If there ever comes a day when we can't be together,
keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever.
~Winnie the Pooh
A spousal relationship is the most in-depth, personal, emotional, and intimate bond there is. In this, I include every monogamous partnership where two human beings co-exist together, building and sharing their lives under the same roof.
When one spouse/partner dies, the other is immediately thrown into the abyss of grief. Beginning with a broken heart. An oozing wound of loss that is ocean deep, mountain high, and wider than the horizon. Ripped, raw, at times unbearable. Unless you've personally been there, you do not know what it's like. It's nearly impossible to fathom, let alone explain. My experience is unequivocally the saddest, darkest, emptiest, most challenging time I've ever known.
I know that in facing the assault of this gut wrenching, life changing event:
- There is hope.
- There is healing.
- There is work to do.
- There are choices to make.
It is a moment-to-moment, hour-by-hour, day-to-day operation. I must assess, adjust, and manage each task/activity/interaction I face. I constantly ask myself, "Is what I am currently doing serving me well? Or is it worsening my pain, impeding my progress?" My mission is to move forward, always holding Boomer in my heart, since I no longer can hold his hand. That means I must choose sutures over salt. Sutures connect me to hope and healing - - a mending effort, if at times, only by a thread. The progress is slow, often unforeseen by me, but it's there. Salt on the other hand, keeps me trapped in my heartache, burning in the grief of my loss. I get nowhere with salt.
Lately I'm choosing the mail - - how often I retrieve it from the mailbox. In the early days following Boomer's passing, I was getting the mail daily. I found it comforting, especially when condolences started arriving. Getting the mail also gave me a sense of productivity. Doing this simple, everyday task in those very early days was a big deal. I wasn't capable of doing much else. Suddenly it changed. Getting the mail every day became salt in my wound. Six days a week a piece(s) of mail arrives with Boomer's name on it. It hurts like hell. My only option at this time is to suture my heart by not getting the mail everyday. It's working.
I passed on mail pick-up yesterday (read the Oy! post), the choice was made easier in part by day-long rain and I wasn't in the mood to navigate the showers walking to the curb. I'm glad of my choice. I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the gift that was awaiting me the way that I did this morning.
My friend, Lisa, sent me a package. This framed illustration of a charming bicycle (below). It's sweetness made me smile. Lisa's beautiful enclosed handwritten note opened with the Pooh quote at the top of this post. I couldn't contain my tears. Her generous, heartwarming expression overwhelmed me. Including how my bike video (page bottom) lead to her sending the picture.
Had I gotten the package yesterday, I know it wouldn't have had the same suturing effect on my heart as it did today. Thank you Lisa.
Boomer is in my heart, and so are you - - forever.