Gut Check

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Today is the day between Father’s Day and the calendar day on which Rick passed away.

I’ve tried to discern my feelings today – prickly skin, stomachache, head throbbing, a sense of dread, and an inability to think clearly.  It isn’t all because of the second anniversary of losing my husband, as other factors contribute to my unrest.

The first is really a positive, but still brings emotions to the surface.  I and the man I’m dating met with seven Michigan couples in just three days to cross-fertilize our friendships.  I met three of his and he met four of mine.  I hadn’t seen my friends for four years.  Of course there were emotional hugs and reminiscing about Rick – yet, too, there was the pleasure of introducing my beau and seeing their pleasure in my finding such a good man.

The second reason is death and illness around me.  A friend lost her husband just a few weeks ago – expected, but yet painful.  Other acquaintances are quite ill – worrisome to those around them.  Now when I contemplate a death my heart reaches out to the living – I know their journeys will be difficult.  I wish I had the recipe for handling grief so that I could show them the way, but there is no one recipe – everyone uses different ingredients to get through – faith, family, friends, time, growth.  There’s no test kitchen for grief.

In an earlier blog I wrote that I am happy.  I truly am; however, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have periods of intense sorrow and a deep desire to look into Rick’s blue eyes and see him smile back at me.  It doesn’t mean I don’t want to run to others entering widowhood and try to make their passages easier.  My empathy for others is born out of my pain, out of my travails, out of my emergence into a new life with joy and gratitude.

Tomorrow I will celebrate my blue-eyed man’s life.  I will spend time with the women in my neighborhood who lifted me up in those first weeks and months.  Later on, my brown-eyed man will dry my tears, hold me close, and listen to my recollections.

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