Tuesday, March 22, 2016

One Year Ago, Today

...the world changed.  A brilliant mind was silenced.  A spark went out.  Friends lost a voice of comfort and an ever-ready helping hand.  A dog lost her loving master.  Our children lost their Father.  I lost my best friend, lover, and husband of almost 18 years...

Much has happened in this space between then and now.  I have learned a great deal about myself and others.  There has been a year of heart-breaking firsts, concluding with today -- the last 1st:  the 1st anniversary of this terrible loss. 

I am still standing.  Some days, I am a bit wobbly...  Some days, in spite of all the good that remains, I am inexplicably sad.  Some days, I can feel that immeasurable void that lurks just below the surface rise up and threaten to pull me in again.  Yet, against the backdrop of  loss, change, and other upheaval(s), I remain.  I am so incredibly grateful for all of the love, friendship, comfort, and support that my family and I have received in the past year.

It seems only right and proper to acknowledge all that I am thankful to Kevin for giving me.  A lifetime of gratitude for gifts that were always given so freely (more often than not, accompanied by a bright smile and the twinkling of those baby blue eyes).  His departure was just shy of his 64th birthday and our 18th anniversary.  While I still miss him every day, I am ever-so-thankful for the life that we shared, and all that came with it. 

Here then, in no particular order, are 63 Gratitudes for My Love:
  1. The Love -- always the Love
  2. Sharing & encouraging an inquisitive nature
  3. Ready laugh
    *and the aforementioned smile & twinkle*
  4. Patience
  5. An affinity for acronyms
    *EGBAR, FIDO, MFSP, BFAD and many, many more*
  6. Your brilliant mind 
  7. The gifts of [y]our children
  8. The ease and comfort of true friendship
  9. An appreciation for good Bourbon
  10. Generosity
  11. Acceptance of my family
    *no small feat*
  12. Taking an interest in my interests
  13. Unwavering support
  14. Endless encouragement
  15. The Polish Electric Blanket 
  16. Our odd shorthand
    *comprised of song lyrics, movie lines, and snippets of books we loved*
  17. Our seamless tag-team cooking
  18. Wisdom
  19. Our home
  20. NOT calling Animal Control the day Wito adopted us
  21. Stolen moments
  22. Understanding
  23. Nearly always being the driver
  24. Loving me
    *in spite of the mushroom years*
  25. Tolerance
  26. Living with grace
  27. All the laughter
  28. The gift of "Little Friday"
  29. Good tools
  30. Loving and spoiling Wito
    *and the rest of our menagerie over the years*
  31. Forgiveness
  32. Positivity
    *like nothing I have seen before or since*
  33. Kindness
  34. Living in partnership
  35. Dreaming BIG
  36. Being my haven from Life's storms
  37. Adaptability
    *granted, one of the hardest lessons this Type A had to learn*
  38. Talking with and listening to me
  39. Manning the grill
    *which hasn't been lit since the day before you died*
  40. Teaching me to fly
  41. The gift of creative vision
  42. Security
  43. Time -- 20+ years (!)
  44. Passion
  45. Telling me you loved me (often)
  46. Being a Gentleman
  47. Embracing the bees
  48. Our shared love of reading
  49. Two decades of working together
  50. Accommodating my interests
  51. Speaking well/kindly of me to others (always)
  52. My perpetual "Bride-hood"
  53. A riding mower
    *and years of yard-work*
  54. The Look
  55. Being brave with food
    *in spite of the mushroom years (!)*
  56. Respect 
  57. Helping me find my voice
  58. Making me a better person
  59. The most awesome "Soundtrack of a Life" (ever)
  60.  Dancing with me
    *in public as easily (if not as often) as in the kitchen*
  61. It was quick
  62. You were home
  63. The Love -- ALL the Love

 Later days,

Sunday, February 14, 2016

One Month, One Week, and One Day = One Year

...since time stood still, my life *and the world as I know it* changed forever, and a new journey began.

Funny story:  Valentine's Day, for the past 20 years, has been a veritable 'movable feast' -- I never knew if it was to be a soppy, gooey, flower- bedecked, love-fest OR a "this is nothing but a capitalistic, corporate manipulation" (a.k.a. BULLSH!T holiday).  Aside from keeping me on my toes, it added a certain flair to our already unconventional existence.  It was magical in its own way -- this 'not really knowing'...

Over the course of our 2 decades together, I received *in no particular order* for Valentine's Day:  kitchen ware (8 Qt. Revere Ware Stockpot + Anchor Hocking measuring cups + Revere Ware kettle); jewelry (matching "fancy-wear" Marcasite/Sterling bracelet & necklace); books, music, more than a wee bit of chocolate decadence, and/or Dinner at Home -- nothing to sneeze at, given that The Man was indeed a Grill Master, and dinner at home usually spoiled me for ordering anything out that I knew was better when we did it together (i.e. Steak, Lobster, Grilled Shrimp, Baked Potatoes *bacon-wrapped!*, BLTs, Chili, Pot Roast/Beef Stew, Fried Egg Sandwiches). 

Occasionally, there were flowers.  Sometimes, we ran away.  Virtually every year there was, at least, a card (unless it was a complete bucking of "the system" -- a.k.a. BULLSH!T holiday -- year).  At the risk of sounding completely shallow, I will admit that the 1st five or six years of this unconventionality was not always received with the most grace in the 'off years.'  However, like so many other aspects of our lives together, it became yet another of "our things."  I didn't really NEED an external reminder, a dedicated holiday, or any particular reason to express (or receive the expression of) our love, because it just WAS.

These days, I live in a state of constant wonderment at the Love that just WAS.  The transformational power of having known such a Love as this continues to sustain me.  I feel as though I walk this earth under a banner that proclaims "I have been LOVED -- Greatly."  It is this knowing, this acknowledgement of something so much greater than the bits & pieces that comprised its whole, that allows me to rise each day and face the world with the absolute surety that LOVE CONQUERS ALL -- it possesses, in a way that no other force bears, the ability to change, empower, revive, uplift, and refashion all that ails us!  To quote the inimitable Patti Digh, "When in doubt, love."

So...  As I brace myself for the 1 year anniversary of my most monumental loss, I pause on this day of hearts and flowers, chocolates and declarations, to remember My True Love -- my North Star -- my complete, trans-formative, all-encompassing LOVE.  While I pause, I hold each of those dear to me nearer to my heart -- hopeful that some form of love such as that with which I have been blessed makes its way into their hearts, lives, dreams, and daily realities.

I am so, SO very fortunate.  Yes, I continue to carry this "blank spot" -- this space which can never be filled with anything or anyone else -- AND, I am also rich beyond measure because of all those who have circled their wagons around me to protect, nurture, and support this wounded heart of mine in the absence of The One who loved me into existence.

Onward & upward,
*with Love & Happiness to all*

 Words of Wisdom for Today: