A Good Day

Yesterday was a very good day. Actually this whole weekend has been wonderful. That feels very good. It also feels a bit like betrayal.

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The Ferry Building in San Francisco. I took this picture on a family visit to town.

Yesterday I spent the day with a good friend enjoying San Francisco. We walked the Embarcadero starting with the booths outside the Ferry Building. I came across an artist that made beautiful paintings and interestingly he was an author, too. Then we entered the delicious realm of delicacies and savory treats that abounded. Armed with pork buns and bomboli we found a wine bar and enjoyed the delectable taste treats washed down with exciting vintages. Conversation was wonderful and stretched across many themes.

Then we walked the Embarcadero. It was a perfect day weather-wise (those that know San Francisco know that is the actual San Francisco treat) and while jockeying around tourists and families we enjoyed conversation and friendship.

We ended up by the water watching crazy people swimming, sailboats heading out under the bridge, and recalling memories. Of course my mind went to the constant of the loss of my husband. But sitting there I could feel the joy and the satisfaction that my husband felt at my happiness. It’s interesting how we often feel that we need to be constantly sad by our loss. But as I sat there truly reveling in the day, I felt peace. My husband was with me and he was happy that I was enjoying life.

That’s what I believe those that pass on really want for us. They want us to remember them of course, but they don’t want us to stop our lives. They don’t want our life to be like a watch stuck on the time when it was shattered. I know that Terry never wanted that for me. In fact, I know that because of his way of being and the love he had for me, he felt he could leave because I would enjoy days such as yesterday.

It feels a bit counterintuitive to say that. But it also feels very right.

Oddly enough I didn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt for my enjoyment yesterday. I think it’s the first time I have experienced that. Every other time I was enjoying myself I felt a twinge, and sometimes a down right punch in the face, of guilt and loss. Yesterday I realized that my loss will always be with me. The insurmountable feeling of something missing will be constant as I move through my life.  But the point is that I move through.

It’s not dishonoring them to be happy. To enjoy the sweet taste of nutella wrapped up in a delicious sugared pastry is actually celebrating them in some weird way. Laughing, being joyous, truly submerging in this world is what I believe they would want us to do.

It takes courage to go out into the world after great loss. It takes strength to decide to live when you’ve lost such an integral part of your soul, but that is what living on is about. It’s seeing the beauty in the world even though you’ve been battling through the pain, suffering, and torture of losing the love you had with the person who as departed.

I know my husband wanted me to be happy and to go and live completely. He wanted me to eat, drink, be merry, travel, stretch my boundaries.

So this weekend when I played with my granddaughters enjoying their sweet giggles, ate dinner with my daughter and her family in their new home, and basked in the sunshine in one of my favorite cities, Terry was right beside me and happy in my contentment and peace.

What we think those who pass want for us is not what they truly want. When I am in sorrow and so sad at my loss of the man I loved, I actually feel him at a distance and its far more painful. But yesterday in my bliss I felt him sitting right next to me, smiling at my laughter and happy that I was out in the world enjoying it’s beauty.

The week after Terry died I sat down and watched the movie, We are Marshall. It’s the story of a college football team who loses almost everyone on the team in an airplane accident. The story focuses on the college’s desire to rebuild and to honor those that had passed by not giving up. The movie spoke to me so strongly the first time I watched it and today, as I was writing this blog, the movie came on again. It was at the end scene when the team pulls together and wins. I sat watching and seeing the joy on the faces of those on the team as they watched their once decimated football team rise up out of the ashes and actually win and to honor those they loved by playing the best they could. I don’t believe in coincidences so I know I was meant to see this as I was writing this blog.

It was a confirmation that what I am feeling and writing about is true.

I know tomorrow I may not be able to leave the house because I will be lost in tears and sorrow. But today I am celebrating life. Celebrating my husband’s memory by being fully immersed in the world. It is the best way to honor the love that we shared and truly the best way to carry him with me.

Lorena

Wake

Tomorrow we are having a wake for my husband as a celebration of his life.  A time to talk about funny stories, things we will remember about him, and be together.

I had this idea of what I want it to be like. I know, bad idea to plan ahead because things usually don’t go as planned. But I think when I get right down to it, I want to just be in a room with people who have memories of him and then just talk about it all. I just want to focus on him and hear his voice through other people’s words.

On the other hand, I’m sad. For some reason this feels like a finality. Like a finish line or some place that’s been off in the distance and now we’re here. And I feel like once I cross that finish line things will change.

How? I can’t really put my finger on it. Just that saying goodbye this way takes me across something I don’t really understand.

Grief. I don’t understand it. I don’t know why I can hear something said on t.v. and I’m sobbing. Or why I sit in my home and feel his presence. Wait for him to come home. Or why I sometimes have to run through everything in my head to know he’s gone because I expect to go home and find him sitting in his chair.

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Our wedding day!

It’s hard because I have to move on. I have to go on with my life. And on some level that feels like a betrayal. I know he wanted that. I know he wants me to go and live my life and do things like we wanted. But I still feel like I’m betraying him by living.

So for one day I just want to be surrounded by people who loved him. To talk about his crazy antics, big heart, and joy of music. To look at pictures of him up on a wall. To drink a toast to him. To be hugged and loved.

I think we’ll have that. I know he’ll be there.

Lorena

Stages of Grief – Anger

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Rainstorm by Lorena Bathey Whitington

Anger. I know it.

I get mad at him for leaving me. I get mad at God for taking him.

It comes in small waves and great big tsunamis. I  understand this stage more than I do denial.

There is so many ups and downs in this process, and I’m only a few weeks into it. I try not to think about a month from now when I don’t have so much to attend to. When it’s quiet and the pace of getting things done isn’t keeping my mind from the emotions.  What will I feel like then?

I have always believed that with great sadness, anger is a more powerful emotion. With sadness we collapse. Our heart hurts. Tears are shed. Sobs escape. But with anger, we are defiant. We have this powerful rage running through us. We throw things. We cuss people out. We explode so we don’t implode.

Perhaps this is why anger is part of this process. It gives us strength even if it’s in misplaced anger.

But anger at someone who is no longer here can feel unfulfilling. We can’t get a response. We can’t see their face as we rally at them for the hurt they’ve caused. Just silence.

The anger for me was very obvious at the beginning. Yet as I grew to  understand, the anger slowly dissipated. I’m not angry any more. Well, not much. I do have my moments. My thoughts of, damn you, why did you leave me?

It’s natural. We’re human. It hurts. We’re mad. We’re sad. It’s too much. What to do? Get angry.

I think my anger was more directed at God. I rallied to the sky as to why my husband had to suffer so much, to lose everything not once but twice. I ‘m angry at God for treating him like a cat with a mouse. Batting him around. Making him suffer. That to me seems so unfair. (I know, life isn’t fair) but it seems so…unGodlike.

But after I’m done raising my fist to the sky I know.

Everyone has their belief system. It is my belief that we come here to live, to learn, and to grow. There is so much beauty here that we often don’t see because we’re mired down in the yuckiness or the day-to-day bullshit. I believe that wherever we go after this planet is beyond amazing. There we are healthy, light, peaceful, and blissful. There we can watch over those we love and be their angels.

Does that make me understand? Do I know the why?

No, and I never will. I’ll never know why I only got six years with this wonderful man. I’ll never know why he had to be in so much pain. And so after a boiling point my anger fades as I decide, I don’t need to know why.

I only need to know that I was able to love someone so completely and be loved the same in return. I got so many smiles, hugs, so much laughter, and thousands of kisses. I was adored. I was teased. I was treasured. I was loved.

This is what melts that anger away. I had what many people yearn for so how can I ever be angry at that? I had unconditional true love. I was blessed. How can I be angry after knowing that?

Lorena

It’s a brand new day!

Yesterday I made a decision.  I decided not to be safe. 

I have always lived my life the way I thought it should be lived…..rather the way others expected me to live.  And it wasn’t until about nine years ago when my Mom died of cancer that I realized that my life lived that way was wasted.  I wasn’t happy and truly I wasn’t  living but existing. 

Making that change was tough but I did it and the Universe further pushed me by taking away all the foundations that I had built my life on so I could build new ones. 

And I did build new ones.  I got tough and wrote a book and published it myself and created a career helping others.  I loved it.  But it seemed that what I did with that is quit on it.  Why?  My only deduction can be is that I was scared.  I mean I had talked to a producer at Oprah and she loved my stuff.  I believe that somewhere in me my fear squelched the chance I had created.

So I am taking my second chance now.  I am starting over.  I have decided that writing is what I truly love.  The words, sentences, phrases, characters, and story is what I love to do.  So, that’s what I’m gonna do…..starting now.

This is a new blog.  This is my story starting over again.  Second chances do exist and once given it is a do or die situation. So you are going to privy to my decision to take the scary path, the path less traveled, the path I took once and turned around on.

Today is a new day….a brand new day with a vision that I will not fail at.  So, come along with me.  Post your comments about my choices and encounters.   I hope that in some way maybe I can inspire you to take a second chance too!

Lorena Bathey, Author