Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dear Brawny Man

It is by the Grace of God alone that I have
been able to breathe without you for one year…indeed through God’s wisdom in
making breathing part of the autonomic system, in that we have no choice
but to breathe…He knew better than to leave it up to us.  Alone, I
would not have had the strength nor the courage to take that first breath in as
you left this world on your last breath out.  Oh Holy Night, one year ago, when
Heaven bowed down to touch earth so that the Angels could cross over to
accompany you Home.  I envision in my soul’s eye, our unborn, yet Sainted
children, Michael and Gabrielle, greeting you.  Although my own Mother had told
me that Jesus, The Christ, always greets children into heaven, somehow I have
pictured Him greeting you, with one child on each side.  I am in need of no
proof, for I witnessed you and the cats constantly gazing at the space above the
Christmas tree, having wordless conversations with those who had already left
us.  The house was heavy with the weight of their presence the entire last month
of your life here in Time and Space.  It was then that I learned of The Weight
of Eternity. 

Husband, I have mourned you like a wild
animal…I have bellowed in agony, like that mama cow we passed in the snow on the
side of the road on the way to Purgatory, whose calf lay dead in the gutter.  We
were both deeply moved by the sight of an animal grieving inconsolably for her
loss.  In desperation, I have curled up on the floor in the corner where your
hospital bed was, the exact spot where you left, and have tried to breathe you
back into me.  I have placed my hand inside your ski glove and held my other
hand with closed eyes, imaging your hand, those hands, that I still
know by heart, holding mine.   I have opened your closet door to run my hands
over your shirts,  hanging empty on the hooks…trying to understand how we
can be over.  Intellectually, I understand you had to leave your body
and that even I gave you permission to do so, yet my heart wants what
it has wanted since the first moment our eyes met; YOU. I still want you.  I
still want to be us.

I now understand what it is to love someone
even greater in death;  for I love you purely, "I bow to the God within you", or
"The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you" - a knowing that we are all
made from the same One Divine Consciousness.  I was correct for 35 years in
signing every card to you, “I love you to Eternity”. 

But what I have not done, beloved
husband, is given up on life.  I honor my promise to you; I will be okay, but I
will never get over you. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Father’s Day Filled with Gratitude


Rather than focus on my losses today, I have chosen to focus on my many blessings.

Love at first sight; mid-tour leave from Iraq, home on the 4th of July, meeting your newborn daughter for the very first time.

Happy Father's Day, Son.

You have made your Dad so proud by honoring his final words to you;

"Be a good man; always do the right thing."



Friday, June 13, 2014

How You Can Help Me

rmcmeen_EchoSet3_Echo3 copy

Written by Dr. Virgina A. Simpson in “What Grieving People Want You
To Know.”

How you can help me

Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more

comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk

about him, and I need to do it over and over.

Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get

comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know

when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.

Don’t abandon me with the excuse that you don’t want to upset me. You

can’t catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid

to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I

most need to be cared about. If you don’t know what to say, just come

over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, “I’m sorry.” You

can even say, “I just don’t know what to say, but I care, and want you

to know that.”

Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I

feel only if you really have time to find out.

I am not strong. I’m just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel

that you don’t see me.

I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I’m not sick. I’m

grieving and that’s different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after

my loved one’s death. Don’t think that I will be over it in a year. For

I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was

with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our

children and grandchildren grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the

hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled

and I will never be the same.

I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my

loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and

love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be,

and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear.

Both are okay.

I don’t have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has

happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just

not acceptable.

When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and

alone. I feel badly enough that my loved one is dead, so please don’t

make it worse by telling me I’m not doing this right.

Please don’t tell me I can find someone else or that I need to start

dating again. I’m not ready. And maybe I don’t want to. And besides,

what makes you think people are replaceable? They aren’t. Whoever comes

after will always be someone different.

I don’t even understand what you mean when you say, “You’ve got to get

on with your life.” My life is going on, I’ve been forced to take on

many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think

it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So

please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and

support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget

and there will always be times that I cry.

I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your

hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need

to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in

my own way, and in my own time.

Please don’t say, “Call me if you need anything.” I’ll never call you

because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could

do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you

some ideas:

(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.

(b) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the

anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can’t

make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the

opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach

out on this difficult day.

(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I

may so no at first or even for a while, but please don’t give up on me

because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you’ve given up

then I really will be alone.

(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples,

to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations

where I used to feel so comfortable.

Please don’t judge me now – or think that I’m behaving strangely.

Remember I’m grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel

deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I’m

experiencing a pain unlike any I’ve ever felt before and one that can’t

be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

Don’t worry if you think I’m getting better and then suddenly I seem to

slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don’t

tell me you know how I feel, or that it’s time for me to get on with my

life. What I need now is time to grieve.

Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank

you for praying for me.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss – when you need

me as I have needed you – I will understand. And then I will come and be

with you.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Truth or Dare #3


I don’t dare say goodbye.

I never want to forget.

Half of my heart lives in Eternity.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy Birthday, Baby . . . I wish you were here.




For you there'll be no crying


   For you the sun will be shining


'Cause I feel that when

I'm with you  It's all right


I know it's right

kauii chair

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score


And I love you I love you I love you

Like never before


To you I would give the world

1982 Gary & Deb cropped

To you I'd never be cold

'Cause I feel that when I'm with you
It's all right

I know it's right


And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score


And I love you I love you I love you

Like never before.

Like never before.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Truth or Dare #2


On your second day in the Hospice Unit for uncontrollable pain,

I asked if you wanted to stay or come home;

that you were still in control.

Through clenched teeth

you almost yelled at me,

" I’m DONE".



I called our daughter on the phone,

inconsolably sobbing,

"Daddy just broke up with me". 



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Truth or Dare; #1


Long before I gave you permission to leave, we acknowledged that we had, in our 35 years together, said Every Thing we ever needed to say to each other.


I would give anything to hear it all again.



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Let’s Hop a Plane



“I don’t want to do this anymore,” I whispered.

Let’s just hop a plane and skip this whole dying thing.

There’s snow at Sunrise,

Or how about Purgatory,

With all those wide open runs?

No moguls, Baby,

Just the rhythm of our skis

Cutting into powder, an almost silent

Swish swish swish.

We move as one,

As if we have been dancing together

Our entire life.

Oh wait; we have.

I’ll follow in your tracks.

It was always you

Who made me brave.

As unsure as I am

About taking the lead,

I would gladly trade your suffering

For setting you free.

Godspeed, my Beloved,



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Where My Feet May Fail

Day Four of my Brawny Man in the Hospice Unit for uncontrollable pain.

We are in a very strange limbo;

limbo, as in the Catholic theology meaning,

the edge of hell.

Grace sustains me.


You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine