Ray, my dear, sweet man…you would’ve woke me this morning with a “Happy Schmiles Day” and a big kiss, and some coffee; made plans for a celebration; always a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a night out, maybe Red Lobster… simple and always endearing. This year, there will be none of those special little things…it is a sobering thought; the only reason I looked forward to my birthday was for the sweet surprises you would have given me…and the anticipation of just spending time together; carving out a moment of joy between all the usual mundane chores of life. Celebrations lose all their meaning when you don’t have that special someone to share them with. I never imagined we would not be together for all the future birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and family gatherings. We were a unit…a pair, two halves that made us whole; now I am missing my other half; only one single sock…I am limping with a visible wound; a flat tire on the ride of my life. Suddenly my gears are grinding, my engine is sputtering. I have been in a severe collision with fate…with death. It has rendered me helpless, to see the rest of my life; to make any plans; to choose a future…the maps have all changed. The destinations are murky and blurred.
As I drove home from work, I saw this huge fog bank rolling in from the Pacific, looming as if it was a new mountain range against the fading blue evening sky. A metaphor of my life ahead; cold…damp…grey; foreboding and dark, relentlessly bearing down on me to obliterate the sun; grief…it covers and saturates all you are familiar with; it blinds you to the endless possibilities and tomorrows that you used to dream together; the light that you know is there somewhere, but has been hidden from you, out of reach; out of the realm of your circle of life. You start to feel pulled down into that spiral of hopelessness and can’t get a grip on reality. Your reality has been shattered. You don’t want this new reality. Your grip on the steering wheel of your life is like a vise; you are afraid to let go; you can’t see the road ahead…like that panic you get when you can’t see even past your own headlights; afraid to keep going, but afraid to stop as well. Looking for anything familiar, anything you can identify.
So my new year starts. Without you by my side, to celebrate with me, to make new plans, to figure out our future; to cheer me up, back me up, warm me up, and pick me up…who will be there when I fall, when I fail, when I am sad, when I am mad…when I am cold…you, Ray…you were my everything.
I realize that grief is like the weather; sometimes you can see it coming; sometimes it catches you off-guard…sometimes it is relentless, other times it is cleansing. If you are unprepared, you will suffer. If you know what the forecast is…you can survive and enjoy the rainbow, however brief it is…a fleeting moment when you can stop and look at the beauty of life; be thankful for the little things. And the other good things in your life…family, friends, work…and memories of your one true love. I will find a way to get through the fog; I know the sun is shining somewhere behind the clouds…and I know My Love, you would want me to look for that rainbow.
Missing you so very much tonight…I Love You to the Moon and Back…You are Forever My Always,
Another month is about to pass…I struggled through all the “firsts” a widow goes through in that awful time of tremendous loss…first week, first month, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, Your first Birthday, first Anniversary and first Valentine’s Day…now it’s another first, My Birthday, which you always made so memorable. My kids, my family, his kids, his family; I’m sure they will make me feel loved and celebrated. But it will never be the same…ever.