Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stinks & Smells!

June 15, 2011
I woke up this morning to a few birds outside my bedroom window, in between my screen and glass panel window. My window cranks out to open. More of a delight than I had on Monday morning finding one of our new little birdies Cookies, who was my favorite and the friendliest, least afraid, and into Kanyon's technology, dead at the bottom of the cage after only having him for three weeks. I was saddened, had a few tears, placed him in the box I got him in and outside, until I decided what to do with his body next. We went to meet and play with friends and family, and came home later, and that evening I just placed the box in a garbage bag and threw it in the garbage. I didn't know how the bird died or what caused it. I didn't want anything in my backyard that was contaminated. The next day I was deeply affected by the loss. It brought back all the death reality, and I am tired of death. My birds were supposed to be fun, uplifting, and a sign of us bringing back some song into our world. I was mad that my favorite bird died, and my favorite dog Shato, and my favorite man, died.  Triggered by the symbolic resemblance of three birds, now reduced to only two, like a reflection of my family that isn't fixable. That Stinks!

I miss every thing about Darol. I look for him in all the little things, especially his smell. It lingers in the shower as I use our favorite bar of soap, to the hair scrubber that he loved scratching his head with, and I randomly picked up to smell, surprised at how strongly it smelled of him, it must have kept the oils from his head in it and because it was upside down, it wasn't always washed away in the shower. His shaver still remains, his cologne that Kanyon likes to put on sometimes, that really floods me with emotions good ones and sad ones. Even his truck smells like him. I smell him in his leather work gloves he left in his truck. As I assisted a friend moving yesterday with Darol's truck; I pulled out those lovely gloves, smelled them and wrapped my hands in them most of the day.  He lingers in everything and everywhere. I pulled out a towel from the hall closet, I was down to the bottom of the stack, the towels Darol & I used mainly while he was with us. I pulled it out and smelled it. It smelled strongly of him, and oh how my body and soul sank into that. There is nothing like the smell of your lover. Kanyon smelled it too. I decided to save it and use a different towel. I wanted to sleep with the one that smelled of him. It remained on the bottom of his side of the bed, and when I came back to bed this morning to nurse Kanyon, after feeding the birds Batman & Robyn, I grabbed it and snugged it and smelled it some more. My fear is that that smell will eventually fade, that one that is the real Darol, not cologne, but the smell only his body, his essence could create. I dread that. I love finding things that smell like him. It's like being embraced by him again. It's difficult to even describe or explain, the feeling, when you close your eyes and smell in your lover, memories flood in, love, and they come rushing back in -soaking you in a rare wave of goodness that only that smell can bring. I am grateful that Darol wasn't a fan of shampoo, and simply used to scrub his head, so I could benefit from the oils left behind, and to the eco-friendly not strong smelling detergent I used that allowed for his sent to remain in fabrics rather than the smell of detergent.

I was crying at the sink the other morning and Kanyon asked why I was sad.' Because I miss your Daddy Cakes." I replied. He stood at the table playing his video game and said, "Mom, he will come home. He will, in 5 minutes." I sighed a sad exhale, " I wish, if only he would." "Ya mom, he will come home and say, "Hi Mommy, Hi Cutie Pie." he replied. I burst out crying a cry that sounded like a laugh," You think that funny mom?" "No, baby, I find it extremely sad, because you are right, that's exactly what he would say if he could come home."

Moving my friend, his wife said, " Oh now we only have one bathroom sink to fight over." I replied, " At least you have someone to fight over the sink with."  I said it with a tone of recognition, not of anger or spite, simply, one of recognition. Darol & I only had one sink and I loved sharing it with him and being close as we brushed our teeth every night. It was our thing. He still visits me every night as I brush mine and Kanyon's teeth, I feel him. It's better than nothing, I was going to say it's no consolation prize, but I guess it's the best consolation one could get from their deceased spouse. It's still no comparison to having the living breathing body in your life. Having a body is a gift, you get to do things in it and experience only what a body can. Getting into body is the prize. That's why birth is such a miracle. 

I tell you it's the simple things that I miss the most. The smells, the hugs, the kisses, the back and foot rubs, hearing him come into the room and say, "Hello love! Hi Cutie Pie!". The ways about him, his laugh, his smile, getting frustrated with him and making up, having fun with him, doing projects with him, everything.
If you do have a love in your life, relish their scent, their hugs, the way they laugh, the sound of their voice, arguments, and be grateful for all of it, because when you really do love that person unconditionally, you love it all, every moment you have with them is a gift.  Kiss them often, tell them you love them, tell them you need them, smell their skin, their hair, listen to their heartbeat, and remember how blessed you are to have them living and breathing in your world.

Publishing 2011 posts and Sharing.

Tonight I feel inspired to publish the posts I have written this year. I do so in hopes that my writing will inspire more peace, love, connection, and recognition of those you already have in your life, to treat them well and kind, to love them without limits, to express that love to your fullest capacity, and cherish the blessed life you live, if only a little bit more, or maybe a lot more. Perhaps my writing and experience will bring a fellow widow comfort in not being alone, or insight to those who love a widow- what they may be going through and that their grief doesn't end or isn't over simply because you see them with a happy face and smiling. If I tell you that I have been balling my eyes out or processing emotionally and crying, don't act surprised and ask what happened, this is a normal process of grief, my husband died-and I am still reeling from that experience.

I have held back these posts because they felt so personal and intimate, loaded with emotion for me, and I simply wasn't ready to share. Let not you hold back a moment of love. May my devastating loss somehow shed some love and light for those who read this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What I have Learned

I have learned that it's still hard, that grief is messy, takes time, and scares people. Hell, it even scares me sometimes. Like yesterday I was so angry and sad all day. It was a particularly difficult day. I was crying alot, yelling alot, and little Kanyon had it hard too, because when Momma ain't happy, neither is he.  I really needed a punching bag. I think I need to invest in one. It was such a hard day I called in my angels to send me someone or something to get through the day. Later my friend called and after me sharing with her the space I was in offered to do my errands and go grocery shopping with me. A huge relief, to be able to leave her in the car with sleeping Kanyon while I went in to get some food, then to drop off glass at the recycle bins, while I smashed each glass bottle hard blasting them into the abyss of the long bins. I took Darol's truck on the errand run since I had my mini trampoline to return. I luckily had Darol's gloves on while picking up each glass bottle and throwing them in. Some of the glass was sharp and broken up, so the gloves protected me from cuts. Before I put the gloves on I smelled them, they smelled like him. I smelled them for a while before placing them on my hands and then beginning my smashing, bashing recycling event.

I woke up this morning with a major left shoulder and neck pain thing going on. I am sure it's linked to my anger from yesterday. What triggered it? Who cares really, anything can set off a grief release. Looking back I am sure it was a culmination of the weekend's events of doing the Race for the Cure, seeing Darol's Dad after a year of not seeing him, my friend lovingly sharing with me that our distanced relationship was because she didn't know how to handle my grief, and seeing another friend being newly in love with a wonderful man and pregnant. All beautiful things to have experienced and I regret not one of them, I had more fun this weekend than I have had in a long time, and it was also charged with a lot of the reality and reflection that my husband is a memory, no longer a living, breathing, love making, baby making, here to take silly face photo shots with me, kiss me kind of existence. Definite things to be angry and sad about.

About a year and 5 months after my husband's death I finally tonight read the pamphlet, "What you need to know about Melanoma", I found in Darol's top bedside drawer while looking for his favorite Tiger Balm for my pained shoulder and neck. It's crazy that I am now reading it. Where was this thing when he was first diagnosed and in stage one. I am sure I could have found it easily, and I wonder why I didn't do more research and find out more in the beginning and read everything I could on it, so I knew what I was dealing with. I am educated, I've been in the medical field, was a dental assistant for 8 years, and yet I let this deeply personal issue go. I just trusted that Darol had it handled and knew about it. We had just gotten married, bought a new home and had moved. The second diagnosis in the lymph nodes I was pregnant 6 months with Kanyon.  I didn't want to know, obviously. Wow, some major denial happening there. I just wanted to believe  that he would heal and it would all go away. Death was not an option. I still wonder if he would be around if I had done the research and really made it a bigger deal than Darol made it, if I had encouraged chemo and western methods strongly the second time when it had spread. The fact remains I can't go back and I really do feel peace that even if he had taken it more serious and done chemo, that it may not have given him any longer, and that it may have made our sweet time together a lot more traumatic with perhaps a lower quality of life. Then we'll never know, because we can't push the rewind button. We do the best we can while the real life is happening and then look back with clear and new perspective of what might have been.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I am sad. I miss Darol. I played the Bunny tonight alone after Kanyon went to sleep. Before we went to brush our teeth I found a few love notes Darol had written to me a long time ago in a notebook. I just cried. They are such precious gifts to have. I cried hard after brushing our teeth and in our medicine cabinet where Darol's cologne still remains, I opened it and took a whiff. It smelled so wonderful. Kanyon wanted to put some on, so I let him, then he put my perfume on. He went to bed smelling of his mommy and daddy. When we went to bed I just balled, with the aroma of Darol lingering on Kanyon I was flooded with all the pent up emotion and sadness of  how much I miss him. I don't feel like I have cried enough. I don't understand how and why this has happened, and as time passes I wake up more to the reality of his absence, like the shock is wearing off, I still can't believe that he's gone.
What a joy to have found those notes I had not remembered, like discovering them again for the first time. Like he knew I needed to read them. The line that really got me was the one where he said, "love, I want you to know that I am committed to making your dream 'our' dream."
Gosh, I love that man, he loved me and when I was with him, I felt so alive, and joyful. I miss that joy. I miss who I was with him around.
It's time for bed now. It's late, crying I take myself to bed. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Post Of Year Two Being Widowed

How do I catch you up and really convey what it's like going through grief.  I made it through the one year mile mark. It was a difficult day, filled with tears, love,gifts, breakdown, and a trip to lava hot springs with my sister.
Kanyon turned 3. Valentines day came and went. The reality is still settling. Breakdowns happen. I have given myself permission to now tell people when they ask how my business is doing that I have pushed the ' pause' button. I was telling them that it was trickle and slow and was perfect for my process, all truth. Now I am just giving myself more permission to not feel guilty about not driving my business or life when the motivation and desire just isn't there. Crossing the year mark I felt something, that is rather difficult to describe, unless you have tasted a strawberry, how do you describe it? This certainly was not comparable to the sweetness of a strawberry. I felt a little bit stronger, like invisibly I had been knighted for getting through a hellish experience and survived it. With the passing of the year mark I felt the expectation I had picked up, adopted, or whatever, of moving on, or that somehow now everything would get better, I would be better. Not the case. Every day is different. Some days are good, some are not, some are mixed with both.

I had a counselor tell me, "Spring, nobody tells you after a loss like this- Well, be prepared because the next two years are going to be hell."  She then explained that most people take two years to get to a place where they can function again, start to feel like they want to build their life again, be ready to date, and start to feel alive again. The first year is marked mostly by shock and the second is reality hit.


Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day of the Year- Our Anniversary is here.

What's it like waking up every morning knowing that you don't get to see your best friend, hear their voice, play together anymore, make breakfast together, surprise or plan a birthday party for, be there to surprise you on your birthday, shop and wrap for Santa and share the brilliance of your little boy's eyes on Christmas morning, hold their hand, kiss, hug, and dream with ever again in this dimension? What's it like to have it all and then have him taken away? What's it like to wake from a dream where we are all together again only to find you're still a single parent? What do you do when your baby is ill and needs something from the market and you're too exhausted and he doesn't want to leave the house because he doesn't feel good? 
What do you do with a closet full of his clothes, that he will never come home to wear again?
What do you do with a room full of his electronics, and stuff?
What do you believe in when the one thing you put all your belief in didn't happen, and the miracle that your heart longed for, begged for, and pleaded, wasn't granted?

"Send a Question in the wind,
It's hard to know where to begin......" -Song by Sia, Lullaby

What's it like each passing day, with each holiday or anniversary without your beloved?
I long for time to stand still and for my moments to linger, for each day that passes by and each holiday, brings me more aware of the truth of how long it's been since I kissed his lips, felt his touch, and looked into his eyes.
Each mile mark that Kanyon takes or has is wonderful and in the same breath filled with sadness because Darol isn't there to celebrate with me.
Today is our 6 year Wedding Anniversary and New Year's eve. I morn the loss of our dreams that didn't and won't happen of  traveling abroad together, raising Kanyon together, becoming pregnant together this year, and growing old together.  Life trumps on like it or not, parties are held, seasons change, snow falls, and the end of the Year is here.

Soon it will be the one year marker of Darol's transition day. I dread this day, it's the first of many if I am lucky enough to keep my commitment to stay this life out and be here for Kanyon and make my life count for something.  

How can life be so exquisitely beautiful, wonderful, and in the same moment so intensely painful at the same  time?
Possible? Yes. I have experienced it this year.
As you can see I have many more questions than I have answers for.

This last few weeks of my Birthday, Christmas, and then Darol's Birthday was difficult, Darol's birthday in particular. Sometimes it feels like I am walking in a dream- in a zombie type mode, simply going through the motions, only half alive, depressed, angry, and then a hard cry will finally break the zombie and wake me up to the aliveness in me again, and I can once again feel the joy that is constant around me.

I have a theory, and I have come by it through this experience with Darol, I happened upon it while we were at the healing center after Darol had his seizure, I had a breakdown in my car and cried so hard I thought my eyes were going to fall out or that I was simply going to cry so hard I couldn't breath again. After I had that emotional clearing of a cry of that depth, I could once again laugh and feel true joy. Not just the laugh at someones joke or put on a happy face kind of smile, but a real smile. I ran back to Darol and shared my discovery and theory, "If you can't Cry, you can't Laugh, and if you can't laugh, you can't Live."
I find this true. I witnessed Darol shut down not only physically, but emotionally as well. Perhaps, this is simply the process of death and transitioning.
I read in an article about the producers of the T.V. episode The Biggest Loser, that the double digit weight loss weeks were always superseded by a breakdown. The producer said that Tears always weigh more than the fat on your body.

My advice to myself, Cry more and more often. I really believe that it is healthy to cry daily, just as much as it is to laugh. It's not an easy thing to do in a culture where crying is reserved for alone moments. Kanyon doesn't like me crying much, he tells me, "Mom, Be Happy." I listen to him and I give myself a few moments to cry, letting him know that it's ok to be sad and to cry, and to miss Daddy Cakes, and then I get back into the reality of-now- filled with a joyful little boy who is growing all too fast. It's a fine balance and only the person having the cry can know when it's complete for the moment or needs to be shelved for later, or taken deeper and dealt with in that now moment before it's forever stuffed and hard walls form, all without being swept away into the depression despair department.

It's hard to know where to begin, and it's also hard to know where to end.

Perhaps this is why we have endings to our years and beginnings of new ones.

Yet the year doesn't really end, time continues on, we just call it something different.

Kinda like love, it doesn't end, it just looks different. 

Celebrating Success of The Studio up and Running again!

 I am grateful for the blessings I have in my life and I am doing my best to celebrate my life, in spite of my grief and not liking the outcome with Darol. I am feeling stronger and have made progress to continue to move forward in my life. My studio being up and running again is worth celebrating! How can I not smile when I look at that beautiful Kanyon Smile?
He is such a super STAR! I am so thankful for him every day!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sad Spring This Summer

I have been silent and in deep grief. I hit a wall sometime in June and basically stopped most of my movement and drive toward business, and began realizing the trauma and magnitude of loss that I experienced and am thawing to. I slowed way down. My time spent on being mom,finishing projects (slowly), going on summer outings with Kanyon, and the welcomed roller coaster distractions of dating. 

August has been extremely difficult as it has been a mile marker for many dates, from the day Darol showed me his lump- the 15th, to the day we received the crushing diagnosis, the 28th- that has forever changed our world. I am in huge disbelief that it has been a year since we walked out of that hospital with hope for healing in our hearts. I never thought I would be where I am today. I feel like it is all still so fresh, like time just stopped for me, and I am just catching up with harsh whiplash from it all. I was told back in February that I was doing very well and that I was in shock and not to be surprised when the devastation hit in a few months.
I thought at the time those were well meaning words and that this did not have to be my experience. Truth, this was indeed my experience and I am thankful to the words given so that at least I didn't feel like I was completely mad. The devastation did hit me and it hit me hard. No doubt I am still going through it. Although, Sunday, after an appointment with my healer/massage therapist, I feel as if the depression cloud has drifted off and a small ray of light that holds my natural joy has begun to softly sing in the distance.

Depression, devastation, lost, not caring about much except for Kanyon, and an overall dark cloud, that I wasn't able to shake despite my best attempts at all my positive bag of tricks. All the fun outings and trips to lakes, or time with friends, were enjoyable to a degree, but it has been tainted with sadness, and a degree of separation, nothing being as sweet, even food not tasting as fun, and a large fear mounted daily that my joy would never return. I wondered if a part of me died with him and that this is just how life would be now, which wasn't leaving me much incentive to want to stay it out. Thank God for Kanyon, he has brought so much joy into every day and it would be much easier to check out without him.

The good news is- I feel less bad today and a glimmer of light is still in me somewhere, I just know it. I actually got inspired by an article I read the other day about Toms shoes, and the owner who founded the company. Feeling inspired, even a little at this time is big for me. Dreaming, goal planning, moving forward, taking action, and being pretty clear about my path and purpose seemed to disappear. Since the path and foundation which I was building and co-creating with my lover in all my dreams is now deduced to me, I feel I am at ground Zero and I now is the time to get clear on what the rebuilding will look like.

For now my plan is to take the time I need to be with myself and Kanyon through our grieving, and focus on finding my passion and purpose, allow it to bubble up in the most organic natural way possible, and when I am inspired and on fire with it then take action. Until then I am being the best way I know how.

The other day after a bath I put on a special T-shirt of Darol's, one that he got the weekend we became an "US" on Canon Beach, I would rub the starfish patch logo flirtatiously, since it resided over his nipple, and tease him that it would glow if I rubbed it long enough. He wore that shirt often and expected me to rub it every time. When Kanyon saw me putting on his Daddy's shirt he got so excited, jumping up and down said, " I need Dad's shirt, I need wear my Dad's shirt too."  "You do, hu?" as I opened the doors wider,  "U, hu." he answered, still jumping. "Which one?" He picked a bright colorful Hawaiian shirt. It was so cute. He put it on and I buttoned it for him, and mind you, it was the only thing he was wearing, since we just got out of the bath. He ran around the house with a joyful squeal and a glee all over his face.  Yes, this did bring me joy.

Yesterday while walking I met an couple out tending their yard in my neighborhood; I had met them briefly before. We had a bit of a chat and they shared with me that they had lived in their home for 30 years and they had been married for 60 years. They built their house together. The wife boasting about how her husband "built the house with his own hands", and he responded proudly that she was "the sewage digger".  The husband told me he was a "Yes, Dear." Man for 30 years of it. I asked him what he was for the other half and he replied, "Ok. I'll do it."
 That reminded me of Darol in the way he would always say, "It's all about you Love." I shared with them how truly envious I was of what they have, and of my loss. I of course dreamed of growing old with him and building a house together. We ended our conversation on me saying, "Enjoy your time together, it's truly a precious thing." Our time here with the ones we love is a very precious thing.

Last night I dreamed of Darol, and for the first time since his passing, I was able to touch him in my dream. I sat on his lap and kissed him, it was wonderful to be held by him again, to kiss him and hug him. He said nothing, I said nothing. He even rubbed my feet, what a treat that was, I miss that so much! He rubbed my feet like nobody else can. In my dream I knew he was not alive and that it was simply a visit.

Tonight Kanyon and I watched videos of  Darol on my computer. I had not done that for a long time and seeing Darol again, was wonderful, and bittersweet. I held Kanyon and we went from video to video, he enjoyed it, asking for more. I was surprised that I was not crying. Kanyon after a while got sad and turned his face into my chest with a frown and tears in his eyes. I held him and opened the space, letting him know with a whisper, " it's ok to cry, I miss him too."  After a few minutes of that, when Kanyon had shifted, then my tears came.

I have been experiencing many rainbows this summer, and much rain and tears. Every time I see a rainbow now it seems more significant, since usually I tend to cry with the rain, it reminds me that joy will be mine again.

I read a blog entry by Leonie Wolff, who does a workshop, Passionate Sadness: Living Through and Thriving Beyond The Death of Your Life Partner, and felt her entry about Dancing With Grief to be wonderfully descriptive. She asks the question, "What is the dance like today?"

"I seek the understanding of the question: What is the dance today? Fast, slow, wild, quiet? Is it a dance of inertia or a dance of chaos? In the dance, I feel the rhythm… The pace… First I yield and allow myself to be lead… Then when it feels right… I take the lead. In contra dancing (my passion) there is a move called a ‘gypsy’ where you look deeply into the eyes of your partner and dance around in a circle… Allowing the energy to pull you both into a powerful swing. I gypsy with the Grief Monster and choose the moment of… Contact. And surrender to the dance. Grief can not be ignored, fought, finished, processed, analyzed or gone around… It must be gone through.
Grief has no ‘closure’…. Closure is a myth. As there are no ‘stages’.  Grief remains an ever present shadow… A shadow that I will not be engulfed by… But I also do not deny."-Leonie Wolff