Groundhog Day — Grieving Style

Somedays walking this path alone is still almost more than I can handle . . . .

Hi . . .it's been a while since I posted. Sorry for that. Life gets in the way of my good intentions sometimes. You know the scenario. Anyway, here's why my weekly Sunday post is late.

Friday, August 5, 2022   9:00 p.m.

Hey, Brian
 . . . So, about an hour ago I got home from the retired pastor/spouse yearly summer potluck (a very Lutheran thing to have, right?!). And while I enjoyed myself and feel very much at home with that group of people, the elephant in the room is always that I am there alone. No you. No us. I really don't have any words to describe the emptiness I felt as I was driving the 32 miles to home. A while after I got here I opened up my Facebook page and this showed up, making me feel like I am living my own private version of the movie "Groundhog Day."
                              * * * * * * * * * *
August 5, 2021
Dear Brian,

You are always on my mind. Your smile, the sound of your voice, the mischievous twinkle in your eyes, and that beautiful, soft head of hair that I loved to tousle and run my fingers through. It's strange how memories pop up at unexpected moments. Sometimes they make me smile, and other times they are like a gut punch and tears begin to slide down my cheeks. (I am definitely hard on the eyeliner and mascara since you died!) I have been helping our granddaughter move to her apartment in Iowa City to start her freshman year at the University of Iowa. And while I love the new memories this is making for me, lately, every time I go to the Iowa City/Coralville area I can't get past the memories we made together when you lived there. Those memories are everywhere. I remember the feelings I reveled in those two summers we dated. It's hard to describe how I felt, but I think "content" and "safe" would do a good job of summing it up. When those memories surface, it's like being wrapped in a warm, fuzzy blanket on a cold winter night. Maybe some day they will bring me more comfort than sadness, but right now they just remind me that you are gone forever, and will never be here again for me to reclaim and share with you. And I so badly need a sense of comfort and safety right now. Life in my new reality as a widow makes me feel like a stranger in my own skin. It's as if I am on a trip to a far-off country where I didn't want to go and where I don't know the language or customs. Somedays it takes all my energy to navigate this surreal landscape I find myself wandering it. I know full well I that cannot reclaim the past, and that I must move forward with eyes focused on the future. However, that, as the saying goes, is easier said than done. So, since it's so hard to do those feelings justice by merely putting adjectives down on paper, I wrote a poem. It's the smile I am sending Heavenward to you today, filled with love and precious memories of the time we were allowed to share together here on earth.

                            Morning Muse
                     When I wake up in the morning
                     and remember that you're gone,
                     the tears well up and fill my eyes
                     and I think I can't go on.

                     Then I close my eyes and say a prayer,
                     asking God to help me cope.
                     I pray for strength and courage,
                     to move forward, smile, and hope.

                     I ask for Him to guide me
                     as I go about each day.
                     To hold my hand and walk with me
                     while I search to find my way. 
                     And, while living life without you
                     would have never been my choice,
                     I think that I can make it through
                     if I just can hear your voice.

                     Hear it in the laughter of children,
                     in the words that others say.
                     In the breeze that blows, the rain that falls.
                     In the little things each day.

                     My life will never be the same,
                     but that is nothing new.
                     I just wish that I could have the time
                     to spend more days with you.
                               Much love, 

                           * * * * * * * * * * 
Wow. See what I mean? Groundhog Day. Death is such a thief. It not only steals someone you love, but so much of your own identify as well. And then, as if that's not enough, it keeps finding ways of reminding  you of what you've lost and will never get back. Even more infuriating is the way, in place of what you've lost, it leaves its co-conspirator, Grief, to follow you around and remind you, at random times, out of nowhere, of what is now gone. That you are alone. I imagine that if Grief could speak, it would  have a voice like the shrill cackle like a Halloween witch, screeching with joy each time it left a reminder that you've died.

But, you know what? The fact that I am cognizant of these things, and am aware they will probably always stop me in my tracks and take the wind out of my sails for a time means that I know what they want to happen: They want to confuse me, get me stuck in the quagmire of despair, make me feel like giving up. But, I love you, and myself, too much to let that happen. And in my book, at this moment in time, THAT is progress.

It was a great 27 year run together, Brian Gentz. I only wish it could have lasted longer.  See you on the Other Side someday.

Love you always,

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