January 18, 2020
Last Year at this Time…I Buried the Love of my Life…
I hardly know what to say today. It has been a very good day in many ways until I start to think about this time last year. At this time last year, I was barely able to eat anything. I had lost weight already in caring for Glen and all the stress that caused. I was thin to begin with…and the nine days between Glen passing from this realm to the Heavenly Realm where our home is and the memorial service I lost another eight pounds. My stomach hurt without eating and even a small bite of food made me almost retch with pain. The stomach is very connected to the heart and emotions. In psychology we even call it our second heart because it is where very deep emotions lie. To make it through the day of memorial, exactly a year ago today, I had to see my friend Sharon twice for bio-energetic treatments in the week before the memorial. My friend Iona spent the first night with me and was ready to drop everything in her life to be with me. She came along to the funeral home to make the necessary arrangements along with both Donovan and Joshua and my sweet Dad and Step Mom. Then on day two my cousin Lori arrived from Manitoba to be with me. She came with me to buy the dreaded funeral outfit, she drove me around, she massaged my head, neck and shoulders and along with others held me when I cried – which was most of the time.
The day of the memorial service – I still can’t say that awful word “funeral” for Glen’s Service, it makes me want to throw up – my boys were literally holding me up with one on each side of me for most of the day. My friend Jeremy drove us to the cemetery for the burial…another ugh word…and took some pictures and video putting it together for me. It’s a five-minute snippet of the short burial service and I can’t watch it without weeping even now. God got me through that day. All of it. I clung to Glen’s coffin twice with tears streaming down my face as it hovered over the six-foot hole (or deeper as I will be thrown in on top when I pass away!). I could not let go. Just as I clung to my Glen in the three hours right after he passed away as soon as the paramedics and police let me because I knew that I didn’t want to let go…and the last two months of his life had been too painful for him to cuddle close.
Glen made everyone feel safe – especially me. The second he passed away my safety exploded. When your spouse dies your world explodes and then it’s turned upside down and shaken over and over for good measure. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, is the same. My counselling work is the only thing that comes close to being the same yet even that is different without Glen because he was also a counsellor and very much involved in my counselling practice… Glen was wise, smart, empathetic, and excellent at conversation, excellent at everything… I know he had flaws but they were few and far between. Hmmm…He liked bread and sweets too much? What can I say? Glen was amazing and still is amazing in heaven and I can’t wait to see him!
So what’s different a year later? Well, first of all my body and mind has plummeted in the last two months as my body goes through body memories of last year at this time. The stomachaches have returned and though my sleep has been hellish all year, as in even worse than normal, the last nine days I have barely slept at all. So when my dear friends David and Katie and toddler Raphael invited me to go to Mazatlan, Mexico last minute with them I thought that was a dandy idea. My body needs to normalize and realize that it does not have to do what it did last year. This year is different. I need to keep living. I have kept living and I have chosen joy just as God has taught me to do and just as I know Glen would want for me. We flew in yesterday out of snowy and blowy Abbotsford and into balmy Mexico. Today we spent soaking up the sunny kind of vitamin D on the beach. Though we couldn’t swim on the beach we were on it was absolutely stunning and I loved every minute of it. Raphael did amazing and had less itchy craziness with eczema and they have all crashed for the night as I should also do…but my brain is spinning. I am thankful that this year is different and thankful to be here with them. It is beyond weird for me without Glen. Someone recently found out that Glen passed and said, “It must be so hard to grieve someone you love so much and on top of that figure out how to be single again!”
Say what? So it might seem weird but I still think of myself as married even though my logical brain knows he’s gone, my heart is still very attached to Glen. I still feel married. It makes it really weird to be without him because I still love him and I know that he still loves me and that will never change. The love might be different in heaven but it is still love. Yet, she’s right. So my brain has to figure this one out. Single. Glen and I met when I was eighteen. We became friends pretty quick and slowly fell in love and fell in love deeply. Our love grew and grew every day and that was my prayer everyday to God, that He would grow our love for each other stronger and stronger everyday, and that God would be our center always. So in a very real sense 18 is not yet full-grown. Our brains aren’t even fully developed until around age 26. We were married at age 22. We literally grew up together… I barely remember being single. So for me, and probably for many others who have lost their spouse, we need to learn not how to be single “again”, because being single was so long ago – we need to learn how to just simply be single…
Today, I remember last year at this time. For now maybe that is enough. I have learned a lot in the past year and maybe that is learning how to be single without even knowing it. Today, I feel safe with David, Katie and Raphael with God protecting us. I am thankful for the Mexican sun and the sunburn I now am sporting and thankful for the Mexican food I ate, and thankful to just be in a place where I can rest. I’m thankful for a toddler who calls me “Auntie Lo Lo” and who wants to sit on my lap and splash me in the pool. I’m thankful I don’t need to use my new bravery to navigate anywhere because David is doing a dandy job of that. I’m thankful that Katie is such an amazing friend whose empathy knows no bounds. I am thankful for a restful place to heal and figure out life, set new patterns of health and just be. So today, I will declare out loud, was a good day to remember my Glen, a man worthy to be remembered always.
Addendum – Day 5 of Mexico has seen me become very sick with throwing up all night. This is something I have not done for many years with auto-immune caused from Lyme…so as I lie on the couch instead of in the sun I will choose to take this as a good sign. Maybe I’m getting better and getting sick is a sign that I’m getting better? Lord let it be so!