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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Foundation of Sadness

Since Memorial Day week, grief has given me a reprieve of sorts. I have cried several times, most often just a few tears when something reminds me strongly of Greg, and a few times I’ve cried for an hour or longer.

Even with the tears appearing the past two and a half weeks, grief hasn’t dragged me into the intense sorrow that I have endured several times this year. Instead, there is an underlying sadness that permeates all my days, no matter what I am doing. Listening to music. Petting the cats. Mowing the yard. Driving, Eating a meal. Doing laundry.

Even during pleasurable activities such as attending a Travis Tritt concert last week, sadness lingers just under the surface of my life, coloring my thoughts with ‘I wishes” and ‘whys.’

Perhaps this is the foundation for the rest of my life. I will do things that I enjoy, things that make me laugh, things that are pleasant, but each and every thing that I do will be touched with sadness, sadness that persistently reminds me of what is no longer in my life and that I can never have again.

This is not a pleasant foundation but right now it is what is there. The sadness is more bearable than the heart-wrenching grief that I have experienced often this year. I can tolerate this foundation of sadness. Like it, no. But I can tolerate it.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Grief Bides Its Time

Grief is patient. It plots and plans, watches and waits for its perfect moment. The moment that I won’t be expecting a frontal attack, much less a flanking maneuver, then swoops in with all its forces, trampling my defenses, and defeating any countermeasures I may bring into play.

While last weekend was sad and lonely, I drifted through on a fairly even keel. I cried some but not much at a time. I enjoyed the beauty God has presented this Spring, and by Sunday evening was doing better than I had been the rest of the weekend.

Monday and Tuesday were good days. Oh, I missed Greg at every turn; that I will do until the end of my days. I did things that needed to be done for customers and worked on putting together flower arrangements for tombstones.

I visited Greg’s grave Monday and Tuesday mornings and late afternoons. On Monday afternoon I was at peace while sitting there, the weather suited me, and everything was so beautiful in the pasture that I could have sat at Greg’s grave all night. Both Monday and Tuesday I talked to Greg about the day’s events and about things we had done in our life together, laughing frequently. Tuesday evening, in the moonlight, I walked back to Greg’s grave and sat and listened to crickets and tree frogs, and the buzzing of some large insect as it wandered around the hill.

Wednesday morning I wasn’t in a rush and the morning was sweet, so I walked to Greg’s grave and sat there for a half hour or so, listening to songbirds and crickets, and seeing what wildflowers had bloomed during the night.

I got in the new truck and started to town. Grief launched its attack before I got out of the driveway and by the time I got to town I was an emotional mess. Every time I got in the truck on Wednesday, I cried, and have no idea why, for Greg hasn’t even seen the new truck, much less ridden in it. By lunch I had had to do a half dozen things around town that required driving so about the time one bout of crying was easing up, I’d need to do something else and the crying started again.

A friend chauffeured me around hither and yon Wednesday afternoon, getting the new truck home, Greg’s truck to the mechanic and me back to the body shop to pick up the Explorer. By the time this was finished, I was exhausted and starting to hurt from tension. I was hurting so badly by the time I got home that I went to bed at six p.m. but the pain didn’t stop enough for me to get any restful sleep. Thursday and Thursday night, Friday and Friday night, I hurt all day and all night. I know I’ve said before that grief causes pain clear to the bone, but up until around two p.m. today, even my bones have been hurting. I’m still tense but most of the pain has subsided.

While I don’t know what brought on such an overwhelming bout with grief, I do know that I do not want to go through another three days like the past three. The emotional pain itself undermines my desire to do anything; with the physical pain added, simply breathing seems like too much effort to expend.

Grief apparently wants me as its prisoner of war.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Long Weekend

Early Sunday evening

I’ve had a lonely and sad weekend. Even though I interacted with a few people this weekend – the gentleman who gave me a quote on tree trimming, the barkeep at Reno’s when I gave her my order, and my friend and her husband during lunch today – overall I have been sad and lonely.

I awoke that way Saturday morning. Even though the conversations I had with other people were pleasant, the sadness and loneliness didn’t subside. The heat hasn’t helped; it’s added crankiness.

Right now I’m sitting in a shaded pull-off on 704. Crickets and birds are making music, and a lone tree frog is blending his voice with their melodies. White clover in bloom scents the air. Daisies and blackberry blooms add splashes of white amid the fescue and other grasses. Red clover and wildflowers are scattered through the grass. Trees are fully leafed out, providing cooling shade.

A beautiful place. A peaceful place. God’s grace in abundance.

I came here hoping to elude the sadness and loneliness. God’s peace is with me but the sadness and loneliness linger. While they aren’t as wrenching as when grief waltzes in with torture on its mind, they are tiring, leaving me exhausted mentally and emotionally. 

I will return home and visit Greg’s grave as I have done both morning and evening several days this past week. I will talk to Greg and talk to God, watch the broom sedge sway in the slightest of breezes, and listen to the birds talk as they are settling into their nests for the night. 

Maybe a second dose of God’s creation will lift my spirits and the sadness and loneliness will be gone by morning.

Right Turns

Saturday afternoon

This morning I gave directions to a gentleman on driving from Walmart to some trees I need trimmed.

Six right turns.

That got me to counting turns I make while driving. Five rights and a left to the shop – five right turns and a left to get back home. Seven right turns and a left to Reno’s bar.

And wondering if I have made enough right turns in my life since Greg’s death.

Without Greg at my side I follow roads I am unaccustomed to traveling. All I can do is strive to make right turns for my life until the end of my days.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Freedom. Not Really.

I woke up this morning with just one thing on my agenda: meeting someone to get an estimate on tree trimming. Other than that, I could do whatever struck my fancy.

Drive to Louisville. Shop for a new wardrobe. Go to a movie. Rent a houseboat for the night. Dine in the fanciest restaurant around. Spend hours in a bookstore. Walk through a state park.

Whatever I wanted to do.

I don’t have to answer to anyone about anything I might or might not decide to do. No one is expecting a phone call from me. No one is making plans that include me. No one is waiting for me to come home.

No one. But I am not free.

Grief is taunting me today. Telling me all the things I might have been doing with Greg today instead of rambling alone.

Driving down back roads. Sharing a Pepsi and M&M’s. Watching Crocus Creek flow. Listening to Travis Tritt’s music. Gun trading.

Oh, I could do any of those alone. But I could not face them today as Greg is not here to share these things with me. 

My only responsibility right now is to myself and my cats. I can do most anything I choose. But I am not free. Memories and grief tie my days in fetters of sorrow, sometimes making me unwilling to do anything without Greg at my side.

Freedom is illusive.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Guy Fix

So far this week I’ve not cried much -- just yesterday morning on the way to the shop. I was driving Greg’s truck and thinking of the many miles we traveled in it.

The tears didn’t last long but my mood was dampened.

For a while.

I went to a music store, talked to the guys who work there and listened to some musicians play and sing songs so old I had nearly forgotten about them. From there I went to an auto sound shop and discussed what I needed done to the system on Greg’s truck.

By the time I had chatted with these guys, I was in a much better mood. Then it hit me – perhaps the reason I’m having so few tears this week – I need a guy fix a few times a week.

Monday and Tuesday I had nice chats with two different guys. We discussed nothing in particular – trap shooting, how hard it is to find someone willing to work, lunch, china with gold-rimmed teacups, trees, kayaking dogs, most everything but Ford trucks.

Today I talked to another guy about seat belts, historical items and the less than polite T-shirt I had dug out of a box of odds and ends. I’ve had my guy fix for the day.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not missing Greg. I am. All the way to the bone. I walked to his grave two mornings this week, and each afternoon. Tuesday afternoon I spent nearly two hours talking to Greg about my day, how much I love him, what I miss about him (everything), what God has provided for me, the birds singing, crickets chirping, a few tree frogs calling, and . . . most likely to Greg’s dismay . . . I sang some.

It was peaceful and I didn’t cry, just sat there and let God’s grace and gifts provide solace.

Greg and I didn’t always talk very much at a time, but since we were together most of the time, he was there whenever I wanted to talk to him. He was my guy fix that I no longer have in my life every day.

Without Greg, I don’t have a guy fix available at nearly any moment. I miss him. There is no replacing Greg. I will have to take my guy fixes as they appear.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Rainy Days and Sundays

Rainy days don’t get me down. Sundays . . . an entirely different story.

Since Greg died, most days feel like they are either a Friday or a Sunday, sometimes the two entwined. Many Friday evenings we left work and went to a movie. Sunday afternoons we ate out or rode around, sometimes both. Those times were our relaxing times together, nothing we had to do but be with each other.

This Sunday has been particularly rough. The rain this morning didn’t dampen my mood; getting up and knowing Greg was not in the house with me had already done that. I’ve done some housework, driven a hundred miles, bought some things I needed, listened to some Travis, read a little, admired God’s handiwork . . . and cried. 

Even though I’ve cried most of the day, grief hasn’t had me in the depths of despair as it has done many times before. Today, I’m missing Greg desperately, wanting his presence and knowing I can never have him in my life again. All my thoughts of Greg bring tears, no matter how pleasant those thoughts may be.

My Sundays are sad. I can sit in the yard and enjoy seeing all that God has made that surrounds me. But sadness lingers, seeming to be a tangible part of the landscape, as if our farm is also grieving over Greg’s loss.

I can’t skip Sundays. I can only hope they eventually become less sad.