Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Grief: Taking My Grief to England

Yes.  My grief comes with me everywhere like a familiar companion. There are so many rituals of travelling that don't exist any more.  I used to call Artie when I arrived.  Then I used to talk to him once in the morning and always to say good night.  I knew he was waiting for me at home.  We liked spending time apart (which is hard not to regret now) because we liked missing each other.  When I came home he loved hearing all my stories.  He always left a welcome home love note on the door.  It was the first thing I saw.  Then I would call up the stairs to his man cave to say I was home and down he would come to hug me and kiss me. 

I'm having a good time.  I am.  But I'm sad. Everything I do is lessened by not being able to talk to Artie about it.  It's just the way it is.  I wrote - as requested - about what other people say.  The lovely woman I was with at the beginning of the trip (hello - if you are reading this) is someone I love.  She is someone who is very spiritual and says things like, "It's all right."  "We create our own reality."  After a couple of days I had to tell her that every time she said those things it hurt me because my inner voice responded by acknowledging that my husband is dead and nothing will ever be all right again.  If I could create my own reality he would walk in right now and kiss me on the neck.  I wouldn't say - honey, I'm busy - I would stop what I am doing and be with him completely because now I know those moments are no longer possible.  At first she said that I shouldn't give that much power to other peoples' words.  I explained because I valued our friendship I had to be honest about my response.  I want to accept people the way they are and mostly I do but in this case I felt I needed to tell her how I felt.  She understood and stopped saying those things out loud.  Sometimes simple, non judgemental communication works.

I wish that people understood that grief doesn't have an end point for a lot of us.  It isn't a bad thing or a good thing.  It just is.  She also asked what she could do to help.  Nothing is the answer.  I think that is what hurts our dearest friends.  They want to help and we tell them it's impossible.  I love my friends.  I love my family.  I'm grateful for them.  None of them is Artie.  I miss Artie.  In some ways, now that he has been dead for almost 4 years, I miss him more not less.  I've racked up more days and nights of loneliness for him and that takes its toll.

I miss my granddaughter too.  Not that I don't miss my daughter - but she won't change in three weeks - Gwendy will.  Her laughing big blue eyes that demand - Granny Jan - be with me here in the present.  Play with me.  Laugh with me.  Cuddle me. 

And yet...there is always the and yet.  I am still alive.  I am travelling again.  I have seen some beautiful paintings and some wonderful plays.  I have laughed at Eddie Izzard who Artie and I loved to watch on DVDs but who is even more brilliant in person.  I am doing what I say.  Showing up and having new experiences while sometimes taking a moment to cry or curse.  I saw a window display that said, "Stay calm and love M&Ms".  I was on the way to the Queen's Gallery and accidentally saw and heard the Changing of the Guard.  At the Queen's Gallery there was a painting by Rembrandt that was so beautiful I sat and looked at it for quite a while.  I had great fun with my friend and when she left I am still doing things on my own.  Tomorrow my other friend will arrive and we are doing a historical tour on Lancaster/York.  After all these centuries they have found the bones of Richard III.  I love history. There is much more but then this would be a travel journal.

Sadness through the centuries.  Joy through the centuries.  Sadness through my day.  Joy through my day.  I don't ever want to deny the sadness.  I think that by making room for the sadness I make even more room for the joy.  Artie holds me through both.  I even miss his ashes.  I know he's not in them - but they are what I have left to welcome me home.

Someone said, "Wherever you go...there you are."  I saw an amazing exhibit on David Bowie.  There was a big sign that said, "David Bowie is someone else."  Jan Warner is someone else.  We are all someone else - partly in that we are more than we think we are - partly in that we never completely know another person.  One of the things I miss about Artie was how much of me he knew - and he loved/loves me because of and in spite of it all. 

Remember sometimes to wrap your silver lining around the outside of your dark cloud so it can glimmer in the sunshine and the starshine.  xo

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Jan. So beautiful and such similarities with my own experience after losing my husband and best friend five years ago. I did not know that the grief would still be so close and always with me, along with all the good and new things happening in life. I lead hospice bereavement groups for women who have lost spouses and partners, so now I know that we are not alone in this continuing bond of love and grief.