Monday, May 15, 2017

Hallelujah: Closing in on one year

I think I’ve figured it out.

Then the time for being sad is over
 And you miss 'em like you miss no other
 And being blue is better than being over it (over it)
"Hallelujah" Panic! at the Disco

OK, so this song is technically about a guy who finally decides to stop his cheating ways after being caught. Regardless, those lines make sense for me from a grief perspective.

The first year. The first year is supposed to be hard. Moving through the twelve months following a death, you live those first holidays or milestones without your loved one. Your life doesn’t stop. You have to keep moving; or at least I, I have to keep moving. Anniversaries, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, more birthdays, weddings, chili cookoffs, Easter and even Mother’s Day. They’ve all come and gone. We are facing our second Father’s Day. Another year of school complete. More chili cookoffs. Another wedding. Jonathan’s Tae Kwon Do black belt testing. Genevieve’s dance recital. Some of these events will keep coming, year after year. Year after year, Ghon will not be there.

I think I’ve made it clear that I do believe Ghon is here. His spirit was to big to just fade away when his body stopped working. Last week, the kids (the lot of them, Jonathan, Genevieve, Eric and his wife Caryn) and I all went to a concert together. The kids first real concert and it went down stadium style. Ghon knew the concert lineup last year. Volbeat, Avenged Sevenfold, and Metallica. He was so excited to go and for me to see Metallica for the first time. The kids (littles at least) love Volbeat, and we’d long wanted to take them to a show. In my typical fashion, I made it happen. After Metallica took the stage, I could feel Ghon’s presence. Genevieve sat on my lap and I just closed my eyes. I could see, clearer than anything, Ghon rocking out and singing along. How else can I explain knowing lyrics to old songs that I never cared to listen to or tried to ignore if he played them? The show was amazing and I know he’s probably delighted that the kids are now Metallica fans. It was a bittersweet evening. I can’t imagine how much better it would have been with him there; yet it was almost perfect as is.

But back to that year of firsts. Year two is approaching. I’ve read, I’ve been told, and I suspect there are parts of year two that are going to be even harder than year one. The hardest work is supposed to be over. Congratulations widow, you’ve made it to year two! You’ve got this! Been there done that! Hardly. In the first weeks, months, support is strong. Everyone wants to help you through. Checks on you. Then, it starts to slow. I’ve covered how hardheaded I can be about asking for help. That I don’t want to burden others when I need a hug, a break from the kids, company in general or an ear to listen. When people start asking less and less if you need them – you ask for help less and less. Then suddenly, it’s year two. You couldn’t possibly still need help. It’s time to face those milestones and events all on your own. Year two, just might suck.

But, I’m ready. I got this. I went to a Hospice counseling session two weeks ago. The kids and I are all going next week. Time for an outlet and a little grounding. I’m enrolling them in a grief camp in September. We got this. We have family coming to support them on their big testing and recital day. All together, we got this.

So you’re probably reading this and wondering, what then? What did you figure out? What has you in this weird emotional state now?

I took a walk today during work and it hit me. I’m reliving his last weeks. It’s not just that the anniversary is coming; I’m reliving his last everything. Sure, I could have labored over all of these things with each passing holiday, but it’s not the same as his last days. I looked over at the field by my office and realized I’d been waiting for a couple weeks for all the wildflowers to show up. When they did last year, I suggested it would be great to take pictures at. Eventually, as in two days before he died, he took pictures of me there. I keep waiting for them. I almost cried last summer when the field was mowed and “our” flowers were cut and an ugly field was left behind. All winter, I saw brownish green weeds and plenty of trash. It was sad. Today, the flowers are starting to bloom.

I look at the pictures on his Facebook account.  The last pictures – are now a year and almost a year old. His last pictures.

At the chili cook-off the kids and I went to last week, a friend mentioned how she was cooking at a different event, and how she thought about Ghon. It was at the same event last year that she saw him last. As we get closer to those series of lasts…the last of everything, I think that is what is making it all harder. His last cook-off was the first weekend of June. That on June 17, he had breakfast with the kids at Bojangles after taking me to work; that was his last breakfast. His last meal was linguine fra diavlo at a little Italian joint in Strasburg that we’d never been to before and I will never go to again. Our last picture together was the day of his surgery, June 13. The last time he drove, he tossed his keys on the kitchen counter. I moved them the day after he died – and haven’t seen them since.

The lasts are becoming a countdown to the anniversary. Knowing now that they were the last makes them harder to remember than knowing he isn’t going to be here for Christmas. If you knew going into a day or event, or were taking a step for the last time, would you do it differently?

Then the time for being sad is over
And you miss 'em like you miss no other
And being blue is better than being over it (over it)

There’s no good use for being sad. After yesterday’s funk, I had a really good  morning until sitting at a traffic light, a totally different song lyric hit me differently and I started crying in the car. Chillin’ at the traffic light, singing along with tears running down my face. Thank God for waterproof mascara.

He was a royal pain in the ass. He was less than perfect. But he was also adorable, funny, giving, talented, driven, and mine. I miss him like I miss no other.

Dealing with a blue day here and there, well, it is being better than being over it. I don’t know if I can ever be truly over it. How do you get over your only true love? Someone you spent over half your life with? I don’t know if I ever will be over it, and frankly don’t care if I ever am over it. I’ll take my blue days and deal with them. Does it mean I’ll never love someone again? Probably not, but the love will not be the same. This love was ours.

I could end this with some cheery message like, “live life to the fullest!” or “live each day like it’s your last!”  But why? Does that make any sense? Live your life. It shouldn’t matter if it’s the first or last day.

Just over a month to go. Just over a month and I’ll be moving on to year two and beyond the first year of last memories. I got this. We got this. Just keep a tissue handy for me though OK? I have a feeling the next month is going to be hard. No way to avoid it – I just have to get through it.

1 comment:

  1. This is very good that you share some of the best memories of your life. All the photos are entertaining and full of life. Happy year...btw, nice song too:)