Saturday, March 15, 2014

Do you miss me?


Eric didn't use to "miss" me.  He didn't really "miss" anyone; he wasn't wired that way.  That didn't mean he didn't think of others, and it certainly didn't mean he loved me little.  He loved me plenty, likely more than anyone else he would and could love.  

I, on the other hand, used to miss him.  That's how I was wired.  

Now, I try not to miss him.  I had loved this man with every fiber and every ounce of energy.  Especially in the last few years.  It was profoundly powerful. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. Instead of missing him, I need to turn the energy around. Instead of focusing on his absence, I shall let his presence comes through.  I need to let his presence be my focus.  His laughs, his silence, his meditation, our conversations.  

I feel his presence in pretty much everything I do:  Every loaf of bread I bake, every round of skate on Alki, every French press on Sunday, every time I touch my bow and arrows, every piece of music I play on the piano, every piece of art I create, while I am in any corner of my house, when I ask "what should I do."  

I try not to "miss" him.  Me missing him somehow implies that I am focused on the past, what was lost.  He would not want me to "miss" him.  He would prefer that I remember him, but not "miss" him.  He would want that we apply what he has shared with us in our respective lives, in the best ways we know how.  He would not want us to miss him.  

Not "missing" my deceased husband, and putting it in writing.  That is so controversial.  And cold.  But it's not like that.  

It's about knowing that he is present.  

Then I discovered something I never considered.  What Eric and I shared was very powerful.  What I learn and intentionally apply from our love is more profound.  

My living may need to include not missing.  And that scares me shitless…  



My dear friend Janelle's corgi, Abby



Sunday, March 9, 2014

"My Legacy"



A few weeks ago somebody at work asked what I would like to be remembered by when I leave my company.  "What do you want to be your legacy?" he asked.  It was one of those "self reflection" sessions at a meeting.  The kind you "take three minutes to ponder then write down your thoughts on a piece of paper" session. 

My legacy.  What does that even mean!?

I am not that ambitious.  I don't think about my legacy or what I want to be remembered by when I leave my company, or ever - it is just not that interesting and certainly not that important to me.  I try to make the best decisions for me, for my peeps, and and for the business.  That's it.  Why complicate things?  I stared at my note pad.  My mind wandered away.  I wondered what I should make for dinner; I wondered when it will finally stop raining.  I secretly chuckled how Eric would roll his eyes all the way to the back of his head if I asked him that same question at dinner.  Yup.  He, too, would consider this a frivolous question.  And then he'll say, "that's a deep subject."     

Tick tock tick tock.  I had better write something down.  I had one minute left. Still, my page was blank and I still couldn't think of what to make for dinner.       

I don't consider what I do for a living very important or meaningful in the grand scheme of things, although I would like to delude myself that at least a small portion of it just might be so.  That is, of course, if I assume correctly that there is indeed a "grand scheme" and that my presumed grand scheme is indeed THE grand scheme…  

I now had about 45 seconds remaining to scribble down something.  Quick!

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"I don't know what I want to be remembered by when I leave this company, or when I die.  I am a people connector.  I am to bring out the best in others in everything I do.  Let's not complicate things."   



Wild Camping with Eric between New Denver & Kaslo
(Beyond Jasper, Canada)
August, 2011






Thursday, March 6, 2014

Random Babble

I made a decision last month that I don't want to count chapters anymore.  I think it also means I don't want to count 15th's anymore.  

In god's honest truth, I am physically tired of remembering Eric. Of compartmentalizing memories. Remembering is VERY HARD WORK.  I want to close the lid and say "I'm done."  I don't want to think about him.  I don't want to remember anything.  I don't want to talk about it.  I don't even want strangers to know that I had a husband.  Answering that requires factual information that is also respectful to his death.  Explanation requires lengthy sentences and careful thoughts.  Thinking gets better when there are good dialogues, but good dialogues are energy expenditures.  Now, I simply prefer listening to music over talking.  I don't like listening to my voice that much anymore.  

Perhaps it is a form of escapism.  I respect my need for space and an escape whenever I feel like it.  The fact is, I will never be devoid of memories of my husband.  An escape from it is not only smart and healthy, but brave.        

Ever feel like you're damaged goods?  I was talking about that with a friend and he said, "Daisy, we are all damaged goods one way or another."  There might be merit to that statement.  Since no person is "perfect," in essence, everyone is "damaged" one way or another.  It's not good or bad; there needs not be a value judgement.  

Winter Sojourn 2011
Ashland, OR


It will be Eric's birthday (again) in a few days, a day he never liked to celebrate in the recent near-decade because it painfully reminded him of yet another year passed and his inability to do anything he loved to do, to live life.  It was impossible for others to remotely comprehend even a hairline fraction of what that meant.  I hated answering the question "what did you guys do to celebrate his birthday?"  Sometimes I simply lied about it.  As much as I could, I avoided answering that dreadful question. Diversion is a great life skill.



I am immensely grateful that my husband is eternally free of agony of any form.  

Still, I find internal resentment that I cannot explain. I find myself extremely intolerant of whining, entitlement, laziness and incompetence.  Especially entitlement and laziness.  I find this world brutally unfair.  I feel Eric's life cheated and robbed.  I feel an overwhelming burden that I never asked for; cards dealt to me and a game I was forced to play in; strength and grace buried that would otherwise take me five lifetimes to uncover. 

I also honor completely that I have only one life to live:  mine.  There is no time to waste.  The illusion of control over one's own life is just that:  A complete illusion, and delusion.  The sooner we let go of the need to exert control, the sooner we can live.  It is that simple.     

Random babble. 


Ashland, Oregon
December, 2011






  




Saturday, February 22, 2014

The counting has ceased


I decided I am going to stop counting chapters.  I don't need benchmarking anymore. I think I just made incredible progress.  

I went away for a few days for some sunshine and R&R in central California. Respite takes in many forms.  This is my fifth trip away in twelve months.  A friend asked how I feel coming home. There is no place like home, no matter what.  I follow my evening routine:  Open door, turn off alarm, wash hands, light candles in the living room, turn on laptop, select music.  It feels like a Taco Tuesday.  It's all good.  

You've got to leverage the good days to propel yourself to the next stage, or you'll risk being stuck wallowing in the same place.  Wallowing is bad juju.  

While watching the Winter Olympics games, I learned the story about Sarah Burke, a Canadian freestyle skier and a pioneer in superpipe, and her tireless work in lobbying the IOC to include women halfpipe into the 2014 Olympics games.  She succeeded, but died in January 2012 after a severe training accident in Park City, Utah.  At an interview, Rory Burke, Sarah's husband, said Sarah never asked why, but why not.  

Words to live by.  "Why not?"  Why not stop counting chapters?  


Why not a fountain in the backyard!?
Hearst Castle, San Simeon





    




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Day 365: The dream

I've anticipated the arrival of Day 365, and it's finally here. 

I want to write, but I don't know about what.  I sit in front of my Mac and stare at the screen, wishing the Facebook "blip" would sound.  It would signify somebody makes a comment on my post.  Any post.  I take a sip of my coffee, let my brain runs around in circles.  It naturally goes to the warm, sunny day 365 days ago, and the Excel spreadsheet I worked on all afternoon…  The office was thinning out around 3pm - such would be the norm on a sunny winter afternoon - yet I decided to stick around until official quittn' time.  To finish the spreadsheet, I said.  At 5:15, I put on my turquoise Patagonia jacket, I waved "have a good weekend" to my gal pal Julie, and flashed a big smile.  I was going home to my husband.  My niece Katie was waiting for me downstairs; we were carpooling.  

I threw away the spreadsheet and I never looked at it again.  I secretly loathe Excel. 

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For all our years together, I never dreamed about Eric.  Not once.  How unromantic!!  But, why would I dream about him when he was already with me?   

That is, until a month after Eric died.  He came to let me know, he was completely pain free.  And fine.

I blog about it on this day because I need us to know, Eric is completely pain free. And fine.  In whatever form he is.  Wherever he is.  My good friend Ginny said, that a person dies is not nearly as important as how the person lived.  

I am very comfortable talking about Eric's death - and using the word died and death in conversations.  My husband didn't pass on.  He didn't pass away.  There is no need to soften anything with me.  Facts are facts - we need to be respectful in handling them.  I can handle facts like a champ now. 

I used to sleep through almost anything.  Thunderstorms, howling wind, earthquakes, barking dogs, neighbor screaming profanities.  That is, until Eric died. Melatonin worked its magic every once in a while.  

The night Eric visited, I actually slept.  In the dream, I found my husband sleeping in blue striped flannel pajamas…  WTF.  He never wore pajamas.  He didn't own pajamas.  And FLANNEL?  Really?  Who dressed my handsome husband!?  I was not pleased…  I was about to stop my dream and go straight to the one in charge of the sleepwear department.

I turned on the light in his dorm room; he sat up and complained, "HONE, you woke me up!!!"  He hated being woken up, because it took him so much efforts to fall asleep.  What an oxymoron:  taking efforts to fall asleep.     

"HONE!  You woke me up!  I have a trip tomorrow morning!"
"A trip?  Where are you going?  How are you supposed to fly?"
Silence.  Smiled.  "What do you think?" 
Stunned. "Where are you flying to?"
Smiled.  "I'm trying to get on the same trip to Dallas with you!" 

I broke down and weeped.  For him to sit in the cockpit and fly my plane to Dallas, it could ONLY mean one thing:  my husband was no longer caged in like a zoo animal.  My husband was no longer in pain.  My husband was free.  

Eric was a "Water Rabbit" - he was a Pisces, born in the year of Rabbit.  While on my business trip in Dallas, the Water Rabbit came to see me.  One morning at four o'clock, as I stepped out of the hotel lobby and went to work - there it was, a big rabbit in the bush!  Just sitting there, waiting.  Then slowly, he hopped away…  Sixteen hours later, I returned to the hotel after a long-ass day.  There it was again, the freakn' RABBIT!  Sitting there again, waiting…  Then slowly, he hopped away again.  

I never talked about my dream or my Water Rabbit story.  They lived solely inside of me.  Until now.

I don't know how dreams work; I don't care.  I don't want any "expert" to interpret my dreams.  I don't even know if the rabbit story has the slightest significance to anything - but who cares!?  I'm not trying to cure cancer and save babies - that's not my gig.  My gig is to be a "teacher" through my unconventional experiences, a role I never asked for, but it's the cards I've been dealt.  That's my gig.  

Find-Your-Gig.  Express it fully.  Dive All In. 

On Day 365, a much anticipated day, the anniversary of my husband's death, I am strong, soft, brave, graceful, vulnerable.  I am sad, and I am relieved.  I am immensely grateful.  My Gratitude Cup has never been so full, and that it perpetually overflows day and night.  



Water Rabbit
Dallas, TX
May, 2013



Saturday, February 8, 2014

Acceptance


I saw a quote by Michael J. Fox this morning on Acceptance.  He said "Acceptance doesn't mean resignation.  It means understanding that something is what it is and there's got to be a way through it." 

Yes, there's got to be a way through it.  


In exactly six days I would have triumphed over a very difficult event in my life for one full year.  365 days seems like a lifetime to be alive without my husband, yet I am immensely grateful to be still alive, despite his absence.  Not just to be alive, but thrive. Not just thrive, but to do so bravely, victoriously, triumphantly.  To be Daisy.  I am immensely, immensely grateful for the ability to evolve.  To evolve as a human being when I have to get through it all.  I am most, most grateful for my parents for raising a daughter who is smart, funny, beautiful, and brave.  

To be brave.  That's the only way to get through it.  




Looking back, I have the faintest idea when mourning ends and acceptance begins. I know it was not sequential.  I don't think grief ever ends, but acceptance does begin.   I believe when grief becomes more familiar, acceptance sprouts.  When acceptance grows, you begin to get through it.  You muster up everything, every fiber in you - love, strength, courage, sticktoitiveness, friendship, faith in yourself, faith in others, faith in humanity, distractions, sheer stubbornness - and you trudge through it.  The process is like shampooing hair:  Wet.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  

To accept.  It's the beginning of trudging through it all.  

It probably wouldn't be an exaggeration if I call last year "the most horrendous experience" of my life, but that is not all accurate.  Yes, PART of the year was horrendous.  True, getting through it was f'nkg hell.  Too many days, I simply didn't want to get through it.  I wanted to dig a hole, jump in, and call it forever good. Like burying a dead gold fish.  My bones physically ached.  It felt like blood should pore through my skin.  Accurate, I could not possibly go through the loss of a husband again.  But through my spiral vortex I am emerging as the most beautiful human being I could possibly be in all my years combined.  

It wasn't my doing; the credit didn't belong to me.  It belongs to my family and friends who surround me with the most profound, unexplainable love.  Those who tell and show me over and over and over how much they love and support me; those who remind me repeatedly how much Eric loved and adored me, and all he ever wanted was for me to be completely happy.  My growth belongs to the Universe. My Universe.  The Universe that always provides.   

To know that you are enough.  It's the path to get through it. 

I have a fresh perspective on love.  On relationships.  
I have a fresh perspective on how to love, how to accept love, and how to ask for love. 
I find it perfectly acceptable and reasonable to ask for love.  In fact, humble.
I have a fresh perspective on life and death. 
MY life.  
I have a fresh perspective on living with courage in spite of fear.  Everyday. 
I have a fresh perspective on me. And what I am capable of.  
I have a fresh perspective on my desires.  
I have a fresh perspective on acceptance.  
I have a fresh perspective on my husband.  My love.  My hero - a term he would never accept.  
I have a fresh perspective on my husband's life.  And his death. 

I have developed a perspective on what it means to "get through it all."  

In six days, it appears I would have to relive all the moments on that sunny day.  I would remember our texts.  I would listen to Tchaikovsky.  And I would remember our final discussion on this great Russian composer.  His abnormally large hands, we joked.  Then I would watch the clock and count the minutes.  And I would hear my piercing screams replaying themselves like a broken record.  I would see what I saw. I would feel my body going into complete shock.  And I would cry.  Perhaps weep.  I would remember my breathing stopped.  The controlled chaos.  I would remember I wish I were dead, as well.  I would have to relive it all, minute by minute.  What I wouldn't give to bribe someone to knock me out cold with a two by four, just for a couple of hours.  But that's not Daisy.  It's not her style.  She will face it.  Minute by minute.  Head on.  And go on.  

She will look herself in the mirror, say, "you have done exceptionally well, triumphed victoriously, and gotten through it all.  I am very proud of you.  May you continue to discover fresh perspectives for another 365 days."  

She wouldn't have it any other way.  She is, after all, her husband's proud wife. 



Eric climbing at City of Rocks





  

     

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Bandwagon that served many purposes

For weeks and months leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII, she declared herself a bandwagon Seahawks fan.  And owned it.  This proud 12th Man flew the Seahawks flags on her Soobie Outback.  Her Mojo Toes had a fresh coat of OPI blue nail polish every ten days for three months, with a "12" written on each thumb and big toe. For days, she never bothered riding on someone else's bandwagon.  She owns her own wagon.  She is her own wagon.  

Her friends are gracious people.  Some are perplexed. A few are stunned.  Most just play along, thinking it's the best thing since sliced bread that she let her hair down a bit and have a grand 'ol time.  Women joined her insanity and painted their fingernails and toenails Seahawks blue and green with "12" written all over. Wives of coworkers; daughters of acquaintances. Checkers at the grocery stands.  If you want to start a movement, go grassroot… 

I am that Bandwagon.  


My bandwagon makes me remember - and thirsty - for the stuff I did, not that long ago.  I want to be able to intelligently discuss a Tchaikovsky composition and just as comfortably, rock out at a rock concert.  I want to play Chopin, write Haiku, shoot my arrows and fire my guns.  I want to climb; I want to golf; I want to ski; I want to fly kites.  I want to lie on the warm sand like a beach whale, and hang-glide off the cliff.  I want to go to the opera house looking drop-dead gorgeous in my heels, and road-tripping in my van without showering for three days.  I want to eat caviar, drink champagne from a flute, and skin a fresh turkey with my bare hands.  I want to whisper ever so seductively in somebody's ears, and swear my head off at a bunch of 300# men dog-piling each other wearing colorful tights.  My bandwagon poignantly reminds me - I have only one life to live. Waiting for anyone - anyone's - approvals or endorsements is a luxury I can never afford.  My Bandwagon has served its purpose of letting me see ever so clearly.  

NFL Second Round Playoff
Seahawks 23-15 Saints
January 11, 2014

My bandwagon is also my best distraction of all distractions.  If you have ever had a need for temporary distractions, you would understand.  Distractions are like oxycodones.  Narcotics.  Narcotics don't stop the pain; they merely take the edge off.  They provide temporary relief.  At some point, the relief stops and the edge returns.  In my case, the distraction worked for two full months and stops just after Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2.  My bandwagon has served its full purpose of diverting my attention from my loss to considering what I just might have gained.  

My bandwagon gave me a different perspective on people and relationships. 

My bandwagon also represented many personal things to me.  It served many purposes. It took on a life of its own.  My bandwagon gave me hearty belly laughs.  It made my friends cheer.  It made me feel wonderfully silly and remarkable.

I haven't had this much fun for a long, long time.  And I am very grateful for my courageous bandwagon.