Hard to believe it's been over 90 days since Raymond passed away. Why do they/we call it passed away? Does passing away somehow sound less harsh than Death? It's still a final departure, no matter what we call it and dealing with a loss this profound is devastating.
What I am experiencing is certainly different than anything I ever thought I might go through. At times I feel as though a huge ocean wave slams into me. I have to hold onto something to not be taken down.
When I least expect it, I burst into tears. No prompting necessary. Other times I am able to function and go about my life in a normal fashion.
I'm used to taking care of myself and doing all the things that need doing. Things he did before he became ill a number of years ago. I'm thankful his descent was slow over the last few years and he was able to enjoy the things he loved. Family was his number one love. Myself, the grandchildren, our daughters and their husbands. Then, there was his love of the outdoors. Planting trees, shrubs, flowers. Cutting grass. How anyone can love a riding lawnmower and grass cutting is beyond me. But he did. There was an art to the way he cut our lawn. One week he angled it one way. The next week he angled it another. Our lawn was one of those that passersby gaze at and wonder how anyone could get those lines so straight. He took great pride in cutting the lawn. Anything he did, he took pride in and did to the best of his ability. In the PHOTO below he is trying out a neighbor's new lawnmower - and saluting me across the way! He called me "the boss." Although we both shared the title.
Last spring when I flew to Florida to see my sister who was gravely ill, Raymond wasn't doing well and our daughter was staying with him. I asked him to take care of himself while I was gone and not to do anything strenuous because he had heart problems and a new pacemaker. At the end of my two hour flight, I turned on my phone as I collected my luggage. There, on the phone, was a photo my daughter had sent. R had gone straight to the garden center on the way home from dropping me at the airport and had purchased a weeping cherry tree, which he had been wanting, and had come home and planted the tree in our front yard. All this during my two hour flight. The photo showed him kneeling beside the tree in the dirt, leaning on the shovel, wearing a wide smile and his raggedy straw hat. The smile let me know how proud he was of his endeavor. But he had a devilish glint in his eye, which told me he knew he was doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing. Sadly, by the time I arrived home a few days later, he was in the hospital with another of his long ongoing health issues.
Our journey together was a long one with lots of joys and heartaches. Now as I continue on without him, I spend each day figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other one. He was my co pilot. My back up man. The guy who warned me of what was up ahead and stood with me to face it. He's gone. However, he left me with a group of back ups. Besides my strong faith in God that he shared, he left me with three beautiful daughters who walk beside me, eight wonderful grandchildren who take turns holding my hand, and three son-in-laws who are helpful beyond measure.
I'd love to hear what you are up to these days? Did you have a horrendous winter as we did? Will it ever be over?
As for me, I'm looking forward to lots of sunshine, blue skies, daffodils, and learning to use R's riding lawnmower. Don't ask for photos. Not into straight lines or angles! Forgive me R!
Even though I miss him terribly, I am so blessed. I know he's with our Heavenly Father and we'll meet again someday.
Regarding my writing. I'm finishing a fictional story for Amazon titled Dear Anne: Love Letters from Nam. I'm excited to be writing again. It's what Raymond would want.