Powering Through

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My stepmom says she’s reading on my blog that I’m just “powering through” my grief. I resist screaming, what the fuck are you talking about?! Do you mean crawling on my hands and knees, reaching for God with every stretch, breathing, just breathing?

Yes, I’m powering through by praying and wailing and landing on the floor in child’s pose. I’m walking in the woods and howling excruciating sounds like all the grief in the world has been born in my belly and released like a battle cry on behalf of all women who’ve loved. In the woods, I’m a wailing widow at an Italian funeral.

No, I’m not “powering through.” I’m being led. I’m being carried. There’s a team of angels.

Then, there’s yoga. The last time I was with Kevin we had an exciting talk about my yoga plans. Now, my plan is to get my ass to yoga as often as I can. I know this grief could destroy my body and give my mental powers over to Sissy the Cynic. My spirit is dying to be born into this moment.

Mostly, I go to yoga so I can be with people without talking to them. Even more, I go because someone tells me what to do. Normally, I despise being told what to do—and react by doing the opposite.

Normal’s in the rearview mirror, along with the most extraordinary man I ever had. Yeah, I had him and he had me. We got each other. I never enjoyed anyone’s touch, style, words, or company as much as I did this man. Spending 24/7 with Kevin was easy.

He’d tell you I don’t like a lot of people. I try to be big and spiritual, but I’ve also read Many Lives, Many Masters, so sometimes I assume if I don’t like someone, it’s probably a past life issue.

Anyhow, I liked Kevin. I liked him in the way you like your best friend in elementary school. I liked him in the way a woman likes the presence of a man because he can make her feel safe, loved and on Fire! We enjoyed hanging out, traveling, talking, and making love. He knew how to love me. He didn’t give me a break on my bullshit, but he didn’t try to destroy me over my weaknesses. We came so far in such a short time.

Now, for an hour each day, someone tells me what to do and I try. I’m in the fight. I’m still living life. I’m breathing. I’m powering through.

When Your Sister’s Husband Dies and Your Boyfriend Follows Suit

You had a history.

I—finally—had a happy story.

You built a foundation of family and security.

I searched 50 years to find this man, the one that fit.

You had 33 years and then the warning called cancer.

I had magic moments stacking up—until they stopped sudden, like his heart.

You bonded brick by brick: your boys, 12,000 dinners, 33 Christmases, birthdays, and anniversaries, 1,000 inside jokes, and 72 secret sorrows.

He and I tried the others and took so many wrong turns that landed us right where he called destiny.

You still held hands.

We held hope.

 

The Challenge of “How Are You?”

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Grief is being unable to answer the question, “How are you?” because most people don’t want to hear, “I’m a fucking mess!” Others will want to fix you or feel sorry for you. The everyday question becomes overwhelming.

Even if you tell people to stop asking, they won’t. It’s habitual. They also really want to know because they care.

In grief, sometimes we must choose to care for ourselves. That might mean saying “I’m fine,” when you’re falling apart. Other times might invite telling the messy truth and crying the tears regardless of others’ reactions.

Still, “How are you?” can be a hard one. Sometimes I want to scream, “How the fuck do you think I am?!” but then I remember, they don’t know. Sometimes, neither do I.

Simple Joys

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She came back today, that girl who cries. She cried on my deck and in my bathroom. I told her it’s ok to cry. She cried more. I asked her what I could do. She said, “Take me back to last October!” Then, I cried.

That was the best October ever, the one I spent with Kevin, in his home with my dog. So beautiful and normal, like coffee together in bed every morning. Like his touch, quiet conversations, and my Lab loving the country life.

Simple joys. Gone. Replaced with tears.

Love & Death

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Ebb & flow. Effort & ease. Holding on & letting go. Stretching & releasing. Prayer, purpose, & fuck-its. Presence & distraction. Limits & overcoming. Learning & serving. Self & community. Surrendering & rising. Resisting & meeting your edge. Moment by moment. Staying with it. Embracing & releasing. Individual & universal. Tears & triumph. Grit & gratitude. Yoga & grief. Frustration & faith. Stories & realities. Change. Transformation. Agony & growth. Ownership & detachment. Rage & freedom. Purpose & passion. Emptying into fullness. Letting go to make space. Holding on for balance. Two feet, two hands, one head, one heart, one world. Experience & opportunity. Challenge & ecstasy. Heaviness & hope. Anger & angels. Now. On the mat & off the mat. Child’s pose & high mountain. Transformation & dropping expectation. Fear & facing it. The mirror & a taste of magic. Squeezing & expanding. Landing anew. Theories & truth. Desperation & trust. Doubt & doing. Never done.

A Beautiful Life, Still

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I’m sitting on my deck, leaning back in my chair, reading, plotting my success as a way to distract myself from my sadness.

Look at your life, Icey. It doesn’t get much better than this. Look at it. It’s beautiful, Icey.

It is beautiful. It’s fall and feels like I’m shedding pain with the falling leaves.

I’m stuck in between. I want to run forward. I need to get in the game.

The beautiful game of life is made up of moments. I look at my dog, the one I always dreamed of having. I’m her chosen one—first and always.

I was Kevin’s chosen one. I like that term because it speaks to what I need to be in someone’s life and it needs to be mutual. Kevin was my chosen one.

Now, I must choose again—not just a man. I must choose to live, experience and enjoy each moment, the way I did when Kevin came along. I attracted the Fire! (my nickname for him) by living life in a state of gratitude, though I’d lost everything.

Now, he’s the only thing I’ve lost. Why does it feel like everything, like the only thing that matters, when I’m surrounded by a lovely life?

Because it’s devastating to go from magic to darkness.

That’s what Kevin dying felt like. He knows. That’s why he guides me back to myself, my path, and my beauty. He wants to lift me up and put me back to my joy and my light. The Fire! wants his presence to matter and reminds me my presence makes a difference in the world. It’s not just about staying alive. It’s about living out loud. Grace through gratitude. I have a beautiful life, still. It’s not a lie; it just hurts like hell.

 

 

Love in the Clouds

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My grief is groping through the dark while angels flash miracles and light around me. I am undone. Everything tied in pretty bows yesterday lies loose before me awaiting me to knit a new afghan. That’s when I realize I don’t know how to knit or sew or bake a pie that tastes like my life.

My life: where did it go? It’s the same with the exception of one key player. I cannot go where my dead boyfriend is, nor deny the desire exists.

I’m a conflicted sky today. The blue brands itself: azul, the Spanish word because I need a new language. The white is pure. I’ve heard white is a combination of all the colors. Then I see the rainbow, but not in the shape I know. This breathes yellow, blue and orange, with the seeming texture of snake skin or dragonfly wings. A trail of grated cheese waves at me.

I’ve never known sky like this. Then, the colors dissipate—unless I count the gray haze and darkness. It’s going to pour. I feel the storm welling up in me as it threatens from above. I never know; will it be quiet tears I can maintain as they slide down my face like during asana in yoga yesterday or will they break like a toddler’s tantrum in a restaurant?

I roll with the clouds as they shroud the bright colors I was just blessed with. It’s all opportunity to see anew while recognizing my lack of control (over the weather).

Clouds form, grab my attention, and remind me to Look up! (words hollered from my boyfriend on the other side). I see hearts, clouds shaped like hearts—mine, his, messy, clear, messages I can’t prove. He tells me to stop trying so damn hard, just see what I see. I do. It’s love.