Today is my Birthday. Tomorrow Jim died seven years ago. My October tends to be action packed with events of significance in my life. One more is coming up in another week, when I have thyroid surgery for cancer.
Every year at this time I give myself some time to reflect, on my year, on past events, on events yet to be and I try to place where I want to be in my life at this moment in time.
Grief and the loss of someone dear, is an interesting event. Sometimes it feels like it happened many years ago and it did. Sometimes it feels like yesterday. I can relive the events of the last two weeks of Jim’s life like it was yesterday. It was certainly a significant event in his life, in mine and those who were close and dear to him. Yet the significant memories change when they arrive, usually unexpectedly in my life.
The other day I saw a Tesla (a dream car of mine) and there was an instant recall of the time when I left the hospital to get in my car, and a Tesla was following me. I didn’t even know it was there. The darn things are so quiet it scared me and made me jump.
That memory drew me back into the hospital and being with Jim each day in his room. A few days before he died my sister, Ginny was flying to San Diego to help out. I knew how much she liked our hot tub and it had not been cleaned. I went home to clean the hot tub with Jim on the phone giving me instructions on how to drain it. It gave us something to focus on, but really???? the hot tub??? It reminds me of how we were a team until the very end.
I remember his good and long time friend, Doug, showing up at the hospital and staying until after Jim’s death. He didn’t leave San Diego until he knew I was OK. And then there were his long time running buddies who showed up the afternoon he died to let him know they were there for him.
And the memories go on.
I have been listening to an audio book while driving titled Resilient Grieving. It has been reaffirming for me to hear someone else who is more of an expert than I am, speak of taking hold of your grief and helping it to shape your existence, at the moment and what to do to help, as time moves on. One of the things she mentions is that these moments of memory are helpful as they may remind me that during that time of my life I lived in the moment. Each moment was precious and valuable and I was right there and nowhere else. It didn’t matter about the past and it didn’t matter about the future and I was alive and so was Jim in that moment of time.
I find those moments to be extremely positive in shaping my life since his death. Some people have told me “it is time to move on” with the implication that I need to put this behind me and live today. All our memories and experience continue to shape who we are today. So why not this one? Why should I forget it or put it behind me. If it was a good experience, although painful and heart rending, then I believe I can bring it forward with me and shape who I am today.
I hope it has made me more understanding and kind and present. It certainly has made me thankful. I have been given gifts by the Universe or God or whoever you believe in, over the course of my lifetime. Learning the “in the moment” presence is one that has shaped me more than any other. Being married to a life partner for twenty one years has certainly shaped who I am today. I hope never to forget the laughter, adventure, deep and loving conversation and more that the two of us shared. And now I want to begin to reach out more and share this with others.
I tend to get lonely out here on the road and that is my own doing. I don’t reach out to people often and I think that has to change. I find when I take Lyft or Uber I relish the conversations with the drivers. I learn and share and find it fun. I want to do this more with other’s in my life. So maybe that is a goal for this year to come.
I do know that I have been loved and cherished in my partnership with Jim. I want to do that for others. I am feeling extremely blessed to have good friends wherever I go. I hope I have carried this forward in my life with friends near and far.
Today I am thankful for my memories and for experiencing “in the moment” points of time. Today and every day I remain thankful for those twenty-one years I had Jim in my life. I miss him and I will carry him forward for the rest of my life, even as I make new friends and experience new things.
Best to you as you celebrate or acknowledge or remember multiple October events. Happy Birthday Today in this monent. And best wishes for a smooth and uneventtful yet successful surgery and recovery.
A very uplifting post, thanks.
You are an inspiration. Happy Birthday and many happy memories of past and future to you!
This is so inspiring, Janet! Living in the moment is such an artful skill – it can never be mastered completely but ever trying is a perpetual goal and should be. Thank you for your sharing your thoughts and wisdom. Very best wishes on your birthday and also for your upcoming surgery.
Thanks for sharing this, Janet. Sounds like you have learned a lot over the last few years — especially about grief and about yourself. I believe Jim is proud of you. I am sure a lot of our mutual friends admire you as well. I can relate to know bittersweet and what an emotional rollercoaster it can be when the anniversary of the death of your soulmate and your birthday are back-to-back. My husband of 42 years died on my birthday five years ago. I try to “celebrate” that day by remembering that our first date was on my 18th birthday and also by knowing that his suffering ended on my birthday so many years later.
October 14th would have been my 52nd anniversary. It is also the anniversary of when I met Gary when I moved into my newlywed apartment and he and his wife were newlyweds. We celebrated it at Cracker Barrel last night with a feast. I am grateful you came into our lives as a result of rving. And a shared interest in a knee cart 🙂 I am loving your posts and your enthusiasm for exploring the world.