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.
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….