Surviving Grief in Gratitude

I was clueless when I first started to write how my story would unfold and eventually help others.  It truly amazes me that I receive messages of gratitude from so many people for putting my feelings out there.

This morning I read what I wrote at the very beginning and I had to stop reading and put the papers away.  It is still that raw.  It makes my heart hurt. I was in shock.  On the day we admitted him to hospice I was unable to wrap my head around the fact that Larry would never walk out of the hospital and into our home ever again.

Then I found this memory from Facebook that Larry had written on March 2, 2011:

I am sitting out on the lanai digesting a wonderful dinner with Carole.  3 dogs, 3 birds, great music, good wine, and good conversation about our future – thank goodness we have one – and thank goodness for being head over heels in love and being loved head over heels back. – Lawrence F. Sanek

And I cry.

This morning when I wrote my morning thoughts on Facebook as I do every day, I wrote about finding blessings in our lives.  Many times, are hearts are closed to the blessings staring us in the face.

One of the biggest blessings I have in my world, in my current wilderness is that my heart is not closed, and I have had amazing people walk with me.  Some of these people I did not even know a year ago yet here they are and they carry blessings with them.

I am certain people wonder about me.  They call me brave; they call me strong; they call me resilient, and they call me a friend.  I am a friend; I agree with that assessment.  Brave?  I am not always brave but I am determined.  Strong?  I cave and when I do my strength is replaced by tears that I have cried for hours.  Resilient?  Yes, I am, I bounce back, I fight back, I get it done.

You see I have always been this way, and it has helped me walk my new path.  I have always bounced back, I have always looked for the good, I have always seen the glass as half full and when it is not, I refill it.

We all have faced grief in our lives.  We have all had many things to grieve in our lives.  We cannot avoid grief.  Truth happens, and I have written about this before, the truth is that the grief we have from a loved one dying will impact every one of us.  I just choose to pull the love, the positive, the beauty, the laughter, the joy and every other wonderful thing out of 20+ years out of my memory bank and I allow all of this to wrap around me and hold my heart gently.

Yesterday I read an article about how the sudden death of a partner in life can throw us into PTSD.  I was diagnosed with this and with great therapy and ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy) I have exited out the other side and walked into more sunshine in my wilderness.  In fact, the craggy sharp rocks that have bruised my heart have been replaced by sunny fields and I always see Larry there ahead of me letting me know how well I am truly doing.  I banish the rocks.

I thrive.  I refuse to only survive.  THIS is what Larry would want for me.

Surviving the Memories of the Best Vacation Ever

It was a hot August day when Larry came out into our Great Room to talk to me about his idea to take me on a trip that would give me the feeling of being in a Hallmark Channel movie.

Larry had never, in 20+ years of being together, planned a trip.  I was the planner, the organizer, the purchaser of the tickets and more.  When he shared his idea with me, I was truly touched because he had found the place on his own.  He even chose the hotel.  The rest was pretty much up to me to research; however, I didn’t mind.  I dug right in and planned every day as perfectly as I could.

I did discuss things with him, come on, I am not that controlling, and I left some days open for winery visits because we were going to the North Georgia mountains where Larry was sure that visiting Helen, Georgia would give me that romantic Hallmark Channel movie feeling.

It didn’t.

It was a huge tourist trap.  Thankfully it was the only day out of an entire week that was like that and I captured the feeling he wanted me to have when we went to other small towns.  Helen, Georgia is gift shop after gift shop, and restaurants that were not that good, and if you disagree with me that’s fine.  Disagree away, but we looked at each other and laughed about it all as we sat down with an alcoholic beverage outside Betty’s Country Store in rocking chairs. That store was cool, and that is where we bought B.E.A.R. jam and that jar will never be opened, it sits in my pantry, a souvenir of the town that we were not too excited about but that didn’t really matter because we were together.

I have been back to the North Georgia mountains twice since that trip.  I am blessed to have a friend with a cabin there and she always welcomes the company.

The first time I went back I also took some of Larry with me.  He loved the mountains.  He was so proud of himself for taking me there and finding it on his own.  I left some of Larry’s ashes in the wineries we visited, and I left some in the beautiful woods that we looked at while we were there.

I just returned again and this time I was in downtown Blue Ridge on my own, and I admit it was tough on my heart.  I could see Larry at the train station where they still have a working train.  I could see him sitting on a chair outside the ice cream store.  I could see him in the Blue Ridge Olive Oil Store where he tasted so many olive oils and vinegars and whipped out his credit card because he knew I would like to cook with these treasures.

I saw him in my favorite store there. He was picking things up, setting them down and then buying me a gift to remember the trip.

I met some fascinating women (and all of them tried to convince me to move there).  That’s not a possibility, I can’t handle cold weather any longer.  When my feet get cold, I am miserable, however I do plan to go back for a lengthy visit in warmer weather.  I can work there.  I can certainly write there.  And I want to interview someone who lives there who is also grieving for another book idea I have.

Truth be told, it was the best trip we ever took together.  We were in Paris twice, we had 10 days in Hawaii, we traveled all over the US, and all over the Caribbean, and we were in Mexico several times too.  These trips pale in comparison to our last trip, my Hallmark Channel love story trip, and that is why I go back.  I feel us there, I see Larry there, I see his beautiful smile, I feel my hand in his hand.

We went up to the top of Brasstown Bald and we made a video of ourselves being silly.  I have his voice on my phone and ye, it makes me cry.  This is part of what he said: “yes I am known as the Bear and yes the Bear is running loose on the mountain.”

Goodness I miss that man so much.

He loved the mountains so much, it surprised me because he was a water baby all his life.

Surviving Just Another New Year’s Eve

Surviving Just Another New Year’s Eve – Barry Manilow sang about it, another year of auld lang syne…

I am not being maudlin (isn’t that a cool word?) because actually the definition says that often tearful sadness is accompanied by booze.

I am drinking coffee.

It is just another night for me.  It was usually just another night for us.  We stayed up now and then but not that often.  I did find pictures from several different years that we went out and partied with friends, but most of the time we were sleeping when the ball drops.

I do have plans to drink a Chocolate Martini for dessert tonight with whipped cream – yes, I will do something decadent this evening and even allow Willie to have some whipped cream too.  Oh, the excitement is contagious, right?

To be completely honest I am relieved to rid my life of 2019.  I am truly looking forward to 2020 because I like even numbered years.  I was born in one.  I met Larry in one, we married in another.  We sold our house in Indiana in one and moved to Florida.

Bring on 2020.

To celebrate starting new I cleaned out my pantry and my kitchen cabinets of anything outdated, anything I will never use again, and I made room for new things that will come into my life as I expand my cooking horizons.  I get the itch now and then, and I know I will return to making new recipes.  I have saved quite a few and it is time to review them to see if they still ring my chimes in stimulate my appetite.

I admit I had cocoa from 2010.

Yesterday I spent time on a video call with friends who have started recording shows for a new podcast they will launch in 2020.  We have been communicating back and forth and several great books had been recommended to me that I have devoured, digested and am ready to spit out into my life, my purpose.

I spent the better part of the afternoon yesterday honing into the work I really want to do in 2020.  Long story short, I made a list of all the projects I wanted to do and with the help of one of the best books I have ever read on the topic of getting your ideas from start to finish I was able to take 20 projects down to 5 and the 15 that left the list are not coming back.  I said goodbye to them.  I am not sad about it, I am relieved.

One such project was finding more clients.  If they come on their own that is awesome but I am not actively going to look for them.  Another one I let go of was the thought of having a new podcast.  I don’t want one.  I realized that yesterday.  Big relief.

What did end up on my list of course is writing.  Writing all 3 books I have running around in my head, yes to writing as often as I can.  This is the #1 project on my list.

The second one is #ThriveLive it is still a big important project in my life because this week I had people I do not know tell me they watch, and that I inspire them.

A big number 3 is travel and it is a big project because I want to expand my horizons.  I want to meet new people.  I crave new adventures.  I think I have found where I will spend Christmas day too.

Helping others

is the 4th item and that isn’t hard to do.  I do it by writing.  I do it on Facebook Live, and I do it by being a guest on a podcast.

Speaking of being a guest on a podcast, that is my 5th project combined with being a guest on a TV show.  Go big or go home and I am going big.  In 2020 I will guest on many podcasts as well as I will be on TV.  Yesterday when I wrote my morning thoughts I wrote “I have fans!”  I do, and I am going to have more.

BAM I am off to a good start.  5 doable projects that will keep me busy.

I will see you all here next month, next year, and in the next decade.

Happy 2020!

 

I welcome 2020 with joy.

 

Surviving the Shock of the Change that Comes with Grief

One minute we were finishing dinner and enjoying a glass of wine and in the blink of an eye Larry had a massive stroke and died in my arms.  Talk about the shock that comes with change, this was classic PTSD.

Suddenly things that mattered to me every damn day of the week were ripped to shreds and thrown into the wind.  Grief changed my priorities and the things that mattered to me.

The world opened up and swallowed me whole.  When it spit me back out, I did things because they were habit.  I fed and watered the dogs, fed and watered the birds, I drank coffee and I lost 25 pounds.  Eating wasn’t a priority.  Cleaning the house wasn’t a priority.

I didn’t give a f*ck about much, certainly not what was going on around me.

I did read like a fiend though.  I read everything I could get my hands on about how I was supposed to feel in grieving.  Fortunately, I did not take to my bed and weep uncontrollably.  No, I did all this research and doing it brought me value as to my new priorities and the things that truly matter to me.

I had set backs along the way.  I have come to the conclusion that the most roller coaster set of emotions we will ever have to roll with are the ones that come when someone we love dies.

On top of all this emotional baggage comes those who say “you should” and “you need” and I call bullshit on any sentences that begin with either of those words.  What I should have had happen and what I really needed to have happen was for Larry to walk back in the door, sit down and have another glass of wine with me.  Anyone who even tries to put those words in front of me gets a look that freezes them to the core.

I made the decision to sell our house and move.  You would have thought I had announced I was joining a commune in Tibet from the responses that were thrown at me.

I understand that rash decisions can be made in emotional times, my decision was not rash at all.  The house was becoming a money pit.  It was too big for me to care for and the yardwork was too much also.  I put $10,000 into the house just to get it sold.  It was paid off, the money was mine to use to purchase a home where I would have things taken care of for me, and it all turned out just fine.

I am not living where I dreamed, however I live where I am safe.  I am living maintenance-free. I live with the freedom of not having to pay to have a new roof put on or pay to have the exterior of my home painted.  I made it my castle, my domain.

Along the way ideas started to occur to me.  Once my brain dialed back on the overwhelm it felt daily, I started to see possibilities for new priorities and new things that matter to me.  I realized that I can travel, and in realizing that it came to me I could stay somewhere of my choosing for several months if I wanted to do that.

I am finally working on my book, Fractured.  As I began to write it two more books that I want to write jumped out of my healing brain and have made it to sticky notes on a poster board that I keep hidden from my view to avoid distractions.

Then a relapse happened, and they will happen.  Christmas brought a big one into my world.  I wrote about it earlier this week.  I am finally feeling like my new self again however the grief was exhausting.  I was so exhausted I actually would go back to bed in the morning and sleep for several hours.

That was when I realized that I will not ever be alone during the holidays again.  Strong words, I know, however I don’t have to be alone and I don’t want to be alone. It is easy to be alone, we all do it in our lives.  In fact, it is sometimes really easy to be alone when the energy that we need to pretend to be alright is debilitating as mine was.

Over this past weekend I spent a lot of time researching places I can go next Christmas where I can be with people and raise a glass in kindness to mankind.  I can do this because I know Larry will be right there with me smiling from ear to ear because he will be so proud of me.

I am not there yet but I am closer than I was a week ago and my priorities now are to make me happy.  What matters to me is that I do what makes me feel good, not what other people tell me I should (there is that word again) do to make myself feel good.

2020 will bring new adventures, there will be relapses I am sure, I will wield my shield and deflect them as best I can, because I can answer that question I often ask on my #ThriveLive talks on Facebook Live.  What matters to you(?) is the question.  You see people don’t often ask me what matters to me.  I usually write about it on social media, in this blog and in writing my book.

I matter to me, my happiness matters to me.  Simple and direct answer, right?  Tell me, what matters to you?

 

I often use this design i created on my Thrive Live page as a timeline cover

Surviving the Realization That Holiday Traditions Died Too

There are times when my grief brain keeps me from making a connection possibly it is protecting me from sadness and overwhelm and I am grateful for that.
 
Take yesterday for example when it hit me that when Larry died so did every tradition we created together. I had not thought about that until Christmas Day was over and I was relieved to take the tree down.
 
Losing the traditions adds to my grief, your grief, our grief. They are all gone. People kept telling me it would be different, and I must have had cotton in my ears because I plodded along decorating, listening to music, eating cookies, opening cards and making the traditional dinner.
 
The dinner is what broke me. That was when I realized it was all gone and never coming back and for a short time I wished I was gone too. Don’t get alarmed, please, these were manifestations in my mind of everything that I have lost and coping with it at times makes me wish we were together. Until you are unfortunately in the same place you won’t completely understand the pain of the reminders.  At times it all becomes so overwhelming I just go to bed.
 
That leaves me with decisions about 2020 and while I have tabled them for now I know that soon I will decide what to do with everything. We have a huge collection of special ornaments I will offer to the kids. There are many things that I can sell and/or donate.
 
That annoying tree is being boxed up today and will leave the building much like Elvis always did after his concerts.
Death does not give us lemons.  There is no lemonade to be made out of it.
While my grief brain protected me for as long as it possibly could when the realization hit me I became that person that couldn’t move.  I couldn’t function.  I didn’t want to do a damn thing.
I keep writing about how I am responsible for my own happiness but I couldn’t find any.  I did find so many tears my eyes were still swollen yesterday when I woke up.  Ugly crying lead to ugly eyes for sure.
I had presents, I had phone calls, I had Willie but I was still alone like I have been many times over the past 10 months.   I will not allow that to happen in 2020.  Without a doubt being alone in grief is the worst feeling, the worst pain I have ever felt.  I ask myself was it because I was alone or was it because I miss Larry so damn much.
I am not feeling sorry for myself, I am making myself promises that I will not allow this to be a habit.  Being alone will not be my new tradition.  This means finding new people in my life, building new friendships, finding like-minded people to set new traditions.
It might mean being in a different city, or a different country.  There is absolutely no reason for me to stay here.  I have used Willie as an excuse to not travel.  This morning I said to myself that Willie has no concept that 12/25 is Christmas, she is a dog, every day is Christmas in her life.
Yesterday a friend asked me to not use the word “never” in a thought I had shared.  I realized she is hoping I will change and embrace the season here.  I can’t do this again, not ever, so never had propelled me to find my new traditions and throw myself into them with joy because that is what Larry would want for me.  Larry will be the force behind helping me next Christmas.
He will be with me wherever I am.

Surviving So This is Christmas (When Grieving or Knowing Someone Who Is)

So, this is Christmas, and what have you done?  The song plays in my head a lot at this time of the year because I am writing a second book already about grief and the holidays.

There are a lot of books already written with suggestions that those of us who are grieving have Googled and read, cried and wished, and the pain is not truly lessened.

The words that will go into this book will be for those who grieve and those who don’t.  Unfortunately, there are many people who have never grieved and they do not understand it at all.  They are the lucky ones.  They are also the ones I usually unfollow on social media and in life because they can’t even say how sorry they are that someone we loved died.

Then there are the friends who just don’t think.  I would like to re-write the lyrics to “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” to show people that they clearly are not thinking when they address the cards and insert the family Christmas letter that is filled with all the joy they have had this year.  (Please, we know it hasn’t all been that joyous.)

At first I couldn’t even open the cards that arrived.  The words merry and happy are not in my vocabulary these days.  On the flip side of that though is that there have been cards especially chosen for me from friends, and one friend even crossed out the word merry and added her own message after the word Christmas.

These are the thinking friends.  These are the kind friends.  These are the empathetic friends.  As an empath I can recognize other empaths quite easily now.

This is the time of the year when people who are grieving need kindness.  We need acts of love.  Actually, we need the 5 love languages.

  1. Words of affirmation.  We need to hear these words from people we have allowed into our lives in friendship and those we were born into and possibly stuck with, family.

 

  1. Gifts. While this sounds like we are looking for something for nothing try picturing what it is like to not have wrapped gifts under a tree after years, make that a lifetime, of having them.  Furthermore, there is no greater act of kindness and love at this time than to send a truly meaningful gift to someone whose world was turned upside down especially when facing the first holiday without the person they love.  It doesn’t have to be wrapped either, there are many wonderful ways to gift someone.

 

 

  1. Acts of service. I did receive several of these over the past month and I am extremely grateful.  Owning a home on my own is a new experience and I have not learned everything yet.  There are still things I need to have done (I have a running to-do list available I say with a smile). Who can you do something for that they cannot do on their own?

 

  1. Quality time. I want everyone to know that I do not spend hours talking about my sadness and grief when I am with people.  I laugh.  I do have fun.  I have stories that are not about what I have been through this year.  None of us need to be telling someone what we have planned and suddenly realize they didn’t hear a word we said and they just move past your conversation and interject their own plans, like you never said a word. Also, this may not be the time to tell your grieving friend everything you are doing over the holidays with friends and family. It may be too soon.   It is so important to anyone who is grieving that they are asked about their plans, that they are listened to, and that means maybe they are a tad self-centered.  This will pass, we do heal a little here and there and we do move forward and we do find ourselves wanting to reach out with kindness to others.

 

 

  1. Physical touch. Hugs, we need hugs.  If you are a person who doesn’t like touch, maybe a hand squeeze with meaning would work.  Me, I get massages as often as I can.  Touch is healing.  We all need it, we even crave it, so who can you touch this season with meaning?

 

Yes, I can see new lyrics in my head, they go like this:

It came upon the midnight clear(ly) that using more kindness works

For people who are sad and lonely wherever grieving lurks

I will stop there I do like that Christmas carol and I don’t want to really change the words, I just want to share that there is so much you can do for anyone who is grieving.  We have worth please do not diminish it especially now. We need our friends and families to realize this.

 

 

We could all use a refresher course.

Surviving Christmas Now That You Are No Longer Alive

 

Surviving Christmas now that you are no longer alive is a major emotional chore every day.

When your heart is homeless for the holidays.

I tried this year.  I bought a tree, it’s rather ugly and sparse but it fit my budget.  I got the decorations out that I used on our small tree in our bedroom because I was always in charge of decorating that tree and my heart wouldn’t hurt as much or so I thought.

Then I opened all the boxes of decorations I had kept to see what I could put where.  It’s the same, yet different, because everything is different.

Instead of counting down the days till Christmas morning when our biggest joy was watching the dogs rip open their presents, I am not counting down the days until this season is completely over.

Instead of attending celebrations and concerts I listen to certain Christmas songs on my phone.  There is just music my heart cannot handle yet.  For example a year ago tonight we were at the TSO Concert in Tampa and that is where we had our last photo together taken.

While I write my thoughts every day, I sometimes wonder if I sound too happy and if I do that means people don’t realize that a large part of me is missing everything so much that at times breathing hurts.

I am fighting an impulse to rip all the decorations down and pack them up because I know now it was too soon.  I thought I could do this.  I believed I was braver than I am. If you were still alive you would want me to leave them up all year.

The magic is just not there.  When you were alive there was magic every day throughout the season.  You loved Christmas so much and you loved to make my eyes sparkle with excitement.

There is no joy in this house this year.  The magic is gone.  The sparkle is not there and I realized this morning my heart is homeless from the holidays.  That is the best way I can describe my feelings.  No matter how many decorations I put up, no matter how many candles I light, no matter how many cards I receive, no matter how many songs I listen to, I am homeless in my heart from the holidays.

There are no gifts under the tree, no gifts in the mail to family, no big meals planned, no baking and if there is a lesson to be learned in all of this it is that being alone at this time of the year is tremendously sad not just for me, but for everyone who is homeless in their hearts from the holidays not to mention homeless in life..

If you were still alive my heart would be full of the joy of the season and we be watching Christmas movies together, drinking wine, and the dogs would be on our laps.

If you were still alive, I would feel alive this Christmas.

Surviving in the Grief Wilderness

Always

Hope Endures

Surviving in the grief wilderness is hard.  There is no road map, no supplies, no flashlights, no warmth. It is no secret to anyone reading this that I have been living in my own private Hell I call the Grief Wilderness.

I have tried so many different ways to help light and smooth out this dark craggy place that feels like a dungeon at times.

I have been working with a bereavement counselor for 8 of the 9 months on a weekly basis.  I have read everything suggested to me, and more that I found on my own on the topic of grief.  I took an 8-day road trip always spending the night with friends.  I flew to my home town to be with a dear friend and her family for comfort.  I flew to an experiential spa in New Mexico where I spent 6 days in therapy, meditating, doing sound therapy, and somatic experiencing.  I sat in the Native America Medicine Wheel with a therapist where he told me I had a double dose of PTSD.   I meditated some more.

I have private yoga instruction that also begins with deep meditation.  I have my Reiki practitioners on speed dial.

I journal every day and I write very publicly on Facebook about my journey.  I moved the grieving part of my life to a Facebook page called Fractured.  I am writing a book by the same name.  I move forward, I am in continuous motion but I kept hitting a road block.  I kept hitting a wall.  I could only go so far.

It has been 9 long months of feeling as if I were up to my breast bone in quicksand and my breast bone aches.  It physically aches.  I called it “heartbreak ache”.

No one prepares us for the devastation we will feel when we lose a spouse and because that is where my loss lies that is what I write about.  I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child, I know the pain of losing my parents and my brother and it was sad and I still mourn.  However, losing a spouse who has been your best friend for years, who has been the person who knows you best, who takes care of you, who does the things you don’t know how to do is to me the worst loss imaginable.

At my 8th month my bereavement counselor approached me to ask if I would be interested in a medical study on using Accelerated Resolution Therapy with people who are in deep grief.  I jumped at the chance and I immediately went to Google to learn more about it.

I was stuck and my counselor knew it.  It was as if my life was being played out on a gameboard and my feet were super glued to the shock spot.  I was frozen there.  I could not move off that spot.  Every time I thought about Larry walking out the door to feed the roses and walk back in and die in my arms I felt as if I had been punched in the head and kicked in the gut.  I would cave to disbelief that this happened.  I would cry.  I couldn’t even talk about it without crying.  That night replayed in my head every day and every day I felt the shock that this ever happened.

The last words he ever said to me were “I am going to go out and feed the roses and then I will come back in and have another glass of wine with you.” Then he died.

I went for an evaluation, answered pages of questions, had an EEG and made my first appointment with a licensed professional mental health therapist.  I learned there would be a total of 4 sessions and in my research, I had read that many people achieve success with the first session.

I was in this session for 2 hours.  Part of that time was spent hooking up another EEG (they are done on visit 1 and 4) and the rest was spent doing EMDR.

I am not going to go into the psychiatric details of what EMDR is and how it works, there are plenty of articles on line about it.  Suffice it to say that many lives have been saved, and people have been pulled from the brink of suicide due to this therapy.

I was watching the news on a channel I do not usually watch and this local station had done an interview with a veteran who was on that brink. He is here today because of ART and EMDR therapies.  I listened with intent and the therapist that was interviewed is the very therapist I am seeing.  I knew I was meant to see this interview.

I am not saying that these therapies are a cure all for many mental illnesses however this is an incredible start in treating those of us with trauma and shock that can lead to phobias and anxieties.

I woke up the next morning after my first session, I said my usual good morning to Larry as I looked at my favorite photo of him and I started my day.  My phone rang and a friend asked me how my first session went.  I started to tell her all about it and for the first time I was able to go to the night he died and not cry.  I didn’t cave and my breast bone didn’t ache.

I tried to trigger myself on and off all day and got the same results.  I was unstuck.  The super glue that had been holding me in place had dissolved and as the day continued, I had new thoughts and new ideas and I had excitement over them.

I will mourn and I will grieve every day for the rest of my life that Larry died so suddenly.  I miss him all the time and I love him with all my heart.  Everything I do reminds me of what we did together.  And, yes, I still have tears.  The sadness doesn’t go away with these therapies.  All that happens is we can finally move forward.  The positive pathways in our brains connect again.  We have hope.

This is a great description I found about ART. Again, I highly encourage you to do the research because it may help you, or someone you know be better, be in control, move forward, and let go so much while holding onto what needs to remain.

What is ART?

ART is an evidence-based novel psychotherapy that fosters rapid recovery by reprogramming how the brain stores traumatic memories and imagery.  ART has roots in and includes elements of existing evidenced-based modalities.  The treatment program incorporates memory visualization techniques that are enhanced by the use of horizontal eye movements, as well as memory re-consolidation, a way in which new information is incorporated into existing memories.

 

 

 

 

 

Surviving Larry’s Sudden Death

Surviving Larry’s  sudden death isn’t a title I ever wanted to write.  Truthfully I wasn’t sure I would ever return to blogging on a regular basis.  Around 7 months after he died I realized I wanted to blog again.  I have a lot to say.  I even have a new blog site called fractured.life.  I started it, I have not moved forward with it and really and truly that is where my writing about death, mourning, grieving, bereavement, and all new words and feelings I live with belong.

Fractured is the title of my book.  Fractured (but still beating) is the title with the tagline my publisher said I need.  The cover art is a heart with a fractured line going through it.  That is how I feel about love, life, and everything that has happened since the night he walked outside to put fertilizer on the rose bushes and walked back in and died in my arms.  My heart is fractured.  My life is fractured.  The love we shared is fractured.  My world is fractured.  This is a fracture that will never heal so how the hell does anyone think or believe I will survive this?

I have ugly moments, ugly days, ugly tear-stained cheeks and this has aged me.  I have lost a lot of weight because food was our fun place.  Food was something we did together.  Food and creating delicious meals was our date night.  Over dinner he was completely mine.  He wasn’t in his office working, he wasn’t on the phone doing research, he would sit and savor whatever I placed in front of him and tell me I should own a restaurant the meal was THAT good.

Now I make food so I can eat.  Food doesn’t excite me any more.  Many times I make a meal, eat 1/3 of it and throw the rest away.  I am thin.  I do weigh myself, and if I continue to lose more weight I will seek help.

There are days I only exist.  I take care of Willie, I drink coffee, I do what is expected of me and not much more.

There are days when I do a lot.

I vacillate between the two.

Writing helps.  I write every day, every morning on Facebook.  Those are the thoughts that will become the book.  That is when what I write here will actually be shared on the fractured.life page along with a podcast sometime in 2020.

Writing sometimes doesn’t help.  Like right now I am not feeling especially inspired.  I am just allowing my fingers to move all over the keyboard while pouring out my feelings that for some reason are bland right now.  I don’t have passion firing me up to write how goddam pissed off I am at the carelessness that happened that night starting with the paramedics and ending with being told 10 days later there was nothing more that could be done.

Surviving Larry’s sudden death is not something I ever thought about, most of us don’t.  That is my purpose, that is my reason for writing.  We need to think about death of our loved ones even if it hurts, even if it is disturbing, even if we don’t think it will happen, because guess what, it will happen.

The look of love is all over his face.

 

Surviving the Rabbit Hole

Is anybody out there?

Does anybody care?

Hello, are you there?

Anyone?

I have not written in a very long time however this blog site called my name today and I thought it might be time to come up out of the rabbit hole and let you all know that I feel as if I have been dumped in rabbit shit.

Get it?  Rabbit hole, rabbit shit?

I am trying to climb out.  I am trying to catch my footing.  I am trying to wrap my brain around the fact that the last time I wrote a blog article here I was a very happily married woman, and now I am alone.

I don’t use the W word.  It turns my stomach inside out to use it.  Why is there even such a word?  We are born, we are various ages of children in years, we get married, we get divorced, we stay single, our spouses die so WTF do we need a moniker for that?  Also WTF do we need to acknowledge being divorced.  I am single now.  I was married, he died, I am single.

Labels – I am sick and tired of labels.  I am Carole Sanek, period. Who does the rest matter to anyway?

Here I am, back again behind the monitor and the keyboard letting the world know (is anybody out there?) that after almost 19 years of marriage, over 20 years of knowing each other Larry went and stroked out with such violence that he could not recover.

The clot was that big.

It took out about 50% of his brain stem where most major functions stem from and he was semi-comatose and would be the rest of his life.

He had advanced directives, and after a discussion with his kids we had him removed from everything and transferred him to hospice where he died 3 1/2 days later.

I have written about he and I every day since this happened.  It is all on my very public Facebook page and today was Day 143, the day I decided to move forward and write the damn story of love, grief, and fucking bad timing.

I know as I re-read what I have written here that I sound angry.  I wouldn’t call it anger.  I am frustrated.  I am sad.  I am mourning in writing here.  I am deep in my grief wilderness at times.  I can’t believe he is gone.  I can’t believe we didn’t get 10-15 more wonderful years.  I am tired.  I am tired of it all to be honest.

I wish I could wake up and find out it was one big bad dream.

It wasn’t.

I miss him with every breath I take.

Let me give you all one big piece of advice, talk about death and dying.  Make plans, have a will, have a living will, have a durable power of attorney, get this all done, we did.  It helped.  We just didn’t talk about it enough.  TALK.

That being said I am not leaving Larry’s ashes where I want to leave them not necessarily where he wanted me to leave them because he never told me.  I know he likes the vineyard where I left some of him, and the mountains where I left even more of him so when I go back I can talk to him.

Also maybe go over to my FB which is Carole L Sanek and read Day 143.  It’s public, you can see it.

143 Larry always.

Born 5/14/46 Died 3/3/19 and loved by many.