R is for Reality Settles: #atozchallenge, Day 18

Left To Life

After the hospice nurse declared time of death

After the sorrow-laden hearse left

Left us numb and rudderless

Left us behind to continue life alone

Alone we three – wife daughter and son

Alone together to find some meaning to loss

Loss of the dreams we had for the future

Loss of the now that had been our reality

Reality can’t be avoided indefinitely

Reality settles like snowdrifts piling

Piling up moments hours days weeks

Piling up months and new memories

Memories sustain in bittersweet fashion

Memories are the vehicle that carry us forward

Forward into days he doesn’t share

Forward on into the rest of our living

Living without a road map to guide us

Living and growing as we learn

Learn how to sleep in this big bed alone

Learn how to fix faucets and get heater running

Running in place sometimes stalling

Running out of patience or energy or time

Time rolls on and on without ceasing

Time heals slowly and not all at once

Once we were four and our foundations solid

Once we never saw this future ahead

Ahead stretches a future without him beside me

Ahead lies the future unknown and untested

Untested waters awaiting exploration

Untested skills we may need to gain

Gain confidence each time we accomplish

Gain a sense of normalcy amid great change

Change is inevitable and carries us further

Change takes us away and rebuilds our foundation

Foundation a little shaky but we’ll shore it up

Foundation of a new life on the footprint of the past

Past the days when I was a woman long married

Past the shock of brand-new widowhood

Widowhood will reshape me into someone new

Widowhood means sorrow which nurtures my growth

Growth can be a new canine companion

Growth as I contemplate a life with new freedoms

Freedoms I didn’t expect or ask for

Freedoms that stretch me and my horizons

Horizons narrower and wider at once

Horizons that hold the reality of my life

Life awaits me and gives me many choices

Life is a reality I choose to embrace



Reality is settling… it’s been a little over 3 months since Jim died, and that’s an unavoidable reality. We weren’t just spouses by habit. We were best friends. At the time he got sick, we were launching a small business together, and spending a considerable amount of time on it.

In the last weeks of his life, he required a great deal – eventually, almost constant – care. While discussing that with the hospice nurse, I likened it to having a newborn in reverse….he became increasingly helpless rather than outgrowing it, but the unpredictability of our lives through those weeks was much the same.

Now, there’s an element of rhythm to our lives. I can make plans again, and most of my time is my own again. If I had younger kids, they might need more day-to-day care and contact, but I have teens, and they are independent in many ways.

It took me a while to realize that I need to be caring for someone in a hands-on way, and that I missed having another presence in my bed. I’m nowhere near ready to consider inviting another man into my life in that way, though.

Enter Magnolia, a two-year-old (ish) pit bull I found at a local shelter. Pit bulls can have a hard time finding homes, because they have a reputation they largely don’t deserve, based more on human behavior than their own natural tendencies.

So adopting a pit bull was good for me, for her, for the shelter, which can now offer a place to another dog, and for the breed, because we’ be socializing Noli, as we call her, and taking her out and about to meet others and share her sweetness.

Today’s lessons, though:

  • Cats are not toys.
  • “Leave it” means “stop, now.”
  • Not stopping results in being told you are a “bad dog” and firmly removed from the field of skirmish.

That’s enough to learn when you’re brand-new in a home.

Which is another kind of reality.

Join us in the late-night hours, when we’ll finally catch up to Saturday’s post, and explore how sweetness softens bitterness.

Read other riveting R posts!

Okay, so maybe Queen doesn’t have much to do with this post…but the intro to Bohemian Rhapsody was in my head while I wrote this, so….


    • She’s a sweetie. She’s settled into life here very quickly, and she’s just the companion I hoped for.. She even snores like Jim did!

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