A rainbow of grief

7b47cba0-12f0-0134-e753-0a315da82319All the colors of humanity, of love, of loss. We saw each in Orlando in terrifying technicolor this weekend. Sons, daughters, brothers, sisters – lost. Each of us, who’ve lost the person closest to us, know well the journey their families now will take. Those families, those parents, siblings, grandparents had their hearts ripped out in a second of senseless violence. San Bernadino, Newtown, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook. Adults, children all cut down in the business of living.

Plumbing the depth of my own loss, the slicing off of an artery in your heart without warning, I can’t help but think about the people grieving this week. Many years ago, my young brother died at 19 of leukemia. His loss was immeasurable and I saw my parents nearly destroyed by it. A life that never got to be lived. Watching the mother weeping uncontrollably for news of the son she couldn’t find in the melee, I recognized the anguish. And knew the bottomless pain she now will swim through.

Her son did not survive.

I usually write of my own trip through loss that I never packed for, but tonight my words are for Orlando, the latest headline from hell. There is way too much talk of hate, of exclusion, of retribution – and no healing, no coming together, no real answers. I’m angry, frustrated that weapons of war (um, you don’t need an assault rifle for hunting deer – or PEOPLE!) are available at ANY level especially for the unstable, violent or disenfranchised.  The time has come to listen for truth within the rhetoric and for more than tears and talk. I can only hope it is now.

We need to remember the trusting children who left for school, those who went to work, or a casual night of celebration — and never returned home. And we need to remember the families whose new normal will be mourning.

I have questions and no answers. Maybe all we can do is think carefully about Mahatma Gandi’s words “The future depends on what we do in the present” because if we do nothing – there will be no future.

 

 

 

 

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Where are you, Dr. Suess?

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“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”                         Dr. Suess

You are not on a trip. You are not on a ship. You are not at work or having a quirk. You’re not with your hobby or alone in a lobby. You, my love, are nowhere.

When I really absorb that fact, it’s like the elevator doors opened and I am in freefall. I’d much rather live in lala land, thinking my other half is at Shoprite getting his chocolate ice cream. Instead, I have to literally catch myself from thinking that his car, which is no longer even in existence, will be pulling into the driveway.

Dr. Suess said ‘Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” Blech.  The fact is, when I think about a funny story I want to relate about the grandboys or about a something that made me laugh,  I can’t. Not much to smile about there.  I will never see his face, or crack up at his crazy voices. I won’t pain for his lessened quality of life or be scared all the time about what’s coming next. And of course, I won’t be frightened that one day there will be a medical dead end to what the doctors were able to ‘fix’.  But then, ‘dead end’ is just a really bad pun now, isn’t it?

I don’t like green eggs. Not even that crazy about ham. But the man I loved, the one who more than shared my weirdness, will always be part of who I am.

“To the world, you maybe me one person. To one person, you are the world.     Dr. Seuss

 

Celebrating the Knight who said — ‘pie’

FullSizeRenderThey say a knight in shining armor is a man who never had his metal tested. I met a few of them; I even dated them. You know, the dudes whose metal suit was actually tin foil. That’s why I almost missed the knight whose armor had as many dings and tarnishes as his car bumper. He was the real deal. He fought his share of dragons, especially the most fearsome of all. And when you constantly battle the beast, even the most deepest of loves have emotional jousts. But then again, as I stood all those years beside my husband, he had way more than his ‘metal’ tested. His spirit, self-confidence, courage and self-esteem were tried way beyond what most people can tolerate. And each time, he got back on that horse (or green Nissan) to battle another day.

Today is this knight’s birthday.

He loved everything about medieval knights. He had a little room full of toy collectible Knights of Agincourt who hung around castles he painstakingly crafted. This was a guy who took supreme pleasure in sharing his love of those men in armor with our grandsons at Medieval Times for their 5th birthdays. I could never decide who loved the pageantry more – him or them. The last time we were there, we joked that we had to rest up before we took one the smallest of the teenies but that will never happen. Grandpa knight died barely 2 months later. Continue reading

I’ll Get You, My Pretty.

Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.

The Wizard of Oz

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Lions, tigers or bears, sooner or later, grief touches everyone. And when it does, nothing looks or feels the same, not even your simple nightly routine. You turn off the lights, lock the doors and head upstairs. Simple. Been there, done that more nights than I can count. It’s repeated nightly in every household around the globe. Yet these days, even simple routines — suck. Every nuance screams I’m in a different world now – a world of one. My life made a major detour to the flip side of Oz.

It’s hard not to remember, as I climb the stairs, not only how I found my husband lying there just months ago, but how this home once rang with voices. The only thing ringing now are my ears from the buzzing lack of sound. Like the train tracks I had to draw when I was learning perspective, endless nights just like this, stretch ahead of me. But, when you think about it, don’t most things come down to that – perspective. Continue reading

Use Your Words…No, Not Those.

Sincere Condolences

We were word people. We both loved words so much that my husband was forever making up his own puns – and himself up cracking in the process.  We watched Jeopardy and did the crosswords – competitively of course. I kidded him about being the grammar police. It’s hardly surprising then that words can also make me scratch my head, thinking ‘what’? Really?

As I stood in line at a wake this weekend for the wonderful young son-in-law of a dear friend who lost her own husband as well, I couldn’t help thinking of what I would say to this heartbroken young wife. I knew her since she was a teen and it seemed more than important that I say something, anything that spoke what was in my heart. I knew most on that line behind and in front of me might be thinking the very same thing. Don’t we all want to speak words that make sense of the unthinkable? Being so recently in her place myself, I know how impossible that is. I know it is as hard to receive most words of awkward consolation as it is to say them. Sometimes, seeing their struggle, we often want to comfort — those who comfort.  We all want so much to say what is comforting, gift verbal pieces of our heart and sometimes just mumble odd sentiments instead. We say tired clichés. We offer what we’ve been conditioned to say, hoping somewhere in there, the person who’s hearing the words knows that our clumsy attempts at consolation are heartfelt. They do.  Because let’s face it, we all are awkward – even those who’ve been on the receiving end of well meant words.

Maybe the next time we yearn to say what’s in our hearts, we’ll measure the words differently. Maybe we can hear them as the bereaved might. Maybe we’ll even say no words at all because sometimes silence is better than words and phrases like: Continue reading