First Anniversary


Breath in
I catch my lip with my teeth,
looking at my man:
my robust, physical husband.
My heart pumps faster as I gaze
at this fine specimen of masculinity
strong arms, big-chested,
gazing down at me.

It seems like yesterday
not two decades ago
that life together began.

Heart beating
Those eyes, so very blue.
They crinkled with warmth and love;
they narrowed in anger,
they closed with trust and intimacy.
Even now I look around our home
and those eyes gaze back at me
from almost everywhere.

Breathe out
I recall adventures so numerous,
often two-up on a motorcycle
across great swaths of the country,
into Canada and the last frontier.
Whatever sparked his curiosity:
engaging people, being outdoors
hiking, kayaking and biking.

Heart beating
Passionate nights.
Love given and received.
Intimate banter between spouses.
The skip in my heart when he
turned those blue eyes on me.
A wide grin, hug and kiss, followed
by his pledge to always love me.

Breathe in
Surgeries, cancer, treatments.
Seeking the best medical care
south, north and even west.
His first words upon waking up
from a seven-hour surgery:
“I told you everything would be OK.”
Just as he said, everything was fine

. . . for three years more.

Heart beating
We both thought he had it beat.
We traveled, made new friends.
Enjoyed time with family.
Built a new home, moved to Florida.
But cancer rose once again.
Bloodied, weary, resilient still,
he fought with every ounce of strength.

Just one year ago today
his heart beat no more.
Breathe out


Future Present


Earlier this week I was talking to a close friend who has lost both parents, as have most people in my age group.  My focus in this blog so far has been on my loss, my changed status, my challenges as a widow – but really, a loss is a loss.  Father’s Day is soon, and for some, their fathers have been the most important person in their lives.  I miss other family members who have passed on, too, and not just Rick.

The journey is the same.  None of the journeys are alike.

My heart and head have been in pain these last twelve months, and my body as well.  A widow told me almost a year ago that the second year of widowhood is tougher than the first.  The first year is filled with administrivia and constant emotional distress.  By now I know that I have more control than I’d like to admit about how I react to the world, and I am not willing to have my future worse than my present.  Each morning I lay in bed for a while, thinking about my day and collecting the necessary mental fortitude to act in a socially acceptable manner.  Now that I can walk unaided once more, I rise of out of bed and grab onto a bed post, collecting the necessary physical energy to walk closer to my old gait.

Preparation for mental and physical efforts are the same, and yet unalike.

My heart, head and body are better and stronger for this past year. I don’t think I can love in the same way as I did my husband, but I do love my family and friends more than ever.  I don’t think I can ever win a trivia game, but between solitude and therapy I am more aware and forgiving of myself.  I don’t think I will ever be a physical powerhouse, but I have become more athletic.  For those of you who lost loved ones this past year, I hope you find your strengths as well.

Emotions still come in waves and there’s a tsunami due in just ten days.