a sense of healing. I wanted so badly to have him reach back out to me. I waited, then waited some more.
I soon began thinking of Abel. I thought about the many times I have found myself lying in his arms. I took that feeling, and mixed it up with Michael's embrace. I laid there on the floor for a very long time, and realized that I was likely missing Abel's nightly call during his break at work. I reminded myself that someone cares about me. Someone cares about me out there in that place I have no real knowledge of. Someone cares about me here in my current world as well.
I feel such comfort knowing that I have Michael so close to me. All I have to do is reach out for him and he is there. I also feel such comfort knowing that I have someone, Abel, who is willing to listen to my stories of Michael whenever I need to speak.
Just a minute ago Abel did call. I took a break from writing, and he could hear something in my voice. He asked, I shared, and he reassured me that if he were here there would be a great big hug for me. I'm feeling so much better now. I am feeling like I am back on my feet, and okay with continuing on my journey.
Funny how there is no conflict between my two loves. They coexist, and I am at peace.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Well, yesterday was a step into the next phase of my relationship with Abel, and the beginning of my family getting used to seeing me with another man.
It was the occasion of my niece and her husband baptizing their newborn baby boy. I drove up with two of my kids, and a new person at my side. It was not a surprise to them, as I had broken the news of this new relationship with them one week ago. Each of them were surprised to learn that I had been dating, and that I had chosen not to share the news with them for well over a month.
I let my family know that I needed some time to feel secure in being part of a new twosome before having to deal with the looks of confused emotion on their part. My family loved Michael, and they, like me, continue to grieve his absence from their lives.
Abel himself was a nervous wreck. I suppose it's always a big occasion when the new love gets introduced to the extended family members, and he wasn't quite sure how he would be received. He knew that my family had grown used to seeing me either as Michael's husband, or later, as Michael's widower. For the past two years they grew used to seeing me in a continued somber state of mind and emotion.
Once at the house, most of Abel's concerns began to melt away. My brothers and parents were very gracious in introducing themselves to him, and each spent some time getting to know him and wanting him to feel comfortable in their presence. At one point Abel leaned over to me and pointed out that my mother kept glancing our way. I reminded him that this is the first time that she has seen me with another man. It has to be both pleasing and bittersweet. Around this time my mother told me that my decision to move to San Diego has been the best choice I made for myself. She reminded me that I now have "a lovely home, a good job," and looking at Abel, then back at me, she said, "and now you have this."
On the long drive back to San Diego from our day in Thousand Oaks, I received a text from my older brother telling me that his day was great. Among those events that made his day was seeing me happy again. After reading the text to everyone in the car, my kids both chimed in, saying "Abel, we are so happy that you and my dad are dating."
Oh, to be happy once again.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I had a wonderful love.
I had the opportunity to love Michael for the rest of his life.
It didn't really matter how long we loved.
It mattered more that we loved.
I learned much about myself by loving Michael.
I learned much about love by being loved by Michael.
I am now able to trust love.
I am now able to love again.
Michael, I love to love you baby.
Monday, October 17, 2011
So High. So Low.
My week has been different than what I'm normally familiar with. I'm experiencing such high moments. Moments of feeling the excitement of new love. I look forward to his calls. I smile from ear to ear whenever we are together. I feel so excited with each plan we make.
I also come home each late afternoon, and as I close the door to my bedroom the tears fall down my face. I wrap my arms around myself, and hold on tight. I lay on my bed, and feel such sorrow.
One wanted me to be happy. Another is making me happy.
One gave me all of his love. Another looks forward to sharing more days together, with hopes of a love that can signal a future together.
For two years I slept with his pillows taking up the space he used to occupy. I held onto these soft objects that no longer carry his scent. For two years my arms and legs clung to a form that served to remind me that yes, he was here, but now he is gone.
This weekend someone new occupied his space. My arms were wrapped around this new person. The space he takes up is different. He is not the same person. His form feels different.
There is comfort. There is affection. There is warmth.
Tonight the pillows will be back. Tonight I will grieve the one that is gone. Tonight I will miss the new one that is absent. Tonight I have a longing that is less clear. Tonight there are two that occupy my mind. Tonight there are two that fill my heart.
Wednesday is, was, our wedding anniversary. It's a very odd day. Yes, it is the day we wed. Yes, it is the anniversary of a wonderful love filled day. Yet, it is also an occasion we never celebrated together. Michael died one month shy of our first wedding anniversary. The wedding came later in the relationship. It was a day we never expected would be possible. We seized the opportunity to stand before our loved ones and pledge our love to each other. With all that happened in the year after we wed, few ever remember the day. His death eclipsed any type of celebrated remembrance.
Perhaps this year I will simply celebrate love. I will celebrate that I stood before a man, and pledged my love. I will celebrate that I made a vow, a promise, that I kept. I will celebrate that while I have yet to say those words to someone new, those words have been on my mind. I will celebrate that one day soon, those words will be spoken again. I will celebrate that my heart is filled with love.
I will celebrate that there is room enough for the love of both of them.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Okay, so I was surfing the net, and decided to drop by Facebook and see what was up with some of my friends. I'm one of the many that has not been too happy with the changes that Facebook made, so rather than rely on what Facebook decides to show me in their "Top Stories" I click in and out of every one's pages. It kind of serves to make me feel like I am visiting a friend, although no one usually knows I've been there unless I take the time to leave a comment.This is a long-winded way to get to the point of today's writing.
I was checking out a particular friend's page, and noticed that her relationship status had changed. Yes, you know who you are! Well, it's not that I didn't know she was in a new relationship, as we both started our new relationships around the same time. And no, our relationship is not with each other. My point is this, her Facebook status reflects her current relationship status, and mine still says Widowed. It had me thinking, why haven't I changed mine? Now I know that I don't have to do everything she does, after all we are two very different people. Well, we aren't that different, but different none the less.
So, what's up with me?
I wonder if I'm having a difficult time letting go of my widowed status. Actually, there is no reason to wonder, as I know that I'm having a difficult time letting go of my widowed status. Besides, it's not just reflected in my Facebook status, it's everywhere else in my daily life. After all, the only people that know of my new status are you, my online community, my friends from work, and a few friends who happened to have notice a new face pop up in my uploaded photos.
This morning I woke up thinking about all of this. I realized that I have been in this relationship for about a month now, and it was time to begin letting more people know. I also realized that the first person I needed to share this with was my mother-n-law. I know she didn't expect me to remain single forever, yet I also know that it might be another transition in her own grief to know that someone is now occupying some space that Michael once had sole custody of. Because I was at work, I decided to write her a message, as I would then be able to best articulate my thoughts, and give her the opportunity to re-read them if needed. I expect that now that I have completed this initial task, I will begin sharing my new found status with my parents and siblings soon.
Here's the thing, I will always love Michael. Michael will always be my husband. That will never change. It's just that I need time to sort out my frame of reference regarding these two men. For one, it's still early on in my relationship with Abel, yet I already know that what is developing is something significant. When speaking of Michael, I always say "my husband." Rarely do I refer to him as my late husband. So maybe I'm looking for a term that speaks of a widower who is in a relationship.
For some reason I keep thinking about the film Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
First off, I want to say that I have been given the green light by Abel to share stories about our developing relationship. I gave him a bit of a tour through my blog, and through other places where I write. I let him know why I write, and how I try to be honest, and straight forward about each development in my life journey. He said he completely gets it, and has no worries about his name coming up now and then.
Watch out Abel, you don't know what you just signed on for!
Anyway, one thing that is certainly new, well not completely new, is being sexually active again. I feel like I have been on a long walk through the desert, and have now landed in land of milk and honey. My dry spell is over, and I am truly enjoying an aspect of life, such as passion and romance, that I have gone without for quite some time.
This weekend gave Abel and I much time to be together, walking, enjoying nature, sharing meals, working on my yard, and yes, some fun time in the sack. But what was most significant about today, was not about something sexual, but something else that happened in my bed. Being held.
Let's just say this, I have always been considered quite the caretaker. I shoulder the burdens of my children, and I shouldered the difficult challenges that came along with Michael's illness. In my intimate relationships, this has also tended to make me the more dominant one. The one who does more of the holding, and less of being held. To be perfectly honest, this was something that became quite a problem for me after Michael got sick. Our relationship was turned on it's heel, and what used to be a two-sided intimate relationship, began to feel top heavy. I didn't often get to feel cared for, as I was doing most of the care taking.
Today, as we laid on my bed, I was holding Abel in my arms, and talking about some of the things I went through in my relationship with Michael, and with my loss. Abel was a really good listener, and thanked me for trusting him with my thoughts and feelings. After a slight pause, he sat up, and asked me to lay head, and body, across his. He then guided my head to lay exactly above his heart, and then wrapped his arms around me.
There we laid. Me being held. There we slept. Me being cared for.
To be honest, I initially felt quite uncomfortable. This is not my role.
I'm the dominant one. I'm the one who takes charge. I'm the one who does the holding. Then, as I began to listen to his breathing, and feel the steady beat of his heart, I relinquished the upper hand, and surrendered.
I felt such peace. I felt such gentle caring.
It felt like such a gift.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Funny how lying on a bed can bring about soul searching, or heart wrenching, conversations. My bed is no different. It has been host to many discussions in the past, and continues to host myself, and various people I love, as we explore our intimate thoughts and feelings.
Earlier, after coming home from work, and getting out of my work duds, I was lying alone on my bed, looking at Michael's urn, and feeling a variety of feelings. I wanted to smile, and I felt like crying. I'm in a good place right now, and yet my grieving continues. As I began to bury my face into the pillow, and allow myself to give up control, there was a knock at my door. It was my 13 year old son, who asked if he could lay on my bed with me. We lay there, in silence, with my arm across his body.
"Dad, can we talk?"
Yes, Remy, whatever you want to talk about.
He wanted to talk about my developing relationship with this new man in my life. He expressed, as well as a 13 year old boy can, how conflicted he feels about how quickly things appear to be moving for this person and me. He said that it is clear that I am happy, and he is happy for me, but what must Michael be feeling right now? Before I could answer, he said that he knows that Michael would be very happy for me, because Remy knows that Michael wanted me to be happy, and to love again. Yet, Remy wanted to know, "Don't you think Michael might be just a little bit mad?"
It's been two years, two very long years. And yet, it also feels like it just happened yesterday. In the two years that Michael lived with his death sentence he would speak of my next boyfriend, and what my life might be like. I would ask him not to talk like that, but he never would stop. He was very clear with me. He wouldn't be happy, if he knew that I wasn't happy. He wanted to die knowing that I would find love and happiness once more. He believed that I deserved that.
One day, long ago, my older son Dante was having a conversation with Michael. He told Michael that he worried that I wouldn't survive after Michael died. Michael told him, in his usual humorous way, that he certainly hoped that I would be heart-broken, and that I would miss him, but that he had no doubt that I would survive. After all, Michael was there with me when I went through many a trial in raising my kids.
Today, while lying there with Remy, I reminded him that we are all so capable of loving. I love him with all my heart. I love his brother and sister with all my heart. I love Michael with all my heart. And, I can love someone new with all my heart.
One love does not negate another.
Tonight, lying in my bed, I spoke with this new person in my life, his name is Abel, and we too spoke of Michael, of Remy, of Dante, and of Arianne. We spoke of my journey as a widower. We spoke of my heart-break and healing. We spoke of the time needed to grow into love, and we spoke of how we can carefully navigate all this while being mindful of younger minds and hearts.
This has become a part of my nightly ritual. The nine o'clock hour arrives, I pick up the phone, I call him, we talk, we listen, we laugh, and we smile.
I have the ashes of my husband to my right, and I have the voice of a new love interest to my left. Is this balance? Is this chaos? Is this right? Is this wrong? Will it last? Will it not? Will I be happy? Will I be sad?
There are no easy answers, but then, I'm not looking for easy answers. I'm looking, and planning on, more work ahead. I'm expecting struggle, and I'm expecting ease. My life is a journey that I often have little control of. At this point in my life, I no longer seek to control it. I choose to experience it, and to embrace as much of it as possible as it unveils itself to me.
I consider myself gifted by this new person in my life. I am experiencing hope once again. I'm feeling like I have much to offer, and I feel like someone is extending a gentle hand my way.
After an hour of intimate conversation, it was time to say goodnight. There was a longing there, which we both verbalized. It gave me a feeling of anticipation when I will have this person before me once again. I rolled over on my bed, and looked up into the brightly lit night. I thanked Michael for his love. I thanked Abel for his open heart. And, I smiled.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Well, it's happened. I'm off the market.
What? You didn't know I was on the market? Well, I suppose I haven't been too vocal lately. Yes, at some point last month I decided to re-post my profile online, and take my chance at...something different.
I wanted something different than the existence that I've known for the past couple of years. I decided that I needed to open up. I needed to take the risk at having my heart broken again. I decided that it was worth the risk to not spend too many more days and nights feeling so alone. I decided that it was time for a little romance. I decided that it was time to reignite passion in my life. I decided that it was time to take the next step.
It was time.
It happened. I met someone very special. We spent the first couple of weeks chatting online, then on the phone. Our interaction went surprisingly well. He sought me out, and I decided to embrace the opportunity to share some time with him, albeit on the computer or phone. Then a couple of weeks ago we actually met in person, and once again, it went extremely well. We then scheduled to spend an entire day together, and that was one of the best days I've had in the past two years. Then another date, daily early morning texts, afternoon emails, and late night telephone conversations.
He's very expressive. He's very considerate. He's sweet. He's tender.
Last night was a discussion about what each wanted in a future, or developing relationship. Tonight was a decision to take down our personal profiles, and to focus solely on each other.
What does this mean? I'm not completely sure. I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm happy.
All I know, is that for now, I'm off the market.