Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Dearest Myra

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My dearest Myra,

What little I know of history suggests that the "season" of mourning lasts for a year--particularly when losing a spouse. I'm halfway through month number ten now and I ponder what makes the anniversary marker so significant. Pain this severe doesn't heal in a mere year. Perhaps the "year of grieving" is intended as much for the mourner's family and friends as anyone. It gives them the option of saying, "it hasn't been a year yet" as though the mourner can be excused until then.

I'm sitting on my deck this morning and I wonder. What happens afterwards? Will my license to grieve expire? Will my mourning privileges be revoked? Does sympathy become derision, an accusation that I refuse to move past it and get on with my life? Do they expect the hurt will magically cease on the 18th of July?

To this very day, tears come from nowhere in the span of a few blinks of the eye. Even now, the agony that simmers within boils to the surface without warning or even a logical provocation. When will I reach the day that I can rein in these unexpected emotional eruptions? Ever?

Perhaps "moving on" really is just choice. I don't know. I just don't see how healing can co-exist with these memories I dare not lose. I want nothing more right now than to wrap my arms around you and squeeze forever. Nothing! Just to whisper in your ear and see the answer in your eyes, I would trade the rest of my life for that one brief moment. God as my witness, Myra, I would.

I look back on my life with you and find that I am so very grateful for so many things. As with any marriage, we had our share of trials and hardships, but we had a rare devotion, one not experienced by many, I think. Nothing separated us. Nothing beat us. Every problem we faced made us stronger, more committed and made our bond of love deeper. Our mutual triumphs brought us mutual joys and enriched our union.

I do not have many of the regrets that other widowed spouses have. I see little shame and much satisfaction in our twenty-nine years. I see how we each made the other better. I see our mutual appreciation for what we both brought to our relationship and how we each enabled the other to grow and blossom, becoming the beauty we each saw budding within the other.

Is it then any wonder why I still grieve? How can my days in mourning be any fewer than the days that lie before me? And how can I hurt less on the year-plus-one day than on the first day I lived without you by my side? Some pains lessen with time, but this ache will last a lifetime.

Eternally cherishing you,
The one whose heart you'll always hold,
- Jeff

53 comments:

  1. Love doesn't get much stronger or deeper than that.

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    1. Every day I'd say I couldn't love her any more than that day and then the next day I'd say I was wrong.

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  2. No, I don't believe there is a limit or universally expiration date. When we move forward doesn't mean we must leave everything else behind.

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    1. Thanks, Terry. It does at times feel like a snail's pace forward would be light-speed though.

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  3. Wow...
    Excuse me while i wipe the tears from my eyes.

    I have no words of encouragement for you unfortunately. I am so sorry for your loss, and i hope and pray the pain will ease, growing easier to endure. I hope time will soothe the ache, and that life becomes less painful for you.

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    1. I appreciate that. I've come to realize it's not the words so much as the emotion behind them that matters.

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  4. I'm praying for you too. Dragon hugs.

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    1. I appreciate those hugs, Al. Dragon hugs are indeed special.

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  5. No, a year is just a first step toward making a life without the one you love physically beside you, of being able to enjoy life again. The professionals are always worried when people jump back into a relationship too quickly after a loss. They recommend two years.

    I hope you are working to make a life your lovely Myra would want you to be living. Life can be beautiful again after loss. My sweet mother died when I was 14 and I was widowed at 26. *hugs*

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    1. At 26?? I can't even imagine that, Donna. I'm so fortunate to still have Mom. In fact, I knew my grandmother and great-grandmother too. All priceless gifts.

      I'm working unbelievably hard at living as she'd wish. I promised her that much.

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  6. No, grief has no time limit. And if it did, so would loving.
    Hugs and caring.

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    1. It would indeed. I love those hugs. :)

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  7. Some relationships last forever. She will be part of you for the rest of eternity.

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  8. I think the idea is that the pain will become less immediate. It will always be with you, but not be such a wrenching agony after a while. You have been doing very well, but don't expect any of it to go away quickly. Hugs from me too.

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    1. I'd like to think I've been doing well, Jo. There are no 100% good or 100% bad days and probably never will be, but having folks like you encouraging me definitely ups the good percentages. :)

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  9. Painful and beautiful. One would never want a lesser love, would they?

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    1. I've experienced no greater pain and no greater joy, but those joyous years are worth the pain.

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  10. I'm not good with these sorts of things, but the best words I can offer come from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

    “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

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    1. You're better with these sorts of things than you might realize, Patrick. :)

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  11. No there is no time limit on grieve and although that acute pain will lessen in time as you adjust, a part of Myra will always be in your heart and soul. Your words are beautiful and your love shines through. God bless.

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    1. I'm grateful, Suzanne, for so many things. That, as much as anything, is choice, but I feel blessed to be able to still be grateful. Thank you.

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  12. I've never experienced a loss like this, but it's hard for me to believe that grieving only takes a year. With how close you and Myra were (and honestly, still are), it definitely seems impossible for a mourning period to last so briefly...

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    1. I wholeheartedly agree--obviously ;-) Everyone deals with loss in their own unique way. I suppose that's as how it should be considering we're all unique individuals. Great loss comes to us all eventually. We feel like it's a curse at the time, but it's really proof that we loved and did so deeply--and there is no greater joy than that.

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  13. This brought tears to my eyes because my heart hurts too. While I can forget during some of the busy parts of the day, at least once a day I feel that stabbing of hurt and hole in my heart. I guess it's good we loved so much that we feel these feeling. I try to remind myself that so many people have gone through this and come to the other side where life can feel truly good again. Hopefully we can too.

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    1. Natalie, my heart ached for you when I heard the news. While only you can know the uniqueness of your loss, it isn't difficult for those of us who been through the same to fully identify. It's a rocky road we're traveling. My prayer is that we can travel that road with peace by our side.

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  14. I don't think there is a time limit. I have days where I miss my brother like he passed yesterday and it's been years. My sister is widowed. I saw the change from grieved to missing slowly after the two years. She could start talking about her late husband with laughs and good memories rather crushing tears. Hugs Jeff. You're an amazing friend and wonderful guy.

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    1. Wonderful Elizabeth, you have been such a comfort and inspiration. You've taught me more than you realize. I am forever grateful.

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  15. Don't measure it by the calendar, Jeff. Take however much time you need.

    Myra was a lucky lady to have spent her life with someone like you.

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    1. "Don't measure it by the calendar." What a wonderfully succinct way to convey such wise advice. You must be a writer! ;-)

      Myra often told me she thanked God for me, that He gave me to her. She'd tell me she appreciated me. What husband can hear such things from his wife and not be grateful and appreciative in return. I can't help but believe that I was the one most blessed.

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  16. A time limit on grieving? ... Nope, no way, no, uh-huh ... I think those limits are set by others, who don't want to feel, uncomfortable, or whatever. That way they get a nice little boundary that gives them permission to stop feeling guilty they're feeling too little or too much about the death of someone else.

    Grieve on, I say.

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    1. I believe you've hit the nail squarely on the head, Widder. I've come to recognize the need others have for that distance and I do my best to respect it. I think that's why Hospice was such a help, both the individual sessions with a bereavement counselor and the surviving spouse support group.

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  17. It's taken me a day to have enough bravery to read this--because I knew it would break my heart. Honestly, Jeff, I can't even imagine… the pain seems too unbearable. But this was SO beautiful. You have such a way with words and describing emotion--this really touched me. Thank you for sharing your journey with us---because you really are helping lives.

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    1. Sweet Morgan, I do hope your husband appreciates your wonderful heart. I sometimes feel that sharing my journey borders on presumption, but if my sharing has helped even one person then I am certainly humbled and happy. There is a purpose for all things.

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    2. YOU are amazing, Jeff. Such strength and faith. And I wanted to say thank you for your encouraging words over on my blog. Goodness, they certainly mean a lot. And they mean more when I know they're coming from someone who knows the ultimate heartache.

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  18. Jeff,
    I am so glad that you found Myra! It is amazing the love you two shared.Many people will never know this kind of love,you are truly blessed! It has to be better to have had a love like this than to have never known it...

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    1. Sherry, hearing that puts a whopper smile in my heart. Despite the relentless ache of living without her, the immense happiness we shared throughout our 29 years was certainly worth it. My existence without having loved like this would have been a pale existence indeed--and I would probably have never even realized it. Love like that is a gift, but it's also a daily choice to remain committed through everything. It's a major effort that carries unmeasurable rewards. And I'm blessed to have experienced it.

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  19. My mother died when I was young. Within six months I lost both of my grandmothers and my mother. I still love and miss all of them. And I still sometimes tear up when I think of them. It takes time, but eventually you'll smile again and laugh for real without feeling guilty. I believe they know we still have living to do and that we need to do it the best we can. Hugs and good wishes for you.

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    1. There have indeed been genuine laughs, even a few belly laughs. My children and grandchildren are full guffaw-inducing antics and wit. The awareness of how brief our time together can be makes those moments even more precious.

      Since sharing this journey, I've heard from many such as yourself who desperately miss those who have gone before them. A measure of healing--sometimes great, sometimes small--has happened within them all and this gives hope. Thank you for your encouragement and for your sharing.

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  20. I knew this post would get me...and it did. I hope you know how wonderful, beautiful and lasting a tribute your words about Myra are each and every time. That love and spirit shine through all!

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    1. Nicole, thank you. I've was privileged to have had 29 amazing years with her. I feel as though people have come to know her, especially over this past year, as they've read these posts. That brings me a great deal of satisfaction. She would have appreciated each and every last one you.

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  21. Everyone grieves in their own time. Whether it takes a month, a year, or ten years or more, you just have to take it one day at a time. *hugs*

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    1. One day at a time is what I suppose we're relegated to, Cherie, but it feels like a marathon. Grieving is an exhausting process. Thanks for stopping by.

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  22. Grief is a sneaky thief. Just when I felt I had control over my brothers' deaths, then a new wave of sorrow would sweep over me.

    It has been 17 years since Robert died at age 46, and 15 years since Bill died at age 44. Not a day goes by that I do not think of them.

    God bless you and keep you. Susan Kane

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    1. Susan, I can't imagine losing two siblings so young. I have one brother and we're thankfully very close. He's been my rock through all this. I can't imagine having survived without him. I reckon we never truly "get over it," do we? Those waves probably never stop coming. God bless you too, Susan.

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  23. This is a very touching tribute, Jeff. I miss those I've lost too, and I still love them as much today as I did when could sit with them. I suspect it will always be that way.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    1. Debi, I think you're exactly right. I can't imagine ever loving any that we've lost any less--even with the passage of time. Myra will always be the missing half of my heart and soul. Those we love truly will be part of us forever.

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  24. Jeff I have never, in all my time reading blogs, been moved to tears. But this truly did. The love with which you write for your Myra is amazing. Wow. Sounds like you and Myra had (and still have) a love that all of us aspire too...

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    1. Thank you so much for those kind words. It means a lot to me. Folks often think I choose to only remember the good times or that I exaggerate our bond, but neither is the case. I believe hardships and struggles make or break a relationship and that commitment is what decides which. We had our hurdles, but none stronger than our dedication to each other.

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  25. Dear Jeff,

    Your heart and soul pours out. The resonance of your shared love, the good times, the challenging times, all reflected in the purity of your thoughts. Myra and Jeff, forever in the true essence of love.

    Bless you and bless Myra.

    Your friend,

    Gary

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    1. My wonderful Gary, always a pleasure to "see" you. I thank you for the wish of blessing for us. You are appreciated, my friend.

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  26. I've written and rewritten this comment many times in my head, but I can't seem to get the words right. The grieving process is different for everyone and all I can do is wish you peace and healing. The love you shared with Myra was incredible and a gift. The love you still feel for her today is everlasting. Warm hugs to you from across the ocean.

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    1. Thank you, Elise. She--and the love we shared--was indeed a gift, one for which I'm eternally grateful. Warm hugs always appreciated. :)

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