Thursday, July 20, 2017

Three Years of Missing Richard

I had no idea that grief hurts? It hurts all the way to the bones. And the ache is not relieved by ibuprofen or aspirin. There is no medicine for the ache. The heart is full of pain that is heavy and hard to bear.

It is the third anniversary of Richard's death. Tomorrow!  Three years. 1095 days! A very long time that isn't really that long at all. With every passing day I hope for less pain. I don't know if that has happened but I'm able to bear the pain a bit now. 

I still replay the memories of our life together. We had many, many good memories. And they sustain me each day in a way I did not think possible. I've mostly forgotten the bad times. We had them, believe me. But they just don't seem that important anymore. I can close my eyes and see his smile as he looks at me. I can see the scar on his hand.
How he says my name. Then I open my eyes and I understand. He is gone. 

In these past three years I have stumbled upon things that bring me joy. A hand-written card for my birthday. A list he wrote for a vacation we were taking. A handkerchief in my coat pocket that belonged to him. (Do any men still carry a cloth hanky?)His recipe for Taco Salad written in his very precise printing! All precious memories to me.  

I think the continued pain comes from 'letting go'. I hold on tight but I can't feel him anymore. I can't touch him. I can't smell him. That special smell that says to all of us who loved him dearly....this is Papa. I've had to let go of the idea that he will be with me all the way through my old age. We always knew that would never happen. But I don't think we ever formed a real thought to what it would be like for one of us to be gone. 

Losing Richard has made me vulnerable. It has helped me be more honest. Honest in my love for those close to me. Tomorrow is NOT promised. Losing him has made me stronger. Not in ways that I want to be stronger but in ways that have been necessary for me to survive. Losing him has made me over-look things that just aren't that important. Losing him has made me see life through hidden tears. 

What I've learned from losing him is that I couldn't save him. No matter how hard I hung on. No matter how perfect my care for him was. I couldn't save him. 

But I can save myself. 

Here is a piece I have written to mark the 3rd anniversary! I love you Richard. I always will.


Disney World 2011


EVERYTHING

What do I miss now that you are gone?
Everything.
I miss the way you looked at me.
The way you folded your arms across your chest.
The way you pushed your glasses up your nose.
Those tiny wisps of hair in your ears.
Everything.
I miss your snoring at night. Yes, really!
I miss that sweet way you called me 'honey'.
I miss rubbing my fingers across that callus on your right thumb.
What else do I miss?
Everything.
I miss hearing you sing God Bless The USA
I miss the tear that slips down your cheek as the flag passes by.
I miss hearing you yearn for Colorado.
And I also miss...
Everything. 
I miss your smile, your sound, your touch, your smell.
I miss your friendship, your companionship, your love.
I miss...
Everything. 

30 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry. How you honor him here is so sweet.

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    1. Thank you Liz. And thank you for being here all this time to continue to cheer me along!

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  2. Beautiful. Simply beautiful. I can't imagine my life without my husband either. His first wife died in May after a battle with breast cancer. I asked him how he was feeling about it and he said he just never thought he would outlive her. He thought he'd be the first to go. You are right. We are not promised another day. I try to keep everything in order at my house so that if I do go before he does, he won't struggle to figure out how to run this place. I hope he would treasure things I've had my hand in just as you do with your beloved Richard. Treasures.

    Hugs to you.

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    1. I thought I would be so prepared for Richard to die because we took care of him here at home for 3 years. I was not prepared at all. And there were so many things he did for me that I had to learn how to do. It is good that you are preparing now! You just never know!

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  3. (((Paula)))). What a poignant poem you wrote for him. I know what you mean about forgetting the "bad" things. Not comparing your loss to mine because a spouse is more than a MIL, but I harbored so much bitterness toward my MIL and 5 years after her passing, I'm like "why did I do that?"

    You will always grieve. The depth of your grief may change from day to day but it will always be there, palpable in some way. You had the best with Richard. Hard to let that go and acknowledge it is not there any more.

    I hope you do something kind for yourself tomorrow to remember the wonderful legacy of Richard.

    My hubby does still carry a cloth handkerchief in his back pocket. It has come in very hand at times when we've been at the store with the grands and one or the other sneezes and needs a "clean up."

    betty

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    1. Thank you Betty! I think it will get better but you are right I will never forget him or the good times. Glad to hear your husband is the kind of 'gentleman' who carries a hanky!

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  4. What a wonderful tribute, Paula. Your deep love for Richard shines through every line of your post and poem. Hugs from across the miles as you continue to remember your life together and face this still "new" reality. In Christ, you will see him again one day!

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    1. Thank you so much Susan. I work hard everyday to solidify my faith so I will see him again!

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  5. So sorry for your loss. I can fully understand your feelings. Losing some we love changes everything. Be thankful for the memories they are one thing that will see you through. This is a very heartfelt tribute to your husband. You were blessed to have such a great one!

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    1. I am very thankful that I was blessed with such a good husband.

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  6. As you mark the 3rd anniversary of his death, it reminds me that my mom's 3rd anniversary of her passing is coming up this Christmas - December 28th. We both lost someone that year - someone we were caregivers for and who we loved very much.

    I think my mom's death really brought home the idea that death means you never will again see them in this life. I still have problems wrapping my brain around that. And although I was raised to believe that there is a heaven and we will see all our loved ones (even pets) again, I struggle with that concept. I believe in God (can't explain this beautiful creation any other way), but I am not sure about an afterlife. And that mades me even sadder. It makes the separation from loved ones permanent. So I turn from those doubts intentionally and choose to believe I will once again be connected in some way to the essence of my mom in some way after death.

    I wish that for you dear blog friend.

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    1. It takes the death of someone we love so much to help us see what death really means. It has been 12 years this August since my mom died. Yes, that was hard but she had lived a long and good life and it was okay! I miss her everyday too!

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  7. I cannot believe it has been three years! While I have suffered many losses, that is one I have not encountered yet. Your precious memories keep him alive and I feel sure he would be so proud and happy of how you've carried on.

    Visit me @ Life & Faith in Caneyhead. 😉

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  8. Oh. Wow.
    Don't you believe Richard would be so proud of you? I've no doubt he's up there loving you as dearly and desperately as you do him. Someday, it will all make sense. Hugs!

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    1. Yes, I think he would be proud. He was always proud of me. I miss him and I hope it does make sense someday!

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  9. This is a beautiful, touching post that brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for the loss of Richard as I know how it feels to loose the love of your life. For me, it's been 2 years and 6 months today.

    Your words "What I've learned from losing him is that I couldn't save him. No matter how hard I hung on. No matter how perfect my care for him was. I couldn't save him." really got to me. That is exactly what I feel. Sending you many hugs!

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    1. Vicki I am thinking of you as your day nears. It is hard. I'm sending hugs your way as well.

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  10. Hi Paula - I feel for you ... but you are remembering Richard in the best light - the wonderful light you both shared together ... continue on - sadly time eases, but the memories will wander in and out - and new ones. Take care and all the best - Hilary

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  11. I feel for you but it is so touching that you remember him often and keep his memory alive.

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  12. Thinking good thoughts of you, may your good memories help you to get through :)

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    1. Thanks you so much. Yes, the memories are all that I have now!

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  13. A very touching post Paula. You are definitely a strong woman and although moving on is hard you have wonderful memories to sustain you.

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    1. I don't know how strong I am. I still cry almost everyday. But I am trying to move on!

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  14. What a beautiful tribute to your Richard. Hugs to you Paula. I'm sorry I didn't stop be earlier but life has been crazy around here. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. PS....Frank carries a handkerchief every day.

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    1. Thank you Wendy! I knew Frank was a gentleman!!

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  15. That was a beautiful tribute to Richard.

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