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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This time last year

This time last year ...

I still had 17 minutes left of our life together, as I knew it.

and today, I would exchange the rest of my life, just to have 5 minutes with him.

I even looked to see if the same documentary that we had been watching (about pirates) was showing. Of course it wasn't. A whole year has passed, even though I didn't participate in it, other than as a shell of my former self. Time waits for no one - never a truer word was spoken.

12 minutes ...

We were sitting on that couch, touching each other, happy, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. Smiling, talking, laughing ... so at ease in each others company. I loved just looking at you sometimes, you know? Just looking.

10 minutes ...

9 minutes ...

I look out the window, and just as this time last year, there is a smattering of snoo-snoo left on the ground, but my old car and his white van have been replaced by a new car. Further evidence that he is gone.

We were so happy together.

When I woke up today, my first thought was a memory ... of watching "Forever Young" ... and at the end of the film ... Julia Roberts is convincing her boyfriend that he has to go to hospital, that it will be ok, that hers will be the last face he sees ... and I remember Cliff turning to face me, that wry smile on his face, knowing that I would be boo-ing and saying, "oh darling, I knew it ... I knew that would set you off ... would you hold my hand if I was dying?" And me mute ... but nodding and mumbling through my tears that I would. We watched that movie a week before he died.

3 minutes ...

I look at the couch again, and I can see those translucent faded water colours of him (and me for the first time) ... I remember every last word and smile and touch.

2 minutes ...

He is going upstairs now to put on the heating, and I am heading to the kitchen to wash up the breakfast stuff ...

1 minute of blissful oblivion left ...

back to the present, I am lighting a candle for him.

The time is now.

I am focusing on the candle.

It is far preferable to playing the loop, over and over again, of what happened over the course of the next 12 hours, bringing life and this world to an end. At least the way I knew it.

I thought I'd be hysterical - yet find myself calm and detached.

Just before I started to write this post, I read the comments left for me on my last post - I wonder if those comments have given me some extra strength to get through these next 12 hours, along with the text received from Jenny, all read at the same time.

My beautiful husband, I so want to tell you about everything I have learned and realized this past year, but somehow I think you already know. I desperately want to tell you how very special you are and thank you for all that you gently taught me, for all that you did, how you tried for us, how hard you worked for us - how limitless my love for you is - yet, I feel that you are aware, that you knew before this all happened even.

I feel peaceful, I trust that it's ok, that you and I both know our love will sustain us till we are allowed to be together again. Until that time, I will try, fail, and try again, to live without you physically here.

Another candle will be lit at 03h00, for it was at that time that I watched you take your last breath, stunned, unbelieving. Even as you were dying, I felt strength from you, I mean, it gave me strength ... knowing that you were alive. It gave me purpose, being there for you ... I would no sooner betray you or let you down, especially at the only time you ever really needed me to be strong for us, than I would hurt a puppy. United we were, yet when we were separated physically, when I knew you'd gone, my strength was sapped right down to its lowest reserves, ever. Numbness replaced strength and truthfully, it has been my invisible friend throughout the past 12 months.

The time is now. It is no longer this time last year.

Tomorrow Vicki and I will walk along the beautiful coast, and I will see translucent faded water colours of you there too, but I will keep walking next to my friend, proud of being your wife, amazed that you chose me. We will walk in honour of you and everything you stood for. We will cry and laugh and keep walking ... because you taught me to never ever give up, and I shan't.

One step at a time.

I will take one step at a time, secure in the knowledge that you and I have unconditional and limitless, eternal love.

Our love is stronger than pain or death.

Love.

15 comments:

  1. so beautiful. such a brave missive. i am thinking of you, Boo. i have been since, well, i sent you an email. i wish i could walk with you and your friend, but i am new, not yet met. but i do understand all your words above. i have a candle lit here for you and Cliff. i am thinking of you and sitting in this quiet place with low music playing. and i'll be thinking of you tomorrow as you walk.

    he is so proud of you, you know. he watches over you. i feel it. i believe his strength is being imparted to you daily. nightly. he hasn't really left. with all the love you have for him, he will never leave.

    i don't have the words for you that i wish i could find. i know that there are no words to define, commiserate, or join with you on these next few days. but you know i am here. you know that we all love you and wish we would correct this.

    all i can say is you are in my heart and mind. i wish peace for you.

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  2. wNs, I knew before reading this comment, without doubt, that you are with me in your heart - thank you xxx

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  3. Dear Boo,

    I found your blog when I was looking for info on being widowed, in order to try and get a better understanding of what a friend has been through, and is still experiencing.

    You write beautifully and honestly, and as a reader I greatly appreciate what you write. Thank you.

    I have no idea what it is to stand in your shoes, and I have no idea what to say - probably best nothing! - but you are in my thoughts today,

    V

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  4. Beautiful post, Boo. My heart is aching for you and when I get home I will light a candle for you and for Cliff. I know he is so proud of how you have survived this past year while supporting and loving so many of us. I hope your walk along the coast today brought you peace as you head into your next chapter. I believe love in our lives is what defines each of us and knowing we were and continue to be loved well will sustain us until we are reunited with our loves again.

    Sending you love and hugs,
    Debbie

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  5. V - I have to tell you that you are a good friend to go searching for blogs on widowhood for greater understanding on what you can do to help your friend. I can tell you that talking about your friend's husband with her will help, as will simple favours, such as asking what she wants picked up from the shops because you are going shopping. Being available to her whenever she needs you too. For me, those are the biggest "helps".

    Deb - thank you for lighting a candle for us. It means so much, as you know. The walk is tomorrow (UK time!) and I think it will bring me peace. xx

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  6. Just one year. But it's the longest, hardest year you'll ever live.

    And you got through it. Hats off to you. That's such a huge achievement.

    Does it make a difference, this anniversary? Perhaps not at first -- not for a while. Coming together with Christmas, the New Year, a new decade ... well, that's such a lot to cope with all at once. It takes some time to settle, after so much emotion has run right through you.

    And yet, looking back, I think it is an important step. There will be other anniversaries, other special days which you will mark and remember. But now you know what fears the calendar holds.

    And now you know you can conquer them. That's strength. Spirits up.

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  7. Roads, you are right ... at 03h00 tonight, I will have lived through the first year in its entirety ... and yes, I have survived it. That much is amazing considering I assumed for the first few months, in fact, I took it for granted, that I would not survive this, that it would kill me.

    Now starts chapter two ... learning to live again, learning to live without him. I have a feeling, that it will be just as hard, but different, to the first year.

    But importantly, I know that I can conquer them :-)

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  8. Hi Boo.

    I'm sitting here at work in body, but my mind is focused on you. Your post describes Cliff's last minutes so delicately. Thank you for welcoming us into such a personal memory. You have been such a wonderful support to me, so know that in your journey toward healing, you heal others.

    Whenever I think of you I picture your beautiful wedding picture with Cliff. In that way my sense is that he is always with you.

    I hope your walk on the sand is all that you need it to be. Walking along the ocean always feels very magical and calming to me. I think the gravitational pull of the tide somehow creates a balance within.

    I'm glad you took the time off from work, and allowing youself the freedon to experience these days with such mindfulness.

    Love to you. Dan

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  9. Dan, thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and heart today, as well as your post with Dido's song - beautiful ... for some reason, knowing that others are remembering Cliff (and I) today helps so much. It also helps to know that something positive comes out of all the pain, it keeps me focussed.

    The ocean is healing. It humbles too. And I need that! I'll be relieved when 3 o'clock passes - the year will be over.

    I have a feeling that there is much more for me to learn and overcome, but you know what? We will all manage this - we have to - and we will. xx

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  10. I am in awe of the love, devotion and honor that flow from your words as you pay tribute and remembrance to Cliff. I am equally blown away by your ability and desire to document this special day, as well as being able to look back at the past 12-months. To observe where you have come and where you are going. That is such a gift to all of us out here sharing in this journey. Thank you for having the courage and strength to honestly relate all that is inside you at this time. I know that it has meaning and is valuable in so many ways.

    May love continue to fill you today and in the days that follow.

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  11. WITM, thank you for your warm and kind words. It is easy to write the words, though less easy to read them myself ... after I have written them. It always is. I believe it helps me to grow and to deal with grief. It also helps me because I can share what he was like in this world - it is always my favourite subject!!!! Thankfully no one seems to be too bored with listening to me wax lyrical about him ... thank you for your wishes. xxx

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  12. My heart is with you. I admire your courage and the enduring love for your husband. Take care of yourself.

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  13. Thanks Thelmaz, nothing can beat love, literally nothing.

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  14. So much love, passion, courage and strength...you've come a long way on one of the most difficult paths in life. Though losing such a strong & loving relationship will so often bring you to your knees, it is also the crutch you use to help you walk again. And you are, one step at a time.

    I hope your walk tomorrow is peaceful and comforting. I will light a candle for Cliff, and am thinking of you.
    xoxo

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  15. CarrieBoo, thanks for lighting a candle for him, and you are so right, it is the same love lost that brings you to your knees, and yet the same love that keeps you standing afterwards. xxxx

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